We all are all familiar with exercises and methods that help us feel better. However, many of them only work if we keep doing them over and over. When we stop exercising, the effects disappear and no lasting change has occurred. Alexander work offers a technique that is not about exercises, but about a body-mind process of learning, changing and integrating. It’s about how we do things, how we move, how we think and how we deal with ourselves and life. And how delicate this interplay is and can be. The Alexander Technique teaches a way to coordinate ourselves and what we do with more confidence, well-being and ease.
The Alexander Technique (AT) is an approach to changing habits related to posture, muscle tension, movement, attention and responsiveness. The AT describes a set of principles and techniques that can be taught in individual or group sessions and/or practiced alone. The approach was developed by Frederick Matthias Alexander in the first half of the 20th century, and is considered one of the first to be passed on to other teachers beginning in the 1930s and further developed since Alexander’s death in 1955.
The Alexander Technique is rarely about repetitive exercises or learning complex movement sequences, such as those taught in Tai Chi, yoga, or Pilates. Rather, the goal is to consciously intervene in habitual neurological patterns. Sessions and home practice typically use a range of everyday movements, such as walking, squatting, lunging, bending, stretching, alternating between sitting and standing, and toe standing.
Good postural habits involve freedom of movement, head posture, trunk mobility and alignment, stability with minimal contraction, focusing on trunk stability in movement.
It is observed that improved coordination and postural habits are directly related to improved attention, responsiveness and breathing. AT work is therefore called “psychophysical” – on the one hand, because a change in postural habits has a noticeable positive effect on cognitive and psychological patterns and processes, and on the other hand, because in AT we work with mental instructions, so-called directives, which then manifest themselves in the body.
All these positive effects together are called in AT jargon promotion of “good use”.
Text © by Alexander Technique Science