The Alexander Technique is a movement discipline focusing on one’s self-perception of movement. Unlike disciplines such as Yoga and Pilates, it does not have a set of exercises that should be performed in a particular way, it describes a way of moving, sitting and being that will support the body in a more effective way than we naturally will gravitate to.
The Alexander Technique get its name from F. Matthias Alexander who developed the technique at the end of the 19th century The Alexander Technique may help alleviate pain, promote muscular and skeletal rehabilitation, improve breathing and breath control, reduce performance anxiety as well as effect other conditions.
History of The Alexander Technique
Frederick Matthias Alexander was an orator who developed speaking problems(pretty much a disaster for an orator!) especially when performing. No medical cause was found. He spent many hours observing himself in multiple mirrors and observed the physical changes when he was preparing to speak. He noticed a stiffening of his whole body as he prepared to recite or speak. He went on to witness this in other individuals suffering voice problems.
By consciously stopping this physical reaction, he was able to regain control of his public speaking voice.
He continued on a journey of self observance and developed a set of techniques to ease other physical performance in general, including simply sitting, standing, walking and speaking.
He recorded his methods in details and trained others in implementing them whilst living in London from 1930 to 1955 – the technique was named after him upon his death in 1955.
Later, Alexander came to believe that what he termed the empirical scientific method or self-observation and reasoning applied to one’s own manner of moving, could be used to ease physical performance in general: sitting, standing, walking, using the hands and speaking.
The Alexander Technique teacher provides instructions while monitoring and guiding the student(s) with hands-on assistance in order to help the student(s) change their previous physical habits.
The Alexander Technique is considered to be an educational technique to be practiced by the student on their own, rather than a curative treatment. It is designed to be used while doing ANY activity, thus the lack of prescriptive forms or set exercises.
Alexander Technique Benefits
A number of self-improvement claims have been attributed to the Alexander Technique. These include alleviating pain and weakness as a result of poor posture or repetitive demands, reducing pain resulting from chronic disabilities, and better rehabilitation following surgery or injury.
The Technique has been suggested to improve breathing and stamina for athletes, people with asthma, tuberculosis, and panic attacks. Some tennis and golf coaches swear by it as a means for conquering the “yips” where the athlete has all the skills, talent and training to get the job done, but lacks the mental capacity to put all of this together and just play.
Proponents believe it can help performers manage stage fright, become more spontaneous, and increase their skill repertoire.