Lessons in the Alexander Technique and The Art of Breathing are a process of psycho-physical re-education. This is why we refer to ourselves as teachers of students, rather than therapists treating patients.
During each lesson, I give verbal instruction and gentle, ‘hands-on’ manual guidance. The first step is to help students develop an awareness of their own movement and breathing patterns. When students first come to me, most are unaware of the way they use themselves. They have accumulated a lifetime of bad habits, which restrict mobility and interfere with the breath and the body.
The student learns to replace faulty habits with improved coordination by identifying unnecessary muscle tension. Over a series of lessons, we begin to redevelop healthy breathing. My approach to the breath is through a long and released exhalation. When air has been removed, the reflexive inhale will occur. Basic activities such as sitting, walking, bending, lifting, and speaking are explored. Awareness of the breath is always at the core of these daily activities.
Gradually, harmful patterns are replaced with ones that allow the student to carry out his or her daily activities with less pain, increased mobility and healthy breathing patterns. Once the principles of the technique are understood, lessons are then geared to the individual needs of the student. Efficient breathing increases the levels of oxygen in the bloodstream and helps to promote healing.
Lessons usually last 45 minutes. To experience lasting benefits, it’s commonly recommended to study once a week for a minimum of 6 months.