Frequently Asked Questions

Why study the Alexander Technique?

  • Pain relief
  • Improved posture
  • Effective breathing
  • Improved coordination
  • Poise and ease of movement
  • Stress relief and ease of mind

How do you learn the Alexander Technique?

Most people have no experience with the Alexander Technique, so the first step is to call a certified teacher and ask questions.  The second step is to make an appointment for an initial session/evaluation.  After being introduced to the AT and the  student chooses to continue it is ideal to come once a week for ten sessions.  After ten sessions we assess your progress and determine if further lessons are desired.  Thirty lessons is considered a full course of lessons.

Often people come to the AT because they are seeking help with physical problems that have not been solved by oneself or through medical channels.  Many people want to get to the root cause of the problem causing pain and disfunction rather than masking pain with drugs.  Because the Alexander Technique is a process of movement re-education, a private session is called a lesson, the practitioner a teacher and the client a student.

Do I need to be a performing artist to study the AT?

No.  Anyone can benefit from Alexander lessons.  The nature of the work is very basic.  An AT teacher will work the same way with a ballet dancer as with a cement layer.  The underlying psycho-physical principles can be applied to any activity in our  lives.

What is the studio like?

A teaching studio is a low-tech environment with a chair, a bodywork table, and a mirror. You — the student — wear loose, comfortable clothing that allows free movement of the arms and legs. The teacher asks what problem or goal brings you there. You might discuss your medical history and what your life demands of you.

What is an Alexander Technique lesson like?

The teacher will talk to you about why you have come and gather some basic information about you. You might discuss your medical history and kinds of activities you participate in.

Everyday movements like standing, sitting, walking are used to illuminate your current movement habits.  Over time the student learns what are useful movement habits and what are harmful movement habits. The teacher uses verbal cues and hands on help to guide the student. Usually the student is at first unaware of their habits.  When the teacher guides the student to move without the habit this allows the student to notice the habit by contrast.  Once we discover or become aware of what we are doing we can then use conscious awareness to change it.  

The Alexander touch is delicate and light. “Body learning” requires experience like learning any physical skill.  It takes practice to get the hang of  it but once we do we have it for our lifetime.

How many lessons do I need?

Since you are learning to understand how to support yourself posturally and doing this by eliminating habits that interfere with good body “use” it takes a few lessons.  The Alexander Technique has three principles that the student learns and applies.

If you are new to the Alexander Technique I recommend a series of ten lessons once a week and evaluating after that.  If the student has pain or a severe problem I sometimes work with them two times a week initially.  A full course of lessons is thirty lessons.

Where Can I Learn More?

The best way to learn about the AT is to experience it.  Find a local teacher and set up a lesson.  The American Society of the Alexander Technique (AmSAT) has a web site listing certified teachers in the US at www.amsatonline.org.

Read articles about the Alexander Technique on the web and watch you tube videos.

Read a book about the Alexander Technique.  Here is a short list below:

Your Natural Up by Marjean McKenna-Hardwiring and the Alexander Technique.  A fresh lively account covering embryological underpinnings, FM Alexanders discoveries with lots of photos and illustrations to complete the text.
            
How you STAND, How you MOVE, How you LIVE by Missy Vineyard-Explore your mind-body connection and achieve self-mastery.  Lots of exercises to explore and learn from.
Body Learning by Michael Gelb - This is a thorough introduction to the seven operational ideas of the Technique and also a personal account of the changes that can take place as a result of practicing the Technique.
        
Back Trouble by Deborah Caplan - The author was both a teacher of the Alexander Technique and a physical therapist, and she specialized in using the Technique to help people with back problems. Many photographs and drawings illustrate the preventative positions and gentle exercises which are recommended for people with pain or discomfort in any part of their spine.  She had lessons from F.M. Alexander when she was a child.

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Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique (AT) is a method for getting rid of unwanted postural habits and movement patterns that interfere with smooth performance—not just performance on stage, but also in living our lives. Whether you tend to get a stiff neck when you play the violin or paint a ceiling or look into a microscope, or lower back pain from working long hours at a desk, the Alexander Technique can help you to improve your overall functioning, move with greater ease, and breathe more deeply.

Locations

Willimantic:

327 South Street, Willimantic, CT
Office Hours:
Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 1pm-5pm

(860) 456-1529

West Hartford:

17 South Highland Street, West Hartford
Office Hours:
Tuesday and Friday 9am-5pm

(860) 371-7784