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F M Alexander, the founder of the Alexander Technique, realised something that may seem fairly obvious but is often overlooked.  He realised that he couldn’t carry on doing the same thing over and over again and reasonably expect a different result.

F M (as he was known), was a keen Shakespearian actor who kept losing his voice during his performances.  His doctor prescribed complete rest and some simple medicine.  This helped initially but, as soon as FM began performing again, his voice problems returned.  At this point, he could have started blaming external circumstances, thinking that the theatre was too cold, the lights were too bright, the space was wrong or his clothes were too tight.  But he didn’t.

Instead, he reasoned that the problem was likely to be caused by something that he was doing (unknowingly) in the process of projecting his voice.  The doctor agreed with him but couldn’t help him identify what that was.  And this is how FM began his journey of exploration and discovery.  He wanted to find out what he was unknowingly doing to himself that was causing his voice problems.  He started to look at the way that he was breathing and the way that he was positioning and tensing his body.  He realised that if he wanted to stop losing his voice, he had to change the way that he was doing these things.

We may not be experiencing problems with our voice, but the same principles apply to other aspects of our lives where we may be feeling challenged.  When we feel anxious, stressed, busy, exhausted, irritated or stuck, these are symptoms telling us that something needs to change.  But we don’t tend to make the connection between what we are doing and how we are feeling.  Instead, we assume that our feelings are the result of other people’s behaviour or things that have happened to us.  This assumption leaves us continually chasing our tails, trying to get somewhere else or trying to make things work out the way we want them to.  However, we can’t change things that have happened and we cannot control how other people behave so this leaves us frustrated and disappointed.

Making the connection between what we are doing and how we are feeling is helpful.  Realising that the things we do automatically, have a major impact on all areas of our lives, is empowering.  We can nurture curiosity as we ask ourselves: ‘what am I doing? What are my habitual patterns of thinking, moving and reacting?’  When we pause for long enough, we may be able to see whether these automatic habits are enhancing our health, our energy, our mood or whether they are wearing us down, keeping us stuck or busy.

It is possible to change the way that we relate to our circumstances and the way that we engage with our thoughts and even how we react to impulses.  It may not be easy to begin with but, with a little support and guidance, it is possible.  And these simple changes can have a profound impact on our health and wellbeing.  When we change our behaviour, we can reasonably expect a different result.  Are you curious?

Body mind wisdom and healing – mindfulness and AT (


These posts are intended to offer up some thoughts and ideas that may be helpful in times of stress, busyness, sameness or uncertainty.  They are best understood within the context of Mindfulness practice and Alexander Technique practice; both of which are kind and conscious ways of working with mind and body.