Among the countless disciplines of self-cultivation, personal growth and physical culture, the Alexander Technique works its way through consciousness towards changing movement patterns and the use of the human body. The use of one’s self, consisting of a group of habits, whether labelled mental or physical, have proven to be of critical influence on general health and functioning of the human being. Harmful use of one’s self, as observed by F.M. Alexander more than a century ago, rules ‘modern’ society. Improvement of the use of the self is what the Alexander technique strives to achieve, offering each and every one better health along with great skill and poise through all aspects of life. Misuse of one’s self, according to Alexander, causes a series of defects in the psycho-physical level and disturbs general functioning. The Alexander technique can prevent all those in the long run:
“To anyone who accepts these points and sees the reason for keeping them in view whilst working to principle in employing the technique, I would say: ‘Go ahead, but remember that time is of the essence of the contract.’ “F.M. Alexander – The Use of the Self
Fredrick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955), A Reciter of Shakespearian plays, found himself one day voiceless. Suffering over a long period of time from throat and vocal problems and failing to cure his problems through medical aid of different kinds, Alexander took a personal journey of investigation:
“Can you tell me, then,” I asked him,” what it was that I did that caused the trouble?” He frankly admitted that he could not. “Very well,” I replied, “if that is so, I must try and find out for myself.”F.M. Alexander – The Use of the Self
Investigation yielded results and soon Alexander discovered that while trying to recite, he constantly pulled his head back, thus lowering his stature. In the years to follow, this discovery was revealed as the main symptom of what he would call the ‘Down’ – both physical and mental. In the process of eliminating the ‘Down’, Alexander found the ‘Up’: an anti-gravity mechanism we all share from birth that is based on the relative relationship between the head, neck and torso, enabling initial adjustment and calibration of the transformation from ‘Down’ to ‘Up’. This relationship was the first and most essential discovery: The Primary Control of all the mechanisms in the human organism.
The ‘Up’ enables freedom and harmony of movement and lightness of being; being an anti-gravity mechanism, it alters significantly bodily functioning at each and every moment, elegantly eliminating the submission to gravity and heaviness so typical of the human race nowadays. Being conscious creatures, we all inherited the freedom of choice: ‘Up’ or ‘Down’.
Lifetime of Education
Successfully eliminating his own problems using the technique he just discovered, F.M. Alexander continued investigating with people of all ages, including those suffering from difficulties, disorders and diseases of all sorts, some labelled mental and other physical. Results have proved beyond any doubt that the Alexander Technique can bring people to a state of excellent health and well being alongside ease of movement, lightness of mind and body. From this point on, Alexander spent his entire life passing the technique on to pupils and the next generations of teachers.