You are what you believe

by Brooke Lieb (Originally published 12/27/99)


In August of 1934, F. M. Alexander delivered a lecture at The Bedford Training College.  Among many amazing things he says during this talk, there are two quotes which I find most thought-provoking and exciting:

"We see people do certain things and without thinking or questioning we copy them.  Don't.  Don't do it. [new paragraph] Do what I recommended everybody in the world do in my first book.  That is, to sit down and think over all the beliefs and ideas they have got and find out where they came from.  You would not have many left.  After a week's thought, you would throw them overboard."

"You would not think that the matter of belief comes into our sphere.  You have all got your ideas of what belief is.  Do you know what we have found that belief is?  A certain standard of muscle tension."

The Alexander Technique works with belief systems.  While it may seem like "bodywork", it is really a process for (among other things) reclaiming awareness, consciousness, and the ability to be truly in the moment, experiencing novelty.  We begin with the belief systems of sensation, such as how much muscle contraction I need to perform a certain task.

(This post originally appeared on

N. BROOKE LIEB, Director of Teacher Certification since 2008, received her certification from ACAT in 1989, joined the faculty in 1992. Brooke has presented to 100s of people at numerous conferences, has taught at C. W. Post College, St. Rose College, Kutztown University, Pace University, The Actors Institute, The National Theatre Conservatory at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Dennison University, and Wagner College; and has made presentations for the Hospital for Special Surgery, the Scoliosis Foundation, and the Arthritis Foundation; Mercy College and Touro College, Departments of Physical Therapy; and Northern Westchester Hospital. Brooke maintains a teaching practice in NYC, specializing in working with people dealing with pain, back injuries and scoliosis; and performing artists.