Who takes Alexander Lessons?
People study the Alexander technique for many reasons. Often people who are dealing with pain from bad backs, stiff necks, repetitive strain and overuse injuries, breathing difficulties. These problems will almost always improve when movement is more easy, balanced and coordinated and often symptoms disappear completely.
Performers, whether musicians, actors or sportspeople can find their performance greatly enhanced when they reeducate movement using the Alexander Technique.
People interested in optimising their health in all aspects. (Teachers, lawyers, office workers, gardeners, dancers, actors, tennis players etc!!!)
How can the Alexander Technique help my posture?
One statement Alexander teachers hear very often is: "I want to do something about my posture."
The Alexander Technique provides a unique way of changing the harmful habits of movement and reaction that result in poor "posture." One of the main ideas of Alexander's is that "use affects functioning." If one learns to improve the way they "use" themselves they will then "function" better. For instance, if one learns to sit well - in balance, with the neck free and the head poised on top of a lengthened spine the breathing will be easier, the arms and hands will be more relaxed and better coordinated in movement.
Many of our most harmful postural habits (for instance, slumping in chairs or standing with knees braced) have become unconscious so that even though we experience pain and discomfort, our way of doings things "feels" normal. It is often the case that people feel powerless to change their habits.
Alexander Technique lessons will teach you how to change harmful entrenched habits. Your awareness will grow and you learn how the self - body and mind - operates as a whole and not as a lot of different parts put together.
Our bodies are perfectly designed for effortless upright movement, but what has tended to happen, particularly in Western society, is that we have adapted our posture to desks, screens, cars, chronic stress etc, so that we have become literally "pulled down" by gravity and we become the shape of our habits. We tighten our bodies through fear and "endgaining" - looking for perfect results without paying attention to the most efficient means of getting them.
By learning to give attention to the condition of our head-neck-back relationship, (what Alexander referred to as the "primary control"), we can gradually learn to let go of a lot of stiffening and tightening that results in poor movement and posture and learn to direct ourselves to move with ever increasing freedom and better balance. This results in better overall health and the lessening and often disappearance of aches and pains. Breathing becomes more fluid and effortless and this contributes further to easeful movement and more stamina.
Alexander Teachers are trained for at least three years to learn how to use their hands and verbal instruction and observation skills in such a way as to facilitate and aid the student towards better movement
How many lessons?
This varies from person to person and depends on many factors. Valuable lessons can be taken away from one lesson but to be able to work confidently on your own a minimum of around twenty lessons is recommended and it is not uncommon for people to come for many more over a long period of time. In some ways learning the Alexander Technique is similar to taking up a musical instrument. The more "practice", thought and attention is given to the work, the more benefit is gained. However the irony is that one is learning how to use less effort in all activity.
What to wear?
Loose comfortable clothes are encouraged for AT lessons.
What happens in a lesson?
First we will discuss your reasons for coming to the Alexander Technique (pain, stiffness, curiosity, preventative health, performance issues etc).
Lessons usually have two parts. One part is where the student is in activity. This can be as simple as standing, walking or sitting or other activities of the student,s choice. At all times the emphasis is on become more aware of what is happening with the whole body but particularly the relationship of the head neck and torso and how to maintain the utmost freedom and balance. The teacher uses gentle guidance with the hands, verbal instruction and skilled observation to assist this process.
People are often very surprised to discover what they are doing as opposed to what they thought they were doing. As movement becomes freer people often report feeling lighter, taller and much more relaxed.
The second part is where the student lies on a table (fully clothed) usually in semi supine and the teacher works with the student, directing awareness to various parts of the body. Again the teachers works gently with the hands to encourage releasing and lengthening of muscles that often have been held and tight for years. This process is invaluable for the health of the spine and restoring energy to the whole body.
Lessons usually last 45-50 minutes but longer and shorter sessions can be negotiated.
Do I need to practise?
Alexander work will make you much more aware of the way you are doing things and you will be learning how to move more easily efficiently and comfortably. To a certain extent this work is self reinforcing but undoubtedly there is more improvement to be gained with taking time to practise applying the technique in selected activities. As mentioned before you can start to apply the Alexander Technique at any time and to any activity and for as long as you like. All you need is the intention to do so and some thought!
$70 for a lesson. Student and other discounts can be discussed. Sydney university students including Sydney Conservatorium students can get discounts through the ACCESS programme.
If you would like more information about the Alexander Technique, or would like to schedule a lesson, please contact Greg by phone at 0450 447541 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
F M Alexander
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Greg Ford · Alexander Technique Teacher · email@example.com · 0450445417 · www.alextechsydney.com