Thursday 11 October 2007

It's a matter of opinion

As a STAT-trained AT teacher, I spend a LOT of time considering and cogitating over the question of "what the heck have I spent 3 years of my life training to teach?"

Ask your local AT teacher to define AT in one sentence (or even one parapaph) and they will probably struggle. Read any of FM Alexander's books on the subject and YOU will probably struggle! He wasn't exactly "gifted" when it came to writing clearly.

I think it's fair to say that, after a little (or much) thought, your teacher will eventually respond with a statement delivered as if it were some sort of truth. No! It's just that teacher's opinion: one that should be respected however, because it's just as valid as any other AT teacher's opinion. It can never be "the truth".

Equally, MY opinion is not the truth - but it may ruffle a few feathers amongst conservative AT thinkers. I don't buy-into the "FM Alexander personality cult" view of AT. I think this body of knowledge is incredibly valuable - to the human race - and it is right that it should be developed and expanded in the light of contemporary thinking. Conservatives have tried to fossilise AT in the sense of "if FM didn't say it then it's not true".

Maybe FM would have been pleased to see his descriptions of the work preserved so literally. On the other hand, he tried 4 times in 4 books to explain his principles but still left the world guessing at it's meaning. AT is like Zen - all "explanations" are nothing more than clues.

What I want to achieve in these blogs, therefore, is to explain what I personally believe this work is about and how it fits-in with modern life. I'd like to see AT take its rightful place in "body knowledge" and be moved from the "alternative" shelves to the philosophy or science section in book shops.


  1. I agree with you getting a straight-forward definition of the Alexander Technique is a challenge. One good place to look to see several good attempts is at

  2. I totally accept this point of view. I don't see it as my role to try to document other people's views about AT because, as this link shows, MUCH thoght has been devoted to this issue.

    I hope you will accept my general point that "it's a matter of opinion" and although I've not yet had the time to express MYself, you should read everyone's view and "buy" the one that resonates with you most closely.

  3. Hi Jeff,

    Good luck with this blog. And don't let those horrible forces of conservatism get the better of you. Remember: your viewpoint on AT is no less invalid than anybody else's!