How can Alexander technique help?

Alexander technique works through thinking in activity: identifying our habits, our default brain settings, and using consciousness to unlearn these, so our original settings return. It is about mindfulness, becoming present.

I can feel myself self correcting, which is interesting. I watch myself walking & in sitting position, finding the little sitting bones, & not sticking the head out, which is always great. It’s good, I’ve told loads of people about it.”
– Dympna

Slumped vs good posture with Alexander technique while reading.
Slumped vs good posture with Alexander technique while reading.

Our bodies and minds work together. Feeling down, or being uptight, are both physical and emotional states. When we learn to rebalance physically, we also rebalance mentally and emotionally.

Initially I felt it was just for posture, but it goes much deeper, much deeper, into the emotions too. There’s a real improvement in my life: as the spine has been opening up, so I’m less emotional, more open with people, there’s a major change there! ”
– Philip

Alexander technique is a simple and practical method that anyone can learn, to help themselves, and take back control over their own lives and problems.

People find:

  • Coordination and energy levels improve
  • Movement becomes lighter, freer, more enjoyable
  • Increased confidence, effectiveness
  • A greater ability to cope with life's challenges
Alexander technique brings joy and freedom of movement and can help with juggling
Alexander technique brings joy and freedom of movement

I used to think Alexander technique was about learning to put my body into a proper posture, now I think of it as rediscovering how my body wants to move, relaxed and free and strong. ”
– Stuart, guitarist

The best way to learn the technique is by one-to-one lessons with a qualified teacher. (If you live too far from me, look for a teacher with a three year training, preferably recognised by one of the main societies eg STAT, ISATT). You can also get a basic understanding of the technique by taking workshops or short courses.

What problems can be helped?

The technique can help many types of problems. It is safe to combine with any other therapy. If your problem isn't mentioned here please talk to me.

Physical problems

Physical problems that are commonly helped are:

  • poor posture
  • back pain and stiffness
  • ease getting down & up from the floor
  • neck and shoulder tension
  • hip, knee and foot problems
  • rehabilitation from injuries
  • pain management
  • migraine and headache
  • repetitive strain injury, tendonitis
  • sciatica, nerve pain
  • loss of freedom of movement
  • poor coordination, accident proneness
  • more serious structural problems (see below)
Using Alexander technique to walk well with a stick
Alexander technique for the perfect squat with Penelope Easten
Working on sitting well with Alexander technique and Penelope Easten

Read how serious structural problems can be addressed using Alexander technique:

“I have a bulging disc in my lower back, & had ended up with arthritis in my hip, but no bone degeneration. I had done Alexander technique a couple of times in a group, & I could feel my upper body relaxing, but I couldn’t seem to make a difference in the hip & the lower leg. So that’s why I came for lessons. And it is getting down there! But there’s a lot of side benefits from it too, & it makes me think! The pain is not fully gone from the hip, (it will probably always give pain because the fluid is gone from the joint) but it doesn’t stop me doing anything now; I can manage it much better. The leg is much better, I can do a lot more of the things I couldn’t do. My biggest problem was driving, I couldn’t move my foot from the accelerator to the brake, it was just very painful. Now I can drive no problem.”
– Loretta, a farmer

“I have been attending Penelope for Alexander technique for over two years now. I have found a huge improvement in my posture especially with my neck as I had a forward head tilt. I really noticed this looking at photos of my brother’s wedding all my neck muscles were strained. Looking at photos now, my head, neck and shoulders are properly aligned. I have also noticed with my pelvis, my narrow hips have broadened as a result of this I don't look like a bean pole any more.”
– Michelle, massage therapist

“I came for lessons after a car accident, with neck problems, & my neck is way better now. It makes you very mindful, & aware, & gives you the techniques to change the way you move in a very gentle non strenuous way & I can do it at home. I’ve been to all kinds of different therapy, physiotherapy primarily, actually most of it causes more stress: more things to do, & we all have too much to do as it is. And physically, though they can help, this is a far subtler, gentler, more mindful way of approaching injury, than direct physiotherapy, particularly for someone like me with my aching muscles, because of the ME.”
– Celia (name changed), pharmacist

