“The Alexander Technique gives us all things we have been looking for in a system of physical education: relief from strain due to maladjustment, and constant improvement in physical and mental health. We cannot ask for more from any system; nor can we ask any less.”
Alexander found when it comes to stimulating a real change in our habitual reactions that lead to improved use, neither intellectual explanations nor physical exercises are effective. From practical experience, he developed a particular hands-on teaching method that combines subtle manual guidance with appropriate verbal instruction to guide a student in reorganizing his/her habitual neuromuscular patterns. This method permits the student to direct his or her own individual learning process.
An Alexander teacher uses a chair and table during the lesson to aid the student in recognizing and improving his/her postural responses. In the simple movements of sitting and rising from a chair, for instance, we employ our entire habitual postural “set” (organization), with all its accompanying unconscious tensions, forces and imbalances. This familiar habitual reaction isn’t limited to the movement in and out of the chair, but is in fact our own personal postural blueprint we use for all our actions and activities.
The Alexander teacher provides the student with information and guidance so s/he can learn to perceive and reorganize these patterns for the better. This process of perceiving and improving postural patterns is also practiced with the student lying in a semisupine (knees flexed) position on a cushioned table, as the same habitual set is active in stillness as well as movement.
This capacity to perceive and reorganize our use is applicable to any and every activity we choose, and it’s a skill that improves with practice and experience.
Individual lessons are apt for anyone who wants to learn the Alexander Technique, regardless of age and physical condition. As with any new skill, the key to learning is frequency and regularity. Lessons run aproximately 45 minutes, and the teacher and student decide the lesson plan together according to individual circumstances. Students are asked to wear comfortable clothing.