Here is an attempt to describe what is going on with Alexander Technique and why it is tricky to learn even though it seems conceptually simple, cut and pasted from an email answer to a student question.
We are learning to communicate with parts of the nervous system that we aren’t used to communicating with, namely the low level automatic patterns of tension associated with postural support, stiffness, and stress. So communicating with these patterns is a learned skill. Furthermore, we are learning to understand which patterns of tension are most appropriate given the structure of our bodies. If I can be a little bold, we are learning about how our bodies are “meant” to be organized posturally, which requires a certain kind of understanding that is new to most people.
This learned communication skill can be described conceptually in fairly simple terms. The communication involves a certain kind of objective observation, certain kinds of spatial awareness, an a heightened sensitivity to patterns of tension. It also involves understanding how not to fall into certain common traps – over judging, overreacting, over focusing, etc. And finally, it involves and ability to message the body in order to tune low level muscle activity.
The understanding of patterns of tension involves both a conceptual understanding of how bones and muscles work together to hold you up, and an intuitive embodiment of this kind of understanding. The anatomical understanding can be fairly simple – just knowing where the most important joints are and roughly how the muscles are organized – deep vs. superficial, postural vs. movement, etc. The intuitive embodiment involves sensing how patterns of tension relate to the underlying structure. What happens to your muscles when you get stressed? How do you lose trunk support in some movements? What are your habitual slouching habits when working at the computer?
It’s not much more than that. But . . . as you have experienced, it can be frustrating at the beginning because this work has no exercises to give you an easy buzz as in most body practices. I.e. there is no juicy yoga stretch or adrenaline producing cardio movements to give you a chemical kick :-). So when starting out, we might not get the same kinds of rewards as we are used to. So it can be useful to have help, both to get over the frustration, to be reminded of how nice the rewards can be (as you said “like another reality”), and to get some specific tips about what we are looking for and how to get there.
I like to think of myself as a coach or a guide who can help you on your own journey.