Is Alexander Technique Spiritual Work?

Alexander teacher John Coffin writes:

What would it mean for the Technique to be ‘spiritual work?’ Alexander was atheist, as was Dewey. The books were kept in print by the son of CA Watts, editor of the Rationlist Press Association.

Peter Scott (for example) was a far-right Roman Catholic and the current body of teachers and students is probably disproportionately slanted towards every imagineable thread of New Agery.

So I don’t think we can ascribe any religious content inherent in the work itself. At least not in any way that can’t be rationalized away.


The Technique strikes at the very heart of our understanding of our selves and our ability to will and choose. As such, I think that every real student of the Technique will undergo what might be called a ‘spiritual’ change or challenge. I certainly did; though I find the word ‘spiritual’ far to vague and waffly to want to use it.

Many ‘iron clad atheists’ are followers of rather dumb philosophies which teach an exaggerated sense of ‘free-will.’ Grasping the full implications of faulty sensory appreciation might be devastasting for such a person.

Most New Agers seem to share a willingness to believe on the basis of anecdotes and subjective feelings, often accompanied by a snide dismissal of ‘mere’ reality or ‘materialist’ science. They too may not be able to accept the gifts of the Technique at the price of their worldview.

So I agree that this can be described as ‘spiritual work.’ This may be why so many are unwilling to approach the work in the first place–or expend so much effort in denying the Technique’s uniqueness and value and constantly degrade it to the level of ‘somatic practice,’ Physical Culture, or fad therapy.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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