Over 100 years ago, an Australian actor named F.M. Alexander developed chronic laryngitis. In the process of solving his performance challenge, he created a unique, and universally applicable approach to how we think about how we move. He discovered that we are designed for movement, and that we possess an incredibly powerful capacity for enlivening the ease, balance, and dynamic postural connections of our coordination. Because we often interfere with our potential for living fully in the moment, due to the stress and tension of daily life, Alexander’s discoveries are especially welcome in the 21st century.
The Alexander Technique offers a joyful, systematic approach to awakening the inherent and intelligent principles of the mind/body connection that govern our potential for dynamic thought in relation to dynamic movement in all activities.
Application of these principles via the Alexander Technique can enhance:
- The daily activities of walking, standing, and sitting at the computer desk or dinner table.
- The highly skilled activities of the performing artist (dancers, actors, singers, musicians, conductors, teachers).
- Chronic interferences of neck, jaw, and back pain in relation to all activities.
Alexander’s work teaches you to “think in activity.” At any moment, you can learn to:
- Pause, recognize any habitual pattern of reaction to a thought, movement, or activity, and momentarily suspend that initial response.
- Re-direct your focus toward “constructive thinking,” via Alexander’s process, and enter an “alert state of readiness” in relation to yourself, other people, and your world.
Through Alexander’s discoveries, we find our actions strengthened and refined, our sense of time expanded, and our rapport with the surrounding environment restored.
THE TEACHER AND THE LESSON
The model for learning the Alexander Technique is one of re-education: through verbal instruction, and gentle, hands-on guidance, the teacher assists the student to re-discover, and learn to guide, the innate and beautiful coordination that is our birthright. As a student, you gradually learn to recognize and relinquish unwanted thought and movement patterns which may be interfering with your optimal ability to accomplish your goals in life. Ultimately, you learn to be your own guide in the Alexander process, and a true partner in your journey toward living joyously with change.
ALEXANDER LESSONS usually last from 45-60 minutes. During that time, the teacher will assist you to re-connect with your innately powerful coordination system, and re-direct your approach to increased ease and poise in essential, daily activities. From this foundation, you may then choose to experience the Alexander process in more highly skilled activities, such as athletics or artistic performance. You will ultimately learn to take charge of guiding yourself in the art of choice and change.
As part of each lesson, you will also learn CONSTRUCTIVE REST, a specific practice of directing your whole self toward ease, connection, and balance while lying down and being supported by the surface of the massage table. Via Alexander’s directions for constructive thinking, resting with awareness allows you to refresh your nervous system, and progressively release any build-up of unnecessary stress from your daily life. Setting aside time for this daily practice is the first step in the process of becoming your own teacher outside of the weekly lesson.
Photograph of Nepal by Ann Hubard.