What Happens in a Lesson?

Private lessons in the Alexander Technique last 45 minutes.
During a lesson we focus on something that shapes our every experience but usually receives little attention. We consider how we are using ourselves. Are we operating in a way that optimizes or interferes with our best physical functioning?



Observing ourselves sitting, standing, walking and lying down we begin to sense how our posture and general coordination are effecting our actions. We may already suspect that there are areas of excess tension that are making our every day activities more difficult than necessary. With the help of a teacher’s touch and verbal instructions we learn to let go and allow the underlying structures to better support our movement.


barbara-maloney-what-happens-seatedIt is often in the letting go that we can actually recognize patterns of tension. Students may notice, for example, as their arm hangs lengthened and relaxed at their side, that they had previously been tightening their hand, shoulder, and neck. This is a first step in a continuous process of developing more accurate body awareness.


barbara-maloney-what-happenstableThe teacher’s touch also helps students to notice the direction of release as their patterns of misuse unravel. Encouraging this direction, by thinking in activity, is a key skill taught in a lesson. This skill is applied with particular attention to the often overlooked, but essential, relationship of how the head is balanced on the end of the spine. Releasing undue tension at the top of the spine leaves a student feeling taller, lighter and more grounded.


BARBARA MALONEY-moveWith practice these basic skills can be applied to more complex and demanding situations. Teachers are accustomed to assisting students in a wide range of activities such as working at a keyboard, lifting, running, singing, playing instruments and yoga.