Recenlty, a study was published in The Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies that compared older Alexander Technique practitioners to other age-matched adults.
“The Alexander Technique (AT) seeks to eliminate harmful patterns of tension that interfere with the control of posture and movement and in doing so, it may serve as a viable intervention method for increasing gait efficacy in older adults. The purpose of this study was to compare the comfortable pace gait kinematics of older AT practitioners with those of healthy, age-matched controls. Participants were six licensed AT practitioners and seven healthy age-matched controls between the ages of 63 and 75. During the stance phase, AT participants exhibited significantly greater ankle stance range of motion (ROM) and plantar flexion at toe off, as well as lower ROM of the trunk and head compared to controls. During the swing phase, the AT practitioners had significantly increased hip and knee flexion and a trend toward significantly increased dorsiflexion. The findings suggest that the older AT practitioners walked with gait patterns more similar to those found in the literature for younger adults. These promising results highlight the need for further research to assess the AT’s potential role as an intervention method for ameliorating the deleterious changes in gait that occur with aging.”
I have witnessed so many of my clients who older and wiser, completely change how they walk, sit, stand, and move through life. Before they took, Alexander Technique lessons, they walked with their head forward of their spine, their chest compressed, and their leg joints stiffened.
Alexander Technique lessons give you the “tools” to unravel old patterns of tension and movement that have you walk like you are much older. Aging does not have to be a sentence to hunching over and stiffening your body. My clients have freed up their breathing, relieved back pain, and opened up their posture. All of which has impacted their confidence.
Walking like a young person doesn’t require a fountain of youth. It requires mindfulness, awareness, and training.
You want to protect your most important asset, YOUR EMPLOYEES!
What is Back Pain & Stress Costing Your Company?
However, research shows that companies are losing millions of dollars due to absenteeism caused by stress and back pain. Companies in the UK lost 15 million work days alone to back pain in 2013.
In the US, pain costs $294 billion annually in lost workdays, medical expenses, and other benefit costs.
Lost productive time from common pain conditions among active U.S. workers cost an estimated $61.2 billion annually, largely due to reduced performance while at work.
VERY successful companies like Fitbit, Zappos, Twitter, Kaiser Permanente, and Google already provide unique wellness programs in order to support and protect their dedicated workforce.
As an Alexander Technique teacher and posture coach, I, Sharon Jakubecy, have offered Posture Talks and stress management trainings to leadership trainings, advertising organizations, and sales teams. Media Arts Lab, Grifols Biologicals Inc., Rug Warehouse, Buy Rite Electric, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and LA Opera are just a few of the organizations that have received the practical training to better maintain health and vitality at work.
With your employees spending an average of 9.3 hours sitting and 7 of those hours sitting at a computer, it is imperative that they know how to sit with Healthy Pain Free Posture.
Your employees will receive impactful statistics, information, handouts, videos, and guided experiential activities with Sharon Jakubecy, certified Alexander Technique teacher, in order to evoke the decision to care for and change how they sit at the computer and carry themselves throughout the day at work. With this seminar, your employees have the opportunity to potentially increase their productivity and miss fewer days of work due to stress and pain.
Your employees will feel empowered, energized, and much more relaxed with Sharon’s warm style of teaching. Everyone will not only leave with important information about their bodies, but also easy practices and exercises that Sharon guides the entire group through.
Give your employees the support and education they need to take care of their bodies while taking care of business with our Posture Talks “Healthy Pain Free Posture”
1) One Hour talk for entire company
2) One Hour talk for entire company PLUS One-on-One Postural Work Space Analysis
Employees that sign up receive a 15 minute personalized session analyzing how the employee has their workspace ergonomically set up for pain and tension and reorganization of computer, chair, desk set up so she is sitting or standing tall with relaxed shoulders, neck, and back.
