“The Alexander technique is a way of learning how you can get rid of harmful tension in your body.” Although certainly not a full definition of the Alexander Technique, this is a good start.*
Actress Juliette Binoche has described it as “a way to transform stress to joy.”
What is the Alexander Technique?
Here are some other definitions:
“The Alexander Technique is a way of learning to move mindfully through life. The Alexander process shines a light on inefficient habits of movement and patterns of accumulated tension, which interferes with our innate ability to move easily and according to how we are designed. It’s a simple yet powerful approach that offers the opportunity to take charge of one’s own learning and healing process, because it’s not a series of passive treatments but an active exploration that changes the way one thinks and responds in activity. It produces a skill set that can be applied in every situation. Lessons leave one feeling lighter, freer, and more grounded.”
“The Alexander Technique is a method that works to change (movement) habits in our everyday activities. It is a simple and practical method for improving ease and freedom of movement, balance, support and coordination. The technique teaches the use of the appropriate amount of effort for a particular activity, giving you more energy for all your activities. It is not a series of treatments or exercises, but rather a reeducation of the mind and body. The Alexander Technique is a method which helps a person discover a new balance in the body by releasing unnecessary tension. It can be applied to sitting, lying down, standing, walking, lifting, and other daily activities…”
*This definition was suggested by Dr. Alfred Flechas of Ocala, Florida
Benefits of the Alexander Technique
Excess tension in your body can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms and it can interfere with your ability to perform activities well. Therefore it is not surprising that most people come to the Alexander Technique because they are in pain (backaches, sore necks and shoulders, carpal tunnel syndrome etc.) and/or because they are performers who want to improve the quality of their singing, playing, acting or dancing.
People of all ages and lifestyles have used the Technique to improve the quality of their lives. The Alexander Technique has been taught for over a century, and during that time a number of prominent individuals have publicly endorsed the Technique. Among them are:
Authors: George Bernard Shaw, Aldous Huxley, Robertson Davies, Roald Dahl, Jane Brody (Personal Health Columnist for the New York Times – Read an article on the Alexander Technique by Jane Brody)
Actors: Paul Newman, Jeremy Irons, Joel Gray, Mary Steenbergen, Julie Andrews, Patrick Stewart, Kevin Kline, Joanne Woodward, John Cleese, Alan Rickman, John Houseman, Robin Williams, James Earl Jones, Christopher Reeve, Judi Dench, Ben Kingsley, William Hurt, Keanu Reeves, Hillary Swank. Heath Leger, Pierce Brosnan, Juliette Binoche
Musicians: Paul McCartney, Sting, Julian Bream, Yehudi Menuhin, James Galway, Sir Colin Davis
Others: Professor Niko Tinbergen (Winner of Nobel Prize in Medicine), Frederick Perls (Originator of Gestalt Therapy), Moshe Feldenkrais (Originator of the Feldenkrais Method), Terry Gross (host of the NPR radio program “Fresh Air”), John Dewey (the American Philosopher – John Dewey and F. Matthias Alexander – Dr. Andrew Weil, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Seth Godin, Karl Popper (philosopher), Benjamin Libet (investigator of human consciousness), Sir George Trevelyan
You will find endorsements by these people and others at many of the Alexander Technique web sites listed on this site, and in books and articles about the Alexander Technique. (Read a selection of Alexander Technique quotes.) The Alexander Technique has been featured in numerous magazines in recent years, including: Self Magazine, McCall’s Magazine, Glamour Magazine , Esquire Magazine, American String Teacher, InStyle Magazine, USA Weekend, New Age Magazine, Dressage Today, Yoga Journal and American Fitness and Catholic Digest. List of other published articles about the Alexander Technique.
Listen to or download several podcast descriptions of the Alexander Technique.
For more audio resources: Alexander Technique Podcast.
View or download this 10-minute introductory video produced by the British Medical Journal in 2008 as part of a major study showing the effectiveness of the Alexander Technique in alleviating back pain.
Here are 3 additional introductory videos:
Short introduction by Brett Hershey:
Short introduction by Judith Stern, PT:
Short introduction by Marjorie Barstow:
Additional Alexander Technique introductory videos can be found at Alexander Video
Below you’ll find four Book recommendations:
Order How You Stand, How You Move, How You Live from:
Order The Alexander Technique Workbook from
Order Body, Breath & Being from:
More Alexander Technique Books at the Alexander Technique Bookstore (USA, Canada and the UK)