The Alexander Technique is a method for learning better balance and improved functioning of the body as a dynamic organism. It teaches students to observe and bring into consciousness their own movement habits and then how to make choices that create more ease and freedom of movement. Students learn to use this method to enhance their everyday and work activities and also learn how to apply it to specific tasks.
When there is a good dynamic balance throughout the body, even difficult or otherwise stressful movements can be performed with ease and a sense of lightness. Ordinary activities like walking, speaking or going up the stairs can be free and simple. The Alexander Technique is generally taught in one-on-one private sessions with a teacher to guide a student to find a better balance and coordination for their movement. The Alexander Technique is also taught in class settings, which can be quite valuable as students have the opportunity to observe others while they are learning.
Improves Movement Efficiency and Coordination
The Technique helps the student to discover the easiest and most balanced way to do basic fundamental movements like sitting, standing, and walking. By improving actions that we do often throughout the day, the core of one’s movement behavior changes. A better habitual movement pattern then permeates one’s entire movement repertoire. Lessons focus on specific tasks that the student finds difficult or stressful.
Helps to Eliminate Body Pain and Stress
Cultivating a refined sense of balance and the natural integrity of the body will help to reduce, and in many cases even eliminate, aches and pains. The Alexander Technique teaches better breathing and alignment of body parts, especially the head, neck and back. By discovering the best relationship of these parts, the downward pressure we often put on our bodies is relieved. Backaches, headaches, eye-strain, circulation issues and vocal problems are a few of the conditions that have been helped by the Alexander Technique.
Returns the Body to its Natural Balance
After an injury or trauma to the body, ineffective habits and unnecessary compensations often make their way into one’s movement vocabulary. For instance, it may be that a broken ankle or leg may cause someone to unconsciously swing their hip forward while walking with the broken limb. And once the leg has healed they forget to let go of that habit, which gets in the way of their best walking. Through conscious awareness, the habits can be diminish and balance restored.
Allows One’s Perception of the Overall Environment to Change
This is an outcome of an increased ability to maintain one’s balance and body integrity. Staying centered and flexible in situations helps one literally to see, and to respond to situations differently.
General and Specific Movement Education and Awareness
“Oh, I forgot I had knees” is not an uncommon response in an Alexander Technique lesson. Students learn what body parts are where and how to efficiently move the body to accomplishing an action. The refined kinesthetic sense leads to a better overall direction of the body. Students are reminded and coached to focus on their whole body in a refined manner. It is a kind of education that many people have never had.
Addresses Repetitive Movements
Repetitive movements are one of the biggest hazards in modern life. With movement training and awareness, however, actions like typing at a keyboard or playing a musical instrument can be done with ease. One can learn to make the most of any physical environment.
Adds the Human Factor to Ergonomic Design
The Alexander Technique addresses how one can enhance an already ergonomically sound environment. It looks at the movement behaviors of the student and offers instruction in how to interact with the environment in the easiest, most balanced and least stressful way.
Applying the Alexander Technique
The Alexander Technique provides core principles of moving and thinking that can be applied to any activity. F. M. Alexander used getting in and out of the chair as the main activity during lessons. Through this activity, students learn the concepts of inhibition, primary control, direction, and so on. Focusing on getting in and out of the chair can be a very effective way to teach the Alexander Technique.
It is also very effective to teach the principles of the Technique while engaged in a different activity. The principles and concepts are the same. It is still the Alexander Technique. Essentially, the Alexander Technique can be applied to any activity we are humanly capable of practicing.
Ideally, the process learned through studying of the Alexander Technique permeates all of one’s actions and becomes a way of approaching any activity. The golfer can learn to perfect his swing through sitting and standing. The student working with the golf swing can improve his sitting and standing.
There are infinite ways to approach and apply the Alexander Technique. Sometimes it is useful for students to apply the principles of the Alexander Technique through an activity they are studying (like singing, playing a musical instrument, or a sport) or doing frequently (like writing, typing, climbing stairs). This way, the student can more easily relate to the concepts, and the Technique can have an immediate impact on their profession, health, and wellbeing.
It is in this spirit of application that the Balance Arts Center offers lessons and classes in specific activities. We intend to give direct guidance to students in activities of their choice. The Balance Arts Center faculty member will work to tailor the lessons so they address the student’s particular concerns. We are pleased to be able to offer private lessons with direct application to:
• Getting in and out of the chair
• Playing an Instrument
• Dancing (Contemporary, Ballet, Partnering, Contact)
• Recovery from Injury
• Balance Concerns
• TMJ: Temporal Mandibular Joint Syndrome
• Repetitive Stress Injury
• Etc. etc. etc.
More specific applications
Business and Office Environments
Addresses the human elements and factors of how one interfaces with the workplace. The Alexander Technique greatly enhances how one presents oneself, interacts with others, interfaces with the workstation and handles repetitive tasks.
Musicians, singers, actors, and dancers, who all count on their bodies to be consistent vehicles for their art form, understand the importance of being in optimum balance. The Alexander Technique teaches how to cultivate habits that lead to the best and most consistent performances. Performance issues such as stage fright and anxiety are greatly helped through this work.
Athletes, like performers, depend on their bodies. It takes constant attention to keep the body in top shape and balance. The Alexander Technique provides a way for athletes to address specific sports activities while improving general coordination and body movement.
Recovery from Movement and Injury
Getting reacquainted (or acqainted for the first time!) with an optimum state of balance and use following an injury or surgery speeds up the recovery process. It also helps by focusing on refining core movement coordination so that the chance of re-injury is reduced.
General Coordination and Awareness
It is often said that doing the simplest task like picking up a pencil causes someone’s back to go into spasm. When everyday movements such as walking, sitting and standing are performed with excess stress and tension, an injury can develop through these accumulated tensions. The Alexander Technique teaches a way to observe movement so that moving in everyday settings remains free and easy.
Cultivate your best and most effective communication habits at the podium and in one-on-one situations. Analyze your best traits and identify what you need to eliminate so you can present yourself in the best way.