The Alexander Technique
What it is
While many practices can bring a student to a state of awareness and ease, the Alexander Technique is different through its teaching of an organizing principle, or an awareness of how we're designed to move, and the insertion of a pause, or soft interruption, just before we carry out any action or activity in life. Used together, this empowers us to identify the pattern or habit, and invites us to choose a new, more integrated way of being.
Ultimately, these discoveries Alexander had with himself led to principles that can be applied to everyone, and to every action we encounter. We are organized around our head and neck, beginning where the head rests on the spine, just behind the eyes and ears, and moving all the way through the pelvis. The more freedom we have through the head and neck translates to the potential for more freedom throughout our body. This freedom can be compromised through conflict. When we find ourselves threatened or in conflict, our system responds instinctually with the startle pattern, more commonly known as 'fight, flight, or freeze', which pulls the head down into the neck, narrowing neural responses to those helpful for survival only, and compromising our ability to be present. Although animals have the same response (think of a gazelle escaping the cheetah), and once the gazelle has made it through the event, it is able to let go of this experience, and move onto the next one (usually eating grass.) Most humans may not have actual cheetahs in our lives, but we do have people or situations that play that role. Yet, unlike a gazelle, we have consciousness. Instead of letting go and moving on, we continue to think about our cheetah, which reinforces that startle pattern, keeping us locked, to varying degrees, and sometimes for so long, we can no longer perceive it. Alexander discovered that when we awaken our Kinesthetic Awareness, we can begin to perceive what is actually happening, and then we are empowered to choose whether we wish to continue in our reaction, or whether we choose to pause, allow our head and neck to be free to the degree that is possible in any moment, and allow for a new choice.
Who it's for
The Alexander Technique is for anyone who is curious about themselves and how they function. It's less about doing, and more about undoing, or doing less. We live in a world where hard work is rewarded-so people work harder. But if what you were doing wasn't leading you to your desired result, what do you think more of it will do? Instead, Alexander technique invites you to be with yourself, as you're doing what you're doing, and investigate not what you're doing, but the how you're going about it.
Performers such as actors musicians and dancers use the technique to enhance the connection with themselves and their artwork; Writers have used the technique to open up new ways of thinking to move through writers block; Athletes have utilized the technique to recover safely from injury, as well as hone their skills without excessive effort; Those with chronic pain have often utilized the technique in order to avoid surgery. Whether you work in the arts, in medicine, in a warehouse, or in a cubicle, the Alexander Technique can help you be a more efficient, more effective you.