“I was possibly one of Penelope's first students when she was a trainee Alexander teacher some 25 years ago. For years I had had headaches and back ache, helped somewhat but not entirely by chiropractic and acupuncture.
I remember how she eased my body into a natural resting position, and slipped a few books under my head to get my spine in alignment. How simple and natural it seemed and felt, yet so profound too. Something shifted for me during those lessons and I know that it was only through the work with her that I had any long-term alleviation of my symptoms. After my sessions I had no more headaches to speak of, even to this day. My back was also vastly improved.”
– Susanna

“I used to get crippling period pains, needing time out every month. Pain killers didn’t touch them. Through Alexander technique, I learnt methods of how not to react to the pain, & within three months they were gone for good. I discovered how to apply this to other pain, especially dentistry! Years later, I used it for labour successfully too.”
– Penelope

“The Alexander Technique has truly helped me find relief and hope in my struggle with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. The very first session with its gentle manipulation of my head and its balance on my spine provided instant pain relief and with a simple lesson of how to hold my head in a slightly different way has reduced further damage to my upper spine where the osteoporosis is at its worst. The following sessions have added the further reconditioning of my faulty posture, 'a reset to factory settings', so that I now can kneel down and get up again.”
– Geraldine

“The Alexander technique lessons made me conscious of my body. I wasn't very conscious of it before, and when it wasn't working (after the stroke) I didn't want to be conscious of it. So the Alexander brought me back into the body again. It made me more conscious of how I was walking, I was dragging my left foot, and I remember feeling this isn't right, but the Alexander got that out of me, thank God! The left-hand used to be very clenched & contracted into my chest, the Alexander technique helped to let it go. My hand falls a lot more naturally nowadays, I'm a lot happier with it.”
– Brendan, recovering from stroke

Breathing & voice problems

  • rediscover your natural, relaxed breathing
  • improve your breathing for physical activities
  • free your voice and throat, discover relaxed speaking
  • sing with freedom, find an easier and fuller voice

“I had huge issues around my throat, my voice was not open at all & often I did not hit notes. It changed really quickly with the lessons, by allowing it, & not fighting myself. It’s opened up hugely like it doesn’t feel like it’s an issue at all any more. ”
– Grace, singer

Penelope Easten working on breathing and Alexander technique with Peneleapai Ni Chung singing
Penelope working on breathing & singing with singer Peneleapai Ni Chung

Emotional problems

The technique can be helpful for:

  • Stress, anxiety
  • Depression
  • general fatigue
  • concentration and attention span
  • living in the present, instead of in past memories or daydreams
  • building self-confidence and assertiveness
  • feeling peace, happiness and joy
  • taking charge of your life

“When I first came for lessons I was very agitated, rushing everywhere, not dealing with things, & I would take on a lot, & nobody could tell me I couldn’t do it. And I realised hang on a minute, this is all boiling up into tension, pressure, & you’re not achieving anywhere near what you want to be doing. I fought the calming down to start with though! Now I’ve come much calmer. I can still get wired, but I can become conscious of getting wired, & come down from it. I do try now to keep my relaxation going in everything I do.”
– Loretta, farmer

“Calming is all about centering myself & setting up those boundaries, before I go & do anything. Calming takes work. But actually my energy was being dissipated everywhere, it was just gone. And I’m drawing it back in again.”
– Celia (name changed), pharmacist

“What I wasn't prepared for was the release of emotion. I suppose it makes sense- holding on to emotion will make the body tense, so once you start to release the tension then emotions can release too. Emotionally my anxiety levels are less - I am better able to deal with work pressures. I am learning how to speak up for myself -to be more assertive in the way I speak.”
– Tina, pharmacist

“Alexander technique has given me back my body. Thankyou. Now I know I’ll never go back to the anorexia.”
– Helen