What is the Alexander Technique?

The Alexander Technique is the name given to the work of F.M. Alexander.

A new way of thinking

Alexander created a new way of thinking that he could use to improve his efficiency and co-ordination in movement.

Alexander’s thinking process is based on applying reasoning to your choices about how you move in your everyday activities.  Through this reasoning process you can begin to uncover and examine your own assumptions about what, and how much, you need to do to achieve your goals.

As you learn Alexander’s way of thinking you focus on learning to stop yourself from doing things that keep you from reaching the efficiency and co-ordination that you desire.

In time the elimination of unhelpful assumptions and ideas lead you to an increased freedom, both physically and mentally.

How did Alexander develop this new way of thinking?

In the 1890’s the young Alexander was beginning a career in reciting.  He was performing one man shows on the stages of his native Australia.  At the same time he was struggling with a recurring vocal problem and sometimes even periods of hoarseness.

Voice trainers and doctors were unable to help him.

Before turning his back on outside help Alexander discussed his situation with his doctor. The two agreed that the cause of Alexander’s problem was something that he was doing in the way that he was speaking.  Alexander set himself the task of finding out what this was.

Alexander’s task led to a long period of experimentation which revealed to him that he had a characteristic way of doing everything. Alexander’s way involved using much more effort than was required, and not just in some parts of his body but throughout.

When he tried to change how he did things he found initially that he couldn’t.

Things didn’t improve for him until he started to develop a set of thinking processes that he could use when performing.  These processes meant that he could work out the best way to perform, and then put that ‘best way’ into practice.

From this point on he began to reap the rewards of his hard work. In just a few years he was working in London with some of the top actors of the day, who kept him in the wings as they performed.

As time passed Alexander found that he could apply his new way of thinking to everything he did.  As he did so he experienced the rewards in the rest of his life that he’d already experienced in acting.

How do you learn the technique?

You can learn Alexander’s technique by applying the thinking processes that he developed to the activities that you are already doing.

Your goal might be to become better at something you enjoy or to see if you can do something more easily and more comfortably.

However you want to improve your performance your teacher will use a simple process of questions, discussion and gentle work with their hands to help you think and move in new and more beneficial ways.

There are many formats in which you can learn.

Alexander himself had no teacher and created this work through his own disciplined study.  This route is open to all of us but most people find it easier to have the help of a teacher as they learn this work.

Teachers can work with individuals, with small groups, provide workshops or if you really want to immerse yourself then we even offer a summer school.