Are we aware that it is very much possible for us to learn how to interrupt and intercept our habitual unconscious reaction by stopping and thinking, very much applying the Alexander Technique principles of inhibition and direction?

Our wholly unconscious habitual reaction is to somehow think that we need to do something in order to make things better, to improve things. We can see how this happens in an Alexander Technique lessons when the pupil is under the impression that they need to do more in terms of rising from the chair, when in fact all the teacher is asking the pupil to do is to continue giving their directions, the guiding orders which remind us about asking for the freedom of our neck, our head balance, the length and width of the back and torso, and so forth. Of course it is our habitual unhelpful thinking which causes us all initially to interfere with all of this, without reasoning out how indeed we are able to do this without making a whole load of unnecessary effort. We are so convinced that we have to do something in order to bring about our desired solution, indeed it is so ingrained, whereas working according to the means whereby principle shows us that the opposite is true, it is all in our thinking.

As we are a psychophysical mechanism which works as a unity, this equally applies to our mind, body and emotions and is the reason why the Alexander Technique is very much an all-encompassing, and therefore holistic, mind-body intelligence technique. Whatever the habitual reaction, over time we are able to observe it when it happens, to decide to switch our thinking about it in the moment by observing it, without judgement, and directing ourselves towards a different new manner of Use, one from which we ourselves choose to learn as opposed to remaining stuck as a slave when it comes to unconscious habit. Of course this is something about which we can choose to be vigilant. This freedom of choice when it comes to close observation of our own thinking and how this impedes us during lessons is in my mind a very important aspect of learning and applying the Alexander Technique.

I have referred to this phrase of the opposite of wrong being wrong previously. It’s is something I heard a long ago and I have often found myself pondering on its meaning, now understanding it more is proving very helpful. You might be as confused about this expression as much as I first was, but we come to understand what this means.



Image courtesy of Weerapat Wattanapichyakul via