How long does it take to learn the Alexander Technique? That depends on where you start from, what you want to know, and how far you decide to go with it. It is often recommended that prospective students plan to take at least 10 lessons if they wish to acquire an overview, complete 15-20 sessions if they want to retain the new coordination in a useable form for a specific purpose, and continue to 30 and possibly beyond that if they decide to pursue the process in all of its potential applications. In the earlier sessions you can develop the physical skills, while the mental and emotional ones take longer to acquire. Some people go on to make lessons a regular part of their lives in order to delve more deeply into all these aspects.
However extensive the objective, the practice is the same, promoting psycho-physical calm by undoing excessive physical holding and muscular tension. This is facilitated by the underlying process of the Technique, which has to do with learning to induce a cognitive shift from analytical brain processes to the non-verbal, non-dominant ones. Necessarily subtle, this cannot be approached directly or adequately described in words – but it can be effectively taught experientially. The teacher cannot tell the student how to do it because it cannot be done, only envisioned and intended through an appropriate mode of thought.
While each lesson may appear superficially similar, the student is different each time, because his brain is learning how to do expansive directional thinking. This takes time and repetition, as basically what is being learned is how to create the conditions for it to happen and then to wait for it to occur. The initial series of 10 lessons just scratches the surface of this meta-level of understanding. The best reference for getting a sense of what this means is Zen in the Art of Archery, by Eugen Herrigel, a beautiful little 80-page book that conveys the nature of the experience.