3) Workshops for smaller groups
Stress Management in the Age of Never Unplugging
Own the Room: Powerful Body Language and a Resonant Voice that Captivates Your Clients
Healing and Relieving Back Pain
TESTIMONIALS for Posture Talks
“We just launched a Health program at Media Arts Lab and Sharon was our opening speaker. Being in the advertising industry, many of our employees work sitting at the computer for long hours and express to HR that they are concerned for the health of their backs. Sharon’s agency talk, “Healthy Pain-Free Posture: Taking Care of Your Bodies While Taking Care of Business”, was enlightening and inspiring for our employees. I have never seen such a big turn out at one of our talks! People want to learn about ways to better their health and Sharon was able to help us start healthier initiatives within our office in a wonderful light. We hope to bring her back soon to run a workshop on another topic. For the sake of your employees, I highly recommend booking Sharon for your event.” -Brittany LaRoche, Associate HR Generalist at TBWA/Media Arts Lab
“Sharon’s talk was the best and most informative speech that we have seen at our agency in awhile. It’s s topic that we all care about and can benefit from.” – Bianca Wilson, Associate BA Manager at Media Arts Lab
CALL for talk outline and fees (310) 383-1796
Two major health media outlets have recently published articles about the health benefits of Alexander Technique.
In the Annals of Internal Medicine, a study was published demonstrating that Alexander Technique and Acupuncture both led to significant reductions in neck pain and associated disability compared to usual care at 12 months.
Also, in the Harvard Health Publications of Harvard Medical School by Eva Selhub MD, a very descriptive and accurate article was published regarding the literal unwinding of the body that occurs with lessons.
“Today, AT is considered a mental discipline that teaches individuals how to let go of tension in the body and how to enable the body to move with ease and minimal effort. AT is used to treat a variety of conditions, from musculoskeletal pain and repetitive strain injuries to breathing problems, voice loss, and sleep disorders. Many artists, musicians, dancers, singers, and actors use AT to help enhance their performance. The purpose of AT, ultimately, is to enable individuals to methodically unlearn maladaptive (negative) habits — which can show up in the way we stand, sit, eat, walk, or talk — and instead learn how to return the body to a relaxed, balanced state of alignment and poise.”
With my clients, during Alexander Technique sessions, I am helping them perform important and mundane tasks without pain and tension, like:
Sit at a computer
Speak in front of audiences
Cook in the kitchen
Drive their cars
Talk on the phone
Walk into an audition or job interview
Enjoy the Holidays
If you or someone you love needs to UNWIND or relieve neck pain, PRIVATE SESSIONS in the Alexander Technique may be the solution. For information, regarding private sessions for yourself or as a holiday gift, visit the PRIVATE SESSIONS PAGE
If you have wondered about Alexander Technique, how it works, or how it can help you with pain, strain, and stress, this segment on NBC San Diego interviewing my colleague Eileen Troberman is fantastic!
So many people put up with pain AND they love what they do. It is possible to do what you love AND not be in pain!
In this segment, musicians who have trained in the Alexander Technique share how this work and transformed their lives. My clients have also been film editors, directors, producers, lawyers, writers, comedians, actors, doctors, and musicians.
Watch and SHARE this comprehensive overview of Alexander Technique and its many benefits!
So many of my clients, whether they are actors, speakers, doctors, or editors, have to sit at a computer for their business. Almost everyone has a website or a social media presence which requires them to sit at a computer. Kids now have to do their homework on iPads or computers. One reason I chose Alexander Technique as a career was because I did not want a job where I had to sit at a computer. Even I have to spend time at a computer writing blog posts, sending emails to clients, and doing accounting.
Sitting at a computer, especially for long periods of time, leads to poor habits of posture taking over. These painful and compressive habits impact your experience of confidence, vitality, and body language.
Some of the worst postural habits I observe are:
- Head pushing forward towards the computer screen
- Ribs collapse forward compressing the lungs and diaphragm
- Hips tuck under which shortens the spine
- Breathing becomes shallow and breath rate has to quicken
A participant in one of my workshops, shared this video with me from YouTube. I like it because it uses clear and understandable images to demonstrate support for the head, neck, and spine.
