“You let the tiredness out!” – Fatigue and Alexander Technique


Last week I wrote about why it is that working with the Alexander Technique can have a dramatic improvement upon your energy levels. But what about when it doesn’t? What if you experience a short-term fatigue?

The quote in the title is from my husband. When he has Alexander lessons, it is a common experience for him to feel all the usual beneficial stuff – lighter, freer, less muscular discomfort – but also one less welcome sensation. Tiredness.

Similarly, I have had students who experience a tiredness reaction to a lesson so extreme that they could barely keep awake!

So what happened to my husband and my students? Why did they feel so tired? What follows is my best guess on the subject.


Habits of body, habits of thought.

In his first book Man’s Supreme Inheritance, FM Alexander is very clear that there is a relationship between movement and thought. He writes: “the majority of people fall into a mechanical habit of thought quite as easily as they fall into the mechanical habit of body which is the immediate consequence.”

So – what we do with our bodies is the consequence of beliefs we have or decisions we make. If this is so – and I believe that it is – then we could create a story of a hypothetical student.


I can well imagine that, if our hypothetical student has had a particularly tiring or stressful time, they may well make the decision that, for whatever reason, they are not able to allow themselves to rest. They decide to keep going. And in order to keep going and keep concentrating on their work, they turn on muscles (FM writes about this in Man’s Supreme Inheritance too).

And then they keep them turned on. And on. And on.

They forget, in fact, to turn them off.

So now, in addition to the original fatigue, our hypothetical student is expending energy on the needless use of muscles.

When, therefore, they come for their Alexander Technique lesson, and the teacher convinces them to give up the excess muscular energy that they were using to counteract the fatigue, our student is going to feel the full force of the tiredness that they were originally fighting. In the short term, they will probably feel terrible. But if they allow themselves to rest, in the long term they will feel better because they will have stopped the unnecessary muscular activity that was not just masking but adding to the fatigue.

My question to you is: does this ring true for you? Do you think you might be masking your fatigue with extra activity? If so, can I urge you to stop, allow yourself to feel tired, and rest? It might not be great in the short term, but in the long run you’ll be so much more effective!

Let me know what you think!

Image by Ambro from FreeDigitalPhotos.net