What is the Alexander Technique?
The Alexander Technique is a practical method that helps you to discover patterns of habitual tension. You learn to redistribute muscular tone more beneficially and prevent unnecessary effort and strain.
A core principle is that ‘use affects function’: What we do with ourselves (how we ‘use’ ourselves) in daily life and during any activity that is repeated over and over again affects us in a fundamental way. We are using ourselves all the time even if we ‘just’ sit, stand or breathe.
We are designed to move efficiently and with natural ease and grace. Over the years we build up habitual ways of moving, thinking and reacting, which are often not to our advantage. We tend to automatically jump into action and rush towards our goals without paying much attention to how we are getting there. With time our habits feel like the only and ‘right’ way to do things even if we are damaging ourselves. The effects of harmful habits accumulate over time and can cause illness, injury or common aches and pains that may seem to come from nowhere.
The Alexander Technique teaches you how to not always react immediately and automatically, so you can redirect your attention to how you are using yourself during any activity. By preventing harmful habit patterns a more balanced use of yourself can re-emerge. This leads to better coordination, more ease and freedom of movement and allows for unrestricted functioning of breathing, circulation and the inner organs. Bringing awareness into your own use will help you to understand your reactions and develop a sense of choice to react differently.
The Alexander Technique is educative and a skill to be learned rather than a therapy. It offers lasting improvement and continuous development of the whole organism rather than focusing on the treatment of specific symptoms. As our habitual patterns vary from person to person it is most efficient to learn the Alexander Technique in individual lessons.
Watch a short introduction by San Diego based Alexander Technique teacher Eileen Troberman on NBC News