How many lessons?
Lessons are taught one-to-one, and last for about 40 – 50 minutes. After an initial trial lesson, I would suggest a foundation course of ten to experience the basics of the technique. Weekly lessons are highly recommended, as repetition of new experiences and new ways of thinking is very important, and will help you gain an understanding of the Technique much faster.
Some people have a course of lessons in order to address a particular issue, like back pain or neck pain, or because they want to improve their posture or relieve stress, and once they have found improvement, they come less often or stop altogether. Others continue to have lessons because in addition to improving their skills and awareness, lessons feel great, and are an enjoyable part of their lives. Still others come to see the Technique as a form of mindfulness work, and have lessons on an ongoing basis. The generally accepted number of lessons for a new student to gain a basic knowledge of the Technique, and to be able to apply it reliably on their own, is 20 to 30, depending on the student.
Discounts are available for seniors, students, unemployed and others who may be having financial difficulties. Discounts are also given for block booking of 10 lessons.
What happens in a lesson?
The Alexander Technique is not a series of treatments or exercises, but rather a process of re-learning the natural ease and freedom we had as children in movement. During a lesson the teacher gives both verbal and gentle hands-on guidance, so that the student can experience for themselves how to perform such simple activities as standing, sitting, bending and walking with greater ease, balance and poise.
Part of the lesson will usually take place with the student lying down on a table, in order more easily to practise letting go of unecessary tension and effort. The student is an active participant in the process, and I will ask him or her to attend to what is happening and to begin to take an interest in his or her own ways of doing things. Some explanation of basic ‘anatomy of movement’ and the principles of ‘Alexander thinking’ will also be given.
Loose, comfortable clothing should be worn to allow unrestricted movement and lying down, and students will be asked to remove outdoor shoes.
With each lesson the student’s awareness grows, along with the ability to undo existing habits of tension and prevent the formation of new ones. There are no specific exercises to be done between lessons, but it is helpful for students to take their new awareness and ways of thinking into their daily activities, and to include when possible a short daily session of ‘constructive rest’ as taught in the lessons. As we go along, we will practice more complex activities as appropriate for each student, and gradually students learn to integrate what they have learned into their daily life, so that activities such as driving, using a computer, playing a musical instrument or lifting and carrying can also be performed more effectively and with less strain.