Watch the video now (I did not make this video)
Some other recommendations I would share are:
- Your body is designed to move. Do not sit for long periods of time.
- Get up and move.
- Notice your body moving with your breath while you are at the computer
- Yawn and stretch throughout the time you are at the computer
- Give yourself the most space possible across your chest and abdominal wall
- Allow your spine to have length along the curves (You don’t want to straighten the spine
- Have the bottom of your feet flat on the floor or some other surface
- MOST IMPORTANT – Your awareness of your body is more important than the computer. Pay attention to your body and make conscious choices of how you want to sit at the computer.
Please share this with friends and family. Join the email list and receive the video series “5 Ways to Instantly Reduce Stress”
Not happy with your Body?
When I first took Alexander Technique lessons, 15 years ago, I had excruciating hip and low back pain on the left side. Little did I know that this “pain crisis” would lead to my career as an Alexander Technique teacher.
At the time, I would have to leave work because I was in so much pain. I also dealt with constant and nagging thoughts about my own body being too fat and not sexy enough. This is difficult to admit out loud.
For years, I dealt with what I now believe was some body dismorphia. NO matter how in shape I was or if I did happen to gain a little weight, I was constantly badgered by own thoughts of needing to lose weight and feeling ashamed of my body.
Many of my clients now, both men and women, come to me for their first Alexander Technique session and quickly express some form of body shame. They look at me with knowing concern of their weight “problem.”
As a culture, we are obsessed with our weight and believe that the solution to almost all of our problems (relationship, financial, health) is to lose weight.
“If I lose weight, I will find the love of my life.” ( I had this one)
If I lose weight, I will be more successful in my work and make more money.”
If I lose weight, I will be healthier.”
This constant self flagellation has a powerful negative impact on how you feel about yourself and your body. These thoughts create a a self image that makes you feel disgusted with yourself and not good enough.
How can you attain radiant health and well-being if you are constantly repeating these hurtful insults to yourself?
When a client, shares with me her own negative self image, I ask her “Would you continue to come back for lessons, if I spoke to you that way? Or if someone else spoke to you that way?”
Awareness of how you think about your body gives you insight into why you feel the way you feel about your body and yourself. When you clearly “hear” your negative and painful thoughts, you have an opportunity to question those thoughts and choose thoughts that are healing and supportive of your well-being.
Your body is an amazing gift. Your body deserves your appreciation and complete awe. Your heart miraculously beats and your lungs, diaphragm, and ribs breathe (even when you are asleep)!
Your body is amazing!
I love public speaking AND being in front of an audience. The opportunity to connect with a large group of people all at once gives me a thrill.
Since I was a little girl, I wanted to put on big make-up, wear wild costumes, have big hair, and make sure everyone noticed me!
It’s the Gemini in me.
Even though I loved having an audience, I would sometimes get shaky hands, my voice would quiver, or I would get tongue tied.
What I learned at a young age was that I had to warm up so that I wouldn’t get overwhelmed by the adrenaline rush of walking onto a stage with all eyes on me.
Professional athletes warm up. Musicians warm up. Actors warm up. Warming up your body, breath, and voice decreases the shock of adrenaline in your system. Instead of shrinking in response to the pressure of being in the spotlight, you teach your nervous system and body to breath through it. You ground yourself so that negative thoughts don’t distract you.
Towards the beginning of every talk I give, I Iead the entire audience through a mini warm up (This is very interesting when my audience is filled with a hundred managers of a pharmaceutical corporation).
In the photo above, I had the entire audience at Lisa Elia’s Meet the Media Day yawning, stretching, lip fluttering, and shaking it out so the participants were relaxed and ready to meet and interview with members of the media.
After a thorough warm up, you feel relaxed and loose. You have shed the armor of tension so you are more open to the people you are going to inspire.
