What is the Alexander Technique?
F M Alexander
F M Alexander (1869 - 1955)
The Alexander Technique has been around now for over 100 years.  It was 'discovered' by an Australian actor, Frederick Matthias Alexander, who suffered from persistent voice and breathing problems on stage, as well as general ill health.  Obtaining very little help from conventional medicine, an absolute determination to find the real root of his problems led him to discover certain fundamental truths about human activity, co-ordination and movement.  

Over many years of observation of himself, he began to understand that habitual patterns of misuse involving the whole of his body and mind were the cause of his problems.  Over the years he discovered how to consciously change these patterns of use and developed a Technique which not only eliminated his vocal problems, but also brought about remarkable improvements in his general health.  Alexander then began teaching others and came to London in 1904, setting up a teacher training school thereafter.  His work has spread all over the world since.
The Alexander Technique is concerned with thinking as well as activity, and it teaches us how to 'use' ourselves to best advantage in all our daily activity.  It is a method of mental and physical re-education.  Essentially, it seeks to bring us back to a more natural state of being, without interference.  This is a state that we naturally possess as young children, but over the years habit, injury, illness and psychological pressures lead us to behave in ways that undermine our physical and mental well-being.  This can contribute to a wide range of mental and physical ailments. 

The Alexander Technique aims to help you take a fresh look at the way you think and move - in everyday activity as well as whilst performing particular skills which may be important to you.  It is a practical technique that involves you becoming more aware of your posture, movement and thinking in order to overcome unhelpful habits.  This is applied to all your activities - from sitting at a desk, walking and bending to pick something up; to playing the violin, running a marathon or performing on stage.

Fundamentally therefore, t
he Alexander Technique teaches us how to use our body in a more efficient and healthier way.  It is taught individually and anyone can learn it.   But as it is essentially about 'experience', no amount of written explanation can truly communicate what the Technique is, so I encourage you to come along for a lesson to see for yourself.  However, if you would still like more detail about what the Technique is, you can read a briefing by the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT).

Learn more about the Benefits of the Alexander Technique
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The Alexander Technique in London and Somerset
Alan Philps MSTAT  
Teacher of the Alexander Technique and Voice Coach
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