What are lessons like?
Lessons are taught one-on-one, using a combination of hands-on guidance and verbal instruction. Lessons usually include everyday activities, like talking, sitting, standing, and walking. These activities quickly reveal fundamental patterns of mal-coordination and behavior, giving the student the opportunity to prevent their habitual reactions and learn to use themselves better.
Once the basics are mastered, we can also work on specific applications of the technique, for example how to use oneself well while playing an instrument, while running, or at the computer.
From the first lesson, Alexander Technique students learn useful skills, which they can then apply to any activity they choose. Many students report feeling lighter, easier, and generally better afterwards.
"When I started taking lessons with Lauri four months ago I knew that my posture was bad--my shoulders were often tight and I slouched whether standing or sitting. Although Alexander Technique certainly has transformed my posture, I have been surprised by the profound effect that Lauri's instruction has had on my entire life. With Lauri's coaching and direction, I have become much more efficient at my daily tasks, from working at the computer to talking in meetings. She has guided me through the Technique and given me poise and confidence that I previously believed to be unattainable. I highly recommend the Alexander Technique in general and Lauri's instruction specifically."
-David Sohigian, Portland, Oregon
How many lessons does it take?
A basic course consists of 25 to 30 lessons over about 3 to 4 months. Depending on the student's needs and interests, lessons may continue for a few months or several years. I highly recommend that students take lessons as often as possible in the beginning to reinforce what they're learning. Ideally, students take lessons three times a week for two to three weeks, then scale back.
I usually compare it to music lessons; if you took 30 piano lessons, you would be able to play simple songs and if you were really dedicated and spent lots of time practicing, you could continue to improve on your own. After 30 Alexander Technique lessons, you'll have a handle on the basic principles and would be able to apply your new skills in your daily life. You would also know if it was interesting enough to continue taking lessons. As with any kind of education, you can learn as little or as much as you want and are willing to dedicate yourself to.
How much do lessons cost?
What are your qualifications?
I am certified by the American Society for the Alexander Technique, an Affiliated Society. I trained for 3 years at the Oregon Center for the Alexander Technique (OCAT), which includes 1600 hours of class time, mostly practical work. Additionally, I have actively sought out post-graduate training and I exchange work with other certified teachers on a regular basis. I volunteer to assist at OCAT, helping to train new Teachers. I have been teaching the Alexander Technique since 2003.
"I had no idea how much I was the cause of my neck/shoulder tension/strain.
It's amazing to see what I do with my body that I never noticed before."
What should I wear?
Loose, comfortable exercise or street clothing is best. Please avoid tight jeans, leather, down vests and skirts.
Will it hurt?
No, the contact from the teacher's hands should be comfortable and pain-free. Some people do experience "change aches" as they integrate new changes in themselves, which feel similar to the muscular soreness you might experience after a hard workout.
What if I'm no good at it? Will it be hard to learn?
I gear lessons to each person's learning style and learning speed. Most people find the principles of the Alexander Technique understandable and figure out how to apply the Technique in their lives in good time. I haven't met anybody completely unable to "get" the Technique.
Is it like Yoga, Pilates, Feldenkrais, etc.?
As with any discipline, you can find similarities in principle or practice to other kinds of work. I have yet to find another kind of work that duplicates the theory or the practice of the Alexander Technique. It is not a form of exercise, spiritual practice, bodywork or therapy, though you can use what you learn in Alexander lessons in all of those activities. It is more fundamental; in Alexander lessons, we work on how you organize yourself in order to function and perform at your best in whichever activity you choose to engage in.
Will it help with my particular illness or injury?
Maybe. Alexander Technique lessons can help with illness and injury in an indirect way. Un-learning habits which get in the way of good functioning usually has the effect of better health and healing in a general way. Many people discover their pains and injuries are a result of what they're doing to themselves. The Alexander Technique helps them learn to stop those habits. I have no medical training, so cannot tell you whether your particular illness or injury will benefit from lessons. I encourage you to give it a try and see if it helps.
Do you bill insurance companies?
No, I don't bill insurance companies, but some students have gotten reimbursed by their
Healthcare Flexible Spending Account. Check with your plan if you
want to try that route.