An imaginary dialogue between Teacher and Student in an individual lesson in the Alexander Technique.
The beginning of the lesson
Penny: Where would you say your head and neck meet?
Penny: Can you point to where you think your head meets your neck.
Grace: I’ve never really thought of it before. Here I suppose (indicates the back)
Penny: And at the front? Our neck is after all 3 dimensional…
Grace: Here? (Points to somewhere under jaw)
Penny: And the side?
Grace: Um? Well I think maybe….
Middle of lesson
(The two are standing and Penny has her hands on the Grace)
Penny: So, I’m just in touch with the whole of you through your back and hip. Remember your hip ,knee and ankle joints. What do you experience now?
Grace: Well – like I’m about to fall over!
Penny: I promise you won’t
Grace: I’ve gone all wobbly.
Penny: That’s OK, we’re supposed to be. We work like auto-pilots on jumbo jets – the system only works by going off course. Otherwise the plane wouldn’t get to New York. It has to go off course, to get all the instruments going to put it back on course. That’s like us. We are constantly falling out of balance, so our reflexes can put us back on line again. It’s a self-righting system. Providing we don’t hold ourselves up or interfere with it. It feels unstable at first until we stop holding….
…..OK, now have a thought of the space behind you. What do you experience
Grace: Like my balance shifted.
Penny: And that was just with a thought. Now you’re coming up..
Grace: It’s like I’m growing! But my bottom must be sticking out.
Penny: Take a look in the mirror
Grace: Oh my God I’m upright! It’s not sticking out at all.
Penny: Now stand as you normally would. See the difference?
Grace: Yes – the top part of me is going back and my pelvis forward
Penny: So your system is quite accurate when it tells you you must be falling forward, because, yes you usually hold yourself back..
End of lesson
Grace: I feel incredibly light and relaxed and different. I’m scared to move in case it all goes away again! How will I know what to do? I’m never going to remember all this!
Penny: You will remember what you remember. Be kind to yourself – it’s
only the first lesson. Lie down in the balanced resting state every day for 20
minutes, and rather than trying to get your head in the right place, bring your
attention to the outside world, think of the space behind you and above you
and come back and report on your experience. That’s enough to be going on
Grace: Who do I write the cheque out to?
(as she scrunches up in startle pattern!)