1. What is the Alexander Technique?
The Alexander Technique is an educational process which teaches improved use of the self and helps the student to identify and change poor and inefficient habits which may be causing stress and fatigue.
TCP Director Brooke Lieb and graduates Morgan Rysdon and Karen Krueger featured in this video about Alexander Technique and managing pain
2. Who is F.M. Alexander?
F. Matthias Alexander was born in Australia in 1869. He developed his technique in the last decade of the 19th Century and taught it in England and in the United States until his death at the age of 86 in 1955. Among his students were George Bernard Shaw, John Dewey and Aldous Huxley.
3. What does a lesson consist of?
The Alexander teacher analyzes the student’s movement patterns in daily life: walking, sitting, bending, reaching, lifting. As the teacher guides with a gentle touch and verbal instruction, the student learns to replace faulty habits with improved coordination by locating and releasing undue muscular tensions.
4. What can the Alexander Technique accomplish?
After a course of lessons the student has been shown how to improve his or her own postural habits. This generally results in greater ease and freedom of movement and increased energy. In some cases, the Alexander Technique can help alleviate pain that has been caused by postural stress.
5. Who studies the Alexander Technique?
Anyone whose posture, or use of the body in movement, is poor or uncomfortable; people whose occupations can cause bad postural habits such as dentists, carpenters, computer operators, mothers; people who must use their bodies with maximum efficiency and ease such as actors, dancers, musicians, singers, athletes; those with physical problems that have been intensified through faulty body use resulting in pain and fatigue.
6. How is the Alexander Technique taught?
Lessons are taught on an individual basis. Some teachers offer group classes and workshops. To get the name of a qualified teacher, click here.
“Dare To Be Wrong” by Judith Leibowitz, compiled by Kathryn Miranda, is available on Kindle
“Although a specific problem usually leads a person to try a course of lessons in the Alexander Technique, many people find the experience positive in diverse and unanticipated ways – such as decrease in back pain and improvements in athletic performance, respiratory function, and stage presence, as well as enhanced emotional well-being.”
John H. M. Austin, M.D.
Associate Professor of Clinical Radiology, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York
“The four year Actor Training Program at Juilliard is based throughout on the physical relaxation and subsequent rechanneling of energy that is inspired by Judy Leibowitz’s Alexander classes. As a result of these, students, in ridding themselves of bad postural habits, not only appear to grow taller by two inches or so, but are generally helped to reach, with their bodies and their minds, an enviable degree of freedom of expression from which to embrace the rest of their training.”
Michael Langham, Director
The Juilliard School, New York
“As an orthopedist, I have referred patients specifically with postural problems and back and neck pain, who have experienced pain relief after a series of lessons in the Alexander Technique.”
Michael G. Neuwirth, M.D.,P.C.
Assistant Clinical Professor
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Associate Chief of the Scoliosis Service at the Hospital for Joint Diseases
Orthopaedic Institute, New York
“Proprioception – muscle, tendon, and joint sense, which has to do with the automatic maintenance of posture and the knowledge of the position of the skeletal musculature of the body, is the basis of the Alexander Technique. It is physiologically logical. No wonder the Technique works so successfully in optimally lengthening tight, in spasm, skeletal muscles.”
Albert W. Grokoest, M.D.
Clinical Professor of Medicine
College of Physicians & Surgeons
Columbia University, New York
Senior Attending Physician
Former Chief Arthritis Clinic
Roosevelt Hospital, New York
The Alexander Technique is currently being taught as part of the curriculum at:
New York University
Sarah Lawrence College
Hunter College, NYC
The Juilliard School, NYC
The Mannes College of Music, NYC
Circle in the Square Theatre School, NYC
American Conservatory Theatre, San Francisco
Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute
London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts
Royal College of Music, London
Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London
The Alexander Technique has been written about in the following publications:
New York Times
American Journal of Physical Medicine
International Journal of Neurology
Journal of Holistic Nursing
Perceptual and Motor Skills