Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

create a balance: What is Alexander?

What is the Alexander Technique? - April 4, 2007

The Alexander Technique is a method for reducing stress and tension in the body. The Alexander Technique has been recognized as a valuable resource for many years by performing artists and athletes for its unique ability to improve posture, alignment and movement. The Technique is helpful for those who suffer from pain or tension, those with postural problems or movement restrictions, those who would like to move with more grace and freedom, and for those interested in the mind/body connection.

HOW DOES THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE WORK?

The Alexander Technique helps you become more aware of your body. We all have habits - ways of using the body which may not be constructive. Tension gets lodged in certain parts of the body and results in tense shoulders, tight backs, and restricted movement. The Alexander Technique helps you return to a freer, easer more natural way of being in your body.

WHAT HAPPENS IN A PRIVATE ALEXANDER SESSION?

Bill analyzes how you use yourself in everyday movements such as walking, sitting, standing and bending. Bill points out your postural habits, and uses a gentle guding touch to help you find ways of using your body with more freedom, ease and comfort. There is also some work done lying down on a table. You are fully clothed. Bill shows you ways to let go of unecessary tension and stress, and bring that freedom into movement when you are upright.

In a private session, everything is individualized to your needs. The session is forty-five minutes long.

WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF A SERIES OF PRIVATE ALEXANDER SESSIONS?

You will learn a lot about your body and how it works. You'll understand better how tension and stress affect your body, but also how this affects you mentally. You'll be given ways to notice yourself in daily activities such as sitting at the computer or in the car, walking, standing, and bending. You'll be given ways to release tension and gently lenthen into your full stature. Some people find the Alexander Technique helpful in relieving pain and fatigue, and improving their energy level.

WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE?

Anyone who has poor posture or restricted movement. People who have pain, fatigue or physical challenges can often benefit from Alexander sessions. People who are required to do repetitive movements or stay in one postion for a long time such as dentists, carpenters, mothers, people who are at the computer or on the phone all day long. People who are looking to use their bodies with maximum efficiency such as actors, singers, dancers, athletes.

HOW IS THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE DIFFERENT THAN YOGA OR PILATES?

These techniques may have some similar goals, but each is unique and distinct. Pilates is a sophisticated exercise system that is taught on machines or in a group class on an exercise mat. There are many forms of yoga with slightly different objectives, but overall, it a series of postures to help strengthen and stretch the body.

What makes the Alexander Technique unique is you do not have to wear special clothing. You can practice it anywhere, any time. After working with Bill, you will be shown how your head balances and poises at the top of your spine, to take pressure off your neck and spine. This promotes a gentle and natural lengthening of your spine - you can be at your fullest stature comfortably. Then it is a matter of maintaining this new-found freedom in everyday movements such as walking, sitting, bending, reaching, and lifting. It is a stripping away of tensions, to allow the natural flow of the body to happen organically.

HOW ARE THE MIND AND THE BODY CONNECTED?

Unfortunately, most of us understand how stress and tension can be housed in the body. If something stresses us mentally - it will affect us physically. Fortunately, it can work the other way around. If you learn how to calm the mind, and give the body gentle, constructive instructions on how to let go - the body will remember. Gradually, the mind and body can learn how to work together in unified fashion - you can learn how to stay balanced, even when under stress. Even if you lose your poise, you can learn how to bounce back and refind your balance.

SHOULDN'T THIS ALL BE NATURAL?

Ideally - yes. We are all born with natural poise and body balance. Most very young children move freely and easily. That's where most of us start. Unfotunately, contemporary life is full of stresses and tensions. We pick up tension and poor body habits along the way. The good news is, you can shed the poor habits and refind your natural good use of the body.

AREN'T I TOO OLD TO CHANGE MY POSTURAL HABITS?

It's never too late. Bill has worked successfully with people in their 70s, 80s and 90s. You can learn how to free and balance the body at any age.

I'M TOO BUSY TO TAKE ALEXANDER SESSIONS.

Modern life is very busy. But sometimes it is important to take time for yourself. We have to maintain our cars, for instance, or they break down. The human body is the same. Alexander sessions are special times for resting, restoring, and reviving your mind/body. Not only can it help to relieve stresses and strains, it can sometimes help to prevent tightness from building up in the body.

CAN THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE HELP MY BREATHING?

Breathing is one of the most vital parts of The Alexander Technique. Unconsciously, we often breathe shallowly, or even hold the breath. This contributes to tightening of the muscles and restricted movement. Alexander Technique helps you find easy, deep, free-flowing breathing that you can take into your daily life.

WHAT CAN I READ TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE?

"The Alexander Technique" by Judith Leibowitz and Bill Connington, published by HarperCollins. Used copies can be purchased online at www.BarnesandNoble.com or www.Amazon.com.

WHAT HAPPENS IN AN ALEXANDER GROUP CLASS?

Bill leads the group in building body awareness, and an awareness of your postural habits. You learn how to use your body with more freedom and ease in daily activities. You can also learn by observing your classmates.

WHO WAS FM ALEXANDER?

FM Alexander was born in Australia in 1869. He was an actor who solved his own breathing and vocal difficulties by improving how he used his body. He taught his technique in England and the United States and had such well-known students as George Bernard Shaw, Aldous Huxley, and John Dewey. He was an important contributer to the study of the mind/body connection.

HOW CAN I HELP MYSELF BETWEEN ALEXANDER SESSIONS?

One of the main principles of the Alexander Technique is self-help. In each session you will be shown ways of helping yourself. One of the best ways to help free your own body is to lie down each day for 10-15 minutes on a firm surface, with books underneath your head for support. Bend your knees. As you lie there, instruct all your muscles to free and let go. People often find themselves refreshed and restored after their lying down time. Another practical way to help yourself throughout the day is to catch yourself throughout the day when sitting, walking, bending. See if you can catch yourself when tensing and tightening. Slowly, over time, you can learn to let go of your tension habits.

WHERE DOES BILL CONNINGTON GIVE PRIVATE ALEXANDER SESSIONS?

Bill gives sessions on the Upper East Side of Manhattan at 2 East 76th Street, just off Fifth Avenue.
He also works at 315 West 85th Street #1A on the Upper West Side.

To schedule an appointment at either location call 917-826-9004.

DOES BILL DO HOUSECALLS?

He does - on the Upper Eastside of Manhattan. Email bill@createabalance.org for
fees.

WHERE CAN I TAKE GROUP ALEXANDER CLASSES WITH BILL?

Check the "Calendar" page for upcoming group classes.

WHAT DO PRIVATE SESSIONS COST?

Contact bill@createabalance.org for fees.

WHAT DO GROUP ALEXANDER CLASSES COST?

See the "Calendar" page for class costs.

RSS feed