Ask the Expert: What is the Alexander Technique?
The Alexander Technique can transform physical stress and tension into ease, balance, and coordination. On May 19 and 26 and June 2, the Cancer Support Community is offering a free workshop called “Alexander Technique: A New Look at Tension Patterns” with Shulamit Sendowski, M.AmSAT.
The Alexander Technique is a gentle psycho-physical movement-education technique developed in England over 100 years ago by F.M. Alexander. In the free workshop, Shulamit will demonstrate aspects of the Alexander Technique and discuss awareness of tension habits in simple daily movements like sitting, standing, walking and bending. This is a three week course, each week expanding on the previous one.
For those who can’t make it to the workshop or want to learn more in advance of the workshop, Shulamit has kindly offered to expand on the Alexander Technique in our Ask the Expert blog series!
One basic aspect of the Alexander Technique work is the Non-Doing aspect:
We don’t have to “do” so much. Our daily movements can be carried out with less muscular effort, and more “non-doing” thoughts. Once we engage our thought process and apply it to our movement, we can get rid of unneeded tension in the wrong places, while the needed tension is distributed more evenly in the right places in our body. We can not, and do not have to control every muscle in our body and order it what to do. However – we can observe our tension-patterns, undo them, and prevent them from interfering with our body-activities. Imagine being at home, trying to talk over the phone while your TV is in full volume. By turning the TV noise off, you clear the way, and make it possible for the phone conversation to take place. We can carry our weight with less “noise” (stress, tension) and move with more ease.
We practice the Alexander Technique by applying its different principles in simple daily activities like sitting, walking, bending. We observe our movement patterns, learn from them, and lighten them up.
As a member of The American Society for the Alexander Technique (AmSAT) – let me provide you with their rich website where you can get plenty of information including books, research work, events, teacher list, and more: www.amsatonline.org.
Shulamit Sendowski is certified by the Alexander Training Institute of Los Angeles and the American Society for the Alexander Technique. She has been teaching the Alexander Technique to individuals and groups since 1991.