Alexander Technique

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How can it help?

The application of the technique can help with many problems such as

  • Neck ache and back pain, joint problems
  • General stiffness, poor co-ordination, bad posture
  • Breathing difficulties, asthma
  • High blood pressure, RSI
  • Recovery from injury or operation

It can help us to identify and prevent unconscious habits that interfere with our natural postural mechanisms. The postural mechanisms operate below our level of consciousness to support us easily and lightly in earth’s gravitational field. They can best be seen working in young children, skilled performers and animals.

We cannot operate these mechanisms directly in the same way that we can move a finger but we can identify and prevent habitual activity that impinges on their free functioning. One of the most significant of these activities is pulling the head back on the neck.

The genius of Alexander’s Technique lies in stopping the harmful activity by reducing muscular tension rather than by making more effort.

A good example is when we are slumped in a chair and we try to sit up straight ‘for the good of our posture’ by making an effort and then, after a few minutes, find ourselves returning, exhausted, to an even greater slump.

This is because slumping in a chair is an unconscious habitual pattern of muscular activity that is established over time. It requires no thought but occurs automatically every time we sit in a chair. When we try to pull ourselves up at the same time we are using extra muscular effort in an attempt to cancel out the slump, thereby using twice as much energy.

Learning and applying the Alexander Technique teaches us how to avoid slumping by consciously stopping the slumping activity and allowing our natural postural mechanisms to get on with the job of “sitting us up straight” with much less effort.

Typical words used to describe feelings after a lesson in the Alexander Technique are poised, light, tall, free, calm, connected, co-ordinated and energised.

“I find the Alexander Technique very helpful in my work. Things happen without you trying. They get to be light and relaxed. You must get an Alexander teacher to show it to you.”

John Cleese, Comedian and Actor

During a course of Alexander Technique lessons people often find change and improvement in many areas of life.

“After practicing the Alexander Technique, my family and I noticed striking improvements in blood pressure, depth of sleep, mental alertness, overall cheerfulness, resilience against outside pressure and also in playing a stringed instrument.”

Professor Nikolaas Tinbergen, Nobel Prize-winner Physiology/Medicine