From My Student's Point Of View

It's the best thing I've ever done for myself. I'm not tensing up or overworking certain muscles when I work. It used to be that only regular massage and chiropractic adjustments would release that tension and now I don't feel that I need them. The work teaches me to take control of my body and it's a very powerful feeling. As a result, everything I do is more comfortable, with less stress! 
-Enola I. Salon Owner and Stylist

This is a testimonial from a current student of mine who has been taking lessons from me regularly for just about a year. I wanted to share her enthusiasm and her experience with the work. Enola's profession presents physical challenges everyday and in her lessons she has learned how to create the conditions for greater stability, ease and comfort in her body, transforming the daily repetitive motions required to do her work into actions that don't cause strain. This has been extremely valuable in taking her through long days of standing on her feet and leaning forward over her clients without pain or excessive effort. 

It is exciting when my students realize that as a result of their work with the Technique, they can fully enjoy the things they love to do in both their personal and professional lives without having to compromise their well-being or pay for it later with strain, injury, pain or extreme soreness. This has absolutely been my experience as a dancer and performer, and now also a committed yoga student along with a new weekly regimen of running and strength training. Alexander Technique has allowed me to test my physical and technical limits without injury or pain (this was NOT the case early on in my dance career). I do get sore (of course!) but I recover much more quickly. 


Alexander In The News - November 2012

'Alexander In The News' is a recurring post on my blog. Whenever I come across news coverage that I think is well done, doing a good job of explaining the Technique, I put it up here. The latest comes from CBS News in Texas where longtime teacher Phyllis Richmond is based. It includes a great video with a testimonial from one of her students who was able to avoid back surgery by studying Alexander.

Ideas about what is "good" posture are changing as we realize that holding ourselves up in a rigid position will not resolve back, neck or shoulder problems. It eventually leads to more discomfort and pain. In fact good posture is dynamic and easeful...and comfortable! - as the student in the video attests.

Click here to read & watch the video


New video about the Alexander Technique from AmSAT

This new animated video offers a wonderfully simple and straight forward explanation of the Alexander Technique.

Produced by The American Society for the Alexander Technique(AmSAT)*

*AmSAT is the largest professional organization of teachers of the Alexander Technique in the United States. AmSAT-certified teachers have completed a comprehensive training over a minimum of three years at an AmSAT approved teacher training course, as specified in the AmSAT Bylaws. Continuing education is a requirement for ongoing AmSAT membership. AmSAT is affiliated with seventeen international societies of teachers of the Alexander Technique committed to supporting the highest standards of teaching, professional training and conduct worldwide.


Johns Hopkins' "Back Pain Health" recommends Alexander Technique

A leading contributing factor of musculoskeletal pain (and often its underlying cause) is unrecognized patterns of excess tension.  People tend to respond to pain by tensing further which usually exacerbates discomfort. Because it teaches how to recognize and unlearn these habitual patterns, the Alexander Technique is known for its effectiveness in relieving neck, back, and joint pain for the long-term. The Johns Hopkins article highlights how it's expertly applied to treating back pain:

"If you have chronic back pain and you find that pain medication, physical therapy and regular exercise don't provide you with sufficient long-term relief, you may want to consider an alternative movement therapy called the Alexander technique." 

Read the complete article from Fall 2011 here: The Alexander Technique: An Alternative Therapy for Chronic Back Pain

These photos show me working with a student to find greater ease and balance in a supported seated squat and in walking:

 (Post adapted in part from amsatonline.org's description of the benefits of Alexander Technique)


Alexander Intro in NYC with 2 Master Teachers!

Two exceptional teachers who've not only had a big influence on my own use and teaching, but on the field-at-large will be giving an introductory workshop in New York City at the end of May. This is a rare opportunity! The event is free but they are accepting $25 donations, 100% of which goes to support the national organization of Alexander Teachers-a worthy cause.

The Alexander Technique: Self-Awareness in Action - An Introduction

Thursday May 31, 2012
3:00 – 4:45 PM

With Judy Stern and Jessica Wolf, AmSAT Certified Alexander Technique Teachers

Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse
Samuel B. and David Rose Building
70 Lincoln Center Plaza
165 West 65th Street, New York, NY 10023

Open to the Public.

For anyone who dreams of reducing the stresses of day-to-day living, the Alexander
Technique is for you. F. M. Alexander's thoughtful, groundbreaking approach will help you manage the physical and mental challenges of life in modern society. Respiratory illness, back pain and other forms of chronic pain can be major contributors to these challenges. Learn with us how to approach these conditions creatively and highly effectively.

Judith Stern, M.S. P.T., and Jessica Wolf, Assistant Professor of The Alexander
Technique, Yale University, will introduce the Alexander Technique and its application
to daily life in an experiential lecture/demonstration. They will be assisted by AmSAT Certified Teachers.

