Alexander Technique FAQ
Is the Alexander Technique like (yoga, chiropractic, physical therapy etc)?
Like many other methods, the Technique is a way to improve physical functioning. However, it differs from other modalities in that it aims to show students how they can stop doing the things that get in their way, rather than showing them new things (exercises, for example) to do.
Is the Alexander Technique a therapy?
Alexander teachers are not therapists, and are not trained to diagnose disease. Alexander lessons can, however, alleviate a great many stress-related conditions by showing students how they can learn to release harmful tension from their body.
Are there exercises to do?
No, there is no such thing as an Alexander Technique exercise. If you already do exercises, the Technique can show you how to do them more efficiently, with less chance of injury.
Who is the Alexander in “Alexander Technique”?
The Alexander Technique is named after F. Matthias Alexander (1869-1955) who, in the course of solving a serious vocal problem of his own, developed a teaching method that can be applied to improving students’ posture and movement patterns.
How many lessons or classes are needed to earn the Alexander Technique?
Many Alexander teachers feel there is a minimum number of lessons needed to get a good grounding in the work. That number ranges from 10-25 or so, depending on the teacher. Other teachers believe that with only a very few lessons and strong motivation to work on your own, you can achieve a good grounding in the Technique.
Can I learn the Technique on my own, without a teacher?
In principle, yes. F. Matthias Alexander was self-taught and he said “Anyone can do what I did IF they will do what I did.” In practice, very few people have been successful at learning the Technique entirely on their own, although it is certainly possible for highly-motivated students to make considerable progress with only limited access to a teacher.
Do I have to think about the Technique all the time to make progress?
Absolutely not! What is required is some interest in the process and occasional directed attention on oneself.
Is the Alexander Technique all about posture?
The Technique is often identified with posture improvement and in some ways the answer to this question is “yes”,but only if posture is thought of as a process, not a static position – a verb, not a noun.
The basic ideas of the Technique contrast sharply with many current ideas about attaining good posture, most of which suggest doing something different such as “sitting up straight” or pulling shoulders back. These merely rearrange excess tensions rather than releasing them altogether and usually produce a stiff, unnatural stance. The real solution to poor posture From an Alexander perspective, the real solution to poor posture is learn how to stop creating the tensions that produce it.
Is the Alexander Technique useful for children?
If they are motivated, children can learn the Technique much faster than adults, in whom harmful posture and movement patterns are more deeply embedded. On the other hand, many children are not motivated and can be resentful when a parent signs them up for lessons. In that case, lessons are usually a waste of time.
Can older people benefit from lessons?
Yes, it is never too late to learn how to improve the way your body functions. George Bernard Shaw as eighty-eight when he started taking lessons with Alexander and today there are many Alexander Technique students in their 70s and 80s and even a few in their 90s.