Category Archives: Alexander Technique

Couples Alexander Technique Session for Valentine’s Day

Want a special and unique way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your loved one?

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Image Source: https://onehugaday.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/alive-in-the-fire_sarah-rhoads-2.jpg

Want to release tight muscles and open up your body to the one you love?

Schedule a Open Your Hearts Couples Session in the Alexander Technique for Valentine’s Day

Feeling stressed, tight and overwhelmed interferes with your
relationships by distracting you with bogged down thoughts and pain. When you and images-1your partner (or dear one) unravel stress and tension in an Alexander Technique session with certified Alexander Technique teacher, Sharon Jakubecy Klehm, you feel light, open, relaxed, and HOT!

The physical release of the chest and muscles across the heart release and you feel vulnerable and connected to others.

Here is what one happy client wrote about her couples sessions:

We heartily recommend Sharon’s couples class (semi-private for friends) Alexander Technique. The information and new way of moving your own body is fantastic enough but seeing the immediate, clearly visible, positive changes in someone you love – your partner in life, family member or best friends – adds a whole other dimension. I literally felt myself more powerful and calm and saw that in my fiance too. He looked so strong, powerful, confident and at peace in his body. (guys, be prepared to get pounced on after class…seeing our men look like that has an effect on us!:)

The physical learning was surpassed by the emotional/spiritual experience for me. When your body is in natural alignment energy flows easier allowing you to meet your day with big support. We both realized the Alexander Technique sessions brought us closer and helped us support each other in ways we wouldn’t have otherwise thought of. We remind each other to ‘bend at the knee’ when we walk and it’s at once helpful, shows we’re thinking of the other, and is our in-joke that we share.

There are many excellent reasons to choose this experience – gaining understanding of your body and how it can move, increasing energy available to you in your life, new perspectives on physical and emotional experiences, deepening your relationship and a new kind of intimacy with your partner.

Sharon is a wonderful, knowledgeable, fun teacher and a fantastic leader for your Alexander Technique adventure! We each did a package on our own then did a package of couples sessions. Clearly we think she’s fabulous ūüôā

Have a great time!

During your Couples Alexander Technique Session, you and your loved one will:

  • Release old painful patterns of tension
  • You both experience Stress Relief and Pain Relief
  • Calm your nervous system so you both feel Relaxed and Open
  • Experience the Joy of breathing free and easy together
  • See each other stand tall with great posture and Embody your Full Powerful Height
  • Shed physical armoring that closes your body off and blocks your intimacy
  • Feel your bodies so you feel sensation
  • Experience true Confidence with each other

The Couples Open Your Hearts Valentine’s Day Special is an hour ¬†of lightness and freedom in the body.

Your Valentine’s Special is only $150 (normally $120 for a single private session.)

Surprise your Valentine with this unique and wonderful Alexander Technique session today!


Brazilian Singer uses Alexander to Calm Performance Anxiety

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Carla Hassett, singer. musician, and Alexander Technique client, was just interviewed by Linda Wertheimer on NPR about Carmen Miranda, S√£o Paulo, and the making of a far from traditional Brazilian album +Blue.

Her CD Release Concert is happening July 10, 6pm and a Killer band is locked in (with members of Sergio Mendes and Bebel Gilberto’s band), to play in Los Angeles at Kulak’s Woodshed. But if you’re not in LA, you can catch the concert LIVE ONLINE at ClapMe.com!!

Read how she has used Alexander Technique to calm performance anxiety:

“When I finished recording my album and started thinking about playing shows in support of it’s release, I knew I had to do something to address my performance anxiety.

Thankfully I found Sharon and embarked on a 10-week intensive one on one training with her. It never occurred to me to come at emotional anxiety from a physical perspective, but I know from years of singing that the mind-body connection works both ways, so I was eager to get started. Sharon helped me to change my experience of feeling hopeless and helpless to overcoming very powerful feelings of anxiety that I feel while performing.

I put these skills to the test in a big way this week when I was invited to do an interview with Linda Wertheimer on NPR. Before, this sort of thing would floor me, but I used the breathing techniques and alignment skills that Sharon taught me and they keep me calm, cool, and present. Of course I had moments of panic, but I was able to work quickly through them and get back to a confident, calm state of mind. Success! Next challenge will be the album release concert and live webcast. I’m already practicing and applying the techniques Sharon taught me and I know It’ll be a great show!”

