Are you new to the Alexander Technique? Welcome.
The Alexander Technique is powerful. You learn to stop habitual thoughts and movements that are detrimental. It is a system that helps you STOP hurting yourself. It makes yoga, running and performing much more enjoyable and pain-free. It protects and frees the voice. And many people get out of pain using it, including me.
The first skill you'll learn is awareness. Awareness is key to changing habits.
But it's difficult to perceive yourself accurately. So, I'll help you identify physical and mental habits that are making you tense. As your awareness develops, you'll start to figure out which situations make you tense. For example, it could be when you're rushing or telling yourself you don't have time. Or when you're under pressure. Or destructive tension has become a way of life - a deep habit.
Everybody is different and knowing the features of your particular tension pattern can you free up.
The second skill is inhibition.
Inhibition is a skill you will learn and practice. Let's say your wrist hurts at the end of the work day. I'll work with you to figure out the trigger that encourages too much tension. Most people tense up while they work at their computer - it's a trigger. So, the next time you work on your computer, you STOP your initial reaction - tensing wrist so that you can choose to work on your computer keyboard with more ease and without locking your wrist. The stop or the pause - is what is called inhibition in the Alexander Technique.
Direction is the next step. When you notice yourself tensing, you pause then direct yourself into freer movement. Free movement is movement with appropriate tension - not too much muscular tension and not too little. Just the right amount. You'll explore free movement in sessions with me. Once you know the difference between your habitual tense movements and freer movement then you can choose. And when you know the choice you have (free movement v habitual, tense movement), you direct yourself to choose freedom. We use the same process with habitual, detrimental thoughts.
How we start
Every session starts with a conversation about what you want and need to work on.
While you are sitting, I'll gently sense your muscular habits by putting my hands on your back and neck. This helps you begin to undo tension.
Most sessions include movement analysis - I identify where you are holding tension and show you optimal movement.
For example, I will show you how to move your head at the top of your spine - so that your neck muscles are freer and so that you can become aware of any habitual tension patterns in our neck.
There is a huge benefit to this awareness: Many clients literally look taller and more elegant. This is because most people compress their neck muscles which makes them look smaller and strains the voice.
Most sessions include laying down on a massage table. During this part of the session I put hands on to help you drop tension. It's very relaxing and most clients love laying down.
The Alexander Technique is taught at Yale Drama, Juilliard, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Mannes School of Music, New School of Drama because it is an excellent skill for performers. And it was invented by an actor with a problem.
the alexander technique was invented over 50 years ago.
FM Alexander, an Australian actor, became hoarse after performing.
His doctor offered only one solution: he told Alexander to stop performing until his voice healed.
But, Alexander knew a habit was hurting his voice.
FM Alexander was a true DIY (do-it-yourself) guy because he figured out how to stop his voice from going to hell. By setting up a 3-way mirror to watch his physical patterns, he identified habits.
Neck tensing, back tightening, toes gripping the floor. These habits affected his breath and voice.
He recognized that the pattern of the neck and back tightening is super common amongst humans.
Most importantly, he recognized that when he thought of going on stage the pattern of tension kicked back into action.
Thus, the Alexander Technique was born. The result is a skill based technique that can be applied in almost any situation. It's a specialized technique that can be used by anyone, but has been largely unknown to the general population.
How do you know if the Alexander Technique is for you?
The Alexander Technique is ideal for:
- actors, performers and public speakers
- people with performance anxiety
- people with vocal fry
- people in pain
- stress management
The Alexander Technique helps people from all walks of life. I am not a performer, but I use the the Technique to stay out of pain, manage stress and short-circuit anxiety. In short, I use it to create new, beneficial habits.
I recommend The Use of the Self by FM Alexander.