A is for … Alexander Technique
April 1, 2012
This is my first post for the A-to-Z Challenge. Through the alphabet, one letter per day (excluding Sundays, except today). I’ve chosen a theme of terms related to the arts, which can also be applied in some way (sometimes with a bit of a stretch of the imagination) to writing. As you read my posts day by day, you’ll encounter terms from theatre, film, music, dance, the visual arts. I’ve learned all kinds of things as I’ve searched out words — I hope you’ll enjoy what I’ve found, and perhaps learn something, too.
A is for Alexander Technique. The Alexander Technique was developed over 100 years ago by an actor to help himself and other actors release bodily tension, correct their posture, and regain some of the freedom of movement they had as children. To read more about it, and how it might relate to writing, click the magic words…
A quotation from Patrick McDonald on the website of the Toronto School of the Alexander Technique shows that the Alexander Technique is more than just learning to stand up straight. “It is a technique for altering the reaction of the individual to the stimuli of his environment and thus it can applied to the whole range of human activities, whether these be regarded as just thought processes or processes involving predominately muscular activity.”
Actors have traditionally been the chief proponents of the Alexander Technique, and there are many well-known names in lists of those who use the technique. Musicians also find it helpful — and so can writers.
Writers spend a great deal of time in one position, which can become a cramped and stiff position all too easily. Whether writing in the traditional pen and paper method, or using a computer, there are often curved shoulders, tight backs, tired wrists — all problems which can benefit from learning and applying the Alexander Technique.
The online “Complete Guide to the Alexander Technique” has an excellent overview, and a listing of some of those who have found the technique helpful — including such notables as George Bernard Shaw and Roald Dahl. There is also information on that site about how to find a teacher/practitioner in your area, and some suggestions for learning the technique on your own.
ADDITION: Thanks to Jo Ann who posted some very helpful links in her comment, I want to point all who use computers to Imogen Ragone’s Body Intelligence blog about the Alexander Technique, in particular her posts on computer use!
Have you used the Alexander Technique or some other similar method?