What is the Alexander Technique?

My best thinking about the technique as of this moment…

May 2012

The Alexander Technique is about letting go. Yes, letting go of pain and anxiety and habits that we no longer want, but also letting go of our need to see things go a certain way, be a certain way or move in one direction. If we let go of the perceptions we cling to, there is more space for other pathways, directions, and movement in our lives. The letting go process isn’t easy, mostly because we often need to let go of something that we don’t want to or that we don’t even realize we need to let go of. The beauty of it is, Alexander Technique isn’t one more thing you need to do, but rather it is a tool to help you lighten the load and create some space for things you really want to do, be and have in your life.


November 2012

What is it all about?

Undoing, deturtling, letting go…in support.

The Alexander Technique is a bit counter-culture and counter-intuitive. Instead of giving you exercises and things to do, it is about undoing. Undoing patterns of holding and movement; undoing habitual thinking patterns that show up in the way we hold ourselves and present ourselves to the world. Undoing unnecessary tension and excessive doing so that we can find optimum movement, new ways of perceiving ourselves and the world and letting go of manufactured support and using the support that is already there, right now in the present moment. Most often people start feeling comfortable in their own skin, find freedom of movement they forgot about from their younger days, and have a renewed sense of energy and sense of space the opens up their vision, choices, outlook on life, their neck, back, ankles, elbows and minds, to name a few.

Possibility and potential. More choices, More freedom. And more comfortability. That is what the technique offers. And the beauty of it, you can do less, not more. More space in your back, life and mind. You can breathe again when you make use of the support available to you in this present moment.

“Posture Training?”

More often than not, the Alexander Technique is equated with posture training. In the “Alexander world” of teachers we don’t think about it like this. So I looked up the definition of posture to look at this issue we have a bit more closely.

Posture: A position of a person’s body when standing or sitting: “good posture will protect your spine.”

Synonyms: attitude – pose – position – stance – carriage – state

The truth is the world is right–close to right! The Alexander Technique works with people sitting, standing and the whole thing is about the spine. But rather than thinking about all of these things independently, we are interested in the dynamic movement from one to the other, in other words, the freedom of the spine. How free is your spine while sitting, standing and moving from sitting to standing? Usually when one thinks about posture, they straighten up, they “straighten” their spine. And rarely does anyone look or feel comfortable when “sitting up straight” with good posture.  In truth, the spine has 4 curves, so the spine doesn’t want to really be straight and pulled tight. I think of it as a spring. We want the spine to be springy, buoyant, moveable, in any direction. Is this what everyone is thinking about when they think of posture? Or are you thinking about your mother telling you to sit up straight at the dinner table?

A couple of the synonyms to posture bring us a bit closer to what the Alexander Technique is getting at. Attitude, carriage and let’s turn the word pose into poise. Carriage implies movement, while stance implies something static. Even when standing in one “position” there is so much internal movement happening. And that is what the technique is about…the freedom of the internal movement and how that is expressed in every day life, in every day activities and in living. Our attitude, our reactions to every day life and all that is presented to us to deal with affects the quality of  a buoyant spine and ability to move as we wish–with more freedom and ease and enjoyment. Posture training isn’t really want an Alexander Technique teacher is thinking about in a lesson. In fact, as I’ve heard some teachers say, we’re thinking about “unpsoturing.” Letting go of  holding ourselves up, in and away from things and coming back to a more easy, moveable, free way of living inside ourselves and in the world. If you want to learn how to sit, stand, move, play violin, sing, sit at a computer and any other activity you do every day more comfortably with greater ease, freedom and poise, then try the  Alexander Technique, the “unposture” training.