About The Alexander Technique

What is The Alexander Technique?

fma_hands_on1The Alexander Technique is a unique approach to health, well being and self development. Pupils learn to develop awareness of deeply rooted habits, and are given the tools to effect a lasting change. This is achieved by teaching pupils how to use their thoughts to influence how they act and react. The technique is usually associated with physical patterns of behaviour such as sitting, walking, moving about, and activities such as speaking, singing, playing an instrument and performance; however, with practise the technique can be applied to any aspect of life, and pupils find themselves able to affect their behaviour on both physical and mental levels. Once learned, the applications of the technique are virtually limitless.

How does it work?

The Alexander Technique works through re-establishing the natural relationship between the head, the neck and the back. This can be seen working in many young children, who move with elegance and ease. As the years pass however, poor seating, stress and strain of life, and a lack of awareness of how the body is designed to work, take their toll and a myriad of damaging habits can creep in. Tightening the neck interferes with the natural balance of the head. This leads to the head being held rather than allowed to balance on the neck as nature intended. This simple, pervasive habit interferes with the equilibrium of the spine and the whole body, leading to a misuse of the musculature. The Alexander Technique is a method of restoring balance and equilibrium to the whole person, mind and body. The discovery has been called

“one of the most important [discoveries] of the twentieth century”
Professor N. Tinbergen 1907–1988; Nobel Prize for Medicine 1973.

What happens in a lesson?

at5-monkeyDuring a lesson you typically spend some of the time lying on an Alexander table, and some time sitting in an upright chair, being guided through simple movements such as sitting and standing. The teacher maintains a light contact on the pupil with their hands, and through their hands gathers information about the various habits the pupil may have developed. They then use a mixture of light, guiding touch and verbal explanation to help the pupil observe themselves, and start to replace unhelpful patterns of effort and tightening to ones of freedom and release.

The Alexander Technique is not a therapy, and its teachers are not medically trained.

It has a well founded reputation for helping to ease discomfort and pain, and it is therefore important that prospective pupils realise that improvements which may happen are a result of learning to apply the technique, not a result of treating the condition directly.

How Many Lessons Should I Have?

A course of twenty weekly lessons is recommended to familiarize oneself with the principles of the technique, and begin to put them into practise.