DEFINING THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE Tim
Soar © 1999
The primary control is a hierarchic process – the directions which encourage it to work well relate to each other in a pyramidal fashion. Each part of the structure of this pyramid is not equal to its neighbours but is subordinate to those at a higher level and supportive to those at a lower level.
Every individual, every moment, and every movement will require a subtle “re-shuffle”, especially of the lower levels of the pyramid, and particular specialist directions (for example, think of something funny to smile at) will need to be recruited, temporarily, at a prominent level for specific activities.
Notwithstanding this flexibility, I offer here, by way of example, a possible “general purpose direction pyramid“ and its twin “inhibition pyramid” – understanding what you need to avoid (inhibit) can often clarify the meaning behind the wording of a particular direction.
GIVE CONSENT (Direct)
Head Forward and Up, Back Lengthen and Widen
Knees Forward and Away, Shoulders Widen, Remember to Breathe
Allow the Ground to Support You, Look Outwards, Tail Away From Head, Arms Lengthening out of Back
Release Front of Hips, Soften Back of Knees, Free Ankles, Allow Ribs to Move with Breath, Allow Yourself to, See, Hear,Feel
Feet Lengthen and Widen, Hands Lengthen and Widen, Stay Mobile, Front of Torso Lengthening, Back Stays Back, Jaw Releasing
WITHHOLD CONSENT (Inhibit)
Head Back and Down, Back Shortening and Narrowing
Knees Tightening Towards Hips and Knocking In, Shoulders Narrowing, Holding Breath
Clenching Upwards, Looking Crookedly, Overarching Lower Back, Tightening Arms into Torso
Throwing Hips Forward, Locking Knees, Ankles Stiffening, Rigidifying Thorax, Blocking out Sensory Information
Gripping with Feet, Fiddling with Hands, Fixing or Freezing, Bracing Chest and Abdomen, Exaggerating Spinal Curves, Jaw Clenching