In an Alexander Technique lesson, your teacher instructs you — with verbal and manual guidance — to approach movement differently. You will learn to recognize habitual patterns of thinking and moving that may be interfering with ease and flexibility and you’ll learn how to discontinue them. No special clothing needed – normal street attire is appropriate.
There are two parts to a lesson: 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 – usually 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.
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.
Lessons are typically 55 minutes long.
How Long Before You See Results?
Each lesson will bring new insights that you can apply immediately. Within the first 6-8 lessons you will probably notice that what you are experiencing in your Alexander Technique lessons is carrying over into your daily life. As you continue and your understanding grows, you will be able to apply what you’ve learned to a wider range of activities. Instead of a quick fix with a fleeting effect, lessons result in gradual change and long-lasting results.
The number of lessons you need depends upon your goals, interests and physical condition. Some students study for 3-5 months, others continue taking lessons after reaching their initial goals and study for years, learning more. Duration of study is up to you.
Most people find a series of at least 20 lessons, once or twice a week for three to six months, to be what’s needed for it to become incorporated into daily life. Like learning a musical instrument or a foreign language, time is needed to fully integrate new skills.