A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE
by Lana Spraker
Often, I am asked, "What is the Alexander Technique? What goes on in a lesson?" Many times the person asking suffers from chronic pain or an injury, and has been referred by a doctor or therapist. Or the person may be a performer who is not realizing his best work due to restrictions in movement, voice or breathing. When I speak to a new student, I explain that we all have unconscious physical habits that create tension and inefficient use of our energy. For instance, we know that chronically tight neck and shoulder muscles are both uncomfortable and tiring, and that lower back discomfort can keep us from participating fully in our lives. Some of us may have experienced a sudden acute flair-up of back pain that seemed "to come out of the blue"! Why? Where do these problems come from and why do they persist?
Through lessons in the Alexander Technique you develop a greater awareness of what you are doing, unconsciously and habitually, that creates and sustains your physical pain and discomfort, your lack of ease and freedom. The Alexander Technique is a method of discovering how to help yourself by changing what you are habitually doing that is creating dysfunction, excessive tension and compression. Working with a certified Alexander teacher who applies both gentle hands-on guidance and clear verbal instruction, you explore sitting, standing, walking, lying down, breathing and speaking. Working with everyday activities you begin to discover not only what your habits of tension are but also how to exchange these habits for better choices in the way you move, work and play in your professional and personal life.
The Alexander lesson is a gentle yet profound hands-on re-education of your neuro-musculature so that, over time, your mind and body learn a new approach to moving - one that requires less tension and strain - offering greater ease and efficiency.
As a student you will become more aware of what you are doing routinely that creates discomfort and inefficient use of your energy. You will learn how to change unconscious habits into conscious choices, giving you the ability to participate more fully in your life.
"The Alexander Technique enables people to get better faster and stay better longer. Its practitioners stress unification in an era of increasing specialization. This is undoubtedly the best way to take care of the back and alleviate pain." Jack Stern,, M.D., PhD, Neurosurgeon