What is the AT?
The AT is one of the most important methods of psycho-physical re-education. The Technique helps the student to make better use of his/ her organism, avoiding unnecessary and unconscious habitual patterns of tension. The AT treats the person as a whole, considering the body and mind as an indivisible unity.
What is the AT not?
The AT is not a therapy! It is a learning process that can have therapeutic results when applied in your daily life. The student has the responsibility to use the Technique as often as s/he can by ending old habits of tension and directing movement in a more efficient manner.
The AT is not a series of exercises like stretching, Yoga, Pilates... In the lesson the student and the teacher work on daily life activities in order to undertake them more efficiently.
Alexander discovered that there is an important relationship between the head, the neck and the back that functions well in young children and animals. However, adults often tend to unconsciously misuse this symbiosis which can (negatively) affect the proper functioning of the organism. The AT teaches students how to stop their habitual patterns of tension and direct their movements during daily activities in a more efficient way.
What is the Technique based on?
For everyone who has mind and body!
Everyone can profit from an Alexander Technique lesson because all people benefit from the ability to move in a much more coordinated way without creating unnecessary tension.
Very often AT students are people with physical complaints like back pain, neck pain, tendinitis, frozen shoulders, a hoarse voice, or people recovering from an operation..
There are also those people with straining jobs that can benefit from knowing how to use their bodies better: musicians, dancers, or people working in front of a computer for hours, dentists, doctors...
The lessons are not meant to treat the pain, but very often when the student learns how to improve the way s/he uses his/her organism, general health improvements are realized causing a reduction in the pain.
For whom is AT benefitial?
In a typical lesson the teacher helps the student, through verbal instructions and soft touch, to move in a different way than s/he is used to in the most simple daily activities: sitting and standing on a chair, walking, bending, squatting, lifting weight or climbing the stairs. The teacher helps the student to stop creating unnecessary tension during these activities and to direct his/her movements in a more coordinated and natural way (much like a child does). Through these simple procedures the student can begin to understand how to move more efficiently in his/ her daily activities.
After the lesson the student will often feel a sensation of release, combining a lightness in his/ her body and deeper comprehension of how to move in his/ her life.
After a number of lessons and a resulting understanding and experience of the principle, the student can bring more challenging activities to the lesson, i.e. playing an instrument, dancing, speaking in front of an audience, acting, physical exercises, etc. These activities will be closely observed by the teacher according to the same principle of coordination of the head-neck-back relationship.
The benefits can already be felt after the first few lessons. However, to bring the Technique into practice in daily life, you need several lessons on a regular basis; normally one or two lessons per week. The Society of Alexander Technique Teachers recommends a minimum of 30 lessons in order to be able to use the Technique by yourself.