What is the Alexander Technique?

The Alexander Technique is an educational method used worldwide for over 100 years. By teaching how to change faulty postural habits, it enables improved mobility, posture, performance and alertness and relief of chronic stiffness, tension and stress.

People study the Technique for a variety of reasons. The most common is to relieve pain through learning better coordination of the musculoskeletal system.

Another common reason is to enhance performance. Athletes, singers, dancers and musicians use the Technique to improve breathing, vocal production, and speed and accuracy of movement.

The most far-reaching reason people study the Technique is to achieve greater conscious control of their reactions.

During lessons you learn through direct experience how to go about your daily activities with increasingly less effort and greater ease. You develop awareness of habits that interfere with your natural coordination and learn how to undo these patterns to consciously redirect your whole self into an optimal state of being. Most of us have many habitual patterns, learned consciously or unconsciously. These patterns can be unlearned, enabling the possibility of new choices – in posture, movement and reactions.

Who was F.M. Alexander?

F.M. Alexander (1869-1955) was an actor who began his career as a Shakespearean orator and developed chronic laryngitis while performing. Determined to restore the full use of his voice, he carefully observed himself while speaking, and noticed that undue muscular tension accounted for his vocal problem. He sought a way to eliminate that restriction.

Over time, he discovered and articulated a principle that profoundly influences health and well-being: when neck tension is reduced, the head no longer compresses the spine and the spine is free to lengthen. Alexander restored his own natural capacity for ease by changing the way he thought while initiating an action.

From this work on himself and others, he evolved a hands-on teaching method that encourages all the body’s processes to work more efficiently – as an integrated, dynamic whole.

(From the 1996 North American Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique Directory)

Who is the Alexander Technique for?

The Alexander Technique brings personal growth to anyone who studies it, but most people arrive at Alexander Technique lessons in order to solve some difficulty. Pain and bad posture are common reasons for taking lessons; difficulties associated with computer use is another popular reason. Performers who use their body as a tool for expression find the Alexander Technique an indispensable part of their education. Most people come for more than one reason, and discover that the Alexander Technique benefits them in many unexpected ways.

Alexander Technique for Riders

I offer riders the ability to look inside themselves to see what and how they are effecting their horse. Then teach them how to change bad habits.

I was born in 1952, but actually began my involvement with horses before birth as my mother rode, even fox hunted, with me in vitro.

I grew up in Middleburg Virginia into a horse family in a horse town. Both of my grandparents were Masters of Hounds, one in Maryland on the Chesapeake shore, the other in England.

I was fox hunting on a lead line at 5 years and off lead by 6, so needless to say horses are in my blood!

My stepfather trained racehorses and so I broke yearlings for the track and galloped racehorses, even jockeying in local steeplechases as a teen.

bend horse trainerWe didn’t have a lot of money so couldn’t afford to show my own pony but got lots of pick up rides in the hunters as a youth.

By the time I got to Madeira, a girls boarding school in VA, the eventing bug hit me and I campaigned through prelim.

Then the freedom of college, boys, drugs, and rock and roll took over, and riding took a back seat.

After college I moved to upstate NY and resumed eventing and got more serious about the dressage phase, which later became my passion leading me up to today where I find the intimacy of connection that dressage offers between horse and rider to reflect my joy of being with my horse. I believe each horse and rider need a lot of diversity to compliment their relationship so I also still jump, trail ride and horse camp and look for ways to deepen my connection with my horse in ways that are fun and rewarding.

I started teaching dressage in the late 1980’s, became a Centered Riding instructor in the mid 90’s and graduated from a 3 year program about body awareness in 1997, called Alexander Technique, which I have been teaching ever since then. I specialize in using the Alexander Technique for riders.

What I believe my experiences and education have provided me is what I share with others: the ability to look inside themselves to see what and how they are effecting their horse. To gain awareness of the habits they bring to their riding, some good some not so good, and develop new habits that compliment their riding and create more harmony, understanding and joy in their relationship with their horse, whatever their discipline. My primary goal is to bring back or enhance the joy one feels when one rides a horse, if it ain’t fun, why the heck are we doing it!

Benefits of The Alexander Technique

Performance

The Alexander Technique helps musicians, dancers, singers and actors; in fact anyone in the performing arts to improve stamina, increase clarity of perception, free up spontaneity, manage stage fright and performance anxiety and reduce muscular strain and tension from holding or playing an instrument.

Improved self-awareness helps identify mental and physical habits that contribute to problems experienced and enables you to refine your performance technique and develop of a wider repertoire of skills to deliver the best possible performance.

Breathing

F.M. Alexander developed the Alexander Technique over 100 years ago as a result of his search for a solution to his persistent voice and breathing problems when he was performing on stage.

He quickly became well known for his work not only with performers, but also with people suffering from conditions such as asthma and even tuberculosis.

Today the Alexander Technique offers improved understanding and coordination of breathing to athletes, singers and other performers, people with medical difficulties relating to breathing and also relief from panic attacks that affect the breathing.

Sport and Fitness

The Alexander Technique will help you in your sport, or simply to enjoy your favorite physical activities without stress or pain.

The Technique will help you become more aware of how you think and move.

Thinking in activity will improve your performance by:

  • improving breathing
  • reducing undue muscular tension
  • facilitating recovery
  • reducing the likelihood of injury
  • improving reflexes, balance and coordination
  • improving quality of movement and mobility

Relief from Stress and Tension

The Alexander Technique is profoundly calming.  In a stressful situation the Technique helps to organize our perception of the choices available. Learning to apply the Technique in this way builds quiet confidence and emotional intelligence.

The Alexander Technique has been found invaluable – often in conjunction with medical or psychotherapeutic treatment – in dealing with:

  • long term illness or disability
  • serious disease or injury
  • post-traumatic problems
  • panic attacks
  • chronic pain

Improved Posture

Learning the Alexander Technique can help to prevent or alleviate conditions associated with undue tension or poor posture.

These include many difficulties with pain and weakness, coordination and movement, and joint or muscle problems.

Examining the way we carry ourselves and hold tension, and teaching us to move more naturally and freely, can address the underlying cause of many such problems.

The Alexander Technique can enhance rehabilitation after surgery, injury, or illness. It can improve management of and pain, and provide coping skills for chronic illness and disabilities.