The Alexander technique teaches the poise and grace to move through the difficulties in living with a greater sense of freedom, calm, and confidence. Pain subsides, stress lowers, and our truest nature can emerge. The only way to learn this technique is through a direct experience, by seeking the hands of a compassionate teacher.
The Alexander Technique has a reputation for being about posture. It is rightly noted for postural benefits, but it is also excellent for chronic pain relief, back, shoulder and neck pains, reduces stress and anxiety, can aid sleep, breathing and digestion, develops self-confidence, enhances performance – In short, whatever you do, it helps you do it better!
During an Alexander lesson a pupil can embody the highest level of calm and poise available to them in that moment, gaining valuable respite from pain and the stresses of life. This condition provides an opportunity for healing and over a course of lessons profound personal change can take place.
You are not here to do exercises or to learn to do something right, but to meet a stimulus that puts you wrong, and learn how to deal with it.
Alexander Technique works for each person through addressing the nature of reaction, How we react to the demand of everyday situations, and how painful symptoms can be exacerbated through this reactive quality, particularly when the reaction is of a habitual nature.
The work is not about ridding us of ‘bad-habits’ or learning a correct posture, it is something else. How we can learn a shift in our quality of thinking, how one might be able to meet the dramas, stresses, hurries and worries of life, while maintaining their presence of self. To put their best self forward, to be open to experience, facing life with poise, integrity and bravery. It is something we all have within us, and Alexander teaches that it can be more available than we dare to realise.
We are all creatures of habit and we are designed to be, we rely on our habits and reactions to keep us functioning, to keep us alive. But it is only through addressing our habits of thinking that something can be liberated from within.
Change involves carrying out an activity against the habits of life.
Often people will come to the Alexander Technique for help with a specific ailment or challenge to overcome, but many find it helpful in more ways than they expect. It is a holistic supplement to your experience of living.
If you have any aches and pains, if you feel rushed off your feet, under pressure to perform whether in work, relationships, or life, then the Alexander technique is for you.
An Alexander Technique lesson consists of a teacher touching and moving a pupil, while the pupil does as little as possible. The responsibility is on the teacher to give the pupil an experience of the Alexander condition, one of ‘non-reaction’. In this respect you can never ‘get it wrong’ in an alexander lesson, because there is nothing you need to do, and so nothing you can fail at. The teacher takes the weight off your shoulders.
The technique is further embodied by the student through the process of their experience and engagement in lessons, through the repetition of the Alexander condition in activity.
Calmness of mind does not mean you should stop your activity. Real calmness should be found in activity itself.
Lessons may include a combination of sitting, standing, walking, talking and lying down on a table – This is at the teachers discretion, however best to help the pupil. Lessons are not strenuous or painful in any way, but occasionally on some level they can be challenging, as learning something new often is.
The work is close in proximity so personal hygiene is important. Overpowering scents and perfumes are best avoided. Clothing should be comfortable to allow movement. It is best to avoid skirts, dresses and sleeveless tops. Jewellery is fine, although as a precaution, some may need to be removed for the lesson.
One lesson may be enough to sow the seed, but that seed will probably need some nurturing.
The Alexander Technique is a process of embodied learning and through continuing engagement with the technique pupils will experience greater deepening of their process. Their Alexander Technique will become more and more integrated lesson by lesson, day by day. In this respect the process of living becomes the process of learning. A good start would be a commitment of ten lessons, where the benefits can become embodied more substantially.
In a culture of quick fixes, Alexander may be off-trend, but after beginning your journey it will always be there to come back to. Booking a first lesson with a new teacher can seem a daunting prospect, trying something new often feels like stepping into unknown territory. But in this case there is nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
A good lesson is like therapy, and good therapy is always a lesson.