Alexander Technique Teacher Training - some student experiences
Last updated June 2022.
It’s great. I have so much purpose in my life now. To me it’s all about waking up from being an automaton; a slave to unchosen habits, to be aware in the life I’m living right now. The Alexander Technique is a whole philosophy and being on the course means you start to apply what you’re learning to your life much more consistently.
At MATTS you're surrounded by experienced teachers who are great role models, they’re a beacon, a sign post to where you are hopefully heading: a place where you are more comfortable within yourself, more aware than you have been since your childhood, with lots more options of how to react to events that come your way.
I was chatting with fellow students and saying how it’s like being on an exciting quest - we are all fellow questees - looking to find within ourselves the grace, balance and ease that we see so clearly demonstrated by the teachers here on the course. It’s a puzzle because, maybe, there is no easy way of putting into words a new way of thinking and being. You need to have a new experience within yourself and then you twig what the other teachers/more experienced students had been telling you all along.
I’m in my first year and who knows what truths I will uncover in the next two years - and the rest of my life! I'm astonished that there aren’t more people who want to study the Alexander Technique on an immersion course like this. It’s an amazing and profound vehicle for self development.
MATTS is a wonderful school; friendly, positive, calm but rigorous in approach. From my first day I was welcomed by teachers and students alike and felt completely at home. My fellow students are supportive and there is a co-operative spirit in group work and procedures. Our days are well organised and Peter ensures that we learn at our own pace in a group of varying experience and ability.
I am amazed at the progress I have made in just one term, both in my use of myself and my awareness of some of my habits that prevent good use. We are encouraged to be reflective and I have developed more understanding of myself as a whole person. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to study at MATTS and can’t wait to start my second term.
It's brilliant! I just love being part of such a lovely supportive group who take pleasure in sharing in each others successes.
I am only part way through my first year and already my theoretical understanding is becoming physically understood and experienced:
Feeling my body respond by itself to my wish of a direction
The beauty of flowing effortless movement returning and awkward stiff movement slowly becoming thing of the past
Becoming aware of where unnecessary tension is being held in the body and slowly being able to release that tension
Slowly but surely beginning to physically understand terms like “Stay in your back” , “ Let go of that”, “ Find your sit bones” and many more…
Enjoying feeling effortlessly balanced and well supported
Having the first experience of feeling the energy surging up my back whilst being supervised to put hands on - It was amazing, the strength and stability of being well balanced and being in my back …Wow ! That is something I really wasn’t anticipating when I decided to train. Amazing!
More please is my only request… an amazing journey of reconnection with my body and surroundings that I am only just beginning.
There is no better way to become immersed in Alexander activity and thought than to train as a teacher. MATTS is a great choice. It is well managed, well co-ordinated and well attended. Apparently we receive much more attention from qualified teachers than the teachers themselves received when training. It’s a very warm and welcoming place.
Being an Alexander Technique trainee teacher is fabulous, especially at MATTS.
I am currently in my second year. I started the training classes prior to lockdown so the learning process has been a little fragmented. Classes were provided online with theory, semi-supine and a game. It was great to be able to share with those we know from our group and others around the world. The theory and semi-supines were very helpful. Some of the procedures were beyond my level but all were interesting. The reflective practice sessions have been especially useful in encouraging a record of my learning. This helps with memory but also consolidates the learning experience.
At MATTS we are fortunate to have an “Alexander family”. We are all from different experiences but get on well together. There are many teachers, most of great experience, headed up by Peter. Having a variety of teachers enables us to learn from different styles and approaches. Just as we are all individuals, each AT teacher reflects something of themselves and interests in their teaching. The group of students is great, encouraging and supporting each other. We also have post-graduate learners who also share their learning experience. Having a part-time course opportunity takes some of the stress out of learning should a session be missed or when four day attendance is not possible.
A typical four hour day includes one to one sessions with whichever teachers are present that day (the worst ratio was one teacher to five students, usually one teacher to two/three students), a game, group work and reading. The reading is sometimes a specific book from which we prepare a reading to share with the group. At other times a book is read to us with explanation from an experienced teacher, from a variety of books to introduce us to books available on the Technique. This takes place in a house with spacious, well lit, airy rooms and has a wonderful, calm ambience. In the middle of the day there is a break where we all share together in refreshments, often with scrumptious cake provided. Throughout the day there is also a lot of laughter. We are also encouraged to have eight hours of self study outside of the sixteen hours week training. The eight hours should include semi-supine, reading, refection and “homework” (a given item to learn).
I am finding the training to be intense, rewarding, emotional and releasing. Being back in a learning environment and using my brain and body differently is good. It has awoken something in me; an excitement and hope that hasn’t been present for a while. Dare I say it - I feel younger. At times the work evokes emotions and memories of the past. Emotions also occur with “getting” something or thinking I am never going to “get it”. I am learning to have more patience with myself and have faith that the Technique works as I observe the positive changes occurring, not just in myself but also in my fellow students and even the teachers. In a world that has many stresses it is good to “be” and enjoy the present moment rather than rush on to the next thing. It is affirming of self and helps to regain a confidence in me that has been somewhat battered by experiences asking something other than myself.
When I came to the Alexander Technique I quickly realised it was something I wanted for my life and teaching seemed the obvious way. I didn’t have pain and thought I moved reasonably well. As my previous work was related to movement skills, I have found the physical aspects of the training fascinating, both theoretically and practically. I hadn’t realised the minutiae of the habits I have and exploring and changing through the finer layers in my use is intriguing; I go on an adventure with every lesson. To be able to move with more freedom and balance is wonderful. Some of the work I readily relate to my previous work e.g. use of the body as a whole not separate parts. Using “thought” rather than “doing” makes sense but is harder to achieve. With the hands-on work I am finding that I don’t want to work in the way I used to do, so in some ways have lost confidence and have held back; ignoring my past experience, not all of which was bad use. I realise that I would have been a much better at my previous work had I been AT trained then but need to remember that my previous life experience also counts now.
Despite it being time consuming and challenging I am thoroughly enjoying the learning and the life-long benefits are more than worth the effort. I trust that when I qualify I will be able to help others to learn to be free to be themselves and to experience an easier way to move.
I am now about half-way through my first year of training as an AT teacher following a long career in the NHS. I have been interested in the Technique for many years and am very pleased to be able to join the course. The biggest adjustment for me in starting the training has been to become accustomed to the slower-paced start in the first part of the morning. It is only recently that I have learnt to adjust to this and be able to the see the opportunities in it. In fact, there is plenty to be doing - exploring some of the ways my own skills are developing, going through some of the ‘directed activities’ as well as observing experienced teachers working with other students.
I am thoroughly enjoying the course - I enjoy the learning atmosphere, the content, the company of my fellow students and teachers and the opportunity to develop my skills in something so interesting.
Through taking lessons with an AT teacher students may find the experience life changing and life enhancing. They may feel that they want to know more about the technique and consider training. As they progress through the training the process of learning seems to yield more and more fulfilment, and thus the student continues.
The process involves training yourself to practice the technique. You are your own student and teacher. In the first year of learning we are working on ourselves. We have no idea how to help others or successfully use hands-on.
In the class we take turns with qualified teachers, play movement games and practice group work. The atmosphere is 100% co-operative and supportive. Humour and fun are included and we are never bored. The coffee break is a treasured moment.