Use and Functioning - The quality of use directly affects the quality of functioning in an individual. Alexander spoke of the “self” as a whole, an inseparable entity of body and mind. “Use”, or “Use of the Self”, can be described as the total manner (in both body and mind) in which a person reacts to any given stimulus.(back)

Primary Control  - The Primary Control is an innate postural reflex and organizing force in the human body. It is a natural and dynamic momentum that counters gravity, leads the torso upwards, and elicits the lengthening of the entire spinal column. F.M. Alexander used the term specifically to describe the dynamic relationship of the head, neck, and torso. The quality of this primary relationship directly impacts the quality of a person’s movement and overall functioning. The Alexander Technique seeks to restore this natural and dynamic relationship.. (back)

Awareness - Alexander described “awareness” as an increased knowledge of how we use the body, mind and senses in activity. In the Alexander Technique we use awareness to notice habitual patterns of movement, to better understand body mechanics, and to refine our kinesthetic senses. Awareness is essential if we are to make lasting changes in ourselves. (back)

- Inhibition is the space between stimulus and response. More precisely, it is the ability to stop, and to delay our response until we are adequately prepared to make it. Inhibition gives us a chance to stop responding habitually, and allows us the chance to have new and improved patterns of movement.


Direction - Direction can be defined as the muscular energy we send through our bodies to perform an activity. It is the manifestation of intention brought into action. Because of habit, we tend to misdirect a great deal of energy, sending too much effort to certain muscles, and not enough to others. Through Awareness and Inhibition, we learn to direct our energy in a way that is much more in accordance with gravity and our human design. (back)

Faulty Sensory Awareness - Because our habits of movement feel right to us, it is often difficult to know when they are actually putting us in the wrong. Alexander is often quoted as saying, “Everyone wants to be right, but no one stops to consider if their idea of right is right. The Alexander Technique teaches us to rely not upon our feeling, but upon our thinking, to gain a more accurate sensory awareness. (back)

Ends and Means - If we set out to achieve a desired result in any activity, without stopping to consider how to best achieve this result, we will invariably respond in a habitual way. Alexander referred to this phenomenon as “end-gaining”, and found this to be a major obstacle to changing habits. Through Inhibition we learn to stop end-gaining and to pay attention to the quality of how we achieve our end. Alexander described this as paying attention to the “means-whereby”. It is the principle of gaining a desired end by emphasizing process rather than result. (back)