What Is the Learning Process?
Safe and effective pattern work begins with learning the neutral state and the "step out” technique. This allows a practitioner to quickly and thoroughly bring the body and mind into a state of calm alertness. Work on all other patterns, of any duration, should begin from a state of neutrality and return to it. Learners begin by practicing pattern reproduction in small segments: for example, accurate reproduction of a single inhalation – placement, rate and force – may require many attempts to achieve with consistency. Pattern work is most effectively practiced step by step just a few minutes at a time in order to avoid muscle fatigue and the buildup of effort tensions, and supported with exercises for relaxation and development of physical responsiveness and awareness. Learning rates vary according to emotional readiness and previously developed physical awareness and control. Some people may experience genuine emotion from a pattern within the first few minutes of work; most will need to accumulate several hours of practice over time to have these experiences. Control develops with command of technique; expertise (which may or may not be an aim, depending on one’s purpose for learning the method) develops over time, with practice, exploration, and application. Most people experience significant release of habitual emotional tensions long before reaching pattern consistency.
“I insist, it is essential that this learning be done under the guidance of an expert. In spite of the fact that the method deals with a technique that is apparently very simple, it requires precise adjustments of the facial muscles, the body posture, and especially of the breathing. This cannot be learned by simply reading an article about the procedure, or vicariously from the experience of another person who learned it during a workshop.
Since the reproduction of the patterns triggers genuine emotions, an inexperienced person doing the exercises, without expert guidance could enter into an uncontrolled state of anxiety or depression, especially when using the patterns of fear and sadness. This is why I insist on the need to first learn the step-out technique so as to avoid possible uncontrolled emotional reactions. With practice, Alba Emoting makes it possible to learn to induce controlled emotional states and to be able to leave them consciously at any moment.”
“On the other hand, in order to avoid robotic use of the emotional patterns, the expert teacher must not only have experience with the method, but must also teach it with a strong ethical conscience. This is equally true for the learner.”
Susana Bloch, Alba Emoting, 2017
The Alba Method Association discourages any person new to the Alba Method from attempting to intentionally perform any of the 6 emotional respiratory-postural-facial patterns without the physical presence of a certified instructor. Written, audio, or video instructions are not adequate ways to begin the teaching or learning of the patterns. Such materials may be appropriate later during the learning process, but not until thorough in-person introduction to all patterns (including neutral) and mastery of the Step-Out, and with specific instructor authorization. Trying to learn any of the 6 emotional patterns without the presence of a certified instructor is likely to lead to an incorrect execution and understanding of the patterns. Rarely, but importantly, this may also lead to uncontrolled emotional reactions. Therefore, members of the Alba Method Association do not publish any materials that suggest, insinuate, or imply that a novice should attempt to intentionally perform the emotional patterns without the presence of a certified instructor.