The Alexander Technique entails a process of re-educating the body. It is a way of getting to know our own physical and mental functioning, a work that allows us the gradual liberation of the habits that prevents us from reaching our inner balance.
Body and mind are one and the same, and to change the posture is to change the mind.
This technique is a practical method that helps to improve “the use we make of ourselves” in our daily activities, by reducing excessive stress, and improving coordination, fluency of movement, balance, and breathing.
When the unconscious natural devices used to keep the balance and the position are threatened, either by a bad habitual use, or by some injury, our performance, both physical and mental, often is negatively affected.
Nevertheless, the suitable muscular activity for achieving the balanced position is not something we could recover simply by putting an effort on it, since all of a range of automatic reflexes are involved; the same reflexes that maintain the body with barely effort, when they work properly.
The teacher teaches the way to learn consciously to avoid the habits that harm us (for instance, the excessive muscular tension and the effort when the time comes to make our daily activity). These tensions or stiffness are produced repeatedly throughout our life, and little by little we incorporate them, and they become, unconsciously, part of it.
During the classes, you gain awareness about the way you are using your body and your mind, you learn to eliminate the harmful habits that cause a bad posture, and you learn to direct yourself in a way that restores the natural posture of your body.
This technique can be learnt at any age.
F.M. Alexander was a successful actor who, in the middle of his career starts to suffer serious problems of voice. Doctors were unable to find a physical cause neither were they able to help him. So, F.M. Alexander himself investigated the reason for his problem, and he watched with multiple mirrors how he was managing his own body.
All his time investigating drive him to discover the principles which affected his body posture and its coordination.
Alexander thought that his work could be applied to improve health and personal well-being in general. In 1904, he settled in London, where, with the doctors’ support, he founded a centre where he had, between his students, some personalities as John Dewey, Aldous Huxley, Sir Henry Levin and Bernard Shaw.
Throughout the decades scientific discoveries, one after another, have come to corroborate the Alexander Technique’s Principles. In 1973, Nikolaas Tinbergen, in his receipt of the Medicine and Physiology Nobel Prize, devoted most of his speech to F.M. Alexander:
“This story, of perceptiveness, of intelligence, and of persistence, shown by a man without medical training, is one of the true epics of medical research and practice.”
Professor Nikolaas Tinbergen, winner of the Nobel Prize of Medicine in 1973, about F. M. Alexander and his technique.
As a dancer, you shape your body, your own working tool, by means of your training and your practice. If your daily exercises are full of effort, if you force your body and it hurts you, and you struggle to do your best, you will train at the deepest levels, to maintain certain physical and mental attitudes.
When you resort to remedies for injuries or chronic problems, such as chiropractic, massage, medication, physical therapy or acupuncture, you can relieve the symptoms, but you do not always reach the deeper causes. The ways to habitually use your own instrument, yourself, may be contributing to chronic damage and other problems. The Alexander Technique can work hand in hand with other modalities to support the healing process and prevent further relapses.
You will learn specific movement principles that will reinforce your way of working. The movement will become freer and lighter and your presence fills the stage, and your gesture become wider..
For athletes dedicated to sports as diverse as long-distance races, swimming, basketball and golf, the benefits of learning the Alexander Technique are: increasing in speed, precision, efficiency and endurance.
Athletes with chronic injuries restrain them as they learn the techniques of refined conception of themselves, the economy of effort and a greater control of the mechanisms of balance and coordination.
Any athlete can benefit of it.
The benefits of the Alexander technique for actors are manifold, since they include the minimization of psychophysical tensions, vocal relaxation, greater mental agility and a greater connection between mind and body..
By balancing and neutralizing tensions, we learn to relieve and avoid pain and discomfort, which allows us to refine the body as an essential instrument of the actor's work.
The Alexander Technique has been learned by actors such as Kevin Kline, John Cleese, Kenneth Branagh, and Paul Newman, among many others. It is also one of the techniques taught at the University of Washington School of Drama, at The Actors Studio, Juilliard, and at the Globe Theatre in London, among several centres.
