20 Tension Relieving Tips

Apr 16, 2012 by

Tension Relieving Tips


1. Pause…Breathe fully…

2. Become aware, and then let go of the muscles in the back of your neck.

3. This will move your head up.

4. Free your neck again, and slightly, slowly, lower your nose.

5. Repeat from the beginning.  (1, 2, 3, 4.)  Let your sit bones release down in your chair but, in opposition, your torso and head moves up.

6. Let your jaw dangle open, even when your lips are closed. Teeth open, lips gently touching.

7. Let your throat open as if you’re about to whisper ‘ah’.

8. Re -visit  1,2,3, and 4.


9. Let your shoulders rest on your ribcage. See if you’re lifting them up. Smile, and then let them ease down.

10. While sitting, let go of excess tension in your legs, without collapsing your torso.

11. Think of your knees going away from your torso, and away from each other.

12. Notice if you’re squeezing your legs together. Release your thigh muscles. Free your neck of excess tension again.

13. Notice any gripping, anywhere.

14. Go back to 1, 2, 3, 4  anytime. Breathe fully.


15. See if you could do less with your fingers, hands, biceps, and shoulders.

16. Think of something funny or pleasant and smile. Include the muscles in the corners of your eyes.

17. Breathe out through your mouth as you whisper ah. Let the air come back through your nose, silently. Repeat.

18. Bring awareness to your forehead and facial muscles.

19. Notice if you’re looking at these words too intensely, and see if your gaze can be softer.

20. Whisper ah on a long exhale. Breathe in through your nose, silently.

By Mark Josefsberg-Alexander Technique NYC


(917) 709-4648


  1. Thank you for your nice, clear instructions – this really worked!

    • Thanks, RM. I think we can make the Alexander Technique more simple, especially as people are being introduced to it. I also think that showing Alexander Technique’s benefits is a good idea. It’s such a useful, practical technique. We don’t need to make it unnecessarily mysterious!

      • Jane Srygley

        “We don’t need to make it unnecessarily mysterious!” Couldn’t agree more! I got a link to this from my friend Amy Ward Brimmer, also my former Alexander Technique teacher. I have to say that after decades of wanting to take Alexander lessons, I found the whole thing unnecessarily mysterious and frustrating! The 20-step meditation/practice here is so clear and practical! Thanks :-)

        • Mark Josefsberg

          Thank you so much, Jane. The Alexander Technique is really quite simple. I’m not sure why we want to make it needlessly complicated!

  2. Stefan

    Thanks for the great tips Mark!

    Really nice job with your site btw. Keep up the good work with your articles!

    • Mark Josefsberg

      Thanks for all your help, Stefan!
      Wasn’t it your idea for me to write a list of 20 ways the Alexander Technique could help with excess tension?


  3. rajesh


    i have one doubt.
    please clarify me

    can we expand the ribcage and lumbar back muscles
    thinking rather than doing with primary control?
    is it helpful.

    thank you.

  4. Jennifer

    I love these tips! I pull it up several times a day at work when I start getting tense and it really helps. I just starting working with the Alexander technique a few months ago and it seems to be helping me with neck pain that I have been battling for years. What frustrates me is all of the theory and semantics, which is reflected in some of the comments posted. When you start out using the technique it is important to see some immediate results before delving into all of the theory. It seems to me many people make it very complicated. So thanks for keeping it simple for all of us that are focused on pain relief rather than intellectual debate.

  5. Roy

    this helped me reduce tension

    • Mark Josefsberg

      I’m glad Roy. One of the great aspects of the Alexander Technique is that you get better with practice, and you can practice the Alexander Technique anytime you want!

  6. Alicia Cubells

    Briliant! That you, you help me to change the direction I was going this morning :)

    • Mark Josefsberg

      Thank you Alicia! I appreciate you sending this note. It helps my morning too!

  7. kenneth plant

    Thanks Mark, for your ongoing tips on the Alexander Technique many of which have helped me…..I am an older man and have tried to follow what I was taught by the 2 teachers I learned from in Sydney, Australia…..there is a problem however…..I have encountered little or no understanding of what ïnhibition”means…..I have recently discovered the teachings of Miss Margaret Goldie who was a first generation teacher with FM Alexander whose main emphasis was on “non doing”as a positive and not a negative approach….I recommend anyone interested to visit her web site “Miss goldie the complete guide to the Alexander Technique”which specialises on this aspect of FM’s teaching which appears to be largely overlooked.

    • Mark Josefsberg

      Hi Kenneth,

      Thanks for spreading the word about Margaret Goldie. It sounds like you have an idea of what inhibition means from your own studying. I think the main thing about inhibition is developing your own ideas about what it is and, more importantly, how to use it. Every Alexander Technique teacher has their own unique way of thinking about and teaching inhibition. It is one of the first topics I discuss with my students, even via Skype.
      Thanks again for sharing your information.

  8. Bill


    I think this newsletter is the most helpful one yet. Thank you so much.
    Like Kenneth, I also struggle with understanding “inhibition”. It seems it should be useful in my piano playing where tension sets in as I approach a challenging passage. But I’ve tried it for this with very minimal success.

    • Mark Josefsberg

      Hi Bill,

      Do you have an Alexander teacher? He/she could explain and demonstrate.
      Maybe you could try what F.M. Alexander described in The Use of the Self. It’s how he taught himself inhibition. In this case, play up to the difficult passage, and do one of three options. 1. don’t play, but free your neck etc. 2. Do something else (raise your arm) 3. Go ahead and play.
      If you don’t have the book, it would be a good investment, I think. Good luck, and let me know!

      • Bill

        Hi Mark,

        Thanks for the reply and valuable comments. I’ve bought many books on the Alexander technique but have held off on buying books by Alexander himself. This is because I read where his writings could be hard to follow. However, I will now get this book.
        Your 20 tips gave me at least a few insights. Your suggestion to dangle the jaw is proving to be much better than other jaw directions I’ve seen such as “Allow the jaw to release from the ears (or scull)”.

        • Mark Josefsberg

          Hi Bill,

          The Use of the Self is by far F.M. Alexander’s most accessible book. If you ever want to have a Skype lesson, please let me know. Thanks for commenting!

  9. Mark Josefsberg
  10. Sondra Powell

    I appreciate your tips so very much. Where could you direct us to help a six year old girl walk on her feet instead of her toes? Her mother did the same, but stopped at a younger age, yet still does at times without realizing it. The parents of the six year old are concerned about future damage to muscles, etc.

  11. Mark Josefsberg

    Thanks, Kate!


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