The Alexander Technique is a sophisticated way to change the way you manage muscle tension to improve your posture and performance. By learning it you gain a rational understanding of how to use your body to move in ways that promote efficiency and ease rather than pain and strain.
Posture is not something you have, like you have bones and muscles, but rather is the result of your neuromuscular behavior as muscles tense or release in all directions. Since we all develop our own unique, unconscious posture habits, changing your posture is much more complicated than "do these exercises" or "stand up straight". To change your posture you have to change the way your neuromuscular system behaves in regulating muscle tension.
Alexander Technique teachers are experts in teaching you how to manage muscle tension not only to improve posture, but also to bring ease and balance into everything you do. They have been teaching it to actors, dancers and musicians to improve their posture and performance skills for almost 100 years.
In controlled studies, the Alexander Technique has been proven more effective than standard medical care alone in lessening asymptomatic chronic back pain. Even after one year, patients who had only standard medical care reported on average 21 days of pain per month. Patients who had 24 lessons in the Alexander Technique reported on average only 3 days of pain per month. Importantly, there was no difference in those Alexander Technique students who were also prescribed exercise and those who were not. Both groups showed the same level of improvement, so exercise did not add or detract from the impact of the lessons.
The Alexander Technique has also been shown to improve walking and balance in patients with Parkinson's disease, to increase lung capacity without breathing exercises, and to increase functional reach in elderly patients.
In short, good posture is important to health, and Alexander Technique can give it to you.
Private lessons in the Alexander Technique
If you know what good posture is it is possible to change yours without any outside help besides a mirror. But if you already knew that you would already be doing it.
During a lesson I use verbal instruction along with a very light touch to guide you into discovering what your own best posture can be by redistributing muscle tension throughout your body. You therefore learn better posture by experiencing it in yourself, not by working hard to get it. With simple awareness exercises that you can practice anywhere at any time, you learn how to maintain your new posture both while being active and while sitting still.
We work first on basic daily movements like sitting, walking, standing and lying (on a massage table). As your control of your posture improves we can examine any movement or activity you want, whether playing a musical instrument, typing on a keyboard, making a speech, or performing an arabesque on pointe.
There are no physical exercises or special equipment involved, and, except for shoes, you remain fully clothed throughout the lesson.
It took time to develop your current posture habits, and it will take time to change them. A standard course consists of 24 private lessons taken weekly, and is what most students find necessary to be able to continue working on their own. However you can obtain a great deal of lasting benefit with as few as 8 lessons. For dealing with short term problems, fewer lessons might be sufficient to gain relief, though probably not enough to keep developing on your own.
Many students find the Alexander Technique learning process so beneficial, not to mention fun and pleasurable, they continue for months, sometimes even years.
I find The Alexander Technique very helpful in my work.
Things happen without you trying. They get you to be light and relaxed.
You must get an Alexander teacher to show it to you.
-- John Cleese, actor
Certified Teacher of the Alexander Technique
Tom Koch has been teaching the Alexander Technique since 1987 when he was certified by the American Center for the Alexander Technique in New York. He has taught all around the world, including America, Holland, Germany, Belgium, France, and Australia. He has taught scores of dancers, and musicians, as well as managers, expectant mothers, and those with chronic illnesses like MS, RSI, arthritis, back pain and stiffness. His practice includes:
- Private courses in the Alexander Technique
- Individual lessons in the Alexander Technique
- Private master classes for professional performers
- Private tutoring for students of the performing arts
- Group classes and workshops in the Alexander Technique for schools, companies and organization
- Private lessons and group workshops in advanced hands-on techniques for Alexander teachers and trainees
Tom is also a recognized member of the Dutch Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (NeVLAT).
It is a way to transform stress to joy. It's my way of keeping on track with work and truth and the world I’m in which is working with people and creating.
It’s for anyone who wants to be in contact with their own body and the way we tense ourselves and relax ourselves.
It’s another way of moving.
-- Juliette Binoche, actress
Tom's studio is in the center of Amsterdam (see map below), just a ten minute walk from Central Station, and just 2 minutes from tram stop Nieuwezijds Kolk. In exceptional cases Tom is also available to teach private lessons in your home or office. Group classes and workshops are held on-site to suit your needs.