The state and use of our voice is affected both by our own psychic-physical state and by our sense of balance. The Alexander Technique will help you to be aware of the bad habits that reduce your vocal capacity and to learn practices that will allow you to improve your voice and your singing, such as:
A woman's body is designed to give birth and care for a baby, but nevertheless, the weight of a pregnancy can lead to distortions in the back that can cause more discomfort than necessary.
Learning to manage your body based on your own natural coordination can greatly improve the pregnancy experience..
During delivery, if anxiety predominates, breathing becomes more difficult and being carried away in the process becomes more than a challenge. Learning to undo tension patterns prior to birth, helps you maintain a relaxed control in the birth process itself.
We can’t always control the amount of stress in our lives, but we can learn to react to it differently. By teaching you to respond more effectively, the technique will help relieve or eliminate your symptoms.
We react automatically to ordinary stress as if it were a threat of danger, with the neck tense and the body contracted. The answer seems inherent to us. If the body does not relax from this contraction, a constant state of emergency is maintained, so that it ends up paying a high physical price. We suffer from chronic back pain, digestive disorders, vocal dysfunctions, headaches, repetitive injuries due to stretching, nervous disorders and heart disease.
In this era of constant change, people want and need to have the ability to be flexible in demanding situations, and to go confidently into the unknown.
The Alexander Technique will provide tools for you to expand the boundaries of your usual field of attention.
Depression, self-esteem: Currently, the connection between the mind and the body is increasingly recognized, although it is not yet understood very well. Just a few treatments reflect this truth in their practice.
In fact, F. M. Alexander was far ahead of his time, by recognizing that the mind and the body are inseparable. It was this discovery that led him to develop his technique for the psychophysical use we make of ourselves.
People suffering from depression, anxiety or stress often get stuck looking for solutions only in their mind. Or sometimes, they try to find relief from physical symptoms by means of body treatments or medication.
F. M. Alexander discovered that the way we use our bodies has an extraordinary effect on our ability to perceive the world around us accurately, as well as our physical and emotional health.
The Alexander Technique in Orna’s hands has meant a substantial change in my body consciousness, that has generated highly beneficial mental and emotional changes.
This body awareness allows me to feel more confident in myself and to correct bad habits that have resulted in a remarkable improvement in my back, in noticing how its muscles are strengthened very vividly, and other deeper changes.
Although it is not easy to understand this technique, to follow it and to be aware, outside her office, helps you feel much better. It is easier to live it than to explain it ... but for me it has been a real discovery.
A.F.M Coach, experiential trainer and content management consultant
I am a doctor. 1.5 years ago, due to a facet syndrome at the lumbar level (probably secondary to 2 lumbo-sacral hernias) I suffered a very intense lumbar pain with radiation sickness to the hip and lower extremity, which invalidated my mobility significantly, despite the conventional treatments I followed.
One of the treatments that fundamentally helped my recovery was the craniosacral therapy in the first phase and, later on, the Alexander Technique that I recommend to all people with spinal conditions, so it is essential to consult first with a good specialist in this technique that will confirm the benefits in each case.terapia craneosacral
I consider Ms. Orna Genislav one of the best specialists in both therapies.
DR. M. B. Cardiologist. Barcelona
I started taking lessons from Orna when I was in Barcelona five years ago. I will never forget how I left the lessons feeling taller and extremely relaxed. A couple of lessons later I noticed the benefits.
In my case I got rid of excruciating headaches which even after years of Pilates and Yoga had kept bothering me. The Alexander technique enables me to move effortlessly and avoid bad postural habits. I have learned to maintain a relaxed body posture. Especially useful to me when there is hectic and stress at my school. Since then I continue to take classes in Germany.
Orna is an experienced, friendly and patient teacher. Her studio is light and calm. I warmly recommend taking lessons with Orna.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen, Sincerely, Gretel Ghamsharick, teacher from Frankfurt, Germany