Every action we undertake in life, no matter how mundane or momentous, begins as a thought, which the brain can implement by ordering muscles to contract. We can choose to take control of this process of converting thought into action, but much of the time, it occurs beneath the level of our awareness.
It often benefits us that certain of our activities can happen more or less automatically - driving a car or tying a shoe, for instance. The downside of this unconscious way of responding is that we risk carrying out our actions in a less-than-optimal way. When we settle for mental "pot luck," our responses are influenced by the disorganized and often contradictory miscellany of thoughts - beliefs, attitudes, intentions - which make up our idea of a particular activity.
At times we may desire to take more control over how we perform our activities, to allow new and better responses to emerge. To achieve this kind of control, we have to replace our default mental patterns with a consciously chosen, logical, and consistent framework of thinking.
The Alexander Technique provides such a framework. It is a tool that allows us to organize our thinking. Those who become skilled in using the A.T. learn to channel their energies along productive pathways, allowing them to avoid creating obstacles for themselves and to use their bodies in a healthier, more efficient way.
I am currently working with a pop singer, Jason (not his real name), who had the intention of breathing fully and deeply when he performed. Before he came to me, however, this intention was diluted by other thoughts that diverted his energies into counter-productive channels: His concept of "good posture" required a great deal of effort, which actually interfered with the movement of his diaphragm in breathing. Because of erroneous beliefs about how breathing works, he futilely attempted to breathe into his belly (which contains his intestines) rather than into his upper torso (which contains his lungs). And, paradoxically, it was his very desire to sing well - without any thought as to how the state of his body influences his ability to sing well - that was interfering with his breathing by triggering tension and anxiety.
After some Alexander lessons, Jason has learned constructive thinking that he employs not only on stage, but all the time, to allow for his fullest, healthiest breathing to occur. He is much more at ease when he performs and feels better on and off stage.
I am teaching Jason the framework of thinking developed by F.M. Alexander during his career of helping people to reach their fullest potential. (Alexander was a pioneer in exploring the mind-body connection.) Alexander's technique consists of a set of mental skills - some general, some specific to each individual - that must be learned. In your lessons, I'll not only teach you the universally applicable aspects of the A.T. thinking process, but I'll also help you to develop customized thinking to address your unique situation.
Outside of your lessons, it is up to you to employ your new thinking as often as possible and as consistently as possible in your life. A single thought has a slight potential to effect lasting change, but the possibilities multiply when you think that same thought 10 times, 100 times, 1,000 times. . . .
Consider how over the course of many years, a slow drip of water can carve out a deep channel in solid rock.