Sep 5, 2014

About the Alexander Technique

I am an teacher of the Alexander Technique based in Paris, France. I trained for three years at ETAPP and qualified in March 2014.

Few things give me as much joy as using the technique to help people overcome the difficulties they face. If you are interested in exploring the technique and are in Paris, get in touch!

Here is a 7-minute video of a lesson I gave to a musician, but I have also worked with athletes, osteopaths, physicians and others on improving their use of the self.







Here are two videos showing more applications of the Technique: the first to Skateboarding...







And in this video (in French) I apply the technique to a circus art, aerial silk...






You'll find more 7-minute Alexander videos on my videos page, with applications ranging from Taichi Chuan to developing the speaking and singing voice.

But you don't have to to have practice any particular skill; in the next video I work with someone seeking relief from neck and back pain.












What is the Alexander Technique?


These following points might give you an idea:


The Alexander Technique is a method of reprogramming the mind via the neuromuscular system, and vice versa.

In an Alexander lesson, the teacher uses gentle touch and verbal instructions to guide a student through simple movements.

Pauses in movement, some lasting a fraction of a second, and others lasting many seconds, are used as opportunities to observe, and to find alternatives to, one's habitual patterns. These patterns include not just habits of posture and movement, but also mental attitudes and recurrent emotions.

The immediate result of the work is a light, energized body, fluid in movement; and a calm, alert mind. The long-term result of continued work is the increasing ability to generalise the "pause in movement" to all situations in life, and thus to become free of harmful habits and negative emotional triggers.

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If painting is art for the visual sense, and perfume and cuisine are arts for the sense of smell; and music art for the sense of hearing, then the Alexander Technique is art for the kinesthetic (and proprioreceptive) sense-- the sense of movement and of the body in space.

Students, sometimes in the very first lesson, can feel what it might be like to be in the skin of a ballet dancer, Olympic athlete or martial artist-- a sense of lightness, agility, and presence in the moment. With repeated lessons and ongoing practice, this feeling becomes increasingly easier to attain. As such, Alexander Technique is one of the surest routes to the experience of joy.

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What exactly do Alexander teachers do in a lesson? Typically, we place our hands on the student and guide them through simple motions-- typically, standing and sitting. We notice moments of unnecessary muscular contraction and we find a new way to achieve a similar movement without the parasitic efforts.

Because such contractions are palpable manifestations of fear (fear of losing one's balance, or fear of judgement, for example) preventing such fears can lead to muscular release, and vice versa.

Everything we try to teach the student, we apply constantly to ourselves. This work is interesting, absorbing, and aesthetic-- it feels great.

If you have any questions about these points, send me an e-mail or leave a comment. I would be happy to elaborate.

Here's a video (in French) I made with an athlete to whom I've given a dozen lesson.





You may be interested in reading my memoir about my three years in teacher's training for the Alexander Technique. It includes a discussion of the theory behind the Technique.