It is important to realize that the Alexander Technique is about learning, not therapy – although the therapeutic side effects can be enormous. The point of a lesson is to learn how to be easier on yourself, and essentially function with less strain and tension. This then has the knock-on effect of reducing stress, improving skills and all-round coordination, and eliminating or lessening pain.
A lesson here is a gentle, “hands-on” process. Through a combination of discussion, as well as “realignment” of a student in front of mirrors, we work together to discover what kinds of habits are present in various activities. Traditionally, simple daily activities like how one sits, stands, or walks form the basis of Alexander lessons. As well as this classic work, it is important to really look at anything that forms an important part of a student’s life… so during a lesson you may find yourself singing, dancing, swinging a golf club, working at a computer… “shoveling snow” (with a broom on the carpet ), “riding” (with a saddle on a fitness ball) or doing any activity which may help you come to a deeper understanding of how to help yourself.
The nature of the work is to wean yourself from dependency on a teacher; a student who begins with severe pain issues will be encouraged to come for classes twice a week, but this will drop to once a week, and eventually to once every two weeks, or simply ‘checking-in’ occasionally. The number of classes you need is very dependant on what you want from the work – some people can come for one or two lessons and have enough information to keep them going for a year or two; others have been hooked on the learning process and have been coming weekly for years. Students’ ages vary from toddlers to octegenarians — because this is simply learning about yourself, there is something to be discovered for anyone!!
Students who come with a great deal of pain will not be expected to sustain any activity that worsens their condition. Lessons in the Alexander Technique can also take place lying down, so the pressure and confusion of needing to “support oneself” is eliminated and the process of releasing and healing can begin.
One of the most important aspects of coming for an Alexander class is that you are taking time that is just for you, time to put yourself first and pay attention to your own needs and issues. It’s like putting the oxygen mask on in an emergency on board an airplane: first you keep yourself alive, then you help others… because if you stop breathing, you cannot be a resource for anyone else.
When & Where – Practical Stuff
Private lessons take about 40 minutes. There is also much to be learned and gained by exploring ATech in a group setting, and group lessons or workshops sometimes provide a more affordable option. Prices vary; you can get an up-to-date listing of upcoming workshops by contacting us.
Sometimes lessons are required in the management of specific clothing, such as costumes for actors or stiletto heels for singers. Unless you need to work in a specific outfit, you are best off wearing comfortable, stretchy clothing that does not impede or restrict movement… this is not a place for tight jeans or short skirts!
In the Cobourg/Brighton, Ontario area:
Private lessons in the Alexander Technique with Candace Cox will be available at her home studio in Castleton, and through Premier Dance in Cobourg, from September, 2012. To be put on the wait list please contact us at bigskyalexandergmailcom (bigskyalexandergmailcom) .
In Edmonton, Alberta – Big Sky Studios:
Currently, there are no local Alexander teachers in Edmonton, so Big Sky is arranging intense teaching weeks with visiting teachers. Since relocating to Ontario, Candace has been back to teach about every 8 weeks; we are generally delighted with how successful our students have been with this new system of intensive bursts of lessons, followed by time to apply and ruminate! To be put on the mailing list for information about upcoming Edmonton dates, contact us by e-mail at bigskyalexandergmailcom.
A private lesson with Candace costs $75; concessions can be made for students and the chronically ill. To accommodate demand and offer a more affordable alternative, we are trying to offer a variety of group workshops/classes at varying levels, as well. When in Edmonton, we are delighted to be able to use the facilities at Storefront Studios, 6324 106 St NW.
If you are a certified Alexander Technique teacher and would be interested in doing a teaching trip to Edmonton with Big Sky, please drop us a note as well!
Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.
– Chinese proverb