Frequently Asked Questions
Who comes for sessions?
Everyone can benefit from taking sessions. There are three main reasons for people to seek out Alexander Technique. First, people who suffer from injury or pain may find the technique helpful in alleviating their pain and most times eliminating it if the cause is misuse (check the British Medical Journal videos, Part 1 and Part 2).
Second, performers such as musicians, dancers, and actors as well as athletes benefit from learning the Alexander Technique in enhancing their skills and avoiding injury. Lastly, people who look for ways to improve their health and overall well-being may find the technique useful to gain better understanding how they function.
How many sessions are sufficient?
You are learning a skill much like learning to play the piano or speaking a new language. There are levels of learning, and it is your choice to determine the number of sessions. It is recommended, though, to take at least 10 sessions in order to learn the basics of Alexander Technique.
As well, we recommend that you take sessions with various AT instructors, because each instructor will uniquely add to your learning.
How to prepare for the sessions?
You only need to wear comfortable clothes, such as loose pants and socks. You will remain dressed at all times. You are also encouraged to come with an attitude of openness to new experiences.
What happens in a session?
For your first session, you will read a waiver and sign it upon your approval of it. The waiver explains that Alexander Technique is not medical, and it frees the instructor from any future claims of possible injuries. Since Alexander Technique is educational, it is nearly impossible that it may cause physical problems.
During the session, you will be performing the simple movement of getting in and out of a chair, while guided through verbal and tactile instructions. Walking and other basic activities may also be included.
As part of the session, you may be asked to lie down on your back on a table with your knees bent. You will be instructed to only engage your thinking while you are receiving the kinesthetic work of the instructor. Table work is an opportunity to observe your habitual responses and to allow new experiences to emerge.
Are there any exercises to practice the technique?
Alexander Technique practices are not the commonly-known structured exercises. Basically, you can be doing anything while applying the AT process that you will learn.
You will be encouraged to lie down on a solid surface to give yourself a turn similar to the table work. This is called "Active Rest," because you will be using gravity to "rest" your overworked muscles, but you will remain "active" in your thinking about your current state and about the directions that you will have learned.
Other exercises include the "Whispered Ah" and the "Monkey." These are AT terms for a simple voice/breathing procedure and a multi-layered form of bending.
What is the Alexander Technique process?
AID: Awareness, Inhibition, and Direction.
Awareness is widely common as the first step before any changes one might want to apply.
Inhibition in Alexander Technique is the logical pause between intending to perform an action and doing it; the pause allows you to organize yourself in a new way, instead of your old, habitual way.
Direction can be specific, such as allowing a release of the neck muscles, and general, such as allowing a lengthening and widening. Alexander Technique directions are carried out through thinking not through doing.
Because the process of Alexander Technique involves primarily the kinesthetic sense, you will need to experience it with the instructor's guidance to fully comprehend it.
Can I learn Alexander Technique by myself?
Sure, it is possible. You will need high observation skills to substitute for the trained instructor as well as patience, perseverance, and dedication. However, by taking sessions, you can save time and energy on the actual applying of the process.
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