When things go pear-shaped, we usually blame old age, bad luck, wonky genes, or somebody else. Even if we’re right, it doesn’t help. It’s especially pointless to blame our own bodies when they ‘let us down’. We don’t have bodies, we are bodies. If we use ourselves badly, we function badly.
The Alexander Technique is a highly effective solution. FM Alexander asked himself, “What am I doingmyself that causes me injury and pain? How am I getting in my own way? Why do I find it so hard to change harmful habits? How did I lose the energy, grace, and joy in my body that I experienced as a child? Was it inevitable?”
Through 6 years of detailed self observation and personal experiment Alexander found that his body and mind always worked as one system. They weren’t separate in any practical way. How he thought and felt affected how he moved; how he moved affected how he thought and felt. So he methodically worked out a way to get them to work together for good.
Lessons in the Alexander Technique provide a practical way for anyone to do this. Over a century, it’s consistently proved to be effective.
Who says so? Paul Newman, William Hurt, John Cleese, Joanne Woodward, Alan Rickman, Sinead Cusack (actors), Yehudi Menuhin, Sting, Linda McCartney, Colin Davis (musicians); Wilfred Barlow (rheumatologist), Nikolas Tinbergen (Nobel prize winner for medicine), members of the British Olympic equestrian team, John Dewey (philosopher), Robertson Davies (novelist), George Bernard Shaw and Aldous Huxley (writers), and countless others have written about the benefits the Technique brought to their health and work.
More importantly, thousands of ordinary working people – mothers and fathers, children, office workers, sportspeople, manual workers, artists and scientists – can attest to this gentle, logical approach to improved health and wellbeing and improved performance.
Learning the Alexander Technique: who can benefit
Hands-on guidance of movement from a qualified teacher is combined with learning an effective way to sidestep bad habits of movement. Improved quality of movement and coordination make health and integration possible. The old patterns of injury, fatigue, discomfort and disintegration fade.
Back pain, headache, RSI, digestive problems, stress of all kinds, lack of mobility, Parkinson’s Disease, flat feet/pronation, stammer, tempero mandibular joint (TMJ), problems and stage fright, are just some of the ailments that respond positively, often dramatically. It is also effective in aiding recovery from illness, accident, and surgery.
Performance also improves. Public speaking, horse riding, golf, musical performance, acting, dancing, martial arts, manual labour – in fact any pursuit that relies on balance, co-ordination and focus – will benefit.
Group classes are a useful and beneficial introduction to the work. More serious study will involve one to one lessons with a teacher who’s received 3 years of full time training on a course approved by the professional organisation (in the UK, The Society for Teachers of the Alexander Technique).