Saturday, 13 September 2014

On 13:11 by Victoria Stanham in ,    No comments
A blog about the basis of the work in the Alexander Technique

Hello. Welcome to the blog.
Before we begin, take a few seconds to get comfortable to read.

Good. Now, close your eyes and allow a deep inhale to happen, filling you up with air, and exhale, long and sweetly, emptying your lungs of all residual waste. Repeat the cycle 2 more times.

Now we’re really ready. Let’s begin.

Today’s blog is about the 5 fundamental ideas (or beliefs) that explain the work we do with the Alexander Technique.
My objective is to share these ideas with you in the briefest and clearest way possible.

But before you go on reading, consider:
What do you want to get out of this blog? Is your objective aligned with what I am offering?

The Alexander Technique has its own fundamental principles (the full list appears at the very end of this blog). All these principles are in some way included in the 5 key ideas I will explain. Working with these ideas as a platform implied a particular “way of being and perceiving” in this world.

The 5 key ideas are:
1. The indivisible unity of the organism.
2. Use is a constant that affects the structure and its functioning.
3. The right thing does itself if you remove the interferences.
4. Use improves by improving the quality of perception.
5. Change happens when we understand the mechanism and force of habit.

Let’s explain the reach of eash idea.

1. The indivisible unity of the organism.
- Body and Mind are inseparable.
This implies that what happens in the body is a reflection of an idea, and vice-versa.
- You cannot change a part without altering the whole in the process.
This applies both to the interrelationship between body and mind, and to the interrelationship between parts of the body itself, or between ideas.

2. Use is a constant that affects the structure and its functioning.
- We use ourselves (body and mind) constantly.
Living means using our body and mind all the time. “Using” yourself implies “directing” the functioning of the structures in your body and mind, (in much the same way that “using” a pencil” implies “directing” its trajectory along a surface).
- The way we use ourselves changes us (for good or evil).
The way we use our bodies and minds affects their functioning and their structures.

3. The right thing does itself if you remove the interferences.
- The structural “design” of our body-mind system is “coherent” for the functions it has to perform.
That is, everything in your body-mind system has a reason for being there, an inherent logic. The most efficient thing to do is to use the structure according to its “design-logic”.
- Given the correct conditions, the design works efficiently and effectively.
When we give ourselves conditions that favour the logic of our design and we use ourselves respecting that logic, we do not waste energy in unnecessary actions that do not server our main purpose. We therefore have all our energy available to achieve that which we really want.

4. Use improves by improving the quality of perception.
- Perception is an act of consciousness which associates and idea to a sensation.
This means that a big part of our problems of functioning and of structure have their root in an incorrect interpretation of sensory data. We are ignorant of our own design. If we work on this coordination of ideas with sensations, we have a chance of improving our use.
- The way we perceive (interpret) quickly becomes a habit (automatic response), and stops requiring our conscious processing of sensations.
This  means that the basis of any work in chaning our use is to first make conscious that which has become unconscious. In this way we are able to uncover which ideas and sensations (interpretations) are at the foundation of our reactions.

5. Change happens when we understand the mechanism and force of habit.
- Habits are strong because they require no conscious thought-energy to be executed.
Habits are an automatic, a pre-set, ready-to-be-used response for specific stimuli. Habits of thought and action make up our lives and guide our daily actions.
- To overcome a habit, conscious thought-energy has to be applied every time we encounter the stimulus to action.

In order to do so, one has to first be aware of the habit, and then apply enough conscious thought-energy to undo the automatic response and guide the new response. One has to be ready to do this every time the stimulus presents itself; so patience, self-compassion and the ability to laugh at oneself are requisite. 

This is all for today.
Any questions, comments or doubts, you can write them down in the space for comments below, or send them to me in an email to

See you next time.


List of the Principles of the Alexander Technique
  • Psychophysical Unity & Unity of the Organism
  • Use of the Self affects Functioning of the Self
  • Inhibition & Direction
  • The force of Habit & The Necessity of Saying ‘No’ to a Stimulus
  • The Primary Control
  • Unreliable Sensory Appreciation
  • The Means-Whereby Principle rather than End-Gaining & The Principle of Non-doing
  • Recognition of the need for Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual and of Use as The Universal Constant in Living to achieve Man’s Supreme Inheritance


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