Friday, April 12, 2013

Trust and Effecting Change with the Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique is very logical, and it is simple, and it is an excellent self-help tool for bringing about all sorts of beneficial changes in oneself.

Yet, the mind tends to create all sorts of questions and doubts and other thoughts which interfere with putting the Technique into practice, especially without a teacher.  This is why having a teacher is so very important and helpful.

AT works on a very deep level, and is incredibly subtle.  So subtle that it can almost seem magical at times.  The changes that are experienced are real and fundamental, but very often the changes occur on a minute scale, slowly and imperceptibly.  We, as a culture, are used to thinking of change as something tangible, instantaneously perceptible, something we can measure and see.  If we can't see it or feel it, we won't necessarily believe it.

Yet, AT works, and there is plenty of evidence for that.  How does it work?  Here is a partial explanation.

When we're working with a teacher who is right for us (not every teacher is right for every student), something in the teacher inspires trust from the very beginning.  Our trust in the teacher allows us to make a leap of faith--however small--to believe that if the teacher says the Technique is working, it's working.  Then, after half-an-hour to an hour lesson spent trusting and thinking along with the teacher as suggested, something in us has changed and we usually feel much better than before.

However, all too often the student will deduce from such an experience that it was the teacher that made the change (especially because the teacher normally uses his/her hands to help with the process), and completely misses and under-appreciates the essential fact that it was the student's own trust plus the student's willingness to think differently that actually made the changes.  Yes, the teacher helped guide the way, but it was the student that actually made the leap.

After taking enough lessons, and experiencing enough perceptible changes, the student may be able to make the bigger leap of faith required to take full responsibility for his own trusting and thinking.  At that point, a teacher can still be helpful, but the student has matured into the role of self-teacher.

The best teachers look forward to that point, because, ultimately, that is what we are teaching.  We are teaching the Alexander Technique, which in essence is about learning to trust and think for ourselves to effect the changes necessary for us to flow through life with simplicity and ease.

*Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti /