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F.M. Alexander and the Alexander Technique

Lisa First
© 2010 The Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique, London
F.M. Alexander

Everyone can benefit from the Alexander Technique. The Alexander Technique invites change, newfound freedom in movement and a simple elegance in function.

Many of us unconsciously carry habitual and unnecessary tension. We can transform these tendencies through increasing self awareness and conscious thought. A 120 year old method, the Alexander Technique enables us to alter movement and behavioral choices that lead to chronic pain and muscular tension.

With the Alexander Technique we learn to think differently and to sit, stand and move with greater efficiency and ease. Coordination and balance improve, range of motion increases, daily energy levels grow and greater general wellbeing is achieved. People use the Alexander Technique to improve performance and prevent injury in music, theater and sports, and to enhance presentation. It is an effective means for handling stress and is beneficial in managing the challenges of pregnancy and childbirth.

An Alexander Technique instructor helps students
develop new skills for making constructive and

effective choices that can make a difference in both professional and personal day-to-day lives. In a private lesson a teacher uses gentle hands-on guidance and discussion to help you find improvement in your own psychophysical organization. Through experience and observation, the student gains increased awareness that enables them to alter long-standing habits. The process leads to a student becoming increasingly independent and self-reliant in the work, giving them confidence in applying the principles to all areas of life. This new poise enables us to experience our human capacity for ongoing improvement and change.

F.M. Alexander (1869-1955) was a Shakespearean actor in Australia and Tasmania. He had vocal problems that caused him to lose his voice while performing. He was not satisfied with the medical options available to him and spent nine years of intensive self-observation and experimentation. This led him to the discovery that the relationship between the head, neck and torso is primary in guiding and controlling movement and function. Compressing the body leads to faulty functioning. He discovered a process of freeing the neck, head and back relationship that leads to a natural and very dynamic force working with gravity and gently guiding the torso into width and an upward direction.

Visit the American Society of the Alexander Technique website for more information at: http://www.amsatonline.org