When I work with clients who say they can’t speak in front of a group or they get too nervous, I encourage them to begin with a warm up to see how their experience changes. I have heard some hilarious and wonderful testimonials after a warm up:
“I don’t give a sh#t what anyone else thinks about me right now!”
“I feel like my vagina is unplugged!” (Yes a woman actually said that)
“I could stay up here in front of everyone forever!”
“I feel SOOO calm. And I am NOT calm.”
“I’m realizing that it is actually safe to let my guard down and let people in.”
You can try some of the warm up exercises that I lead my groups and clients through:
- Sit quietly with your hands on your chest and belly. Notice your body being moved by your breath.
- Let breath out with a Whispered Ah to allow your shoulders and jaw to release
- Yawn and stretch with sound
- Lip flutter (Watch the video here)
- Hum and shake your hips, twist your ribcage, & bounce your shoulders
How do you feel afterwards? What is different in your body? your nervous system? your voice?
On October 25, I am leading a 3 hour workshop titled “RESONATE Find Your Voice & Capture the Heart of Your Tribe” You will experience a full warm up and then test the results out in front of a safe audience of your peers. Feeling the lightness and looseness of your body allows you to be open, connected, and powerful. When you find your voice you find your love for public speaking and your joy in connecting to your audience.
Find out more at http://alexandertechniquela.com/workshops/resonate/
When I work with my clients, one of my first intentions is for them to FEEL their bodies, in other words, for them to have body awareness. Inevitably, every person whether man or woman, when I ask them what do they notice, report to me “I notice I need to lose weight” or “I notice my stomach is pooching out.” The thin people say it. They not-so-thin people say it. Our cultures dislike and rejection of our bellies is epidemic.
Even in myself I notice a constant awareness of needing to lose weight. I notice myself in the mirror and see my belly which makes me feel wrong. So many of my clients also believe that they are not supposed to have a belly. They believe that something is wrong with their bodies because they do not have washboard flat abdomens. I knew I grew up with a constant nagging of “I’m fat, I’m fat, I’m too fat!”
The result of this obsessions with rejecting our bodies as they are is that many people suck in their gut, harden the abdominal muscles, hold their breath, AND pull their spines out of alignment.
They are stressing themselves out!
Our bellies are a vital part of our whole SELF. Within the belly contains the digestive tract and reproductive organs. In many ancient modalities, the belly contains our spiritual center, our truth, our intuition. For women, our miraculous ability to create life and bear children is within our bellies. In terms of chakras, our belly houses the second chakra which relates to our relationships, sexuality, and our passion for life.
Why would we want this seat of passion and creativity to smaller or flatter? Somewhere we as a culture have learned to deny our bodies and especially our bellies. Many people I see in Alexander Technique sessions, carry themselves in a way that smashes the belly, making digesting and breathing difficult. They often don’t want to feel the presence of the belly. But BOY, when they do, there is a rush of emotion and feeling. Breath moves the belly and they feel sensations, movement in the digestive tact that is at first frightening, and then, liberating. Anger, power, fear, freedom all feelings that are visceral.
We deserve our bellies. We deserve to feel the power and the joy that our bellies give us. The power to bear children. The power to trust our gut instinct. The power to take up space in this world. The power to breath fully and to breathe down into our truth.
Freeing our bellies grounds us on our feet. We center ourselves through the difficulties life brings. Letting your belly take up space gives you wholeness and self acceptance. In order to experience the richness of life, we can honor and cherish the gift of our bodies and our bellies.
Your body is not a burden. Your belly is not a curse. Your body has miraculous abilities to heal, to experience life, and to relate to our fellow human beings. Your belly is big and breathable. Your belly is precious. I invite you to love your belly, honor your belly, and to embrace your belly. Let yourself feel your belly.
Please comment below and share!
