Who was F.M. Alexander?
F.M. Alexander (1869 – 1955) was born in Tasmania, and as a young man in Australia, enjoyed success as a Shakespearean actor. Unfortunately, he had trouble with hoarseness and laryngitis, culminating in having to leave what was then a very successful stage career. It took Alexander nine years of self-observation and experimentation, but he eventually discovered the cause of his difficulties, and then worked out a way to deal with it. Alexander discovered that his pattern of movement was compressive and that it was injurious and harmful to his well-being. He figured out the steps to stop this harmful pattern and in its place to allow a return to the natural, expansive, open state of being. And during this time, the problems with his voice cleared up completely. He saw this same harmful pattern evident in most civilized people and began working with actors, singers, and also, a number of doctors who sent their “hopeless cases” to him.
In 1904, Alexander moved to England, and his reputation and practice grew rapidly. In 1931 he began the first teacher training course. Alexander continued teaching until his death in 1955. His work has continued uninterrupted for over 100 years and there are now over 2,500 qualified teachers worldwide.
Who can benefit?
Traditionally, musicians, singers, actors, and dancers, seek to improve performance and eliminate problems caused by years of the extreme physical stresses of their professions.
Golfers and other athletes have found improved focus and better coordination through this method.
In today's fast-paced world, a much wider range of people is discovering the benefits of Alexander technique. The difficulty in dealing with the demands of high-stress jobs and overlong working hours are an all-too-common and major cause of lost productivity in today’s workforce.
Why should I take lessons?
Gain a tool to take control of your mind-body response to life! We all know what we “should” be doing, but what we need is a “way” to get there.
If you have tried many forms of exercise, chiropractic, mediation, yoga, and not found an answer, perhaps it is the very way you are doing these exercises or practices that is the problem. The Alexander Technique is the foundation of restoring basic alignment and poise that allows you to then have increased benefit from everything else you do. It is basic; it supports all your other activities. First build the foundation well and then go do everything, from a strong, well-balanced, grounded center.
If you have ergonomic equipment but do not use it well, it will not work as it is purported to do.
If you exercise but do not have good alignment and use of yourself in the process, you may not be strengthening the areas that you are focusing on trying to improve.
The Alexander Technique is a very gentle way to get a whole mind-body tune-up, so that everything works better. In lessons you will learn how to manage your own response to various stimuli, and as a result, you learn to manage and reduce stress and pain.
Learn how to feel better now!
Who are some famous people who have used the Alexander Technique?
Noted actors, musicians and athletes have used it for over 100 years to enhance performance and stage presence. Among them are Sir Colin Davis, William Hurt, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Kevin Kline, Paul McCartney, Kelly McGillis, Paul Newman, Lynn Redgrave, Maggie Smith, Mary Steenbergen, Sting, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank, Joanne Woodward and members of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
Is the Alexander Technique like Yoga, Pilates or T'ai Chi?
The Alexander Technique is not exercise; it is more basic and applicable to all other activities. It helps fine-tune your awareness and coordination, improves balance and alignment, so that you get more benefit and enjoyment from all other activities, including exercise such as Pilates, Yoga, and T’ai Chi.
How do I learn the Alexander Technique?
Alexander Technique is taught in one-on-one lessons. The teacher addresses the needs of the individual. Each lesson is approximately 45 minutes, and a series of about 30 lessons is recommended in order to make substantive and lasting change. During a lesson, a teacher uses both words and gentle, hands-on guidance to provide better coordination. Students are fully clothed, and usually work sitting, standing, and also lying on a table. You may be asked to remove your shoes.
A course of lessons seeks to increase one’s awareness of the current state and bring about conditions that allow us to make changes in our habit patterns of use. Old, harmful patterns are released and better ways of functioning become the new standard. As a person takes a series of lessons, they learn to create these new conditions for themselves. Hence, the student is enabled to continue independently.
How can I find out if this would be good for me?
Give it a try! It is experiential, therefore words only do “so much” and this is by far the easiest way to find out. One lesson often gives a sense of what may be possible and you may find that sense of lightness and ease is within your reach.
How many people suffer from back pain?
Over 80% of adults will experience back or neck pain
in their working lives.
The Alexander technique has helped many people who suffer from back pain, especially when poor posture and tension patterns are a contributing factor. Many doctors and physiotherapists recommend the Alexander Technique to their patients.
You should always consult your doctor first about any medical problems before coming for lessons. An Alexander teacher, while a highly skilled professional, is not a doctor and does not diagnose or treat illness and/or injury.
Who may teach?
A Certified Alexander Teacher is a highly-trained professional who has received at least 1600 hours of training over a minimum of 3 years at an *AmSAT approved training course.
Please note: Alexander teachers, although highly trained, are not medical advisors and do not make medical diagnoses.
©2015 all rights reserved
by Dana Ben-Yehuda