Common Obstacles To Learning The Alexander Technique

Veteran teacher Robert Rickover tells fellow teacher Mark Josefberg: “The Alexander Technique is simple but not necessarily easy. There are some classic traps some students encounter.”

“The most classic trap is to try to recreate [the great feelings you get during a lesson]. The teacher helps you. You have this feeling of lightness. You try to hold on to the feeling [and it then eludes you]. Trying to latch on to feelings is a dead end.”

“Wanting to get a right position or wanting to be right. A student will often come in and ask, is my head in the right position?”

“Most posture advise is about putting yourself in a certain position such as head held up high or chest lifted or shoulders pulled back. They’re all terrible. They’re all static.”

“There is no right position but there is a right direction aka the mental statement you are making to yourself about what you would like to happen.”

“The idea that you have to try or to concentrate on your Alexander directions. In directing yourself, the more gently and softly you can think them, the more effective they will be… You are going to forget your directions within a second or two and you have to forgive yourself and move on.”

“When people think about specific things, there’s a tendency to narrow your focus while when people think about things generally, it is about vague things such as enjoying the breeze. You can’t get much more specific than thinking about your neck… So I recommend a light way of thinking about a specific area. It’s not a natural way of thinking.”

“Expecting instant results. People can easily get the impression that all they need is to be shown something once or twice to make these changes because the changes seem so deceptively simple.”

“Getting upset with setbacks… It’s easy to get discouraged and to feel like not much is happening… Because our ideas are so contrary to most thinking about physical functioning, people will tack on what they believe and attribute it to you.”

“You might hurt more after a lesson, even in different places. As you start to become more sensitive to what is going on, you’ll notice tension more readily. When you start to change your functioning, some parts of your body will be called upon to do stuff they’ve not done before.”

“When muscles that have been chronically held begin to release, the sensing mechanisms wake up and you start to feel the tension that is still there.”

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