Questions and Answers
Below are some of the questions that I am frequently asked about the Alexander Technique.
If there is anything that you wish to know that is not answered here, please feel free to email or call me.
What happens in a lesson?
The Technique is a practical learning process which will give you the tools to help yourself. You are free to choose the kind of activities you would like to work on. Often people begin with simple, everyday tasks such as sitting, walking, working at a computer and getting out of a chair. If your particular interests involve more specialist activities, then we can also focus on these. I have given lessons on such diverse activities as playing an instrument, singing, dancing, giving presentations, doing exercises, yoga or martial arts, a variety of sports, all the way to gardening, knitting and other handicrafts.
During lessons, I will combine questions, illustrations and stories with a gentle form of manipulation (hands-on work), all of which will be designed to inspire you to approach your activity, and ultimately your whole life, in a new way. Rather than encouraging you to try harder, we will investigate simpler, more efficient and effective solutions in your chosen activity. As you gain a clearer grasp of the ideas and principles in this work, you can apply them to every element of your life, with ongoing and increasing benefit.
The sessions are informal and relaxed. You can dress however you feel comfortable.
How many lessons will I need?
This is a very personal choice. Because Alexander’s work is a learning process, how many lessons you have will depend on what level of understanding and application you wish to reach. How quickly you progress will depend on how open you are to change and your level of commitment to working with the ideas.
Most commonly I will recommend an initial block of 10 lessons, which will give you a basic foundation in Alexander’s work. The greatest benefit is likely to be gained by taking these sessions weekly or twice weekly to begin with. Following this, we can reassess your situation. Some people are happy with what they have accomplished at this stage; many chose to go on studying for longer periods of time.
Will I be given exercises to do?
No. Although there are extremely valid reasons for taking regular exercise, I do not ask you to solve your current difficulties or limitations by doing exercises. If we are using ourselves inefficiently and creating undue tension, we will bring this way of operating to everything we do, including exercising. This can lead to further discomfort and sometimes even injury. Instead I will teach you how to stop doing the things that are creating limitations or causing you problems in the first place. You can then be confident that when you exercise, you are gaining the greatest benefits from it.
Does the Alexander Technique deal with specific medical problems?
Alexander's work does not deal directly with any specific medical problems. You should always seek the guidance of a primary healthcare practitioner for diagnosis and treatment. However, sometimes when you have a diagnosed medical condition, it's easy for you or others to attribute all of your symptoms to this condition and in my experience, this is rarely the case.
Quite often we develop strategies or coping mechanisms in order to deal with our condition. These strategies often involve creating excessive muscular tension, which can lead to pain and restriction. We then attribute these problems to our specific condition, when sometimes it is these very strategies that are causing or compounding our difficulties. The Technique helps you to address these reactions. Consequently, when people have learned to adopt more helpful strategies, they often report great improvement in their wellbeing even though the specific medical problem has not changed.
On occasions, excessive muscular tension is the primary cause of our problems. In Alexander lessons, we look at ways to prevent this tension, and in the process the condition can improve enormously.