Frederick Matthias Alexander began teaching his technique more than 100 years ago. Born in Australia, he was an actor specializing in one man shows reciting Shakespeare. However, his promising stage career was in jeopardy when he regularly became hoarse and gasping for breath mid-performance. Doctors couldn’t come up with a solution so he set about discovering what the matter was himself. Using mirrors which he set up at home to observe himself reciting, it began to dawn on him that he was inadvertently causing his own problem. He started helping other actors and doctors began referring patients to him. In 1904 he re-located to London and started teaching here. He began training others to teach and develop the technique.
What do the following celebrities have in common?
Paul McCartney Hugh Jackman John McEnroe Judi Dench Sebastian Coe
Linford Christie Matthew Pinsett Maggie Smith Joanna Lumley
Jennifer Saunders John Cleese Daley Thompson Yehudi Menuhin Leslie Garrett Madonna
Musicians, singers, actors, dancers, and athletes often use the Alexander Technique to improve their performance.
John Cleese’s Ministry of Silly Walks was apparently inspired by his lessons in the Alexander Technique!
“The Alexander Technique has helped me undo knots, unblock energy, and deal with almost paralysing stage fright.” William Hurt, actor.
“The Technique’s many benefits for actors include minimized tension, centeredness, vocal relaxation, and responsiveness, mind/body connection, and about an inch and a half additional height.” Kevin Kline, actor.
“The Alexander Technique makes a real difference to my often tense and busy life. Its thoughtful approach has made me calmer, improved my concentration and given me a clearer sense of my own wellbeing. I am grateful for it.” Joan Bakewell, journalist and broadcaster.
“97% of people with back pain could benefit by learning the Alexander Technique – it is only a very small minority of back pain sufferers that require medical intervention such as surgery.” Jack Stern spinal neurosurgeon, New York.