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Alexander Technique teaches one how to recognize and overcome habituated limitations within a person's manner of movement and thinking. An Alexander student learns the Alexander Technique from an Alexander Technique teacher in one-on-one sessions. Alexander Technique is also taught in groups, often using short individual lessons in turn as examples to the rest of the class. F. Matthias Alexander (1869-1955), a former Shakespearean recitalist, first observed and formulated the principles of Alexander Technique between 1890 and 1900.
Alexander Technique proponents believe that its practice results in improved awareness, objectivity and the connection between body and mind, ease of movement, improved balance, stamina and less muscular tension. Additionally, those who practice it often report that it gives them an enhanced ability to clarify their thinking, observations, and the ability to choose new responses. The Alexander Technique is a first-hand experience of the reality of body-mind unity. Some medical conditions benefited from Alexander Technique are: back problems, unlearning and avoiding repetitive strain injuries, ergonomic injuries, stuttering, speech training, Parkinson's disease, posture or balance problems, or to complete recovery from injury as an adjunct to physical therapy.
Alexander Technique addresses the student's kinesthetic sense. The Alexander Technique also teaches a student how to bring more thought into their activities leading to a re-evaluation of the habits that led to their present condition. The adjusted or Alexanderized
habit is one where a mutual interplay between self and environment is always in play and the usual sense of control is abandoned for a more intimate connection to the environment. Repetitious circumstances lead people to create maladapted habits as they adapt to circumstances.
Unlike many similar self-improvement regimens, the Alexander Technique is not a series of exercises. Rather, it teaches inter-related principles for human response, which are the governing characteristics of how people can use their own bodies easier to perform their objectives. Which motions, actions, and criteria someone might apply for an activity that could benefit from practice will range from the most simple and mundane motions to the most strenuously demanding physical challenges.
Author: Christopher Holder, ND Candidate '07