Alexander himself developed his techniques to deal with a problem that had developed while he was reciting and then discovered he could improve his performance in projecting his voice and his acting technique.
He then first promoted his work to actors, reciters and singers, which then got the attention of musicians. Later on, sports people, especially some golfers and boxers became interested, and so it became known that his work was effective in improving people’s performance in all forms of activities.
This is understandable, as when you reduce excess muscle tone, your body moves more easily and your reflexes can control you more efficiently. Also, using the principles of ‘Direction’ you can position and guide your body more effectively.
The most difficult thing for most people to learn is to drop their ingrained habits that have become associated with their activity and stop putting too much effort and tension into what they are doing. This is where an experienced teacher is most valuable as they have the skill of getting you to bypass the triggers for these habits. You then find yourself performing more freely, more efficiently with less effort and often much more accurately!
In voice production, the projection is often better, the available volume louder, tone and modulation more controlled, and the drawing of breath much quieter. Singers can often extend their pitch range and sing longer passages without drawing breath.
Musicians often find their timing and accuracy is better, their tone is sweeter and their performance is easier and less tiring. Flautist, violinists and others who have to hold their instruments in ways that many find difficult, find it easier to hold their instrument, sometimes adapting chin rests or similar to develop more efficient positions for playing.
In sports, letting go of excess muscle tone enables people to develop more power, suppleness and agility. In team sports, when not near the centre of play, players can rapidly relax, saving energy for when it is needed and then engage again more quickly.
With darts, billiards and pool, archery and shooting, the lack of excess tone means you have better accuracy
Zen in Activity
Above all, the discipline of staying open to whatever may be most appropriate next, avoids triggering old habits and keeps your mind clear. This way you get into the zone or groove more easily and let the inner skills of your body and the deeper part of your mind take over and get the job done for you. I particularly recommend reading
The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey and
Zen in The Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel
Both describe how they eventually got their conscious minds and actions out of the way of their deeper abilities to learn and calibrate their skills, so that their game, their art, their performance, became automatic. The technique gives you a tool to achieve this state much more easily.
Performance in Daily Life
It stands to reason that these benefits are not restricted to sport or entertainment. Both at work and in our personal private lives, these benefits can also be an advantage. In my teaching, I coach people in applying all the principles in every aspect of life, in work, rest and play. There is nothing in my opinion that cannot benefit from the technique.