If you were to come up with 2 words to describe the Alexander Technique, what would they be?

Difficult and Confusing?

Complicated and Profound?

Alexander himself – although he wrote many thousands of words on his technique – was very clear on his 2 words (the clue is in the blog heading).



Don’t believe me?  Have a look at this quote, from his second book (*):-

‘The desired “end”… would then be gained in that simple and easy manner characteristic of all successful accomplishment’

 There they are.  Simple and easy.

 Now I can already hear the splutters of indignation from students everywhere.  Let me just point out that getting to the ‘simple and easy’ stage is quite often hard and difficult.  But the difficulty is not in the Technique itself, it is in things like (**):-

1.  getting your head around very new and different ideas

2.  building up the discipline to “think Alexander” more often than not

3.  accepting what the Alexander Technique actually is, rather than trying to make it fit what you think it should be.

All these take time, effort and repetition to master.  But the core of the Technique, the stuff that actually gives us successful accomplishment, is amazingly simple.

 To put it another way, if you’re struggling and straining, you’re probably not using the Alexander Technique.  But that’s ok.  Stick to the process, and you will.

 (*) Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual, Part I, page 234 IRDEAT edition

(**)  this is not a definitive list, I may well expand it at a later date, and if anyone is so indignant they would like to add to it, please do put something in the comments box.  I’d love to hear from you.

CNHC and ITM registered Alexander Technique teacher.

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2 comments on “SIMPLE and EASY
  1. geetha says:

    i wont accept your description.
    for knowing the simple thing, we have to work hard.
    that is the power of simple things.
    new ideas makes permutations and combinations for knowing the simple thing.
    the alexander technique will be ‘born out by experience’.
    the experience makes that simple.

  2. Hi geetha,
    Welcome to the blog. It’s great to have you along, and great to have informed debate on what is a complex, multi-layered subject. It is a very interesting question, the apparent contradiction between how hard something is to learn, and how fundamentally simple it is in essence.

    I’m wondering whether you have other experience in this area, maybe in a spiritual discipline, that you are bringing to your Alexander Technique?

    Reading FM Alexander’s books, he seems to me to be putting out a call for simplicity where possible, which is a different question from the hard work which is undoubtedly needed to master the Technique. The particular passage that inspired the blog is this one:-
    ‘we might say that a dangerous stage of perversion and delusion has already been reached, when the attempts at solution of all the problems of life seem to call for complexity rather than simplicity in procedure. We even reach a stage when the most simple “means-whereby” in accomplishment become the most difficult. A very interesting instance in this connection occurred in my teaching experience. A well-known man of scientific attainments had great difficulty for some days with a simple, practical problem of psycho-mechanics concerned with his re-education. When he came to his lesson one morning he said: “I know now what is the matter with us all. This work of yours is too simple for us!” ‘
    It comes from Alexander’s second book, Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (p.232 in the IRDEAT edition). It’s a wonderful passage, but a bit long for a bite-size blog!

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