Used correctly, our bodies are able to sit, stand, move and breathe with confidence, vitality and poise. As infants, we figured out the best way to support our own weight and
get about with ease and good humor. Over time however, many of us begin to
unwittingly misuse our bodies. This misuse limits our potential and is often indicated by pain,
fatigue, tension or frequent injuries.
Technique teachers use verbal instruction and gentle hands-on guidance to help students avoid
unnecessary effort and to experience natural, postural support. As students
independently apply basic principles of movement, bearing and coordination, many types of discomfort and stress are relieved and new heights
of achievement are reached.
The Technique was developed by an Australian actor who suffered
from recurrent voice failure. As medical attention provided only temporary relief,
F. M. Alexander (1869-1955) began a process of self- experimentation with the aid of
mirrors. This led to the observation of certain habitual behaviors and
mannerisms which, he inferred, where interfering with his vocal production. Learning to stop
these actions led to the development of a technique for changing interfering
habits and the discovery of a way to promote better self-use. This
involves maintaining the natural, key relationship between the head, neck and
trunk, which Alexander named the primary control. The noticeable improvement
in his skill and overall health led others to seek his help. Alexander soon
discovered that the best way to teach others what he had learned was to use his
hands to prevent students from their habitual actions and engage their postural support in a constructive, coordinated manner. Over time, the new experience can help restore the natural poise which is, as
Alexander put it, our Supreme Inheritance.
1904, Alexander moved to England where his technique was endorsed by
the medical establishment. It gained popularity amongst leading
performing artists and intellectuals who appreciated the technique's
potential to promote perceptiveness and composure. His students John Dewey,
George Bernard Shaw, and Aldous Huxley were all enthusiastic advocates. To meet the growing demand, Alexander began training others to teach his technique in London and the United States. Today there are dozens of teacher training schools and thousands of teachers worldwide.