After the lesson: recreating “feeling”

Posted by Jeanne Barrett on September 16, 2016 in Uncategorized

Alexander students often ask if they need to be recreating the “feeling” of a lesson after their lesson. How else can they retain the experience of a hands-on lesson?

In an Alexander lesson, the teacher’s refined use of self in hands-on contact potentially expands and refines the student’s co-ordination, and choice about co-ordination. It is a co-operative process. Nothing is forced, shaped, or rushed. It’s not what you do, it’s what you don’t do. A dynamic undoing builds a new skill of dynamic undoing, which is a very dynamic skill indeed. Years of habitual doing begin to quiet. The instrument of self changes.

The attempt to recreate a “feeling” recruits memory, current sensory feedback accuracy (based on entire instrument of self), and a belief that recreating a previously experienced moment without the context, contact, light, emotions, blood pressure, brain state, and muscle activity of that moment is possible.  In recreating this moment, we have to fix ourselves into what the “right” feeling might be. It requires us to return our entire co-ordination to a moment that is almost guaranteed to be inaccurately recalled. Instead of moving into new neural connections, we fix into a recalled mode.

Your tool is your attention and your means is your intention. External attention to the broader, wider, world beyond you, up and out of yourself, connects you elastically to life.  Effective intention dynamically refuses to interfere so something new can happen.

Happy curiosity brings your lessons to life.

“How Long Does It Take?”

Posted by Jeanne Barrett on September 9, 2016 in Uncategorized

Most inquiries into Alexander lessons include the question of length of study needed to achieve outcome. “How many lessons will it take…until my back doesn’t hurt, my voice is more reliable, I no longer slouch/hunch, I can learn music/choreography/lines more easily? How many lessons until I move with ease and grace through life?”

I will emphasize yet again that Alexander Teachers do not diagnose, treat, or cure. We don’t fix parts. We do address the entire condition of self, and how that condition is affected by intention and attention.  We engage the student in a process of co-operative learning through the lens of movement.

We  learn to learn with our entire selves. All systems of self are related.  There is a continuum of perception and experience, an ongoing flow of information and response through our entire systems of self, and of course, our entire self responds constantly to the external world. Stimulus is the sea in which we swim. Choice in response is how we swim.

Alexander lessons provide an opportunity to choose a new response to the activities of life. Our habitual postural patterns  interact with all aspects of self. In order to respond differently, we have to cease reacting in the same habitual manner. Our “physical” habits are habits of self, and determine how we perceive ourselves and others in the world.

It is both simple and endless. Learning the Alexander Technique is like learning a new language; any amount of literacy and comprehension is an improvement, but increased literacy of self is ongoing and has no end point.

There is no rush in this learning. Without rush you learn differently. The original reasons that motivated you to begin Alexander lessons may not be the reasons you continue lessons. Once you learn not to rush to learn, the timing of learning may change. The process by which you learn is the whole point.

The Alexander Technique is primarily educational, but also unique in emphasis on unlearning the old and dynamically allowing the new. We can learn by removing what interferes. Then surprise sneaks through.

How long does it take? Until you are surprised.