We are born with a perfectly designed body and a beautiful ability to move. Growing up and living our daily life we develop certain habits and/or survival skills. Teachers, parents, our culture and society influence how we move, perceive and react to life and our surroundings. We form habits without questioning and understanding them. As a result, we may lose our innate freedom and ease of movement.
The Alexander Technique offers a journey to discover and rediscover an effortless ability to move. Practice of the Technique creates a heightened awareness of one's self (physically, emotionally and spiritually) and offers new choices for movement and a design for living.
What is the Alexander Technique:
The Alexander Technique is a simple and practical method for improving ease and freedom of movement, balance, support, flexibility and coordination. It enhances performance and is therefore a valued tool for actors, dancers, and musicians. Practice of the Technique refines and heightens kinesthetic sensitivity, offering the performer control which is fluid and lively rather than rigid. It provides a means whereby the use of a part - a voice or an arm or a leg - is improved by improving the use of the whole body. (from Barbara Conable - How to Learn the Alexander Technique)
Watch this short video: A Short Introduction to the Alexander Technique by Marjorie Barstow
Interested in more... here is the complete video: The Alexander Technique with Marjorie Barstow
How to learn the Alexander Technique:
In teaching the principle to a musician (or anyone else, for that matter), the aim is to increase the pupil’s awareness of himself as a whole, until he can detect the interference in the head-neck relationship, which is the first link in the reflex chain of “getting set” to do something – to sit down, to pick up a bow, or to strike a chord. In order to accomplish this, the teacher helps the pupil to carry out the activity without the habitual interference, and to realize by actual experience the lightness and freedom of movement that come when the primary control operates normally. Through repeated experience of this kind, the pupil gradually builds up a new standard of kinaesthetic judgment. With this standard he has the power at any time to know whether he is obtaining the maximum of freedom and control in what he is doing. If he is not obtaining it he learns how to find the cause of the trouble and eliminate it. (from Frank Pierce Jones Article “A Technique for Musicians – Part II: The Organization of Awareness”)
When you stop doing the wrong thing, you will do the right thing - it just happens.
Benefits of the Alexander Technique:
The list below are just a few examples of what has improved for myself in studying the Alexander Technique. This is not a list of promises and results may vary from person to person. I can only share my own experiences:
- Improves relaxation and quality of sleep
- Provides stress management
- Enhances quality of life
- Improves concentration
- Improves balance
- Improves breathing
- Improves flexibility (physical, emotional, spiritual)
- Heightened sensory awareness
- Tension Headaches
- Carpal Tunnel and Tendinitis