Alexander began by observing himself in a mirror both in the act of speaking and in reciting and he noticed 3 tendencies during the act of reciting – he tended to pull back the head, depress the larynx and suck in breath through the mouth resulting in a gasping sound. He also noticed these tendencies, though in a far more subtle degree, when he observed himself again in the act of everyday speech. He also noticed that these tendencies became particularly exaggerated when reciting more demanding passages of text, thus he believed he had found the root of his trouble.
He continued to experiment by trying to prevent each tendency and he found that he could only directly prevent, to some extent, the pulling back of the head, and that this in turn indirectly affected his breathing and the functioning of his voice. He also noticed that in the prevention of these tendencies, he also became less liable to hoarseness while reciting. Alexander then went on to conclude that as the prevention of putting the head back indirectly prevented the sucking in of breath and the depression of the larynx, he may be able to influence further the functioning of the vocal and respiratory mechanisms. As a result of further experimentation, he found that his head must go forward and up in relation to the neck and back, in order to prevent restriction in both vocal and respiratory processes.