What is the Alexander Technique?
It may be easier to define what the Alexander Technique isn't, rather than to define what it is. There are a number of ways of understanding it and experiencing it. In a sense it is similar to the age-old description of the elephant and the nine blind men. Each man has their own perception of the beast, and each is correct to a certain degree.
But back to what it isn't. It is not a form of therapy, or a new-age ideology. Nor is it healing, or a system of body mechanics. Despite these things it is often lumped together in these categories, perhaps because it is quite common to experience elements of these things while starting to learn the principles of the technique.
A good starting point is to think of it as a learning process, whereby one becomes more adept at stopping, (or inhibiting) one's initial reaction to a stimulus. This stimulus can be anything in life, and as we often tend to speak of "the physical" and the "the mental" as different aspects, so too we tend to speak of stimuli in similar terms. This can lead us to think that reacting to a stimulus to move, for example, is essentially different from reacting to a stimulus to think, or to speak or act in a more "mental" way. But regardless of which of these aspects, mental or physical, that tends to appear more predominant, we react to all stimuli as a whole, and in what might be termed a "psychophysical" manner.
Another way to approach the principles of the technique is in relation to habits. By learning to change our reaction to something that stimulates a habit, we can develop the choice to change habits in general.
Yet another way to understand the technique is that it is a tool to help you function more efficiently in all aspects of life. It becomes a skill that one can use in relation to anything, be it performing, working at a computer, lifting, running, doing yoga, and so on.
Traditionally, the Technique is taught on a one-to-one basis. A series of lessons is advised on a regular basis - a little like one may learn a skill such as playing a musical instrument or driving a car. Taking a number of intensive lessons within a period of a few weeks will often be much more rewarding than spreading lessons over a longer period.
Lessons emphasise the principles one learns to apply the Technique, both in relation to simple everyday movements and tasks, and more specific activities that each person brings to the lesson, for example playing an instrument, throwing a ball, a yoga position, or whatever. Contact me for further details and booking.
As with many skills, much can be learnt and assimilated through observation. Group learning can be arranged so that a particular skill is emphasised, such as using the voice, playing an instrument, patterns of movement or everyday tasks such as using a computer. Group teaching can be organized by assembling a group and finding a suitable location - small groups of up to four people can be accommodated at my office in Bergen.
Seminars and Workshops
Introductory seminars and workshops can be organized for groups, almost without restriction in numbers. These may range from an hour's presentation to a whole day or weekend. Day or weekend seminars often combine an introductory presentation with individual and/or small group sessions.
Longer courses of group lessons can be organized, whereby a group can explore the Technique over a number of weeks. Usually it is useful to combine these sessions with individual lessons.
For Academy Teaching, click on this link.
Who uses the Alexander Technique?
Practically anybody really. The Technique is widely used in the performing arts world but is relevant to anyone who wishes to find more ease in whatever they are doing, and who wish to learn the skill of psycho-physical coordination.
A number of people report that muscular-skeletal issues may be helped by taking a course of Alexander lessons. Whilst the Technique does not claim to be curative by nature, many have derived clear benefits by learning it. See the Articles and Books links for information and links to sources.