the Alexander Technique: whom can it help
finding one’s balance
The Alexander Technique does not address specific groups of people. It can help anyone who is willing to experience their body and themselves in a new way and to confront apparent faulty developments. Often pain, fatigue, lack of energy and tension are signs that let us know that something has gone „wrong“. If others comment on my „bad posture“, it can be an indication that my overall coordination is out of balance. That in itself is not necessarily a problem. The interplay of mechanical and mental energies is so complex, that misdirections are to a certain degree natural. Only very few of us can claim to be fully healthy in the sense of „a state of complete bodily, mental and social well-being“ – which is the definition of health by the WHO. For our human „state“ is never static. Our state is to be in movement: we grow, we develop, we undergo processes, radical change, crises, we mature through sicknesses, our condition of health fluctuates. Balance is something we are constantly looking for rather than a state that can be permanently achieved.
In this process, we acquire habits that can can be very harmful and interfere with our overall development. Everyone has an inner sense for what does him good and what doesn´t. But this sense can deteriorate and even vanish entirely. Often only constant pain or the complete breakdown of bodily functions force us to deal with our physical self in a more conscious way. The Alexander technique sets in where misuse is manifest. At the same time, it works preventively against the power of unrecognized (subliminal) habits.
Wherever we walk and stand, however we sit or rest, whatever movement we make – the amount of effort we exert in any of our human activities is almost always inappropriate. For this reason, the experienced Alexander teacher seeks to heighten the student´s awareness of his/her own body. The student must find out for himself where and how he is getting in his own way. The teacher helps him to explore faulty developments and directs the way towards personal progress and growth. Alexander listed a number of disorders and illnesses for which his technique was able to be of particular help. He himself successfully dealt with disorders of the muscular-skeletal system, muscle hardening (myogelosis), back pain, postural problems, but also with functional disorders of the organs, stroke, angina pectoris, stuttering, addictions, depression and nervous tics. In every case, the main focus of the Alexander teacher is always the relationship between the head, neck and back. The root of almost all inappropriate coordination lies here and in most cases, this is also where the reeducation towards a more natural, less tense „being in one´s body“ can begin.
Those who submit their body to particular strain or are involved in (specific or) one-sided activity (e.g. musicians, dancers, actors, but also the „PC-worker“) can especially benefit from the Alexander Technique. The specialization of many professions confuses the natural flow of our movements. The extreme acceleration of life in modern civilization leads to an increasing physical and psychological imbalance in human existence. This was Alexander´s diagnosis 70 years ago. In connection with this, he was convinced that under the current conditions of everyday life we cannot rely on „instinctive“ reactions. Our senses are becoming ever more susceptible to overexcitement and delusion. Only if we are able to educate our senses towards more conscious awareness and reliability can we gain control over the basic mechanisms of our organism. This enables us to recognize faulty developments and redirect ourselves.