Applications of the Alexander Technique

Musicians

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.

Massage Therapists

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.

Yoga Practitioners

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.

Computer Workers

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.

Actors

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 performance. 

Dancers

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.

Martial Artists/Boxers

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 body use.

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