What is the Alexander Technique?

Have you ever felt a twinge in your back, neck, or shoulder?

Maybe you have a tight hip or an unstable knee?

Do you have poor posture?

These are signs that your body is out of alignment. So how do you re-establish proper, healthy alignment?

You have an innate mechanism for that: a reflex that organizes your head, neck, and back so that your whole body performs effortlessly and efficiently. You need only stay out of its way; the Alexander Technique teaches you how.

The Alexander Technique is a system of (five) principles that describes how to consciously allow your body to realign itself.

When you use the Technique, you restore your body's innate internal organization and undercut harmful habits such as slouching, hunching, and clenching. You also enjoy better balance, coordination, and overall health and well-being.

The Alexander Technique is a form of preventive health education that empowers you to take charge of your health and well-being at any age, for any stage of your life.

As with all fields of education, the Technique rewards you in proportion to your perseverance in learning and applying it, and the knowledge and understanding you develop is forever your own.

An illustration of the Technique: stair-climbing

Suppose you’re climbing up a set a stairs. Do you lean forward and haul yourself up with your leading leg, or push off from your trailing leg? Do you put your hands on your thighs for an extra boost? Maybe pull yourself up with the railing?

The manner in which you climb stairs is an example of how you “use” yourself. The term “use” (as a noun) refers to the way you coordinate yourself when doing any activity in life: climbing stairs, walking, running, dancing, or even just sitting and typing.

In any activity you do, you involve your whole self—including both mind and body. This is because your thinking—your very concept of the activity—strongly influences how you carry it out.

The way you climb stairs thus depends on your notion of stair-climbing. It also depends on factors such as your mood, what you're carrying, and the particulars of the staircase.

Some ways of climbing are more efficient, more graceful, and gentler on the joints. More generally, certain patterns of movement tend to be better for the body; these patterns constitute good use.

The Alexander Technique teaches good use.

When climbing stairs, keep your back lengthened and your weight fully over your front leg at all times. (Of course, this is easier to explain via demonstration than in writing.)

Over time, better use tends to improve overall health, while poorer use tends to diminish it. Thus all people stand to benefit from improving their use.

Benefits of the Technique

What happens in a lesson?

Who was Alexander?

When you organize your
body better, you can sit,
stand, and walk for longer
periods more comfortably
and more easily.