The Alexander technique is an approach to promoting healthier posture and movement by gently improving the relationship between the mind and the body.
The main focus of the technique is on unlearning unhelpful habits like slouching, which can have lasting consequences on how you move and carry yourself.
Developed by Australian actor F.M. Alexander in the 1890s, and now recognised by the NHS in the UK, the technique is seen as a way to inhabit the body ‘in the way nature intended’.
After experiencing chronic laryngitis, which his doctors were unable to treat, Alexander realised that his condition had been caused by a build-up of tension in his neck and body over the years. This led him to explore the idea of unlearning bad posture habits in order to treat issues with the spine, neck, and head, and also to help us relax and release tension.
The technique is taught in one-to-one lessons with a qualified instructor, – either at home, or in a studio or clinic. Each session usually lasts around 30 to 45 minutes, doesn’t require any specialist equipment, and all movements are gentle and low-impact.
Clients are usually advised to wear comfortable, loose clothing that allows for free movement.
Your instructor will watch how you move and position yourself in different situations (such as how you sit, stand, walk, etc.). Then, over the course of the lessons, they’ll gently guide your movements with their hands to teach proper posture, focusing mainly on the relationship between the head, neck, and spine.
Most people need around 20 or so lessons in order to get the full benefit of the Alexander technique. The idea of taking these classes is to learn how to apply the technique yourself in your day-to-day life, so that once you’ve finished your course, you no longer need instruction or supervision to stand, sit, and move in ways that are healthy for your body.
For a demonstration of the technique being taught, you might want to check out the video below.