What Is the Alexander Technique?
The Alexander Technique is a system of mindful movement that teaches healthy body mechanics. It is a method for learning how we do what we do, which lets us change what we want to change.
First and foremost, the Alexander Technique is an educational system. You will be an active participant in your learning process, and I will be a teacher facilitating your learning.
The Alexander Technique is a step-by-step process that has three primary stages:
1. In the first stage, you learn how to recognize habits of tension.
2. In the second stage, you learn how to decrease the frequency and intensity of those habits.
3. In the third stage, you learn skills for more optimal brain and body coordination.
What Happens During an Alexander Technique Session?
The Alexander Technique is taught one-on-one or in a small group. The teacher observes the student’s posture as they perform standard activities such as sitting, standing, and walking, or activities that may be of special concern, such as playing an instrument or singing. Based on these observations, the teacher develops a personalized program to help the student perform these activities with greater ease and poise.
During an Alexander Technique session, I use a combination of “chair work” and “table work.” In chair work, I help you sit and stand from a chair. In table work, you lie on a massage table while I move your arms, legs, and head.
Chair work allows you to explore a large range of motion; it helps you learn about your habits while doing something you do dozens of times a day; and it gives you a safe and neutral environment for exploring your habits.
Table work allows your limbs to have a different range of motion than when you are standing; it lets your limbs be essentially non weight-bearing, which means that your muscles don’t have to do their normal work; and it is relaxing, which helps to diminish stress and tension.
Following are eight typical features of an Alexander Technique session:
1. Alexander Technique sessions generally last 45 minutes to 1 hour.
2. The room contains a chair, a massage table, and a large mirror.
3. The student is fully dressed throughout the session, and is advised to wear lose, comfortable clothes.
4. During “chair work,” the student sits and stands from the chair with the assistance of the teacher.
5. During “table work,” the student lies on the massage table while the teacher moves the student’s head, neck, arms, and legs.
6. The student may be asked to observe themselves in the mirror while they perform simple activities.
7. The student will be given instruction for ways to carry out common activities such as standing and walking.
8. The student may be given activities to practice during the time between sessions.