About the F.M. Alexander Technique

F. Matthias Alexander (1869-1955) originated his Technique in 1894 and developed it over the rest of his life, as it is a process rather than a fixed set of procedures. His concern was to raise our awareness of the way we carry out ordinary everyday actions so we can develop more conscious control over the way we employ ourselves in all activities. This involves our movement, breathing and coordination, and our assumptions about our actions. It is essentially a psycho-physical technique dealing with our habitual responses to all incoming stimuli. It has proved itself to be of benefit to people of all ages and from all backgrounds as an art of living.

Many people have found the Technique to be helpful to alleviate many illnesses, pain and tension and it is often recommended by health professionals who know of its value. Doctors and surgeons recommend the Technique and even use it themselves for their own personal benefit. It is also widely used to assist people to improve the quality and power of their performance in many artistic fields, most notably by performance artists and in music, singing and voice. Many well-known people on stage, screen and TV, and many internationally famous musicians have used the Technique to enhance and maintain their performance and deal with stress. The Alexander Technique is taught as a fundamental process in all the major music colleges in England including the Royal Academy and the Royal College. It is also taught at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, all major drama colleges and to help business people with stress management at business colleges.

 

Robin teaching a lesson at Shoonya

The F.M. Alexander Technique is a “pre-technique” which you can employ as a basis to apply to all other activities to improve performance. So, for example, Yoga enthusiasts and Aerobic fitness enthusiasts and people using many other movement and exercise modalities find that they can improve whatever they are doing by using what Alexander discovered.  It has also been employed to raise performance in many sporting activities. Well-known sports people have used the Technique to enhance their performance. It has even been used at Olympic level (e.g. members of the British coxless 4’s rowing team who are repeated Olympic gold medal winners).

 

In lessons, your individual manner of employing your whole coordination and breathing are explored so as to help you discover how to minimise your ways of acting that may be limiting your performance in anything you wish to do. Most people find they get taller, their movement becomes more fluid and easy and their breathing deepens, whilst at the same time the difficulties and troubles they may have become progressively mitigated and often get resolved. People find they gain a more positive attitude to life and more interest in moment-by-moment living. The Alexander Technique is a practical process that can be used in all aspects of life, even in just sitting or walking or bending. Ordinary activities take on a special quality. To personally successfully learn and integrate the Alexander Technique it is essential to take private individual lessons from a qualified teacher.

Lessons in the Alexander Technique will give you a totally new experience of yourself. It involves practical ways of ridding yourself of hidden or unwanted tensions. It awakens and enlivens your 6th sense of kinaesthesia. You learn to abandon old habits of over tensing yourself to do everything or collapsing and slumping in ‘repose’.

By learning to use yourself better your health and functioning improve and you increase your sense of general well-being. It has been the ‘in’ secret of musicians, singers and actors since Alexander began teaching in 1894. Medical experts often recommend the technique to assist in recovery from surgery, to combat pain and deal with back problems and breathing troubles. Yet the widespread application of the technique makes it relevant for anyone, and people of all ages and backgrounds take lessons. Many people take lessons to forestall faulty postural habits becoming habitual and potentially damaging.      

The Alexander Technique is more than a therapy because by learning and applying it you learn how to look after yourself and deal with your problems, or improve the skill of your performance in any activity, by yourself.

Having Alexander lessons is a uniquely satisfying experience as you learn to bring intelligence to your everyday actions.