What is the Alexander Technique?
The young boy on the left (above) is demonstrating a
squat with head balanced and knees directing "forward and away" quite
well, without understanding what he is doing. This leads me to the
conclusion that our system is created (hard-wired) with proper
understanding of how to function well. We have learned, through a
lifetime of somewhat sub-conscious habits, to interfere with what we
are born with: poise, grace, ease, lightness, etc.
Please allow me to describle the
Alexander techniuqe by first indicating what it is NOT.
This leads me to the idea that the
Alexander Technique involves prevention through
inhibition (making the decision "not to do"). That inhibition is
avaialble to us at any time we choose to exercise it. Inhibition is
what allows us to clear away interference that we have allowed to
become a part of our system.
- It is not psycotherapy.
- It is not body work.
- It is not physical therapy.
- It is not manipulative.
- It does not involve doing physical exercises.
- It does not necessitate preparation or any particular skill level
in order begin to practice.
- It does not require a student to "perform" activities.
- It is not based on doing something "wrong" so we can learn how to
do it "right".
- It is not about imitating someone else's way of doing things.
- It is not painful.
- It is not obtrusive.
- It is not demanding.
- It is not anxiety producing.
- It is not like Yoga, Pilates, Feldenkreis, Chiropractic, etc. in
any way we might currently think.
- Practicing thoughtfulness about ourselves is something that we
all have (inborn) the ability to do.
- Making choices, particularly NOT to do things (in our normal,
habitual way), is a skill we all possess already (whether we have
noticed it or not).
- If we can make choices to stop interfering with the functioning
of our system (body-mind or "psyco-physical self" in Alexander's words)
as it was designed to function, it is likely to function in a better
fashion, with more efficiency.
- When we are functioning more efficiently (in a general sense) all
of the activities we are involved in then have the opportunity to begin
to work more efficiently. Our activities are a reflection of us.
- If I define the Alexander Technique (or anything else) too
rigidly, I limit my ability to continue to grow in my understanding of
- It may simply be about finding our own way (by making conscious
decisions about ourselves).
- It may be about working with someone who can act as a gentle
guide through the labyrinth of our own habital way of doing things.
- It involves both student and teacher developing a connection in
an environment where learning and growing together is possible.
- It involves one-on-one, hands-on work with a teacher.
- In a practical sense, this work is about free, easy, light
- At various times, it can be fun, humorous, cheerful, enjoyable,
light, easy, relaxing, thought provoking, informative, etc.
- In other words, it is not static (fixed), but as fluid (and
everchanging) as we are.
some student comments