Photo Credit : Hamza El-Falah /Unsplash.com
Such pleasure in the exploration of texture, time and space. A child plays on the beach at the Santa Monica Pier, CA, USA, perfectly balanced, hinged forward at the hip joints, legs strong, back lengthening in both directions, arms free to move, eyes tipping the head gently forward at the AO joint.
Enjoyed worldwide by people of all ages and across varied professions for over 100 years, the Alexander Technique is an educational method used to improve balance and ease of movement, enhance clarity of thought, and restore that joie de vivre.
By identifying and discontinuing habitual patterns of movement that interfere with our ability to perform, and replacing them with a new mindful approach to how we go about things in our life, we can bring about significant improvement in wellbeing and performance.
The Alexander Technique is about movement – how we move, and how we think about movement.
“You can’t do something you don’t know, if you keep on doing what you know.”
~ F. Matthias Alexander
The young child bounces with ease and agility into a natural squat, bright eyes leading the head to turn freely around to catch what’s happening over there.
Do you remember when you were last able to do that?
Life is a constant influx of stimulus-response moments. Stimulus-response, stimulus-response.
We hear something – we respond.
We feel something – we respond.
We see something – we respond.
The first step is to develop your awareness, to see yourself in action, to notice how you are responding to the stimuli in your life. Notice what you’re thinking, notice how your body is responding.
Ever noticed that as soon as you have an idea to do something, your whole system immediately fires up to answer the call? Right in that moment, you have the opportunity to stop, to say no, to not respond automatically.
What if in that moment, you could change your response? What if you altered your thinking to a more coordinated choice? Then tension, stress and pain could be reduced, and wellbeing and performance improved.
“It looks like we are working on the body, but use patterns are held in the brain. We are looking to change our unhelpful ‘default’ patterns of use back to ‘factory settings’!”
~ Penelope Easten
While there is quite a wide range of reasons that bring people to the Alexander Technique, chronic pain and back pain are amongst the most common.
According to Painaustralia‘s CEO Carol Bennett, “Australia is facing a pain epidemic.”
People often come to learn the Technique because they are interested in improving their performance in a particular area of their life, whether in music or sports, for example.
Some come for post-injury recovery, others for a more general desire for better overall wellbeing.
Musicians, singers and performers come to enhance their technique through improving their own use.
The Alexander Technique is taught at many of the top music and acting schools around the world, including here in Melbourne at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) and the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA). Many well-known professionals have endorsed the Technique as having made a profound difference in their careers, including Yehudi Menuhin, John Cleese, Ruby Wax, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Colin Davis, and Dame Judi Dench.
Painaustralia CEO Carol Bennett said, “1 in 5 Australians aged 45 and over are living with persistent, ongoing pain. […] Australia is facing a pain epidemic.” There is medical evidence that the Alexander Technique is an effective natural solution for the management of chronic pain.
*Painaustralia CEO Carol Bennett,
The latest research shows that over 50% of Australia’s musicians experience performance-related musculoskeletal disorders.* For musicians who use their bodies in a highly skilled way, the Technique improves their regular practice habits, reduces their level of pain and improves the quality of their performance.
voice & breath
Imagine using your voice naturally, dynamically, and with less effort when speaking or singing.* Learn to identify and replace patterns of use that interfere with the vocal mechanism. Discover the delight of breathing for improved wellbeing and function.
*The Dimon Institute
Post-injury recovery is a critical time that can take several weeks or more, and often sees other muscles compensating to get the job done. This often results in muscle strain and chronic tightness and pain. Learning how to avoid this can make a huge difference to your recovery.
pregnancy & pre/postnatal
As a woman’s body changes with pregnancy, movements and activities you take for granted – getting up from the sofa, navigating a flight of stairs, or finding a comfortable spot in bed – can become difficult. Learn how to navigate this new state with more balance and ease.
stress & anxiety issues
The Alexander Technique helps us to control the way we respond to life and to return to a balanced state of body and mind. Feeling grounded, mindful and calm will help you manage any stressful event, such as an interview, audition or exam, with more confidence and control.
“Using the Alexander Technique empowers me and gives me a balanced sense of tension rather than relying on creating tension to do something in order to produce a sound or an act that is preconceived. I realized that I cannot control a set of circumstances outside of myself so I can go on a journey relying on the state of mind and body that the Alexander Technique gives me.“
“Alexander students rid themselves of bad postural habits and are helped to reach with their bodies and minds, an enviable degree of freedom of expression.”
Director, The Juilliard School, New York USA
“The Alexander Technique will benefit anyone whether they are an elite athlete or whether they just wish to live life without the aches and pains that many people suffer and accept as part of life. It is a pity that these techniques are not shown to us all at an early age for I have no doubt that this would alleviate many of the causes of ill health in our communities.”
Australian test cricketer (1970-1984)
Captain of the Australian Cricket Team (1975-1976)
The aim of re-education on a general basis is to bring about at all times and for all purposes, not a series of correct positions or postures, but a coordinated use of the mechanism in general.
~ F. Matthias Alexander