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Alexander Technique

Additional Information

F.M. Alexander and his Technique:

In the late 1800’s an Australian actor named F.M. Alexander (1869-1955) was experiencing severe laryngitis that curtailed his performing.  His physicians prescribed vocal rest, but the debilitating vocal strain persistently returned.  Alexander realized that his vocal issues were caused by the way he was using himself while he was onstage, and he was determined to cure his voice and return to the stage. As he worked with himself, F.M. Alexander’s voice and overall co-ordination improved so dramatically that he was able to resume performing with no further vocal problems. He then taught his Technique to other performers and quickly became known as "The Breathing Man" who could help performers access the natural coordination between breathing, voice, and postural use. The Alexander Technique is so effective at addressing voice, coordination and performance issues that it is taught in major acting training programs and music conservatories around the world.  Famous actors and musicians who have used the Alexander Technique include: Julie Andrews, William Hurt, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Paul McCartney, Kelley McGillis, Patti Lupone, Paul Newman, Sting, Maggie Smith, Mary Steenbergen, Robin Williams, Joanne Woodward, and members of the New York Philharmonic


For over 100 years, people have also used the Alexander Technique to address posture, neck pain, back pain, coordination, strength, and repetitive strain issues. The Technique provides awareness of how you coordinate yourself in action, a means to reduce tension, and strategies to improve your function. For these reasons, athletes, dancers, horseback riders, and people with varying medical issues have turned to the Alexander Technique for tools they use to improve how they feel and function in their everyday activities.

Some F.M. Alexander Quotes:

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


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


“The whole organism is responsible for specific trouble.  Proof of that is, that we eradicate specific defects in process.”


“Here you are, a young fellow of seventeen, knowing that you are wrong, as I know you are.  Doesn’t that show that your “right” is wrong, for you never tried to be wrong?  You are always trying to be right.  All I want you to do is to give certain directions for me, and then inhibit the tremendous effort you are making to be right.”


“You all want to know if you’re right. When you get further on you will be right, but you won’t know it, and won’t want to know if you’re right.”


“Everyone is always teaching one what to do, leaving us still doing the things we shouldn’t do.”


“Stop the things that are wrong first…as soon as people come with the ideas of unlearning instead of learning, you have them in the frame of mind you want.”


“Doing in your case is so ‘overdoing’ that you are practically paralyzing the parts you want to work.”


“Trying is only emphasizing the thing we know already.”


“We can throw away the habit of a lifetime if we use our brains.”


“You can’t do something you don’t know if you keep on doing what you do know.”


“ It is not getting in and out of chairs even under the best of conditions that are of any value; that is simply physical culture – it is what you’ve been doing in preparation that counts when it comes to making movements.”


“All the damned fools in the world believe they are actually doing what they think they are doing.”


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

For more informaiton about the Alexander Technique:

American Society for the Alexander Technique:




Alexander Technique International:




A comprehensive list of information about the Alexander Technique:  

(The Complete Guide to the Alexander Technique)




Scientific Research on the Alexander Technique, Back Pain, and Neuromuscular Disorders:




A video about the future of Cognitive Science and the Alexander Technique:




A short video summary of a study published in the British Medical Journal about the Alexander:

Technique and Back Pain




You Tube Link  -- An 8-minute video describing the history and principles of the Alexander Technique by Marjorie Barstow:




The Myth of the Core Blog: 




“Personal Health” by Jane E. Brody (NY Times, 6/90)

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