Alexander Technique Training and Seminars
Health, Fitness and Wellness
The Alexander Technique
What is it?
Fredrick Matthias Alexander
was an Australian actor with a severe voice problem. By a process of
close self-observation he realised that his problems were largely due
to the poor way he used his body, tensing muscles that interfered with
his breathing, throat, neck and head balance. He became famous for developing
his technique and taught George Bernard Shaw, Audous Huxley, and countless
ordinary men and women. He trained other people to carry out his work
and his technique is now practised world-wide.
Who does it?
Used by musicians, performers
as well as those with back or neck pain, the Alexander Technique is
a subtle but powerful approach to human balance. The three pillars of
the Alexander Technique are breathing, posture and awareness. When these
aspects of ourselves are working harmoniously then we are in balance
and this influences our wellbeing, giving us an integrated neuromuscular
control and a calm attitude of mind. If we get out of balance for any
reason, illness, injury, or poor postural habits, this can lead to conditions
such as stress, RSI, back pain and general lethargy. The problem is
our own senses of what we are doing with ourselves becomes blunted and
distorted. So it s not enough just to be told what to do, you have
to experience a new balance directly from your teacher s hands. It
is taught on a one-to-one basis allowing the teachers hands to directly
educate your nervous system.
In a typical lesson,
you remain fully clothed. Your teacher will ask you to stand in front
of an ordinary dinning chair. He or she will then put their hands gently
on your upper body, or head and neck and guide you to sit in the chair.
This sounds easy, but the movement reveals a great deal about habitual
body tension and co-ordination. Learning to carry out this movement
without interference with the body s natural balance is not easy,
but it has far-reaching effects as it influences every movement we make
in daily life. Your teacher will also lay you on a firm table and gently
move your arms and legs, encouraging you to be aware of what is happening
in your muscles and your mental response to movement. It is a psycho-physical
re-education of both mind and body.
What are the benefits?
The Alexander Technique
can benefit you in many ways. It can help mange back, neck, and limb
pain by helping you reduce the tension that you bring to all moment.
It can help you improve your breathing and benefit those suffering from
asthma, hyperventilation and other breathing problems. It can aid in
general relaxation and well-being and so is beneficial for stress and
anxiety. Pregnant women benefit by learning to carry their bodies with
ease and thus make pregnancy easier.
Training and finding a teacher
The training is three years full time and you should ensure that your teacher carries the initials MSTAT (Member of the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique, STAT). This professional body oversees training courses, has a code of conduct, constitution and a complaints procedure. Members carry professional indemnity insurance and abide by the code of conduct.
Members teach from their own homes, or clinics and in Music and Drama academies world-wide.
For teacher training
contact the Alexander Technique College.
Written by Carolyn Nicholls BA (Hons), MA, MSTAT:
Alexander Technique College 01273 562595
The Society of Teachers of The Alexander Technique (STAT)
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