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"You translate everything, whether physical, mental or spiritual into muscular tension."

FM Alexander

"You are not here to do exercises, or to learn to do something right, but to get able to meet a stimulus that always puts you wrong and to learn to deal with it."

FM Alexander



"People do not decide their futures; they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures."

FM Alexander

"There is no such thing as a right position, but there is such a thing as a right direction."

FM Alexander

 FM Alexander

In the 1890s, an Australian actor, F. Mathias Alexander (1869-1955) began to suffer the loss of his voice during performances. No doctor could find anything wrong, and Alexander deduced that it must be something he was unconsciously doing during performances.  Through intensive observation, he discovered that he was misusing certain muscular mechanisms:  he was pulling his head back and down to project his voice into the audience, which in turn compressed his spine, put pressure on his larynx, and restricted his air, leading him to gasp audibly.


He set out to find a way to prevent this misuse. To his surprise, he could not fix the problem though he made a great effort to do so. Every time he attempted to prevent his chin from lifting and his neck from compressing, he would catch a glimpse in the mirror and see that he was still repeating his habit, despite the kinaesthetic feeling that he was performing well. This led to his understanding that most of us experience 'faulty sensory perception' - a lack of awareness of what we are really doing with our selves and the bizarre circumstance that what feels comfortable is often wrong use. It also resulted in his realisation that to do the right thing, he had to first stop doing the wrong thing. When he could stop stiffening his neck, hollowing his back, overlifting his chest and gripping the floor with his toes, the pressure on his larynx ceased and his voice loss disappeared.


In trying to understand the source of his problem, he eventually realised that it was his reaction to performance. The mere thought of speaking led him automatically into his pattern of excess tension. This insight led to his discovery that by changing his thinking that preceded and accompanied action, he could influence his behaviour, stumbling upon the inextricable unity of the mind-body ("a psychophysical unity") for which he was ahead of his time. In his book, "The Use of the Self," he describes the step by step process that allowed him to regain his voice and improve his overall health and functioning in many other areas as well.


As he began to observe people around him, he recognised many others  had the same patterns he had suffered from, and found that he could help them overcome their pains and poor functioning. He arrived in London in 1904 where he taught his technique for the remainder of his life. Among his followers were George Bernard Shaw, John Dewey, Aldous Huxley and Sir Stafford Cripps. Many actors have been helped by his work, including Hugh Jackman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kevin Spacey, Sting, Keanu Reeves, Leonardo DiCaprio, James Earl Jones, William Hurt, Jeremy Irons, Kevin Kline, Paul McCartney, Paul Newman, Maggie Smith, Lynn Redgrave, Robin Williams and generations of musicians, including members of the New York Philharmonic. Currently, the Alexander Technique is taught in many of the top music and drama schools throughout the world.

What people have said about his method:


"The Alexander Technique stresses unification in an era of greater and greater medical specialisation  It is an educational system that teaches people how to best use their bodies in ordinary action to avoid or reduce unnecessary stress and pain. It enables clients to get better faster and stay better longer. This is undoubtedly the best way to take care of the back and alleviate back pain.


....97% of people with back pain could benefit by learning the Alexander Technique - it is only a very small minority of back pain sufferers that require medical intervention such as surgery." 

Jack Stern, MD PhD, Spinal neurosurgeon NY

"We already notice, with growing amazement, very striking improvements in such diverse things as high blood pressure, breathing, depth of sleep, overall cheerfulness and mental alertness, resilience against outside pressures, and in such a refined skill as playing a musical instrument."

Professor Nicholas Tinbergen, Nobel Prize Winner for Medicine talking about the Alexander Technique

"The Technique is not a method of accumulated information nor the art of learning something new. It is, instead, the art of unlearning, which is more subtle and sometimes a more difficult endeavour - unlearning that which is habitual, instead of natural; letting go of old patterns and of those repetitious opinions arrived at in times and circumstances totally different from those of the present."

Aldous Huxley, author

"The Alexander Technique transformed my life." 

Tony Buzan, author

The Alexander Technique helped a long-standing back problem." 

Paul Newman, actor

"I was dubious...but found out almost immediately that the benefits were total - both physically and mentally - and, happily, have also been long-lasting."

Joanne Woodward, actress

When the actor Jonathan Pryce was asked in an interview to name a book that had changed his life, he answered: "The one the teacher put under my head during the Alexander lessons at Rada. I grew an inch and a half."

"With the best of intentions, the job of acting can become a display of accumulated bad habits, trapped instincts and blocked energies. Working with the Alexander Technique to untangle the wires has given me sightings of another way; mind and body, work and life together. Real imaginative freedom." 

Alan Rickman, actor

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