History

Who was Alexander?

Alexander was born in Australia in 1869. From a young age he wanted to be an actor, and he worked and to achieve this. In his twenties he encountered a problem: when he used his voice on stage he would gradually grow hoarse and lose his voice. He consulted doctors and followed their remedies and nothing worked except that rest gradually restored his voice. Alexander realised it was something he was doing himself when speaking on stage that caused the problem, and so he set out to study his movements by looking in mirrors to discover the cause of the problem.

What did he discover?

Alexander observed that when he raised his voice he was compressing his voice box by wrongly moving his head. Practising with 3 mirrors, he worked hard at changing this habit for 9 years, and he gradually realised that he was making uncoordinated movements with his whole body which were all part of the problem. He saw that if he could prevent himself from following these habit patterns, he would be able to use his voice properly and naturally. Using his experiences, Alexander developed a technique for teaching other people to gain a new awareness of the body, and learn to give up the habits which cause un-coordinated movements. Small children and healthy animals provide a good example of how natural movement should be, but many people put too much unhealthy strain on their bodies, through such things as bad posture at the computer, slouching in front of the TV and rushing through life without paying attention to the body – until it hurts.