Applications of the Alexander Technique
Being a musician requires you to adapt yourself and your overall use
to create the sound you want from your instrument. As an
Alexander Technique teacher it is not my desire to interfere with what
you already do well. Together we work to enhance your skill, and
find a more easeful balance between you and your instrument.
There are often unnecessary patterns of tension created in musicians
as they play. Different phrasing or more difficult passages
often cause us to strain, brace or use unnecessary
tension. We work to find these habits and distribute the
work of playing to the whole, eliminating excess work.
A Massage Therapist’s job involves helping your client to relax and
release tension. Working full time with 5-8 massages back to
back can often take its toll on you. You end up offering your
clients release but accumulating fatigue and soreness within
yourself. A lot of your work deals with giving weight to
the person on the table. It is easy to slip into “creating” this
weight by bracing or generating excess tension in your upper
body. I can work with you to utilize the natural opposition
between your legs and your torso, to release your spine into length,
and to find greater width and freedom in your upper body, which
enables you to transfer weight through an open system to your client.
It is important to approach your yoga practice from a state of
physical and mental “neutrality,” free from the interference of
everyday habits. The Alexander Technique offers yoga practitioners a
way to recognize, monitor and eliminate the unconscious patterns of
tension that are present in your everyday movement, and that may limit
your freedom, balance and flexibility as you practice. When we
unconsciously rely on these patterns we are practicing yoga on a
system that is discoordinated and is not starting from a balanced
state. Through repetition these patterns become our “neutral,” and
take us further away from the freedom that we can achieve when the
neck is released and the head balances atop a free and lengthened
spine. By incorporating the Technique into your yoga practice, you
learn to think with more of yourself, to recognize when and where you
are interfering with your freedom, to practice on a system free from
self-interference, and to open yourself up to more freedom and release
both in your thought and movement.
Sitting for long periods of time is much more challenging than
standing. It is easy to become pulled into what’s in front of
us, and we take our eyes and heads forward towards the computer
screen. By losing the balance of our head on our spine we adopt
all sorts of slumped or collapsed postures as we continue to work. The
spine is designed as the “spacer” of the system and when we sit it is
easy to lose our overall length through it. It is this
slump in the spine, or spacing system of the torso, that in the long
run can often contribute to pain in the arms, wrists and hands.
When working with RSI students, elongating the spine and the whole
torso often alleviates the pain in the elbows, wrists and hands.
I work with students to prevent compromising their torso’s length and
width when challenged with extensive periods of sitting at a
computer. No matter how fancy the ergonomic design of the chair
you are sitting in or the computer keyboard you use, if you do not
become aware of and adjust your habits of use you will continue to
have the same problems. The compressed or damaged nerves of RSI
or Carpal Tunnel can often be lessened with attention to maintaining
better total body use-- balancing the work of typing throughout the
whole rather than placing it solely on the hands, wrists and arms.
Being an actor involves taking on characters and their traits.
It is easy to get lost in that person and lose sight of
yourself. Often we add the traits of that character on top of
our own unconscious habits. I work with you to become aware of
and eliminate your own unnecessary habits and to establish a strong
“neutral” area of use to come back to and perform from. Becoming more
aware of yourself and your optimal use enables you to have more
freedom in your choices as an actor. Together we work to enhance
your skills of balancing movement, speech, breath, and
I come from a dance and choreography background and was thrilled to
find in this work a vocabulary for the way I thought about
movement. Studying this work enables a dancer to find and
release into the dynamic oppositions built into the body and utilize
them to support you as you move. Together we work to find
stability through a balanced, well-integrated system rather then one
that is unconsciously bracing for support. We explore areas
where you may be interfering with your system of balance.
Together we work to find the internal movement and balance involved in
stillness and allow that freedom to lead us into external
movement. The Technique offers dancers awareness of themselves
in movement, a strong neutral to move from and come back to, and more
freedom of choice in movement.
My karate teacher always reminded us “Be strong but know when to
bend.” Strength comes not from bracing and holding one’s
breath, but from finding adaptability, having a choice in how you
react to stimulus. When in the position of sparring, an
opponent’s punch or kick coming at you is quite a strong
stimulus. If you react by bracing or over-tensing, you will be
less adaptable and less able to recover. Over-bracing in one
part of your body has a direct effect on your overall balance, and can
become a great interference with your speed and agility.
Together we work to recognize areas of bracing or over-tensing and
find ways to release them into a more integrated, dynamic pattern of