Private lessons are strongly encouraged to learn the technique, as it is learned through hands-on experience.
A lesson is 45 minutes long and costs $90, or you can sign up for ten weekly lessons taken within a three month period for $850.
24 hour notice is needed to cancel a lesson without being charged.
Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955), was an Australian Shakespearean actor who developed his technique to overcome the debilitating laryngitis he experienced on stage. When medical professionals were unable to diagnose or treat his condition he reasoned that it must have been brought on by something he was doing on stage with the way he was using his body. As he began observing himself he noticed habits he was unaware of involving excess tension. He then went about developing a technique to undo these habits and regain a natural poise and use that had been eroded by a lifetime of accumulating habits.
It was through this process that Alexander laid the foundation for the technique that seeks to address one of the most difficult problems of modern life: to recognize how our movements through and interactions with a largely manufactured world profoundly affect our bodies in unconscious ways—from chairs that don’t fit us, to computers we sit in front of more and more. Alexander’s principles have given us a framework upon which we can regain a natural use and a consciousness of ourselves that helps us do the things we have to do in a way that won’t hurt us.
Private lessons are 45 minutes long. During that time a student works with a teacher to become aware of his or her own mind/body connection; how the student uses him or herself; what physical habits the student has that affect them, and how to think about physical use in a new, more balanced, and more effective way.
The mind/body relationship is of utmost importance in The Alexander Technique. As such, AT differs from other therapies—such as massage, or chiropractic—in that the teacher is more of an educated guide who helps direct the student towards a better understanding.
As the student learns more about the technique, he or she will be able to apply it throughout his or her daily life, regardless of the situation. Think of it as learning a new language. The more it is studied the more it will be understood, and the more useful it becomes away from the classroom.
This is one of the main strengths of the technique. By learning how to think about and use themselves, students are able to move beyond temporary pain relief and into long-term ease.
The Alexander Technique is something you study, not something you accomplish. It is more like learning to play the piano than it is like making a piano. It isn’t a matter of ten lessons, or even a hundred lessons. How well you play the piano depends upon how many lessons you take, how often you take them, and how much you practice.
Students of the Alexander Technique have much the same experience. Those who approach the technique with a specific pain—such as back pain—often desire immediate results, and for good reason, they’re in pain after all. But if the back pain is caused by repetitive stress, such as the way the student has been standing or sitting over his or her lifetime, then any immediate relief will merely be temporary. The goal of the technique is to enhance a student’s understanding and physical awareness, so that the causes of stress and discomfort are alleviated. The effect is long-term but so is the process of learning the technique.
Ultimately, how many lessons someone should take depends on how much they would like to learn. At the start of lessons, it is most beneficial for a student to come twice per week for the first month or two. Most people taper to one lesson per week after they have a basic understanding of the technique’s principles.
There are many, many books about The Alexander Technique, including some written by Alexander himself.
Some are out-of-print, but here is a list of my favorites:
- Selected Books about the Alexander Technique
For beginners, the book I most recommend is:
- Michael Gelb, Body Learning, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1995
Books written by F.M. Alexander:
- F.M. Alexander, Articles and Lectures, Mouritz, United Kingdom, 1995
- F.M. Alexander, Man’s Supreme Inheritance, Dutton, New York, 1910
- F.M. Alexander, Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual, Methuen, London, 1923
- F.M. Alexander, The Use of the Self, Dutton, New York, 1932
- F.M. Alexander, The Universal Constant in Living, Dutton, New York, 1941
- Wilfred Barlow, M.D., The Alexander Technique, Healing Arts Press, Vermont, 1973
- Goddard Binkley, The Expanding Self, STAT Books, Great Britain, 1993
- Deborah Caplan, P.T., Back Trouble, A New Approach to Prevention and Recovery, Triad Publishing Company, Florida, 1987
- Walter Carrington, The Act of Living, Mornum Time Press, California, 1999
- Walter Carrington, Thinking Aloud, Mornum Time Press, California, 1994
- Barbara Conable, How to Learn the Alexander Technique, A Manual for Students, Andover Press, Ohio, 1995
- Pedro de Alcantara, Indirect Procedures A Musician’s Guide to the Alexander Technique, Oxford University Press, Great Britain, 1997
- Jane Heirich, Jerry Sontag, and Jay Schlesinger, Voice and the Alexander Technique, Mornum Time Press, Berkeley, Ca, 2005
- Judith Leibowitz and Bill Connington, The Alexander Technique, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1990
- Glynn Macdonald, The Complete Illustrated Guide to Alexander Technique, Barnes & Noble Books, New York, 1998
- Rebecca Nettl-Fiol and Luc Vanier, Dance and the Alexander Technique, The University of Illinois, USA, 2011
- Frank Pierce-Jones, Freedom to Change, Mornum Time Press, Berkeley, CA, 1976
- Lulie Westfeldt, F. Matthias Alexander, the Man and His Work, Associated Booksellers, Connecticut, 1964
Or go to the Alexander Technique Books Listing on the American Society of The Alexander Technique Books for Purchase
And Finally… alexandertechnique.com/books/
937-586-3732 or 800-473-0620 in the United States