Usually when someone has an Alexander Technique lesson, they physically change. Sometimes that change is definitely not subtle; it’s easy to see, to feel, to describe. Other times that change is very subtle, hard to see, harder to feel, very hard to describe.
Take two examples(*):-
- An elderly lady with advanced osteoporosis who is very stooped, and has come to see what this Alexander Technique is all about. She sits in the chair for some hands-on work. At the end of the hands-on she is less stooped. In fact, she is about 2 inches taller(^), a change which is clearly visible to most of the room of complete Alexander beginners.
- A different lesson with a different student, one who has had lessons for a little while. She also sits in the chair for some hands-on work. She changes, but she doesn’t get taller (she is already sitting at her full natural resting height). The changes are hard to see, and really only visible to students who have worked in group classes for a while, and built up their Alexander observation skills. They are equally hard to describe. Woolly words like ‘softer’ and ‘easier’ get muttered. There definitely is a change through the whole torso, from hip to head, but pin it down? Forget that.
Two examples, the subtle and the not-so-subtle.
My question for you is; which is the bigger change? The one you can see clearly and quantify, even measure if you happen to have a measuring tape handy. Or the one you think you can sort of see, but no way can you describe.
If ‘bigger’ doesn’t work for you, which is more far-reaching? More important? Which is a sign that the student has made good progress? Which shows that the teacher has really achieved something with her hands-on work?
Interesting question, isn’t it?
(*) these are real examples, not hypothetical ones
(^) 5cm in modern money