The Alexander Technique is a subtle but powerful way to learn how to restore the natural poise we had as a children. Through guidance with the hands and vocal instruction, the teacher helps the student to become aware of lifelong habits, and re-establishes the proper relationship of the head, neck and back. This facilitates better coordination and enables the whole body to function more naturally.
A simple and subtle change in the way you use yourself can bring about profound benefits both to your mind and body. Physically you should be less prone to chronic aches and pains, and feel lighter and freer. You may also become taller and look younger. What is more, an improvement in your poise can greatly affect your state of mind, bringing about a quality of calmness and confidence.
Health and well-being As we grow older, we accumulate many harmful habits, such as hunching over a desk. These repeated patterns can cause the spine to become misaligned, affecting many functions of the body, including breathing, digestion, and coordination.
The Alexander Technique can help improve conditions such as:
Performance Actors, dancers, musicians, public speakers and sports people use the Alexander Technique to improve their performance. It is often taught at performing arts schools and colleges. Whatever the activity, the Alexander Technique eaches you to do it better with ease. Self-developmentPeople interested in self-development can use the Alexander Technique for life-long learning.
Fumiaki Tanaka MSTAT
Fumiaki is one of a few Alexander technique teachers in Japan who are qualified through STAT (The Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique). He is a native Japanese who studied Tai-Chi and gymnastics from an early age. He moved to the US to train as an actor, where he first encountered the Alexander Technique and Laban.
He moved to the UK to complete an MA in Physical Theatre. His research in performer training led him to study the Alexander Technique in London. Subsequently he was invited to join a professional development course in Laban.
Fumiaki has taught in drama schools and universities in London and the South West England as well as in Japan and the US. He was an associate lecture at University of Plymouth, where he taught movement and physical theatre.
He has a diverse training background in mind-body work, including meditation, yoga, qi-gong, Tai-Chi, Feldenkrais, Aikido, Contact Improvisation and more. His Alexander technique teaching is stongly based on a mindfulness appraoch.
In 2014, he was asked to manage a guest house in a remote area of north Kyoto whilst running rural regeneration projects using arts. With his family, he moved back to Japan and ran this guest house for a year. Now, along with his Alexander Technique teaching, he teaches devising theatre to young actors in Kyoto city as well as organising regeneration projects in Ayabe city. This year, he held a couple of concerts in local villages, brining established musicians from the UK and the US.
FM Alexander – How it all started
FM Alexander was born in 1869 in Tasmania. As a child, Alexander showed a great interest in poetry, especially the works of Shakespeare. His love of reciting and interpretation of the characters naturally lead him to become an actor. His career went well until he started to develop a throat problem.
Despite consultations with doctors and voice teachers, his condition worsened and he began to lose his voice on a regular basis. When offered an attractive reciting job he saw the doctor again. He reassured Alexander that if he used his voice as little as possible until the recital, he would regain his voice. The doctor’s advice worked but only until he started reciting. The hoarseness returned, and by the end of the performance he could hardly speak.
Alexander consulted the doctor yet again and was told to continue to rest his voice. However Alexander argued that despite following this advice the hoarseness returned as soon as he performed. He concluded that it must be the way he recited that caused the problem. The doctor agreed but could not tell him what he was doing wrong. At that point, Alexander decided to find out himself and his years of investigation began.
Through lengthy experimentation he discovered that the relationship of the head, neck and back determines the functioning of the whole body. Eventually he was able to break his habitual way of using himself and improved the condition of his throat as well as his general health.
What happens in a lesson? An Alexander Technique lesson lasts 45 minutes and is usually taught on a one to one basis. There are generally two parts to the lesson. The first is referred to as ‘chair work’. Simple daily movements such as sitting, standing and walking are used to facilitate the proper relationship of the head, neck and back in activity. The second part is called ‘table work’. The student lies on their back on a specially designed table. With the help of teacher, the student learns to release long-held tension while lengthening and widening the back.
ClothingPlease wear loose fitting clothes (no skirts). You will be asked to take your shoes off.