Alexander technique is a method of learning how to move, sit, stand and perform daily activities with reduced tension of the body and the mind. It teaches the technique of movement and alignment of the body in a more efficient and trouble free manner. People often are unaware of their incorrect body postures and inefficient habits, which generally accumulate tension in their body and mind. This usually interferes with efficient functioning of the body and also increases overall stress. This technique gives a practical approach towards improving the ease of body movement, support, balance and co-ordination.
Alexander technique is a method of self improvement, where people can learn to change poor habits as regards their posture while sitting, standing or sleeping and relearn correct body postures that are free of tension. The specialists teach people the way to recognize incorrect postures and help them to improve on the restricting habits of posture and movement by releasing unnecessary tension.
Alexander technique is popular after the name of an Australian actor F. Matthias Alexander (1869-1955). While he was working on the method of voice training for actors, he realized that for successful and efficient voice training, normal respiratory functioning is important. This ultimately depends on the breathing mechanism and the body posture while doing so. This also was true for the suffering of chronic laryngitis by actors and singers.
Therefore, he started focusing on the breathing mechanism, the use of breathing muscles and other related parts more effectively, so as to avoid unnecessary tension and produce voice with ease. This proved to be beneficial for his vocal training and medical doctors began referring him patients with respiratory ailments. He re-educated his students and patients on the concept of breathing efficiently and his technique of voice training was termed as respiratory re-education.
Alexander technique is primarily based on the concept that every individual has the ability to move and use the body efficiently just like they did in their childhood. However, during the course of life, the body posture and way of movement gets compromised due to various reasons. Alexander technique believes that people need to realize the inappropriate body postures they have developed, the tension that these habits have created and that this could be a cause of their ailments.
Hence, the primary aim of Alexander technique is to help people relearn the poor postural habits and stop creating tension that gets into their way. They can thus learn to use their movement and co-ordination pattern efficiently and gracefully.
It is not a therapy or a treatment, but a way in which people become aware of their habits and stop responding in their incorrect, harmful way. In a training class, the students play an active role in the learning process and the teachers guide them in performing their activities with ease. The teacher use hands to gently help release the tension of the over tensed muscles and aid the necessary co-ordination.
The activities learnt in a class are basic daily routines like sitting, standing, walking, bending or picking up an object. Activities specific to work and lifestyle are also considered. Often these are the daily routines, which when performed inappropriately can cause health concerns.
As the Alexander technique suggests, excess tension in the body can bring about undesirable changes and interfere with the daily performance. Most of the times, people get adapted to incorrect postures during sitting, walking, bending, sleeping and other daily activities. These create a tension in the body muscles, which are a major reason for many ailments. Alexander technique can be beneficial in cases like;
- Painful musculoskeletal conditions like backaches, neck pain, sore neck and shoulders, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.
- Difficulties in coordination and movement like breathing disorders, joint and muscle problems, etc.
- Difficulties arising out of stress like headaches, migraine, anxiety, depression, insomnia etc
- Improving stamina, for better concentration and perception, managing stage fright.
- During rehabilitation after injury, surgery or major illnesses.
- For posture, balance and stress management during pregnancy, preparation of childbirth and during post pregnancy.
- For self improvement and better performance.