Everyone is always teaching one what to do, leaving us still doing the things we shouldn’t do
FM Alexander

Alexander Technique Principles

The principles or ideas that form the basis of the Alexander Technique were developed by an Australian, FM Alexander. These ideas and concepts hold the key to changing the way you use your body and mind in action.

Psychophysical unity: mind and body as one                                                                                           In the Alexander Technique, the body and mind are viewed as one connected unit. Psychophysical unity describes the balanced coming together of our body, mind and emotions and can also be thought of as ‘wholeness’. From an Alexander perspective, the physical and mental processes involved in human functioning cannot be separated. Learning the Technique means to learning about the whole self in action.

Use affects function: the force of habit
Alexander used the term ‘use of the self’ to describe the quality of this psychophysical use and how it can be affected by habit. Responding in inappropriate ways, with excessive or inappropriate amounts of muscle tension, can lead to interference with the body’s natural postural reflexes, culminating in loss of balance, bad posture, chronic tension and pain. Over time this creates a general misuse within the body and underlying stress to the nervous system. Learning how the force of habit affects your day-to-day function is central to the Alexander Technique.

Head, neck and back: the governing factor
Freedom in the way the head, neck and back interact in movement is the single determining factor for balance, strength and  good psychophysical functioning. This interaction is the main organiser of the body: the head, neck and back relationship  is the key to unravelling chronic tension. Lessons centre on the improvement of this relationship in activity and in rest.

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To bring about lasting change in ourselves and our lives  is not a simple task; the Technique, however, is unique in that it uses two important functions of the nervous system to help sustain the change process.

Inhibition: hang on a moment
The practice of inhibition is about finding the pause button. To enable the right thing to happen, you need to stop doing the wrong thing that is causing interference with the way you are using your body. Inhibition is consciously deciding not to rush in and react in an habitual way. Inhibiting the response leaves space for something else.

Direction: the way to freedom
That something else is called direction. Directing is consciously creating links between your intentions, your thoughts and your movements, and taking some conscious control of the neuromuscular system. With practice it leads to improved coordination, balance and posture. Directing is a normal brain function that you can use to your benefit if you choose.

Alexander Technique: the bigger picture
The ability to see clearly how the quality of thought and action together govern movement and success in a given task is the hallmark of the Alexander Technique. Changing how you react to the ‘doing of life’ using constructive conscious awareness is an intelligent and responsible way to approach life and its difficulties.

The Alexander technique is taught worldwide and there are many informative resources available.
You may find something of interest to you in my Blog. Here I share some commentaries and opinions on the Alexander technique and related topics.

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