The role of the Alexander teacher is to use gentle guidance with her/his hands to help unravel distortions and encourage the natural responses that underlie posture, balance, breathing and movement to work freely again. In this way a balance can be found between the necessary degree of muscle tone required to support the body against the downward pull of gravity, and the necessary degree of relaxation-in-activity to allow unrestricted movement, breathing, circulation and digestion.
Along with manual guidance, the Alexander teacher also uses verbal instruction to help students become conscious of their own patterns of interference, and teaches them to project simple messages from the brain to the body that will help the natural mechanisms of poise to function more freely. It is for this reason that we call our work re-education and describe ourselves as teachers.
As the student learns to allow natural poise and balance to emerge, he or she will usually notice the change as one of lightness, ease and greater freedom of movement. Removing habitual tension patterns that interfere with free poise and balance is a practice which the student can, after a time, undertake in daily life for her/himself.
Lessons are individual and usually last 30–45 minutes. The number of lessons that may be required varies from one person to another and is best discussed directly with a teacher.
For more information, read these testimonials about private lessons with John Nicholls.