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Is Your Body Screaming “HELP MEEEEEEEE”?

Chronic ongoing pain is of course the most obvious sign.  But there are other not-so-subtle messages your body gives you when it needs more care and attention.  

Anxiety

Dislike of you own body

Sleeplessness
Exhaustion
An Inability to Relax
Fidgetiness
Grouchiness or Short Temper
No Desire to Socialize
No Desire to Get Out of Bed
Can’t Exercise¬†
And more….

The biggest problem I observe is that most people are not listening to the screams or cries for help from their bodies. ¬†They push through, take pain¬†medications, don’t rest, work harder and scream back a their bodies. ¬†¬†

This aggressive approach to the body does not heal pain. ¬†Your kinesthetic sense, aka¬†your body awareness, is a messenger. ¬†If you are in the habit of not listening to your body, you will only become aware of hurting yourself at the end of the day when you are tight, can’t move, and even breathing feels difficult. ¬†

Sooo… What’s the solution, Sharon? (Click on the photo for a video demonstration)¬†

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In every Alexander Technique session, I have my clients spend time in Semi-Supine position (laying on back with knees bent). During this time, my client is learning how to listen to their body, how to quiet and calm the nervous system, anyhow to release muscular tension related to their response to pain.  

Semi-Supine is supportive of a long spine and a balanced body. ¬†This makes learning to listen to your body easier. ¬†Sometimes, just in the act of spending quiet, still, awake time with your own body, pain messages can quiet down and you experience stress relief as well. ¬†Ignoring the “screams” from your body ensures that your body will get “louder” meaning stronger pain sensations and more discomfort.

Alexander Technique offers a kinder and gentler approach to the body.  You learn to move gently and with mindfulness.  You learn to be aware of how you are moving your body and how you are holding painful patterns of tension so that you can release them.  With the gentle hands-on guidance, you learn to soothe yourself and soothe your body.

As you go through your day, take the time to STOP and listen to your body. ¬†Follow your body’s guidance. It is time for a kinder, gentler approach to our bodies. ¬†If this sounds right to you, then sign up¬†for our free video series:

As you go through your day, take the time to STOP and listen to your body. ¬†Follow your body’s guidance. It is time for a kinder, gentler approach to our bodies. ¬†If this sounds right to you, then sign up¬†for our free video series:

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91% of Women Hate Their Bodies

My work in teaching Alexander Technique has given me deep insight into the attitudes that people have towards their bodies. ¬†¬†Throughout sessions, I ask my clients “What are you noticing in your body?” ¬†Inevitably, EVERYONE, men and women, share some sort of negative body image. ¬†

I have worked with people who have scoliosis, vocal issues (like spasmodic disphonia), fibromyalgia, nerve damage, eating disorders, arthritis, anxiety, chronic pain, asthma, depression, and much more. The ONE COMMONALITY is that¬†each f them have¬†a “thing” that evokes shame¬†and embarrassment¬†about their bodies. ¬†This negative body image evoke stress about our bodies¬†which¬†causes¬†tension, impaired breathing and gripping. ¬†

So… when I saw Taryn Brumfitt’s movie trailer titled “EMBRACE,” I nearly flipped and screamed. ¬†I am always guiding my clients to a more loving attitude¬†towards¬†their bodies. ¬†I have also dealt with my own body shame and disgust towards my own body. ¬†In order to shift my own attitude and my clients’, I am sharing this trailer. ¬†

WATCH THE EMBRACE TRAILER NOW 

EMBRACE movie trailer

EMBRACE – Official Trailer: Join Taryn Brumfitt’s global journey to change the way we feel about our bodies.

EMBRACE will premiere at Sydney Film Festival Sunday June 12. Come along and embrace everyBODY: http://bit.ly/1ZCkFY1
‪#‎Ihaveembraced‬

CAST: Ricki Lake, Mia Freedman, Turia Pitt, Stefania Ferrario, Melinda Tankard Reist, The Bearded Dame.

Now is the time to transform how we feel about our bodies!  When you are aware of the negative impact of not cherishing your body just the way it is, you will never want to think a hurtful thought again about your most precious possession.  In Alexander Technique sessions, I encourage a loving, gentle, and kind approach to the body which soothes the nervous system and quiets the stress response.

