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The way we use ourselves in our daily activities can be either in balance and in harmony with our design, or not, with varying degrees of imbalance and abandonment. The Alexander Technique is a practical pedagogy for recovering naturalness in our thinking and movement. It’s a way to teach ourselves how to recognize when we do not have the best Use and how to be process oriented in improving that Use. We look at how we think about movement and how we actually move. We become more interested in the all important relationship of the A/O joint and how to do the things we do in our daily lives without disturbing the ease of that relationship. We explore how to do the things we do in our day with the least disturbance to our natural breath cycle . . .
All of this and more, we explore in lessons with hands-on work (chair, table, saddle, misc simple activities), with some relevant and practical anatomy instruction called Body Mapping, all the while learning how to think differently, how to think in a way that balances our doing (excitation) and non-doing (inhibitory) neural function in the brain that leads to more ease in the body and movement.
Three kinds of people come for Alexander lessons:
- Those in pain who haven’t been able to find an answer from the modern medical model of care.
- Those in the performing arts, athletics, or those with fixed posture occupations (musicians, computer users, court reporters . . .) who want to improve the Use of their instrument (body).
- And those who have a vague notion that it might be easier to be “in” their bodies.
We practice and get very good at using ourselves in our habitual and mostly mindless ways. It takes time to unlearn that Use and allow better Use to be natural. Therefore, the best progress with Alexander lessons usually happens over time with a series of lessons. Some people benefit from 8 to 10 lessons to start. Others continue coming over time (one, two, three or many years) because they like the regular or semi-regular reminder or “tune-up” of their good Use.
The Alexander Technique is not an imposition of anything “new.” Rather it is a process of subtraction that reveals our true selves. It can be frustrating at times to come face to face with the realization that the discomfort or pain we experience is caused by how we use ourselves. And the realization that the way we use ourselves impacts our functioning. Our habits are powerful. But the journey to better Use is very empowering.
The Alexander Technique — Mayo Clinic
The Alexander Technique “unteaches” Bad Habits to Ease Pain – CBS Dallas News
The Complete Guide to The Alexander Technique – The Global Online Resource for The Alexander Technique – Articles, Videos, Podcasts, Find a Teacher
The Alexander Technique Video – An Excellent Video Introduction
British Medical Journal Report Part One
British Medical Journal Report Part Two
Alexander Technique description by Nikolaas Tinbergen, Nobel Laureate