What is the Alexander Technique? It is a challenge to explain in writing something that is difficult – and may be misleading - to describe in words. The Technique, because it is kinesthetically-based, is that sort of thing, most effectively conveyed and understood through experience.
At its most basic level, the Alexander Technique is a method for redistributing muscle tone to eliminate the excess strain we put on our bodies and minds. It is that simple in principle, but not so easy to put into practice, because it amounts to unlearning the habits of a lifetime. Physical in execution, at its most fundamental level it is a predominantly mental discipline.
We reflect everything in muscle tension, including our thoughts, intentions, and reactions. Frequently enough repeated, or sufficiently dramatic in impact, our experiences result in muscular holding, creating an unnoticed form of clenching or cringing that becomes as unconscious as it is habitual. We are no longer aware of what we are doing to ourselves, retracting physically and emotionally in the name of pulling ourselves together.
Beginning to release the excessive tensing that has limited our capacity to feel enhances self-awareness, enabling us to catch ourselves in the act of reinstating those subliminal contractions, to stop, and to choose to undo them. This leads to an ever-releasing spiral of expansiveness, both physical and emotional. What form that takes depends on the individual.