Admission is free. No advanced registration required.
$25 Suggested (tax deductible) donations to AmSAT will be accepted.
Click here for more information

Presented by The American Society for the Alexander Technique
Celebrating 25 Years in Support of Excellence, since 1987


Alexander Technique in Dance Magazine

Alexander Technique is featured in an article in this month's Dance Magazine.

Alexander (along with other somatic forms) is becoming more and more a part of dance training, its principles integrated into the teaching of modern and ballet technique.

“Instead of doing something else, it’s more about stopping something, rather than adding something, (Luc) Vanier says. Dancers are used to always doing. Old corrections, dogma, worries, and fears have a tendency to hang around in a dance class. The Alexander Technique can bring a student back in contact with their capacity to reason out what is going on. "

To read the full article, The Somatics Infusion by Nancy Wozny Click here


Sciatica & The Alexander Technique

 I have experienced profound relief from sciatica through the Alexander Technique. When it flares, I now have a “toolkit” of approaches that I can use to sooth the exacerbation. I never thought I would be able to experience the state of “no pain” again. My continued work with Rachel is helping me re-coordinate my body so that I can avoid sciatic pain. 
-Lynn P., certified nurse and professor of nursing

Sciatica is a relatively common issue for many but that doesn't mean you have to just put up with it. I see and hear first hand from students and from other Alexander Teachers that the Technique can provide real and lasting relief from the pain and discomfort associated with Sciatica. The above testimonial is from a current Alexander student of mine who has experienced this type of relief through her lessons.

Sciatica is a term that describes a type of pain; it does not tell us the cause of the pain. All it tells us is that the sciatic nerve is being irritated somewhere along its path. The sciatic nerve travels down through the deep buttock musculature. One reason the Alexander Technique is so helpful in reducing sciatic nerve pain is that it teaches us to release these deep muscles, thereby reducing pressure on the nerve.

Learning to widen the lower back also reduces sciatic-type pain if the pain is coming from the little joints in the back of the spine. If the sciatic nerve is being irritated by pressure from a bulging spinal disc, widening the back may significantly reduce this pressure.

The late great Alexander Teacher Deborah Caplan who wrote the seminal book Back Trouble, recommends that students with painful sciatica rest periodically during the day in the following position: lying on the back on a firm surface with large pillows under the knees.

I also recommend that when sitting, to think of letting the chair further support you (you might discover that you were holding yourself away from the chair a bit) to invite less effort overall, especially in the low back and pelvic region.

(This post was adapted in part from an article by Deborah Caplan entitled The Alexander Technique and Its Application to Back Pain, in Direction Journal)


Yoga & The Alexander Technique

An Alexander Teacher, Joan Arnold, responds to the New York Times article, How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body.

How Yoga Can Free Your Body
By Joan Arnold, certified teacher of the Alexander Technique & Yoga

The provocative title of William Broad's article in the January 8th New York Times Magazine -- How Yoga Can Wreck your Body -- has a whole nation of yogis buzzing. The news is that people can hurt themselves doing yoga. But they don't have to. Bring some mindfulness and sound movement principles to your practice, and you greatly reduce your chance of injury.

Broad's indictment is, well, pretty broad. His sensational warning overlooks some essential elements: the wild panoply of yogic varieties, the habits of mind and body we each bring to the mat, the vagaries of teachers' instructional skills, and the risks that accompany all human movement - athletic or sedentary.



Alexander Introductory Workshop Thurs Feb 23

Happy new year!

In finishing a busy 2011 I'm reflecting on how applying the Alexander Technique in our everyday lives invites us to stay present and make space for our breath. By embodying a state of greater awareness and ease, we can take full advantage of what life has to offer and remain open, curious, engaged, active, and injury free.

This is what the Alexander Technique offers.
It is an educational process for enhancing well-being with proven therapeutic results. Whether performer, professor, architect, nurse, office manager, or student, the Technique gives you the tools to improve the quality of your life in numerous ways.

Introductory Group Workshop
If you're new to the Technique and curious about how it can be of benefit to you, join me in this introductory class. I'll introduce the work with hands-on demonstrations, discussion and group activities. We'll learn to apply Alexander to basic everyday activities such as sitting, walking, bending, and standing.

Thursday February 23rd
$25 -fee includes a copy of the book Back Trouble, A New Approach to Prevention and Recovery by Deborah Caplan. A must-read for all Alexander students.
Class size is limited. Advanced registration is required.
Contact me to register

Alexander Technique New Haven | Erector Square |  New Haven, CT


Alexander in the News - Jan 2012

Great article about Alexander Technique in the Florida Sun Sentinel

"In a sedentary era, when back pain has emerged as the second most common reason for doctor's visits, an age-old treatment is gaining new notice for its simplicity — and scientifically proven effectiveness."

...And another in the Yale Daily News: Your Body is Beautiful with the Alexander Technique

"So how will the Alexander Technique make your life better? The technique will change your method of standing, walking, lying down and even breathing; once applied, it reduces the tensions that the awful mattresses of college dorms wreak on our bodies, and teaches us how to efficiently guide our body’s actions. It gives us a little grace. It really is quite magical."