Books

"Be careful of the printed matter: you may not read it as it is written down."
F. M. Alexander[1]

There are many excellent books on the Alexander Technique - and, alas, some that are not so good!

The purpose of this page is to point anyone interested in reading more about the Alexander Technique toward a few useful books with which to begin, as well as to provide information on where to buy books on the Alexander Technique. We have also indicated a number of books for readers who have more experience of the Alexander Technique, and listed Alexander’s own books – for the more adventurous reader!

Estonian Books

There are three books on the Alexander Technique in Estonian:

1) Alexanderi tehnika. Oskus kogu eluks

Alexanderi tehnika. Oskus kogu eluks - Cover.thumbnail.jpg

Alexanderi tehnika. Oskus kogu eluks by Pedro de Alcantara, published by Kirjastus Valgus in October 2013, is the latest book on the Alexander Technique to be translated into Estonian. It is based on a revised version of Pedro’s book The Alexander Technique: A Skill for Life, and has been sensitively translated from the English by Kristel Kaljund; unique to this Estonian version are many new pictures chosen by Pedro, as well as a new foreword.

In clear, insightful prose, Pedro explains the principles of the Alexander Technique and their relationship to different aspects of our lives. What is particularly admirable is that he succeeds in doing this without distortion or oversimplification (unlike the authors of many popular books!), and hence is faithful to the richness and uniqueness of Alexander’s discoveries. Chapter headings are: First Principles, The Use of the Self, Inhibition and Direction, The Lesson, Emotions, Health and Well-Being, Sports and Exercise, The Performing Arts, The Teacher and Conclusion. The book also contains more than forty pictures, which are essential to illustrating his argument.

Overall this is an excellent introductory guide to the Alexander Technique, and deservedly considered a modern Alexander classic. The book can be bought from all major bookshops in Estonia. Note: Pedro de Alcantara is coming to Estonia on 15 and 16 March 2014 to give Alexander and cello workshops. For more information please contact us.

2) Kehaõpe: Sissejuhatus Alexanderi tehnikasse by Michael Gelb; and
3) Alexanderi tehnika saladusi by Robert MacDonald and Caro Ness

Kehaõpe is a translation of Michael Gelb’s Body Learning, which was first published in 1981 and widely regarded as the classic introductory guide to the Alexander Technique. Michael Gelb gives a detailed account of how Alexander developed the Technique; describes the seven ‘operational ideas’ of the Alexander Technique; and relates his experiences of applying the Alexander Technique in education, and to learning various skills, such as juggling and aikido. The book also contains many evocative photographs, to give a visual representation of good ‘use’. Note: Kehaõpe is now out of print, but it is still possible to find copies in libraries.

Alexanderi tehnika saladusi by Robert MacDonald is a small, simple book, attractively illustrated with colour photographs. It can be bought in all good bookshops in Estonia.

Introductory Books in English:

Body Learning: An Introduction to the Alexander Technique, Michael Gelb

The Alexander Technique: A Skill for Life, Pedro de Alcantara

The Alexander Principle: How to Use Your Body Without Stress, Wilfred Barlow

The Alexander Technique: An Introductory Guide to the Technique and Its Benefits, Chris Stevens

Further Reading:

Freedom to Change, Frank Pierce Jones

Indirect Procedures: A Musician’s Guide to the Alexander Technique, Pedro de Alcantara

Mind and Muscle: An Owner’s Handbook, Elizabeth Langford

Explaining the Alexander Technique: The Writings of F. Matthias Alexander, Walter Carrington and Seán Carey

Personally Speaking, Walter Carrington and Seán Carey

F. Matthias Alexander’s Books:

Man’s Supreme Inheritance: Conscious Guidance and Control in Relation to Human Evolution in Civilization (1910; 6th edn, London: Mouritz, 1996)

Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (1923; 3rd edn, London: Mouritz, 2004)

The Use of the Self: Its Conscious Direction in Relation to Diagnosis, Functioning and the Control of Reaction (London, 1932)

The Universal Constant in Living (1941; 4th edn, London: Mouritz, 2000)

Articles and Lectures: Articles, Published Letters and Lectures on
the F. M. Alexander Technique
, ed. Jean M. O. Fischer (London: Mouritz, 1995)

Where to Buy:

There are two specialist sellers of books on the Alexander Technique that we recommend:

Mouritz, who publish scholarly editions of Alexander's own books; and
Alexander Books, who sell a comprehensive selection of books on the Alexander Technique.

Many books can also be found on Amazon.

Happy reading!

[1] F. M. Alexander, Articles and Lectures ed. Jean M. O. Fischer (London: Mouritz, 1995), p. 206