FAQ

Who benefits from the Alexander Technique?

Students of the Alexander Technique study for a variety of reasons.  Some suffer from daily aches & pains, other types of musculoskeletal issues, or chronic conditions ranging from childhood injuries to pain resulting from working on a computer. Some come to address issues with posture or breathing. Others come with curiosity about Alexander’s holistic approach to mind and body. Still others are artists or athletes—singers, dancers, actors, musicians, runners, bikers, swimmers, horse-back riders, etc. —who want to improve their performance.

Students find the Alexander Technique improves their daily life because it addresses not just what you do, but HOW you do everything that you do.  Students report pain reduction and prevention; increased flexibility and strength; improved health, posture and breathing; better vocal production, stage presence and stamina; stress relief, and a greater sense of well-being.

Anyone who is interested in being an active participant in their own health, development, and wellbeing can benefit from studying the Alexander Technique.

What happens in a typical Alexander Technique lesson?


Alexander lessons are designed to explore your daily movements and identify what habits or patterns are interfering with your innate ease. An Alexander Teacher uses words and a highly-skilled, yet gentle, hands-on touch to facilitate your learning. A typical lesson consists of working with sitting and standing, constructive rest where you are laying on a mat or bodywork table, and activities from your daily life – walking, reaching, bending or specialized activities like playing a musical instrument, working on a computer, or exploring yoga postures.  For more detailed information please see The Lesson. 

Who is F.M. Alexander?


Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869–1955), was a Australian actor and reciter who suffered from a vocal problem that threatened his theatrical career.  When doctors could not find a cause for his ailment, he concluded that his vocal problem could be a result of something he was unconsciously doing with himself while performing.  Using this hypothesis as a starting point, Alexander began a near decade-long process of self-observation in which he uncovered the habits of use that were interfering with his vocal production. What surprised Alexander is that not only did he find a remedy for his vocal ailments, but also found relief from many chronic issues he had since childhood.

After some time he was persuaded to teach the Technique he had discovered to others, and in this process he developed a unique hands-on approach in order to facilitate his teaching. He gained much recognition from educators, scientist and doctors which expanded his understanding of what the Technique had to offer. Eventually he devoted his life to teaching the Technique (although he never gave up his love of acting) and trained others in how to teach his work.

Should I take private lessons or group classes?

Deciding whether to study privately or in a group setting depends upon your learning style, budget, and interest in sharing a new experience with others.

Individual lessons are the most common form of Alexander instruction. In individual lessons students get a very personalized experience based on their unique habits of movement and their interests. Many students find the value of the hands-on guidance of their teacher key to them understanding and changing long-standing patterns of interference. Because our habits of movement often feel “normal” to us, it can seem quite mysterious to unravel and learn to undo them without this personalized attention. Many students find they are able to learn new skills more quickly in this environment.

In group classes, students learn about their own habits in part by watching others and exploring movement together. Of course there is less hands-on for each individual, but learning from each other can be an incredibly rich experience, which some people prefer.  Some students find it easier to grasp the principles of the Technique when they can see it at work on other people first. Group classes are also a more affordable option which many choose in order extend the length or regularity of their study, or just to give the Technique a try and see if it is something they want to pursue more deeply.

Some students decide to do both, to facilitate these different kinds of learning.

How many lessons do students typically need?

Length of study depends on your interests, goals and condition. As with any new skill, the Alexander Technique takes time and repetition to learn and fully integrate.

Most students experience improvements within three to five lessons, and find they are able to explore the Technique on their own successfully after about ten.

The common experience is that after 30 lessons, students feel quite at ease with how to apply the Technique in their daily lives and can continue to develop their skill successfully on their own.

Some students choose to continue with regular lessons after this because they enjoy the lessons and find them useful, and some find it helpful to come for occasional refresher lessons as they continue their own exploration.

Because it is an educational process, you won’t need to continue to come for regular lessons in order to continue to reap the benefits of your study. You will learn how to think about how you move, better understand your body’s functioning and discover the process of striping away habits and finding natural ease. As long as you continue to work with what you have learned you will find you can apply your new skills to everything you do.

What do I wear?

Loose comfortable clothing that is easy to move in.

How long is a session?

45 minutes is the typical and recommended lesson length.

Are there famous students of the Alexander Technique?

The list of people who have studied the Alexander Technique is long and varied!  Some notable students include: Judy Dench, Sting, Madonna, Paul Newman, Annette Bening, Victoria Beckham, Hugh Jackman, Aldous Huxley, John Dewey, George Bernard Shaw, James Galway, Hilary Swank, Julie Andrews, Nikolaas Tinbergen, Sir Charles Sherrington, George Coghill, Paul McCartney, Simon Spire, Robin Williams, Raymond Dart, Fredrick Perls, Moshe Feldenkrais, Jeremy Irons, Kevin Kline, Patrick Stewart, Roald Dahl and more…

What is AmSAT certification?

The American Society for the Alexander Technique is the internationally recognized certifying body for Alexander teachers in the United States.  AmSAT has the most rigorous regulations in the country for certifying training programs and their graduates. All AmSAT certified teacher have completed at least 1600 hours of training over a minimum of three years. For more information see amsatonline.org.

What makes the Alexander Technique unique?

The Alexander Technique is unlike many ‘bodywork’ modalities it is often compared too.  Rather than being a set of exercises, postures, or something to “do,” it’s an educational approach to how the body/mind work together.

The principles of the Alexander Technique can be applied to everyday activities and specialized skills – they are principles you apply at any time of day, during anything else you may be doing. The Technique is logical and practical in its applications, yet at the same time vast in its greater implications. Studying the Alexander Technique is not a ‘quick fix,’ but a gradual process that becomes second nature and has a lasting impact.

 


For more information and further FAQ please visit www.amsatonline.org/faq

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