What is Alexander Technique?
Alexander Technique is a way of to promote well-being by retraining one's awareness and habits of movement to ensure minimum effort and strain.
For most people, this means helping reduce their habitual muscle tension to a more appropriate level.
What is the effect of having lessons?
Reducing muscle tone to a more appropriate level has a very wide range of effects on both the body and the mind.
People typically report feeling lighter, freer and more limber. Physically this means they move, sit, stand and breathe with more ease.
Given how mental tension and physical tension reflect each other, they also feel more calm and at ease.
So what's it good for?
Many attend lessons because of back or neck pain. Alexander Technique has now been medically proved to relieve both.
The effect of performing with more ease makes the Technique very attractive for singers, musicians and athletes.
How long does a lesson last?
Usually about forty minutes.
How many lessons will I need?
There are a lot of variables that determine how long that particular piece of string is! They include who your are, what you want to get out of the lessons and how subtle you want that outcome to be.
My own experience started with having my shoulder tension resolved to my satisfaction after only two lessons. But now, even after three years of training, I still find new subtleties to how it works for me.
However, the usual advice it to have six lessons. While lessons are usually taken once a week, the first few are usually more effective if taken closer together.
What happens during a lesson?
To an observer, it looks like very little happens! Rather than pushing or pulling the body, the teacher and pupil work together to coax the body to give up any problematic habits. The body and mind appear not to respond well to bullying.
A lesson typically includes two elements; one with the pupil moving from sitting to standing and one with the pupil lying on a table (or on the floor). At least in the initial lessons, these two elements provide enough opportunities to deal with most muscle groups.
It is worth underlining that Alexander Technique does not include any of the following:
skin-to-skin contact other than on the pupil's head, neck, hands and feet (and only with the pupil's consent)
It is entirely counterproductive for the pupil to be uncomfortable or stressed. The pupil is therefore repeatedly encouraged to report such sensations to the teacher in order to avoid them.
Why 'lessons', 'teacher' and 'pupil'?
These are the preferred terms within Alexander Technique, as the method is seen as an educational process to help the 'pupil' learn to gain the same effects independently.
To call it a 'therapy', for example, might imply that it is being done 'to' the pupil rather than 'with' them.