Alexander technique

Lawrence Smith . Homepage


Reflexes and habit

We are all born with reflexes that control the relationships between the different parts (head, spine and limbs) of our bodies.

These postural reflexes are necessary for good movement, respiration and general health. Unfortunately, we often acquire habits that cause interference with these primary reflexes, resulting in muscular imbalance that can create pain, injury and poor overall functioning.

The Alexander Technique is recognized as the most effective method for changing habits of movement and posture.

It has achieved international renown, especially as a means for improving skills in the performing arts and in athletics, and for changing injury causing muscular imbalances. It can be used to enhance co-ordination and comfort in everyday tasks as well as in more specialized activities, such as music, dance or sport.


What happens in a lesson

The Alexander Technique is taught in private half-hour to hour sessions. The teacher uses gentle manipulation and verbal guidance to create a balanced state in the student's musculature. He then guides the student through simple movements, teaching him/her to sustain this improved state while preventing harmful habitual patterns.

The student gains increased awareness, and learns a skill that can be applied to any activity.

"We can throw away the habit of a lifetime in a few minutes if we use our brains."


Medical applications

Published studies have shown that lessons in the Alexander Technique can improve respiratory function, and reduce neck and back pain. It can be used to prevent and eliminate the maladaptive patterns that often follow injury or surgery.

"The Alexander Technique teaches people how to best use their bodies in ordinary actions to avoid or reduce unnecessary stress and pain. It is undoubtedly the best way to take care of the back and alleviate back pain."
Jack Stern, MD Ph.D.,
Neurosurgical Group of Westchester,
White Plains, New York.


The technique is taught at...

  • the Julliard School of Performing Arts
  • the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England
  • the American Dance Festival
  • the Stratford Festival of Canada
  • the National Theater School in Montreal
  • the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto
  • and at a great many colleges and universities

Students of the technique

Past and present...

  • George Bernard Shaw
  • Robertson Davies
  • Ben Kingsley
  • Eric Hawkins
  • Yehudi Menuhin
  • Sir Adrian Boult
  • Aldous Huxley
  • Paul Newman
  • Maggie Smith
  • Merce Cunningham
  • Sir Colin Davies
  • Moshe Feldenkrais
  • Nobel Prize Winners Nikolaas Tinbergen, Sir Charles Sherrington, and George Coghill
  • philosopher John Dewey


"The Alexander Technique was essential to my recovery from challenging dance injuries. Lawrence taught me to shed layers of unnecessary tension and to change limiting movement patterns that had become reflexes. He gave me the tools to rediscover my ability to live unencumbered by pain and to meet the demands of my professional dance career."

Roxane D'Orleans Juste,
Solo performer, choreographer and dancer with the José Limòn Dance Company


Lawrence Smith . Homepage

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