If you’ve ever had lessons, you will know what the Alexander Technique does for you. Even if you’ve just read up on it, there are certain things that people talk about and write about all the time. Better posture, less pain, more relaxation, easier movement. There’s a good reason for this: these are the hallmark benefits of the Technique.
But every now and again, lessons throw up something unexpected.
This week I was chatting to one of the ladies in my latest beginner’s class. She loves the Technique. It’s given her something she’s been looking for a long time – a way to change her movement and get rid of her stoop. Already this is good. Then she casually mentioned, ‘Oh, and I’ve stopped getting palpitations as well.’
Of all the things you expect from the Alexander Technique, would ‘stopping palpitations’ be on the list? Not on mine. But my student has stopped them. She thinks it’s related to opening herself up physically and allowing her body to function more naturally, which I reckon is a pretty good explanation.
And she’s not alone in finding something truly unexpected in her lessons. Recently teacher Bruce Fertman wrote about a remarkable transformation in his adopted baby son(*), from sickly, silent, unresponsive to outgoing, hungry, interactive. All through using his hands-on skills when cradling the infant.
Many years ago I astonished my nearest and dearest by suddenly acquiring the ability to throw straight. Of course, it wasn’t sudden, it was the result of quite a long period of Alexander work, but none of them believed the Technique could possibly achieve such an odd result. It did.
And then there’s the first story of all: FM Alexander, the man who developed the Alexander Technique. What did it do for him? It stopped him losing his voice. Pretty important for an actor. But would ‘not losing your voice on stage’ be on your list of things you expect from the Alexander Technique? Not on mine.
So when you start out on Alexander lessons you can expect improved posture, easier movement, less pain. But when you open the box, be prepared for the unexpected.
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