The Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique is a method by which a person learns to apply the basic principles of the body's natural coordination to improve the quality of his or her own movement. The basic principles of the coordination of a body, principles which function unconsciously in infants and animals, can be learned and applied consciously to improve the functioning and integration of the whole individual. The new coordination may provide relief of stress and pain, make repetitious or boring tasks easy, and provide a new opening for excellence in performers and others who need to use their bodies for maximum efficiency and endurance. Those who study the Alexander Technique often experience a sense of lightness and ease of movement, a sense of increased integration of their whole selves - body and mind, freedom from the struggle of everyday actions, and a re-awakened joy in the process of living.

F.M. Alexander considered the relationship of the head, neck and back fundamental to the study of improved use of the body, and called this relationship the Primary Control. Initially the lessons are directed at having the student learn to develop and maintain Primary Control while the teacher gently guides him or her through simple movements. In this way, the student is given the experience of easy, fluid motions made possible by attention to the Primary Control.

Who was F.M. Alexander?

Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955) was an Australian actor embarking on a promising career in the 1890's when he began to develop voice problems that failed to respond to any conventional medical treatment. After a particularly important engagement almost ended in disaster because his voice got weaker, he was forced to admit that it must be something he was doing in the act of speaking that was causing his difficulties. He set aside his young career and set out to discover the root cause of the voice problems and for a method of overcoming them. Prominent students and supporters of the Alexander technique include: George Bernard Shaw, Aldous Huxley, John Dewey, and the 1973 Nobel Prize winners for Medicine and Physiology Sir Charles Sherrington and Professor Nikolass Tinbergen.

F.M. Alexander 1869-1955