In the Alexander technique, the term ‘directions’ is used with two different but intersecting meanings. Firstly, the ‘directions’ are the mental instructions that we learn to give our selves before and during an action in order to bring about improvements in the way we use our selves while performing the action. These instructions also indicate the physical ‘direction’ in which we wish to release and lengthen our muscles; for example, allowing our shoulders to release out sideways and away from each other and allowing our torso to lengthen and widen.

Over time, when combined with the inhibition (stopping) of our habitual misuse, the directions build up a new and improved use of our selves.

The directions may also be referred to as the ‘orders’ – again with two overlapping meanings, in the sense of being mental instructions and also in terms of hierarchically ordering the body, with the orders or directions to the head, neck and back being primary.

Also see primary control. Find other glossary terms and definitions.

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