Chair work teaches you to by-pass your normal way of standing up from a chair and sitting down. Normally when you sit down or stand up, you hardly think about it. Your brain has a motor program which it executes and this involves little conscious thought.
However, to change this habit, you need to stop the motor program from automatically taking place, and apply your conscious awareness to your movement.
As the teacher, using my hands, I will organise your body into a new co-ordination and will guide you in moving to stand or sit. This will bring about a temporary improvement in your co-ordination.
In time you will learn to adopt a new co-ordination for yourself and prevent yourself from sitting or standing according to the old wrong habit. This can only be learnt bit by bit over a series of lessons.
Later in the course of lessons, we will apply the same principles to other ordinary movements, such as leaning over, bending down to pick something up, going onto tip-toes etc. More complex activites, such as voice work, using a computer or playing an instrument can be introduced.
Alexander chose chair work because we sit and stand many times in a normal day. Each time can be a reminder to you to stop and organise your movement.
Lying down work is usually the second part of the lesson. It involves applying the same techniques in a lying down position.
When lying down, your body does not have to counter the force of gravity in the same way as when standing or sitting. This makes it easier to release the excessive tension which may have built up in some of your muscles.
You lie down on your back, either on the floor or on a special large table. Because the surface is firm, the sense receptors in your back can pick up better information about where you are holding tension.
You will be given “homework” to practise between lessons, gradually enabling you to apply these techniques to whatever activities you normally do.