Your pelvis is a physical center of nerves, muscles, organs and bones which connect you to your creativity, sensuality, and confidence. When you are suffering from pelvic pain, lack of sensation, and/or inflexibility, you can struggle with intimacy, personal power, well-being, and living passionately.
During Alexander Technique sessions, I meet many clients who do not have an awareness of their pelvis, groin, and lower abdomen. It almost seems as if that is a “No Man’s Land” (Or No Woman’s Land). Women, especially, are taught to keep the knees together or we will expose ourselves and possible be labeled a slut. Somewhere in our historical education, we were told that our pelvises and the organs and nerves contained within them are dangerous or that they will get us into trouble.
Ironically, we have pelvises with reproductive organs and highly sensitive nerves that tap us into our sensuality, our sexuality, and creativity. We are made to be sensual because we have the equipment to be so. A very thorough historical and anatomical volume that I highly recommend is a book titled “Vagina: A New Biography” by Naomi Wolf.
The anatomy of the pelvis, hip joints, spine, and diaphragm are interconnected. With a clear understanding of your pelvic center and the gripping you hold here, you can release old patterns of fear, armoring, and constriction, letting your juices flow. Your joy and your passion can inform your relationships, your work, and your artistry in the world. Your hips will open, your breath will drop down, and you will SHINE.
With the gentle and sophisticated hands-on guidance of Alexander Technique on your head, neck, and spine, the soothing freedom of Breathing Co-ordination of the ribs, belly, and diaphragm, and exploration of the pelvic anatomy (CLOTHES ON OF COURSE), you reach a profound calm state in the nervous system and discover HOW to release the muscles and joints of your sacred center.
I have seen people transform in Alexander Technique sessions. There is a fire within that is unleashed as a young female actor allows her abdominal wall to soften and move with her breath. An older man in his 60s stands big and tall and is reminded of his strapping stature when he was younger.
What lies dormant in your pelvis? What creative endeavor have you given up on? How have you shrunk yourself? Begin to observe your pelvis. What is it like to let your breath move you deep down into the pelvic floor? How do you feel when you five your groin some space and uncross your legs?
I look forward to hearing from you! Reply in the comments below and please share.
You got the phone call. You are going in! This could be a chance of a lifetime!
You have to be at the top of your game. But what if you get nervous? Can you handle to pressure? What’s going to happen when all eyes are on you?
You know that when you get nervous your body acts like it doesn’t have a brain anymore. Maybe you are like some of my clients who fidget. Or you lose all awareness and you have no idea what you are saying with you body language.
Unconscious behavior thrives when you are nervous. Habits that interfere with your clear thinking and professionalism take over your body and your voice so you look like a powerful force on stage and on camera.
Some of the biggest mistakes you make when you get nervous diminish your stature and your body’s ability to deal with the demands of higher levels of adrenaline.
Watch the video below to see if you make these mistakes:
Being calm in high-stakes situations takes training. When you learn how to ground your body and your nervous system, you can very consciously choose how you want to communicate in auditions, pitch meetings, and performances.
Training in the Alexander Technique gives you skills to heighten your awareness. You learn to release the tension patterns that prevent you from breathing easily. You gain conscious control of your body so you can release over activated muscles. You can soften your shoulders and allow your chest to open inviting your audience in to your world. You are free to express your authentic emotions without the nagging inner critic telling you “This is too dangerous!!! Shut down!”
Your awareness or your consciousness opens up the possibility of choice, of power over your own destiny, of thinking thoughts that will streamline your success. If you want this choice, this powerful consciousness, it requires training, practice, mindfulness and CURIOSITY. Being curious allows you to see clearly what your unconscious patterns without beating yourself up. Curiosity moves you away from trying to be right and allows you to venture into the world of the unknown and non-habitual, a world of vulnerability and authenticity. Here is where you truly connect with others and share your truth.
If you want this curiosity, vulnerability, and honesty, join me for Power Poise Performance starting August 13 Sign up at http://alexandertechniquela.com/workshops/actors/