If you are interested in or puzzled about what happens in Alexander lessons.
Many people find that the way an Alexander teacher goes to work in a lesson is very unusual, not to say puzzling and quite unlike anything they have ever experienced before; so it needs some explaining. Here are the main points:
- You are not asked to do anything, or perform exercises. Instead the teacher asks you to let him/her show you.
- This is because of the need to deal with the problem of habit what we are already doing - which might have have contributed to or caused your trouble. Habits mostly become unconscious we barely know we have them, until pain develops.
- If you do your exercises and the pain gets worse, or if you get treatment and the pain just comes back later the cause might be the unconscious habitual way you do things.
- You come to a lesson with a painful arm or back, for example, and the teacher shows you a way of moving your arm or of using your back that has a degree of lightness and freedom that is more natural for human beings. It will very likely be new to you and might even, at first, feel quite impossible for you to repeat on your own, being outside your habit. Repetition brings familiarity. The teacher’s job is to assist you to find this improvement within yourself so that you learn by experience.
- It is easy to forget that muscles work because of the messages that you send through your nervous system. This means that what you think and want influences the messages that get sent. In lessons we try to demonstrate lightness, mobility, good breathing and good organisation of all parts of your body in action in the hope that, outside the lessons, these experiences will help you to think about yourself in a better, more informed way. It should become perfectly natural to prefer the improvement you have experienced in a lesson.
- Teachers need a lot of skill to assist their pupils. The training lasts at least three years, full-time, on an authorised course. Alexander Teachers teach by virtue of the fact that they have benefitted themselves by using the Alexander Technique. They pass on that experience to their pupils.