You translate everything, whether physical, mental or spiritual, into muscular tensionF.M. Alexander
Put simply, the Principles of the Alexander Technique help you to ALIGN – your body, your mind and emotions and also to align your Principles and Values with your Actions.
That’s a pretty powerful self development tool!
We can throw away the habits of a lifetime in a few minutes if we use our brainsF.M. Alexander
These PRINCIPLES are used in all the Major Music and Drama Conservatoires in UK, as well as in the UNIVERSITY OF YORK school of Arts and Creative Technologies (ACT), where I am based, but they can HELP many problems that arise from our unconscious responses to stress in all areas of our lives.
NikilaasTinbergen, who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1973, dedicated a large portion of his acceptance speech to FM Alexander and the Alexander Technique. A portion of his speech is shown below;
What can Alexander Technique help?
Alexander Technique has withstood the test of time – about 130 years! There have been some significant research trials as to its efficacy, though much remains to be done. Click here for a link to research.
Alexander Technique can benefit;
- Back, neck and joint pain
- Breathing, vocal and performance problems
- Posture problems
- Muscle tension/stiffness
- Anxiety and stress related problems
- Presentation skills
- Stability, balance and coordination
- Leadership and Management capabilities
Alexander Technique Principles
Alexander was an extraordinary man, but much of his language is now somewhat archaic, dense and hard to follow. So here are the Principles in Plain Man Speak, and I hope you will see how they are applicable to dealing with the stresses of everyday life, as well as in creating PEAK PERFORMANCE:
- Create an INTENTION to become more AWARE of previously unconscious habits that create problems (mental, emotional and physical)
- Practise becoming AWARE of what triggers a stressful response in you. Paying more attention to what happens to your body when you are stressed will give you much useful information.
- Learn to PAUSE between the stimulus and the Response (BREATHE is often a useful first response)
- Use CONSCIOUS, INTENTIONAL THOUGHT to direct yourself to how you wish to respond, paying attention to
- PROCESS – step by step, rather than being overly focused on the OUTCOME, which often increases stress and decreases efficiency
- REVIEW, REFINE and REPEAT (PRACTISE!) until you create new habits, and can go from CONSCIOUS COMPETENCE to UNCONSCIOUS COMPETENCE
How is Alexander Technique Taught?
Because we are dealing with Unconscious Habit, it is useful to have an external objective opinion when setting out. I use gentle manual Guidance, words and photos/videos to help raise accurate self awareness, so that practice on your own becomes more useful and effective.
You can’t do something you don’t know, if you keep on doing what you do know.F.M. Alexander
Alexander Technique principles are often taught on a 1 to 1 basis, but group work (especially around particular activities such as music/acting/dancing/sport) also provides a sound basis for learning through observation and feedback.
You are not here to do exercised or to learn to do something right, but to get able to meet a stimulus that always puts you wrong and to learn to deal with it.F.M. Alexander
Qualifications & Experience
- 1989 MSTAT qualified at Constructive Teaching Centre London – 3 year training course run by first generation Alexander teacher, Walter Carrington, who trained with F. M. Alexander
- Alexander Technique Teacher and Performance Coach at the Department of Music, University of York, 2012 to date
- Trained teachers in Hampstead, London, York and Cumbria
- Taught Alexander Technique within the NHS for several years
- Taught BA and MA Music and Drama students at Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts
- Working with York University teaching patients involved in a Clinical Trial looking at the effectiveness of Alexander Technique and Acupuncture used in conjunction with GP care for Chronic Neck Pain
- Talks and demonstrations given to many groups including GPs, Midwives, Cancer Care, Arthritis Care, Physiotherapists, Psychologists, Singers, Musicians, Actors, Dentists, Chemists, IT Professionals, Academics, Business Professionals.