The Alexander Technique was developed by Frederick Matthias Alexander, an Australian actor who began to experience chronic laryngitis whenever he performed. After a frustrating period of seeing doctors and trying to “rest” his voice by taking breaks from acting, Alexander set out to find his own solution. He began his own observations and study of anatomy and movement and concluded that excess tension in his neck and body were causing his problems. He then developed techniques for releasing that tension, and for moving and speaking with greater ease.
Seeing his remarkable improvement, his friends and several doctors he consulted urged him to teach others what he had learned. In London in 1932, Alexander began a 50-year commitment to doing just that, requiring his students to commit full time to rigorous instruction in his methods.
Recognizing the importance of continuing Alexander’s work and maintaining his high standards, his former students adopted the British educational authorities’ standard for a full time course: fifteen hours a week, three twelve-week terms a year, and three years duration. In the following years, when teacher training courses were established throughout the world, the Alexander Technique Affiliated Societies was formed to maintain equivalent standards. As a member of ATAS, the American Society for the Alexander Technique requires 1,600 hours of rigorous training within a three-year period to receive certification.
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