What is the Alexander Technique?
The Alexander Technique is not massage, exercise, treatment or therapy. It is not like yoga, Pilates, or meditation. In fact it is not like anything else. It is a unique system for re-educating ourselves – both mind and body – to enhance consciousness, awareness, self-control, effortlessness, and effectiveness from moment to moment in everything that we do.
What is the value of the Alexander Technique?
Several studies have been undertaken all over the world to assess the efficacy of the Alexander Technique. For more information and published reports, please click on these links to the American Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique and the UK Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique, both of which are affiliated to the South African Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique.
Who is it for?
The Alexander Technique is for people of all ages, levels of activity, and states of health. Whatever your condition, whether you are fit or unwell, the Alexander Technique can enhance your well-being, build your resilience against injury and wear-and-tear, fine-tune your performance in all activities, and rehabilitate your pains and anxieties.
How can I find out whether Alexander Technique is for me?
Whatever you may read or hear about the Alexander Technique, it will not prepare you for the novelty of experiencing it first-hand. Since everyone can benefit, you can be sure it is something you will enjoy. Finding a qualified teacher and having a couple of lessons will prove this to you.
Can I do it on my own?
Alexander described something he called “faulty sensory appreciation”. This means that whatever we sense – especially in ourselves – is misinterpreted by us in direct proportion to the degree to which we are already using ourselves unconstructively. This distortion prevents us from applying instructions accurately. The only way to get out of our habitual patterns is with the help of hands-on guidance from a qualified teacher. This will help you develop an accurate kinaesthesia (body-sense) for movement and true stillness. A series of regular lessons will show you how you can apply the principles of the Alexander Technique in all facets of your daily life.
What is an Alexander Technique lesson?
An Alexander Technique session is structured as a lesson, lasting between 30 and 60 minutes. While a part of the lesson may well feel like a treatment – and be very pleasant indeed – other aspects of the lesson will involve the teacher guiding you in movement and in being still, with hands-on and verbal instructions. The teacher has at least three years of full-time training to show you the meaning of releasing tension, giving attention, and having clarity of intention. This helps to give you a sense of peacefulness by quieting your nervous system, and enlivening your sensory awareness. You learn to prevent the automatic reactions and unhelpful patterns that interfere with coordinated and effortless movement in activities. People generally describe a unique sense of feeling lighter and freer after a lesson.
“If you stop the wrong thing, the right thing does itself.” FM Alexander
How many lessons do I need?
No specific number of lessons is recommended, because it depends on your current condition and how far you want to get. An investment in 20 to 30 lessons is perhaps necessary to gain a basic understanding of the technique and how to apply it for yourself. More lessons will help with continued self-improvement and provide you with ongoing support. Also, because old habits die so hard, a refresher course from time to time is advisable.
How do I know my teacher is well trained?
All Alexander Technique teachers listed on this website have completed a three-year, full-time training and are subject to a Code of Professional and Ethical Conduct.
Training Courses are only approved after extensive assessment by the South African Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (SASTAT), or one of its affiliate Societies in other countries. Heads of Training have ten years of teaching experience before qualifying to run a training, and assistants require one years of experience assisting on another training course, prior to approval of the training. In addition to moderation from another senior teacher who is approved by SASTAT, trainees only graduate once the Head of Training believes they are sufficiently skilled.
So you can be sure that all teachers listed on this website have considerable skill. However, if you feel after a couple of lessons that you don’t “click” with a teacher, then try another one.