Benefits include reduction in back and neck pain, scoliosis, excessive tension, and reaction to stress
Here you will find information on how the Alexander Technique can help you to deal with these conditions and other limitations in movement. Feel free to browse around the resources and pop a question if you need. Here you can also book a lesson or find a schedule for my public yoga classes.
Benefits for both professional athletes and “couch athletes”
Regardless of how much physical activity is a part of your life we all have to deal at times with too much muscle tension. Indeed, we all develop habitual reactions of tension that become our second nature. Moreover, we tend to stop noticing how we interfere with our ease of movement by tensing up.This is how we have been functioning for a very long time. Feeling tense becomes so habitual that it falls below the radar of our perception.
Alexander Technique improves Kinesthetics – our senses of how we move and our position in space
Alexander Technique deals with why we are accumulating physical tension in the first place and in a what particular way. In real life there usually more than one main or contributing factors to the pain. Stress, not enough exercise, hereditary predisposition, poor posture, accidents, chronic injuries. Still, whatever is the main factor in our pain, improving kinesthetic senses (or kinesthetics) will steer us in the right direction of reduction of pain and better performance. These senses tell us what is good and not quite good for us when we move or rest. They enable us to recognize and release excessive muscle tension.
As we release even some unnecessary tension in our everyday activities our senses revive themselves. It is similar to how our taste buds get back their sensitivity after we have stopped to overwhelm them with too much sugar. Indeed, it is too much tension in our bodies that does not allow us to see what is the better way to move or rest. Our days are full of simple and complex activities like walking, working, resting. With our senses sharpened and serving us well again we can finally see what were previously our “blind spots”. As we become aware of a bigger picture, we can put our pain and tension in a right perspective to find an adequate solution. F.M. Alexander emphasizes that in the case of a painful part the whole organism has to be considered. Indeed, when there is too much energy in the painful part the whole picture is being obscured.
Alexander Technique works indirectly with every part of our bodies
Ever since Rudolf Magnus’s times a hundred years ago it has been a well established physiological reality: head leads and body follows. Many specialists use this principle to enhance human movement.
Even slightest changes of head balancing on top of the spine cause profound changes in the whole body coordination for better or worse. In case we don’t interfere with excessive tension we can allow this nice lengthening and widening response through the back and the whole body. It feels awfully pleasant ! Otherwise we block this nice lengthening response with too much tension. We respond rigidly – like a brick or a cement block.
The Alexander Technique teacher helps the client to become aware of their head -neck-back coordination (it is a primary relation in the body). F.M. referred to this mechanism in place as a Primary Control. Indirectly, through changes in this chief mechanism we can dramatically change the level of tension anywhere in the body. Although the impact is small, it speaks to the very cause of our tensions and helps to let go of too much muscular holding. Indeed, this is a case where “small is big”, because we work at the deep level of our bodily reflexes. Unfortunately, we can’t consciously force our postural muscles to work at our will in the same manner we can order our strength muscles. Yet, there is a good news ! There is always this postural mechanism working for us. Indirectly, through Primary control (head-neck-back coordination) we can communicate with this chief superb mechanism. And release even long accumulated tension.
After all, according to well recognized archaeologist Raymond Dart, “mastery of any art or skill is in relaxation of unwanted muscular tension”.
Alexander Technique may enhance any experience, including yoga practice. It makes these experiences safer and more effective. Yoga also works in its specific way with pent up energy and tension though movement. In fact, yoga practice mostly emphasizes direct control over certain muscles or muscle groups to find support for asanas and release unwanted tension.
Alexander Technique as a method for working with habitual patterns of tension is taught in major music, dance and theatrical schools in the world, including:
- McGill University, Faculty of Music
- Montréal Symphony Orchestra, Standard Life Competition
- University of Alberta, Department of Music/Augustana Campus/Department of Drama
- Capilano University, Vancouver BC, Department of Theatre
- Le Domaine Forget, Music and Dance Academy
- Opera Nuovo, Vocal Arts Festival, Edmonton
- Option-théâtre du Collège Lionel-Groulx
- Globe Theatre, Regina
- York University, Department of Theatre
- The Royal Conservatory of Music
- Université du Québec à Montréal, Department of Dance
- University of Manitoba, Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music
- University of Victoria, School of Music/ Division of Continuing Studies
- Union des artistes
- University of Toronto, Faculty of Music
- American Conservatory Theatre
- The Juilliard School, New York
- The Old Globe Theatre, San Diego
- San Francisco Conservatory of Music
- University of California
- University of Maryland
- The University of Texas at Austin
- Boston University
- University of Michigan
- New York University
- American Conservatory Theatre, San Francisco
- Circle in the Square Theatre School, New York
- Manhattan School of Music
- Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh
- The Mannes College of Music, New York
- Yale University School of Drama
- The Miller Health Care Institute for Performing Arts NYC
- The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
- The Manchester School of Music
- Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London
- Royal College of Music
- Royal Academy of Music, London
- Guildhall School of Music & Drama