So many people now use the Technique is to learn to identify and change habit patterns influencing coordination, well being, physical and psychological health and creativity. It helps us develop a level of sensory awareness we can use to modify and enhance patterns that influence the responses that underpin our movement, breathing, voice and balance.
Originally the Technique was used by actors and musicians improving performance and reducing injury, voice loss and anxiety. Performers now learn to use the Technique as part of their professional training; many enthusiastic amateurs use it as an entry point for developing good technique.
In other areas it’s used extensively as a means of coping with with conditions such as back pain, asthma, the symptoms of arthritis, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s and stress-related disorders. It’s a highly effective way of improving balance, flexibility and posture and is used successfully by sports players, horse riders, dancers, and anyone who wants to continue to improve their enjoyment in a chosen interest.
The origins of the Alexander Technique:
F.M. Alexander (1869-1955) was an actor suffering recurrent voice loss affecting his ability to perform on stage. After years of research he discovered that his way of using himself while speaking was interfering with his vocal ability. In particular, his habit of stiffening his neck when speaking, and the effects of this throughout his body, was depressing his larynx and preventing good breathing support. He importantly realised there was a problem with his ‘sensory appreciation’ i.e. his ability to accurately feel what his body was doing. He discovered that the force of habit led him to feel in balance when in fact he was anything but.
This research resulted in the development of a way of using a hands on technique unique to Alexander teachers. This, coupled with verbal instruction and applying ourselves to activity through a series of lessons, gives us an effective skill for applying ourselves to many activities.
How can you learn to use the Technique?
Lessons are offered on a one-to-one basis. Group courses are available and useful and individual work is recommended for ongoing development.
Alexander practitioners work with a combination of verbal instruction and gentle, directional hands-on work – each lesson is tailored to suit the needs of the individual. Generally you would think of having a course of lessons just as you would if you were learning to play an instrument except in this context you’re learning to use your self! Students commonly have between 10 and 30 lessons. Ongoing further lessons are commonly taken to maintain use of the principles for ongoing progress.
Lessons will normally consist of basic everyday movement, special applications (singing, for example) as appropriate and some lying down work.
Contact Lynn on Lynn.McLean14@btinternet.com for more details.