What is the Alexander Technique
- What is Alexander Technique (AT)?
Alexander Technique is an awareness practice that facilitates an efficient and graceful use of the body. With the help of a trained AT teacher, you can learn tools that will help alleviate pain and tension in all aspects of your life. The Technique teaches you how to use your mind and body in a new way, rather than in an automatic and reactionary way. You will learn how to make lasting changes.
- Who can benefit from AT lessons?
Anybody of any age and activity level can benefit from AT lessons. No matter what you do for a living or for a hobby, AT can help you reduce discomfort in movement and improve your performance. Whether you’re a musician, actor, computer user, athlete, public speaker, body worker, weekend gardener or hiker, or a person recovering from injury, AT can bring you more pleasure in any activity by teaching you how to experience easier and freer movement in your body.
- Why do people take AT lessons?
Students take Alexander Technique lessons for a variety of reasons:
- To get out of pain—back pain, neck pain, pain resulting from any athletic activities including swimming, running, cycling, repetitive stress injuries (RSIs), and pain from computer use such as carpal tunnel syndrome. As your AT teacher, I identify patterns that are harmful to your body. Then I teach you how to fine-tune your awareness of your patterns and stop doing what is causing you pain.
- To improve performance—musical, acting, athletic, or speaking. In lessons we will focus on breath and its connection to calm and focus, undoing tension patterns that don’t serve you and prevent you from attaining peak performance, and automatic thought processes that might be getting in the way of you shining on stage, in competition, or in presenting your ideas.
- To improve posture—AT is a marvelous way to learn to sit, stand, walk, and perform any other activity with good alignment and without strain. Good posture is extremely undervalued in our modern life full of texting, long hours of sitting in front of computers and in the car commuting, and watching TV or playing video games. Good posture helps us maintain energy, concentration, and comfort during the day. It also helps us keep moving well long into old age and frees up space for proper breathing and digestion.
- Why are they called “lessons”?
When you explore AT, rather than being a passive recipient of a treatment, you are a student taking lessons from an experienced teacher. You are an active participant in the lessons and in the progress you make with the Technique. What is empowering about AT is that you can take what I teach you, and what you discover in our lessons, into your life and apply that learning immediately. Between lessons, you are expected to practice the aspects of AT that we cover in lessons.
- What happens during a lesson?
At an AT lesson, you are always fully clothed. Wear comfortable clothing you can move in. We start with typical movements that everyone does many times per day—sitting down, standing up, and lying down (on a massage table). I will use gentle touch and verbal instructions to guide you through these typical movements. Together we will explore possible injurious habits and ways you might be using more energy than you need to. Once you are familiar with the principles, we can use lesson time to apply the Technique to specific activities, such as playing a musical instrument, running or swimming, or working on a computer. Lessons run 50 minutes. You will leave each lesson feeling relaxed and lighter in your body.
- How many lessons will I need?
How many lessons you take depends on what your goal is, how much you practice the Technique between lessons, and how deep you want to go with the Technique. I suggest starting out with a series of 10 lessons to get a sense of how AT works, and to build a strong foundation. Some people might feel relief from back pain, for example, after a few lessons. Others will want to study for longer to work on a particular project, such as playing a challenging passage in a musical piece or reducing stage fright. You might start lessons for a particular reason, such as seeking pain relief, and then catch a glimpse, like I did, about how far-reaching AT can be, and how it can make so many aspects of your life easier!