Frequently Asked Questions

What is a private lesson like?

If you come for a lesson at the office you’ll wear comfortable street clothes.

A lesson involves very gentle, light touch and verbal guidance. At the end of your first lesson you can expect to feel lighter, more grounded, relaxed and less stressed.

You learn to recognize habit patterns that may be interfering with your ease and flexibility and they learn how to discontinue them.

A Lesson can Involve:

Alexander Technique Private lesson table workTable Work

Part of the lesson takes place lying down (fully clothed) on a lightly padded table, on your back with your knees bent. This way, you can more easily experience your body’s muscles in a neutral state.

Emily works with you to recognize and release any unnecessary tension you may be holding. You are an active participant: your eyes are open and we talk when appropriate.

Alexander Technique Private lesson saddle workSaddle Work

Sometimes we will work with you seated on a saddle placed on a wooden horse.

This is particularly useful for riders. It helps you get a sense of the habits you carry when you ride.

Saddle work is useful for anyone who has problems with pain or tension in their seat and legs. Sitting on the saddle allows you to release these areas without having to put weight on them.

Alexander Technique Private lesson guidance activityGuidance during activity

This part of the lesson involves simple activities such as sitting, standing, walking, and more.

These simple movements bring to your awareness habits of muscle tension that can be discontinued and replaced with new habits that allow freedom and ease.

You are welcome to work with Emily on any activity such as computer work, speaking, sports, playing a musical instrument and more.

How quickly can I expect to see results?

Most people feel a difference in one lesson and begin to put the technique into practice in their life by about 6 lessons.

What makes your approach different?

Equestrian focus

As far as I know, I am the only Alexander Technique instructor in Oregon and one of the few in the US who focuses their practice on equestrians. I believe that focusing on riders allows me to be more keenly aware of their problems, so I can offer solutions.

Trained by a rider

I am one of the few Alexander Technique instructors who offer saddle work. I was taught by Walter Carrington, an avid dressage rider up until his 90s. Every week we had training sessions on saddle work, and I was hooked!

Do you teach riding?

No, I teach riders how to unlearn their muscular tension habits, manage their mental reactions and increase their sensory awareness. They learn be more in tune with themselves, and hence more in tune with their horse.

How will Alexander Technique help my riding?

You’ll learn to stop using too much effort, release over-tense muscles and lengthen your back while being grounded in your pelvis. These help you to find a sense of equilibrium within yourself.

Learning these things will also help you find a sense of equilibrium with your horse.

Is Alexander Technique like Sally Swift’s Centered Riding?

Sally Swift was a long-time student of Alexander Technique, beginning in 1980. At that time she was using a brace for scoliosis and was able to discontinue use of the brace due to her Alexander lessons.

She developed her basic principles after study with Mabel Todd, the author of The Thinking Body.

As Sally had more Alexander Technique lessons, she added some key Alexander concepts to her teachings. For instance, “use (of the self) affects functioning”, or how you do something affects the result.

(Adapted from “A Conversation with Sally Swift”, by Constance Clare, you can read more here:

What type of personalities do you work best with and what is expected of me?

We’ll work best together if you’re ready to:

  • try a new approach
  • commit to change in your life
  • make an investment in yourself

What type of people will Alexander Technique NOT work for?

Alexander Technique will not work for you if you:

  • aren’t curious about possibilities
  • want to be fixed
  • feel you’re not responsible for your own well-being

How can I guarantee that I will benefit?

I offer a 7-day money-back guarantee if a lesson, group, workshop or clinic does not meet your expectations.

What are my options to get started with you?

Call 503 505 4155 to schedule an assessment. Or if you need more information first, Contact Emily to schedule a free phone consultation.

What if I’m not an equestrian and I still want to work with you?

Get in touch so we can discuss your needs and whether working together would be a good fit.

In addition to working with riders, Emily has worked with many people dealing with issues where excess tension is a factor.

These include:

  • traumatic brain injury
  • stroke
  • depression
  • blepharospasm
  • spasmodic dysphonia
  • repetitive strain injury (RSI)
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • neck pain
  • back pain
  • frozen shoulder
  • postural problems
  • sciatica and others

She has also worked with people eager to improve their performance or work skills such as:

  • musicians
  • actors
  • dancers
  • golfers and other athletes
  • dentists and others

If you wish, Emily may be able to refer you to another teacher if your area.

Where is your office located?

211 SE Madison St., Suite 22
Portland, OR 97214

What types of payment do you accept and do you offer payment plans?

I accept credit cards, checks, paypal, and cash. Payment plans are available. Contact Emily for details.