Hilary King, MSTAT Alexander Technique Teacher in North London 020 8341 3751


Inhibition comes from the Latin for restraint and in Alexander Technique terms, has nothing to do with repression.

In physiology, this term refers to the restraining of an organic process, or the prevention of its initiation by neurological or physiological means (Penguin Dictionary of Psychology).

In an entry about Time Management in Wikipedia, defines Inhibitory control, also known as Response inhibition, as ‘a cognitive process that permits an individual to inhibit their impulses and natural, habitual, or dominant behavioral responses to stimuli in order to select a more appropriate behaviour that is consistent with completing their goals’

In the Alexander Technique, the term refers to a process which one can learn within AT lessons, in which a person consciously chooses to stop or inhibit a habitual reaction to a stimulus. This allows the individual a moment’s pause, in which to choose whether or not to respond to the stimulus and if so, how to perform an action in response.

As Alexander stated:

all those who wish to change something in themselves must learn… to inhibit their immediate reaction to any stimulus to gain a desired end’ and in order to stop falling back upon 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 when he said to a pupil who he was teaching:

‘Like a good fellow, stop the things that are wrong first’.

F Matthias Alexander  ~ Aphorisms p.47

In other words we learn to

  • Stop unhelpful habits ~ Think and Direct ~ Then Move

Stop Look Go - or - Stop Think Act