If you are ready to transform your relationship to your body,  sign up for our free video series below:

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Ergonomic Tools for Your Body

If you are going to spend hours of your day on a computer, then you want the best ergonomic set up possible. Read this very helpful infographic about equipment that takes care of you.

Of course, as an Alexander Technique teacher, no one chair, mouse, or keyboard is going to save you. Ergonomically sound equipment will support your awareness and conscious choices of how you want to live and move in your body. If you are not paying attention to your body, you are going to hurt or at least stress your body.  Your posture and breathing are your first priority, then your equipment can truly help you stay pain-free.

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ergonomic-tools

Fear & Stress Maintain Most Chronic Back Pain

I read an article last week published in Harvard Health Publications that caught my attention.  Recent studies have been fine that most chronic back pain is not associated with injury or disease, but more closely associated with our thoughts, emotions, and the behavior that follows.

There simply isn‚Äôt a close connection between the condition of the spine and whether or not people experience pain. Research has shown that a majority of people who have never had any significant back pain have the very same ‚Äúabnormalities‚ÄĚ (such as bulging or herniated spinal discs) that are frequently blamed for chronic back conditions. And then there are the millions of people with severe chronic back pain who show no structural abnormalities in their back at all.

On top of this, it turns out that people in developing countries, who do back-breaking labor and don’t have easy access to medical treatment, have much fewer incidents of chronic back pain than people in the developed world who sit in ergonomically designed chairs, sleep on fancy mattresses, and have ready access to spinal imaging, surgery, and medications.

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†-“Mind Over Back Pain” Harvard Health Publications,¬†Ronald D. Siegel, Psy.D.

The article goes on to say that clinicians and researchers have been looking into the psychological causes of pain and in a landmark study in The Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers found that both mindfulness training and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are both effective solutions for relieving chronic back pain.

 

This thrilled me as an Alexander Technique teacher.  When a client comes to me for Alexander Technique sessions due to back pain, there are often some surprising revelations that a back pain sufferer discovers.  Often, the development of the kinesthetic sense, or body awareness, gives my clients the ability to observe painful patterns of tightening and tensing muscles, destablilizing their posture and holding their breath in response to pain.  The tensing of muscles and holding of the breath worsens the pain.

 

Then also become highly aware of their emotional response to pain.  Frustration, fear, worry, anger, despair are all emotions that Nervous Wrecklead to chronic clenching of the neck, jaw, fists, chest, upper back, and abdominal muscles.  The clenching of these muscles leads to more pain.  (There has been a study published that demonstrated that Alexander Technique and acupuncture unravel neck pain as well)

 

In Alexander Technique sessions, we even start to identify habitual emotional responses to pain.

 

So many of my clients get angry at themselves when they are in pain.

Anger leads to more clenching.  More clenching leads to more pain.  Becoming aware of emotions like anger and aware of the impact anger has on the body is essential for releasing the emotions and releasing the body.

There have been numerous clients who, once they release the musculature around the belly, low ribs, and diaphragm, they cry deeply and loudly.  I encourage the crying and the emotional release.  Letting go of old emotions that get stored in the body leads to pain relief, stress relief, and complete liberation of breathing.  It takes an extraordinary amount of muscular effort to hold these emotions in the body.

The Harvard Health article recommends reading books about mindfulness and CBT or visiting a pain clinic where they are offered. ¬†You can also look into the mindfulness training of Alexander Technique during which you become highly aware of your body and your body’s responses, and then, learn how to release those painful patterns and calm your SELF, you nervous system, and your musculature.

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Is Aging Affecting your Walk? Walk like you are young again

Recenlty, a study was published in The Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies that compared older Alexander Technique practitioners to other age-matched adults.

 

In summary,

“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.

Alexander Technique Relieves Neck Pain & Helps You Unwind

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.

Physical therapist diagnosing patient with painful arm
Hands-On Guidance of Alexander Technique

 

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 ‚ÄĒ which can show up in the way we stand, sit, eat, walk, or talk ‚ÄĒ 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

NBC News Airs Segment on Alexander Technique in San Diego

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!

 

 

How to Sit at a Computer

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”

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