In an Alexander Technique lesson, your teacher instructs you — with verbal and manual guidance — to approach movement differently. You will learn to recognize habit patterns that may be interfering with ease and flexibility and you’ll learn how to discontinue them. No special clothing needed, just make sure you are comfortable.
Guidance During Activity
Using simple activities such as sitting, standing, walking, speaking and reaching, your teacher gives you verbal, visual and physical cues to help you perform those activities with greater ease and efficiency. Guiding you in movement, your teacher will elicit your body’s capacity for dynamic expansion and you will learn how to maintain that ease and freedom on your own.
What you learn applies to all activities in your life, but you are welcome to work with your teacher on particular activities of interest such as lifting and carrying, computer work, public speaking, your favorite sport or even sleeping position. Actors may choose to work on a monologue, singers an aria, violinists a challenging passage, dancers a movement. In any activity you bring to a lesson – swinging a tennis racket, lifting a child or sitting in front of a computer – you learn to apply the principles of the Alexander Technique to reduce compression and increase overall ease and proficiency.
During the course of a lesson, the teacher will put hands on the student’s body in a specific way, identifying the existing habitual patterns, and guiding the student with touch and verbal instruction.
There two main ways of working with a student are while sitting, standing, getting in and out of a chair, and lying down on the table. However, after a number of sessions, when a student is ready, other activities are introduced in the lesson. Musicians often wish to bring their instrument, to benefit from the teacher’s expertise while playing. If your job requires you to spend many hours at your computer, you may bring a laptop to work on improving your use of self while working.
To more easily experience the body’s muscles in a neutral state, part of the lesson takes place lying down (fully clothed) on a lightly padded table – on your back with your knees bent. Your teacher will teach you how to recognize and release any unnecessary tension you may be holding, promoting an enlivened sensory awareness and quieting the nervous system. You are an active participant: your eyes are open and conversation takes place.
One-on-one sessions are 50 minutes in length. The American Society for The Alexander Technique (AmSAT) recommends a course of 30 lessons to be able to apply the Technique reliably on your own. Some people study for less time and are satisfied, and some study longer, taking their exploration to deeper levels.
If you decide to give Alexander Technique a try and commit to 10 sessions, you will witness greater results when taking the lessons closer together, 2-3 times a week, as opposed to coming once a week for few months.