The Alexander Technique has something very unique to offer in that it offers us an opportunity to learn about ourselves and there is always something new to learn, it doesn’t matter how many lessons we’ve had. This is why it definitely falls within the realm of education, together with self-care, as opposed to being a treatment where something is done to you and to where you have to keep returning, although you are encouraged to come for a minimum of one lesson per week, more if your circumstances allow. For this reason the Alexander Technique can be learned by anyone, whatever their age or occupation and regardless of whether you happen to be in pain or not, although if you are in chronic pain, then we would always recommend you consult your GP or specialist in the first instance before commencing with lessons.. That said, there are no special exercises and lessons offer a very gentle alternative, holistic approach to working on our postural habits.
A teacher is there to show you, by means of their words and hands, where you are shortening, narrowing, collapsing or tightening yourself and to show you an alternative way of undertaking simple everyday partners of movement such as standing, sitting, walking etc, which usually entails making things a lot easier on ourselves with less muscular effort involved and without compromising our head, neck and back relationship. This also entails allowing ourselves to release into length and width rather than trying to hold ourselves upright by bracing ourselves and causing unnecessary tension.
I enjoy being shown this because it gives me the opportunity to learn something about myself which I wouldn’t otherwise think about or notice, such is the increased awareness of an experienced teacher. I find it challenging and educational at the same time. Thinking about our Use is something which lies at the very centre of the Alexander Technique and Use chiefly centres around how you use your body in relation to your head, neck and spine, where you are in space and your balance. No change can be brought about unless you bring your thinking to bear on how you use yourself. All these habits have been developed often over many decades so it stands to reason that to work on undoing these it takes a certain period of time. I still find it remarkable that we are able to change our poise so much by using our thinking capacity, not to mention develop a calmer, more conscious approach to life in general.