Inhibition comes from the Latin for restraint and in Alexander Technique terms, has nothing to do with repression (as is used in psychology).
In Alexander lessons, when we meet a stimulus, we learn to consciously pause, to inhibit our habitual reactions to something. This allows us a brief moment before we act in which we can choose whether or not to respond to the stimulus and if so, how to perform our response. Do we want to do the same habitual thing, something different, or nothing at all? In other words
Stop ~ Think and Direct ~ Act
Inhibition is perhaps the trickiest part of learning the AT. Our habits are so strong, are familiar and usually feel ‘right’ to us. So choosing to say ‘no’ to our usual way of doing things and do something different, can often be quite a challenge!
Alexander explained ‘Inhibition’ in his rather antiquated language:
‘all those who wish to change something in themselves must learn… to inhibit their immediate reaction to any stimulus to gain a desired end’. In order to stop repeating ‘the familiar sensory experiences of their old habitual use in order to gain it, they must continue this inhibition whilst they employ the new direction of their use‘. F M Alexander ~ The Use of the Self p. 115
He also put it more simply to a pupil :
‘Like a good fellow, stop the things that are wrong first’. F Matthias Alexander ~ Aphorisms p.47
In physiology, ‘inhibition’ refers to the restraining of an organic process, or the prevention of its initiation by neurological or physiological means (Penguin Dictionary of Psychology).
A Time Management entry in Wikipedia, defines Inhibitory control or Response inhibition, as:
‘a cognitive process that permits an individual to inhibit their impulses and natural, habitual, or dominant behavioural responses to stimuli, in order to select a more appropriate behaviour that is consistent with completing their goals’