When you perform any task with excess tension you become less efficient and less engaging to watch. We have all watched someone with high anxiety speaking in public and as an audience is creates an uncomfortable feeling. Conversely when you see someone perform any task with confidence and ease it is a joy.
So if you are naturally nervous or tight how can you get past this to perform with ease and presence?
The answer is to learn to change your response to the challenge by releasing excess physical tension and calming your mind.
This is where the Alexander Technique can be really helpful. You learn these skills in a low stimulus setting (e.g. your lesson and resulting personal practice) so that you can put them to use when you wish to perform the task.
Performance benefits of the Alexander Technique, include:
Improved stamina, flexibility, posture, balance, awareness & sense of 'where you are' (proprioception).
Increased confidence and presence.
Preventing injury and unnecessary strain
Moving with ease and poise
Alleviating aches and pains
Breathing openly and freely
Heightening self awareness
Improve your performance in all activities from handstands to washing up!
Alexander Technique is taught in music and performing arts colleges including the Royal College of Music, the Guildhall, RADA, LAMDA and the Juilliard School (NY). Although I'm not usually keen on name dropping I have listed a few celebrity pupils as it seems to be in context! John Cleese, Robin Williams, Morgan Freeman, Judi Dench, Lenny Henry, Maralyn Monroe, Johnathan Price, Jeremy irons, Natalie Dormer, Sinead O’Connor, Hugh Jackman, Sting, Kevin Kline, Joanna Lumley. Twiggy, Robert Downey Jr, Benedict Cumberbatch to name a few.
Alexander Technique is used routinely many elite sports people including horse riders, gymnasts, cyclists, runners. It is used by the Olympic Equestrian and Rowing teams. Stephan Shaw’s ‘Shaw method’ for swimming is based largely on Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais was a student of Alexander Technique.
"I can definitely say without hesitation that I wouldn't have had the rowing success that I have had the luxury of experiencing in my short time on the water, without finding the AT and the great teachers that I have had the privilege to work with."
Valerie Thompson-Williams, rowing masters gold medallist
"Balance is a vital aspect of good hammer throwing and getting the head, neck, spine and pelvis in the correct relationship enables the balance of the throw to come so much more easily. Once the balance is settled there is an enormous improvement in turning speed."
Howard Payne, Commonwealth record hammer thrower
The Alexander Technique removed a long standing back problem and improved my riding ability. Riders who take up the technique always make a very significant improvement in their riding.”
Daniel Pevsner, Fellow of the British Horse Society