Updated: Dec 2, 2020
As this pandemic continues to spread, physical distancing may be in place for a while. It sounds like some of the restrictions will be lifted soon. However, it is still unclear when exactly it will be safe to resume the Alexander Technique practice in person again.
So how to do Alexander Technique in the meantime?
As some of you know Alexander Technique is a body-mind method that works with touch. In a session, you are guided verbally as well as with hands-on touch by the Alexander Technique teacher. Hands-on teaching is instrumental in learning a ‘new use of yourself’. The teacher’s touch invites you to let go of unnecessary tension, enter a process of kinesthetic change and find ways to move with more freedom and ease.
When F.M. Alexander discovered this method himself, he obviously had to do without touch of a teacher... However, when he first started to convey this technique to his colleagues just by verbal guidance, he soon found out that it didn’t work well. He then started to use his hands to adequately show what he was talking about. This is how the Alexander Technique hands-on work began.
As Alexander Technique Teachers, we are trained (1600 hours of training) to use our hands in a gentle and non-manipulative way. We also learn how to guide our mind and ‘give directions to ourselves’ in order to move, think and feel in a more balanced way. In the sessions, we convey our ‘good use’ through our gentle and open hands to the person we work with. I believe this is quite unique!
How to work with this method in an online setting?
One answer is: You cannot practice the Alexander Technique online, because you won’t have the full Alexander experience in an online setting as it misses an integral part of this work, namely hands-on teaching.
Another more creative answer is: Yes, you can work with this method online in a different way. You see yourself visually on the video screen which can work like a mirror. With guidance, it may give insights in how you use yourself and how to ‘undo’ certain habits. Being guided verbally and without hands-on may encourage you to ‘work on yourself’ as we call it, and it may strengthen your individual practice.
Alexander Technique is meant to be useful in your daily life. The online setting is an opportunity for applying the Alexander principles in your home life. For instance, we may focus on how to sit at the computer, how to do certain exercises or how to work in your kitchen. In ‘Alexander Guidance Online’ we may work on any areas of interest and you will be guided through an Active Rest as well.
The bottom line is: ‘Alexander Guidance Online’ is not ideal and you won’t have the full Alexander experience which includes hands-on teaching. But it does offer support for your Alexander practice in times of physically distancing and … maybe even beyond.