What is the Alexander Technique and what are its benefits?
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Alexander Technique Self-Study
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Alexander Technique Self Study
F. Matthias Alexander, the developer of the Alexander Technique,
was his own teacher and was fond of remarking,
"Anyone can do what I did, IF they will do what I did."
By the end of his life, Alexander had come to the conclusion that attempts to put his teaching into practice without the help of a teacher were often not successful. Yet, he did go as far as he possibly could in providing written guidance, in his books as well as in personal correspondence, to those who were really serious about learning his Technique on their own. In a chapter entitled "Evolution of a Technique" in his third book, The Use of the Self (originally published in 1931), Alexander described in precise detail the process he went through to solve his voice problem. This chapter and his 1945 "Preface to New Edition" of that book, in which he addressed the many problems encountered by earlier readers in attempting to teach themselves, contain useful information for anyone who wants to try going it alone.
A number of Alexander Technique teachers include Skype calls and other distance-learning methods as part of their practice and these may be well worth considering if you're planning on learning the Technique primarily on your own. You can find a list of these teachers here.
These, and most of the other books, tapes and DVDs mentioned below are available at The Alexander Technique Bookstore (USA and Canada) in Association with AMAZON.COM and AMAZON.CA or The Alexander Technique Bookshop (UK) in association with AMAZON.CO.UK. They are all listed under "Introductory Books and Videos".
In addition to Use of the Self, there are three much newer books which can greatly assist in learning the Technique - with or without a teacher: How you Stand, How You Move, How You Live: Learning the Alexander Technique to Explore Your Mind-Body Connection and Achieve Self-Mastery by Missy Vineyard (click here to read a review of this book), How to Learn the Alexander Technique - A Manual for Students by Barbara and William Conable, and Mind and Muscle - An Owner's Manual by Elizabeth Langford.
Additional self-study resources can be found in Chapter 4 of Thorsons Principles of the Alexander Technique by Jeremy Chance (also available on an audio cassette tape); The Alexander Technique: First Lesson and The Alexander Technique: Solutions for Back Troubles (available in VHS and DVD format), Moving to Learn - A Classroom Guide to Understanding and Using Good Body Mechanics by Michele Aresenault (click here to order Moving to Learn) and Not to 'Do' by Fiona Robb. Roy Palmer has written a number of eBooks and books based on the Alexander Technique that can be used for self-study. The Secret to Using Your Body - A Manual for learning the Alexander Technique is an eBook by Leland Vall is designed for those without access to a teacher, or as a supplement to lessons.
Additionally, there are a number of helpful, and free, online resources:
- Up With GravitySM is a simple and effective process, inspired by the Alexander Technique, for learning to harness the power of gravity to release tension from your body.
- Alexander Talk contains several MP3 conversations that contain suggestions about Alexander self-study.
- Constructive Control, is a short video clip featuring master teacher Marjorie Barstow in which she expains this important Alexander Technique concept, and shows how to use it. Links to other clips of Marjorie Barstow's teaching - also helpful for Alexander Technique self study - can be found at her homepage.
San Diego teacher Eileen Troberman has created some very useful short video clips which can be helpful for self-study.
- Wilmington, Delaware teacher Imogen Ragone has created an Alexander Technique Self-Help page which includes a number of helpful resources.
- I've Had my First Alexander Technique Lesson - What do I do Now?
- Alexander Self Study Made Even Easier - Tips for a student of the Alexander Technique
- Alexander Technique "lying down", sometimes called "constructive rest" or "active rest" is a powerful self-help process anyone can do at home. Click here for a variety of videos, audio resources, articles and blogs related to constructive rest
- John Appleton is an Alexander Technique teacher and the developer of Posture Release Imagery. He puts forward some fascinating new self-help ideas based on imagery, which is sometimes a taboo subject in the Alexander Technique teaching world. They require some patience to understand at first, but many have found his ideas to be very helpful. Click here to read or download Posture Release Imagery resources.
- The Alexander Technique Email discussion group can be a very useful resource - whether you are studying the Alexander Technique on your own, or with a teacher. The group is open to all, and you can get advice and help from teahers around the world! Go to Alexander Technique Online to join the group. (As with other similar groups, there are a few participants intent on engaging in debate about obscure aspects of the Technique. These can easily be ignored. The group functions at its best in response to questions from students of the Technique.)
- Alexander Technique Blogs, a collection of the best Alexander Technique teacher and student blogs, is another useful resource. Some of the blogs listed on this site include nclude practical information for students working on their own.
Additional On-line material useful for working on your own:
If you have had some experience with learning the Alexander Technique on your own, and would like to share it with others, send it to this Email Contact and it will be posted on this page.
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