What can I expect in a lesson?
Most often, people come to Alexander lessons to resolve a problem, or to refine a skill.
Unlike many other forms of therapy or training, teachers do not go directly to the problem. Instead, the teacher will focus on the way in which you coordinate your body in everyday activities such as standing, sitting, walking, as well as other activities you may be involved in.
The teacher will ask you to focus on the detail of how you go about the activities. You will also be looking at how your thinking and feeling affect your coordination.
The reason we proceed in this way is because we assume that the way people use themselves affects the way they function. For example, a bad back can be caused by the way you sit, stand, walk or bend over a computer. By changing the way you do these things, you give your problem a chance to heal itself without the need for manipulations, massage or other therapies that deal more directly with the area of pain.
Alexander teachers have considerable skill in the use of their hands to very subtly guide you towards posture and movement that is easier, lighter and more coordinated.
Besides working with you in the upright position, you will probably also do some lying down work, which allows the teacher to help you undo tension and holding, of which you are completely unaware, and which you take with you even into your most relaxed moments.
The range of skills or activities which people come to the Alexander technique to develop include all the performing arts, public speaking and a wide range of sports.
How many lessons will I need?
As each case is individual, there is no definite answer to this question.
Traditionally, thirty lessons are recommended. Often, one to five lessons will allow symptoms to be greatly reduced as students begin to have the awareness to change dysfunctional habits. However, it is important to continue with lessons in order to reinforce a change of movement habits, to ensure new habits do not cause more problems, and to provide you with some capacity to assess your own behaviour.
In the case of dealing with chronic lower back pain we do have a definitive scientific answer to the question for a large and well designed study which was published in the British Medical Journal in 2008. The best results in terms of long term pain reduction and improved functioning came from a course of 24 Alexander technique lessons. A course of only 6 Alexander technique lessons was 70% as effective as 24. This would be consistent with my experience as an Alexander technique teacher. My ideal schedule of lessons in order to really imprint the neurological changes which underlie permanent changes in patterns of posture, movement and tension would be initially five lessons a week for three weeks and then tapering off the frequency of the lessons.
As with learning any new skill, it is useful to have the first lessons close together.
Many people find the Alexander work an essential aspect of their personal development and may continue lessons over a longer time.
People such as singers, performing artists or horse riders come to the Alexander Technique to develop finer coordination, and often continue lessons over a number of years as they develop their skills.
How much do lessons cost?
First lesson and assessment - one hour $110
Subsequent one hour lessons $130 for lessons after 5pm ($110 for lessons prior to then)
Half hour lessons - $75
Course of 10 lessons $700
The School is based in North Fitzroy, Melbourne. The director of the school, David Moore, manages and teaches lessons at the premises.
Our other school teachers can be contacted here.
If you are not in Melbourne or would like to find an Alexander Technique teacher in your area. Please see his link.
What should I wear and bring to my lesson?
Alexander Technique lessons are always carried out with the student fully clothed. We recommend comfortable clothing that is not restrictive. Shorts and tight skirts are not suitable for Alexander Technique lessons, and you will probably also need to take your shoes off.
If you play an instrument please make sure to bring that to your first lesson. We do have a piano at the school.
Also, please bring any medical reports, referral letters or scans you may have.
David Moore is teaching overseas from 13 June to September 3.
Over that period Teresa Mears will be offering private lessons
To contact Teresa for lessons:
Phone 0435 609 551
Teresa has been learning the Alexander Technique for over 20 years. Her passion for it led her to come to Melbourne from New Zealand to train as a teacher at the School for F.M. Alexander Studies where she graduated in 2013.
Besdes teaching private lesson Teresa has been teaching Alexander Yoga for several years. Having experienced the benefits of Alexander Yoga in her recovery from Repetitive Strain Injury, Teresa loves helping others apply the Technique to yoga and enjoy the improvement in ease and range of motion that results.