A New Hope

What are the benefits of studying the Alexander Technique?

It’s a good question and one that I am often asked.

I have experienced many benefits from the Alexander technique but perhaps one of the most significant has been the rediscovery of possibilities that I had begun to think were closed to me.

Before starting the Alexander Technique there had been things I wanted to be successful at in sport, music and other fields, and I practised hard to reach the standards that I aspired to.

But my efforts fell well short of my desire and I concluded that the things I wanted to do were, unfortunately, things that I personally was unable to be successful at.

I thought that I wasn’t ‘talented’ enough, or I suffered from some other innate failing that meant that no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t do these things, which others were succeeding at.

But there was a flaw in my reasoning.

In one of his books† Alexander tells a story about a professor who brought one of his students along for a lesson. The professor told Alexander that he would have no difficulties with the student because she was so willing and anxious to help.

Alexander wasn’t impressed and pointed out that it wasn’t the degree of ‘willing’ or ‘trying’ but the way in which it was directed, that was going to make the pupil’s efforts effective.

Put simply – if your goal is achievable and you put your efforts into an effective plan for long enough then success is almost unavoidable. But if your plan isn’t effective then it doesn’t matter how hard you work, or for how long, the plan simply doesn’t lead to the goal.

What I realised this meant was that my past lack of success had not been due to some innate failing. I had simply been following ineffective processes.

In fact, I was so good and so successful and so consistent, in following these ineffective processes that I had guaranteed my own failure, time and time again.

I realised that if I could bring this same consistency and effort to a better process then I should be able to guarantee success, time and time again.

This realisation freed me from the false idea that my goals were forever unattainable due to some unspecified, innate limitations.

If someone else was doing the things that I wanted to do then why couldn’t I do them too? All I needed to do was to learn and follow a process as effective for me as theirs was for them.

The possibilities that I had thought were closed to me were suddenly open again.

That is one of the benefits that I have experienced from studying the Alexander Technique.

†Alexander, The Use of the Self, p. 62 (footnote).

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