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.
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)
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.