What happens during a lesson:
Lessons are typically, and most effectively, one-on-one and last about 45-minutes. Group work can be educational and useful, especially as an introduction to the Alexander Technique, but group work is not nearly as effective as private lessons. The kinesthetic learning that occurs during lessons requires the hands-on guidance of a teacher, and therefore necessitates more individual attention than would likely be imparted in a group setting. During a lesson, the teacher’s hands guide a student to facilitate achieving a coordination of the use of their head, neck, back and limbs that is more efficient and requires less strain than the coordination to which the individual has become accustomed. The teacher guides the student through a variety of commonly performed activities and movements such as sitting, standing, moving from sitting to standing, walking, lunging and bending down to pick something up. The student learns to perform these basic activities without unnecessary tension or strain while maintaining overall coordination. The teacher communicates with her hands, as well as verbally, how the student may maintain a poised, upright posture without collapsing down with or straining against gravity. Incorporating what has been learned in practicing these basic activities, the teacher may assist the student in working in the same manner on other movements and postures that are specific to the student’s job and typical daily activities.
Part of the lesson also involves table work. The student lies in the semi-supine position (on the back with the knees up and feet flat on the table) with the head supported while the teacher gently manipulates the student’s head, neck, back and limbs. Table work uses gravity to facilitate decompression of the spine, allowing the back to spread out. The goal of table work is to maintain this more open and decompressed state when one eventually returns to the standing position.
What to wear:
Wear clothing that is not restrictive. Clothing that allows you to bend easily is best. There is no need to wear sweats, but a very tight pair of jeans would not be ideal.
How the technique is applied outside of a lesson:
Students are encouraged to apply their new sense of coordination to their daily activities outside of the lessons and to lie on the floor in the semi-supine position at least once per day for 10-15 minutes. The Alexander Technique may be applied to any activity, therefore specific exercises are not prescribed.
Who takes lessons and why:
Many people often seek out Alexander lessons because they are experiencing pain or another problem that affects their ability to function as they are accustomed to such as a singer or actor experiencing vocal trouble, a violinist with neck and shoulder pain, an office worker with chronic lower back pain, a dentist with hand and wrist pain, and so on. Others may desire to improve how they use themselves, perhaps in order to prevent such problems in the future. Also, aside from lessons being "good for you", most students find them to be engaging and fun and leave a lesson feeling more energized, light, and confident. There is no upper age limit for taking Alexander lessons. Children benefit as well. How old a child must be to take lessons can be determined by the child, parent and Alexander teacher on a case-by-case basis.
How many lessons you will need:
The number of lessons that people take varies from person to person. It depends on the reason for which you begin lessons, how quickly you are able to integrate the work and apply it on your own, and what your goals are. Typically people take weekly lessons for 2-6 months, and begin to see significant benefit after the first one to five lessons. Some people do a short series of lessons, others make it a life practice. According to a 2008 back pain study published in The British Medical journal, people who were in pain 21 days permonth reduced their pain to three days per month after a series of 24 Alexander Technique lessons. After an initial lesson, you'll discuss with Lindsay a plan that works best for you.
Cost of a Lesson: The cost of one private, 45-minute lesson is $85. Packages of 10 lessons paid in advance are available at a 10% discount.
Contact Lindsay to learn more about discount rates for full-time students.
Group Classes: As mentioned earlier, the Alexander Technique is most effectively learned one-on-one. Lindsay currently runs some small, weekly group classes for those on a budget and there is benefit to the peer learning that is unique to group work. Click here for more information on group classes.