What's it like taking lessons with Elaine?

Here's what a few of my students have to say about their experiences taking Alexander lessons with me:

Glenna C.

After an extended struggle with sciatica, I was advised to try the Alexander Technique in order to prevent further problems. I read up on the Technique and decided that it could work for me, and I noticed that each author insisted that individual lessons were absolutely essential. I was a bit skeptical, but now that I have experienced it, I have to agree that the proper way to hold the body is not anything like what you may think.

As soon as I took my first lesson with Elaine Lin, I knew I’d come to the right place. She teaches in a lighthearted way, using both physiology diagrams and stuffed animals to demonstrate the optimal way to stand, sit, and move.

After about 8 hour-long lessons, I have just about developed a new habit of standing, sitting, and moving properly. So far there has been no return of sciatica pain, but best of all, I have gained more confidence in my outward presentation than I’ve ever had in my 68 years.

Elaine has high standards but is patient, and she truly listens and takes each student’s strengths, weaknesses, and customary activities into account during her lessons. I’d recommend her to anyone without hesitation.

(Review from 4/25/2018.) 

Gabriel L.

In my experience, the Alexander Technique (AT) takes commitment, but it really works. Elaine really knows, and wants you to learn. She really cares. She puts the time, she is diligent, she tailors the exercises to your needs, and she listens to your feedback. If you do your part, and stick with it, you will see the results.

When I say that the AT works, I mean you can actually verify things:

* "If you are losing your balance, roll your head". Once I learned to "roll my head", my balance greatly improved, many yoga positions became a non-issue.

* Early on, I was having a lot of back problems (that was my initial motivation to start AT lessons), and many times I would show up to class with back pain. Half-way through the class, the back pain was gone.

* Elaine noticed that when I gulped, I slightly moved my head in a way that was tightening my neck muscles and my throat. She helped me recognize the slight movement I was doing, and to stop doing it. Among other things, I have noticed the water no longer "goes down the wrong pipe" when I drink, which used to happen to me fairly regularly.

* I had a big presentation, and I practiced the content a lot, but I also practiced to stay "organized" (AT jargon) during the presentation. The feedback was that it was one of the best presentations I have given. My voice projected better, I looked comfortable (and taller), etc.

* Working with Elaine, I have re-learned to use certain muscles for certain motions (surprisingly difficult sometimes), and also how NOT to use them for other movements -the proverbial "letting go". I get a short massage regularly, and the masseuse knows I practice the AT, and keeps commenting how it shows that I work with my body, that the stretches always work on me, that I know how to let go.

I could go down a much longer list of specific things that have changed thanks to the AT lessons with Elaine.

A common question about AT is "how many lessons do I need". To answer, one AT book starts with another question: "How many lessons do you need to play the guitar?" Well, it depends on whether you have a music background or not, whether you want to play some popular songs, or play jazz. Same here. I have taken lessons with Elaine for slightly over two years now. I had a poor "use" of my body (more AT jargon) when I started; I drive to work, I work in front of a computer all day, etc. I had developed back problems then. It took somewhere between five and ten lessons to start "getting it". By now, I have assimilated the basics, and we continue to work on more subtle issues, such as imbalances between my right and left sides, flexibility issues, etc. And there is always a chance to fine-tune some of the basics. I keep coming back because I know Elaine will listen to me, take the time to identify root-causes, and have the patience to help me modify any habit that can be changed for the better.

It takes commitment. Elaine will do her part. If you do yours, it will definitely be worth the effort. These are skill[s] you will have with you for the rest of your life.

(Review from 10/28/2014.)

Jon P.

I started out with Elaine because I had a lot of pain in my neck, as well as trouble with my back when I stood or walked for long periods of time. I was pretty surprised when after just one session, the pain was tangibly lessened.

The thing I appreciate about Elaine is that she would cringe whenever I would say I'm going to her just because I want to fix my neck. She insisted that I had a whole-body issue, and that I needed to focus on my use and the fundamentals of the Alexander technique. At first I thought she was just being ornery, but after about 6-7 sessions, I started to really appreciate how Elaine wouldn't let me take short cuts.

One thing about the lessons is that I'm still shocked at how much work it is--the first few lessons I had with Elaine, I would literally pass out after I went home for long naps from the fatigue. I never knew that I was standing so "crooked" that it would take all my strength just to start using my body in the proper manner.

Now, I still do periodic sessions with Elaine, and I find that whenever I start lapsing into my bad habits, I hear her voice in my head telling me to "let my neck be free" or "send my knees away", and the pain in my neck and back literally just go away. I later asked my doctor about this, to see if this was some psychosomatic thing, and he said that it made sense to him, because he noticed that I had some scoliosis and bone deposits in my neck from sitting crooked at my desk for years, and that Alexander technique principles were probably forcing me to remember to sit evenly and straight, which would almost immediately stop the bone deposits from causing me pain.

For full disclosure, I started taking lessons with Elaine when she was first starting out, and she wasn't as refined in her teaching technique when she started. It's been some years now, and I've noticed quite an improvement in her technique--not that I would know enough to critique her Alexander technique, but more so on her ability to transfer knowledge to me as her student and to make the learning process enjoyable and interesting. I like how she incorporated some "practical uses" at the end of her lessons with me, so I could transfer some of the more abstract things into the real world, like how to sit at my computer. I pay more for lessons now than I did before, but with the improved technique and studio space, it's worth every penny.

I give Elaine 5-stars for the overall experience. I imagine that there are people that charge a boatload in fancy studios that might better serve certain clientele that Elaine might not attract in her more humble studio setting, but the fact that Elaine seems to really care about my health AND her craft, and the fact that I've seen tangible results in my own health make it easy for me to give her 5 stars.

(Review from 10/14/2011.)

Tim T.

I've been to 7 or 8 sessions with Elaine. I have a minor back injury and infrequent neck pain, but I mainly wanted to work on improving my "use" before I get too old and start having more issues. My father started having debilitating neck pain in his 60's, and it turned out to be completely correctable through an initial adjustment period with a doctor followed by just being careful about how he held his body and went about picking things up, etc. That sounds a lot like what the Alexander Technique teaches people, and it seems like it could have prevented all the years of pain he went through in the first place.

Anyway, Elaine is an excellent teacher. She takes the time to explain things and keeps diligently working with you even when you're not really getting it. The technique can be difficult to understand at first because most people, like myself, really don't pay attention to what they're doing and put a lot of unnecessary stress on their bodies. Elaine starts out slowly and leaves you with one or two things to think about and work on after each session, so it's not overwhelming. When I'm careful to practice what I've been taught, I don't have any back or neck pain at all.

I found out Elaine actually went through a 3 year training program with one of the foremost experts in the field and still goes back for training/teaching practice. That makes me a lot more confident in her abilities, and I think says something about her commitment to teaching the technique to others.

(Review from 6/16/2011.)

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