What is the Alexander Technique?

John Nicholls Alexander TrainingThe Alexander Technique re-organizes patterns of chronic tension that have unconsciously become a fixed part of how we move, breathe, and act in the world. Rather than attempting to directly relax all tensions in the body, or trying to disperse the tensions by vigorous exercise, Alexander recognized that by consciously addressing the primary coordination of postural support, movement and breathing, tension could be transformed into available, coherent energy.

All activity then becomes far more energetically efficient. Physiologically, the specialized guidance of an Alexander teacher’s hands and verbal instruction can re-distribute tone between the support muscles of the neck and back, the breathing muscles of the trunk, and the movement muscles of the limbs. Psychologically, this brings about a whole new awareness of what it means to be supported, to be breathed, and how to allow appropriate effort to arise from this self-sustaining background without interfering with it.

Over a number of lessons, this new coordination becomes more and more accessible to the student in daily life and in skills such as athletic or artistic performance. In parallel, this heightened awareness of physical coordination can bring with it that greater ability to be in the moment, consciously present, grounded and uplifted, which is sought after in so many psychological and spiritual disciplines.

“We cannot ask more from any system of physical education; nor, if we seriously desire to alter human beings in a desirable direction, can we ask any less”Aldous Huxley