Wondering who Alexander is, what his technique is and how it could help you? We’ve got you covered. Here are some frequently asked questions about the Alexander Technique.
Who is Alexander?
Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869 – 1955) was a Shakespearean actor who struggled with an ongoing voice problem. When he saw doctors, they couldn’t find any physical cause for his hoarseness. He observed himself over a number of years and realised that patterns of tension when he spoke were causing the issue.
He found a way of overcoming this and speaking without the tension and no longer experienced problems with his voice. His posture and overall wellness also improved.
Alexander continued to develop the technique, seeing the link between habit, thought and perception to human movement and functioning. He started teaching this technique to fellow actors and over time the Alexander technique evolved into what it is today.
What is the Alexander technique?
The technique aims to change faulty postural habits that in turn improves mobility, performance and alleviates tension and stress. People choose to learn the technique for various reasons, including pain relief, performance enhancement and to achieve greater control of their reactions.
What are the principles behind it?
There are four guiding principles in the Alexander Technique, and these are:
- “How you move, sit and stand affects how well you function.”
- “The relationship of the head, neck and spine is fundamental to your ability to function.”
- “The mind and body work together intimately as one, each constantly influencing the other.”
- “Becoming more mindful as you go about your daily activities is necessary to make changes and gain benefit.”
What are the benefits?
There are many different benefits to learning the Alexander Technique. Improved posture is perhaps the one most people seek it for, helping you recognise and unlearn habits of tension that can result in pain and poor posture.
Dealing with stress is another benefit to this technique. Learning the skills from the Alexander technique can help you respond to stress with less tension and handle it better. Stress, tension and poor postural habits can all lead to physical pain; the Alexander technique can help to ease pain caused by this.
Another reason people often turn to the Alexander technique is to improve their performance. Whether you’re an athlete, a performer or a public speaker, the Alexander technique is often used to help increase speed and accuracy of responsiveness. It can also help to relieve performance anxiety, improve confidence and overall vocal projection.