Alexander Technique Lessons, Classes and Courses in Oxford & Headington
Stephen Cooper MSTAT
TEACHER OF THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE -
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A Longer Introduction to the Alexander Technique
If you have read my short introductory page, you will know that the Alexander Technique is concerned with how people use themselves and teaches us how to improve, changing old habits of use. This and subsequent pages enlarge on these ideas, covering the topics listed on the right.
The Alexander Technique improves the way we use ourselves in everyday activity.
Unconsciously acquired habits in movements, such as standing, walking or sitting,
distort the body and interfere with its natural functioning. We react to each stimulus
to do something by over-
The Technique helps us to prevent these unnecessary reaction/habit patterns and to restore our natural 'good use' of ourselves.
The Alexander Technique is not a quick fix. It is a way of learning, and a way of changing, and these things take time and application.
We can't escape from the fact that each person uses himself or herself in a particular way. It may be good, it may be bad. There is nobody who can't benefit from studying and improving the way they use themselves. There is nobody who can't benefit from the Alexander Technique.
People come to the Technique for help with a wide range of problems -
The Technique is also widely used in various fields of performance such as music, acting and sports, to enhance skills and prevent injury.
F M Alexander, who formulated the Technique, discovered that it led to "an improvement
of general functioning". It certainly contributes to a greater sense of well-
Alexander said, "Stop the wrong thing and the right thing will do itself". He could see that when we think of doing anything we immediately set in train a whole sequence of responses and that the way in which we respond is rooted in habit.
So to "stop the wrong thing", a new skill is necessary; an ability, when we think of doing something, to decide not to do it. Not only not to do it, but not to react or in any way get ready to do it.
Only then will there be any chance that we will let the right thing do itself.
Still there is much to get in the way of the right thing doing itself. We can help by having a clear idea of what should and should not happen at this point. Alexander thought long and hard about how things worked in the human organism. He began to realise that all our actions are governed by a very important relationship.
He realised that our balance and reflex support mechanisms are greatly affected by
He started projecting these new thoughts -
In this way he believed that he would eventually be able to get the better of his
old habits, and be able to chose how to carry out his actions (that is, he would
have control of the way that he used himself -
In this way the Technique works to reduce any undue tension or collapse that may
be interfering with the head-
Learning through lessons
In Alexander lessons, teachers combine the gentle use their hands with verbal guidance
to help the pupil release unnecessary tensions and learn to prevent the habit patterns
which interfere with natural functioning. This may be done in simple activities such
as standing or sitting, walking or quietly lying down. As the pupil's eyes are opened
to their habitual 'mis-