Alexander Technique

WHAT IS THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE?

"The Alexander technique is a way of learning how you can get rid of harmful tension in your body."* Although certainly not a full definition of the Alexander Technique, this is a good start.

A more complete description is offered in "Changing The Way You Work: The Alexander Technique":

"The Alexander Technique is a method that works to change (movement) habits in our everyday activities. It is a simple and practical method for improving ease and freedom of movement, balance, support and coordination. The technique teaches the use of the appropriate amount of effort for a particular activity, giving you more energy for all your activities. It is not a series of treatments or exercises, but rather a reeducation of the mind and body. The Alexander Technique is a method which helps a person discover a new balance in the body by releasing unnecessary tension. It can be applied to sitting, lying down, standing, walking, lifting, and other daily activities..."

"The Alexander Technique is an intelligent way to solve body problems."

Here are a few more short descriptions of the Alexander Technique:

"The release of unnecessary muscular tension is vital to our well-being; if our muscles are habitually over-tightened our bodies become distorted, unbalanced and compressed. The Alexander Technique offers a way to let go of such destructive tension by learning to monitor the way we coordinate ourselves in any activity so that we can carry out that activity with ... the minimum of strain." (From the "Swansea, England" listing under Teachers' Web Pages)

"Most of us after the age of 3 or 4, learn tension patterns that interfere with the natural easiness, balance, support, and freedom of movement we all had as children. These tension patterns of slumping and so-called 'good posture' become so habituated that they feel normal; yet to whatever degree a person has one or both patterns, their movements are limited." (From "History of the Alexander Technique")

"A preventative approach, the Alexander Technique provides a powerful method... that focuses on improving your awareness of how you move (in order) to increase your ease of movement." (From "Growing Older With Grace: Transformation With The Alexander Technique")

"The reason (the) Alexander Technique has such wide application is that at the root of much discomfort and pain lies a pattern of habitual tightening, of which we may be unaware. The misuse of ourselves is especially characterized by a tightening of the muscles in the neck and back, causing stiffening of the head on the spine. This tightening also blocks information regarding our sense of balance and interferes with our innate poise and movement. Over time we adapt to - and compensate for- the sensory misinformation conveyed by our habits and lack of self-awareness. We sometimes accept our misuse as normal, not realizing the extent to which we are contributing to our own physical discomfort and stress." (From the "San Francisco, California" listing under Teachers' Web Pages.)

*This definition was suggested by Dr. Alfred Flechas of Ocala, Florida

For more information on the Alexander Technique go to:  Complete Guide to the Alexander Technique  which has served as the source of this information (with permission).