Category Archives: Relaxation

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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You are Sitting Too Much and It’s Killing You

On average, most of us are sitting about 9.3 hours a day.  Unfortunately, sitting this much has many negative side effects.  I often tell my Alexander Technique clients that these bodies we live in are not built for sitting in one position for hours at a time, but are designed for moving.

 

IMG_0148sm-225x300With the rise of the computer and smart phone and driving in traffic, we have even more reason to passively sit when we are done with work.

 

I teach my clients how to sit well when they are at the computer or at a desk.  However, no matter how well you sit, sitting as much as we do, we are inevitably hurting ourselves.
One of my clients who came to me for back pain, sent the video you see below. This video demonstrates how we are built for moving and describes what happens to you not only your spine but also your brain when you are inactive.


(Lesson by Murat Dalkilinç, animation by Oxbow Creative.)

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Lessons in the Alexander Technique, can help you sit well with a long supported spine. Your diaphragm, ribs, and lungs can move easily with your breath. You are no longer compressing your internal organs.  Most importantly, you also learn to listen to
your bodies’ signals telling you to get up and move.

Another client of mine, who works at the computer, believed that something was wrong with his back and neck because he couldn’t sit at his computer for hours at a time without feeling like he needed to move. I reassured him that, since he is paying more attention to his body and hearing his body’s signals to get up and move, his body and kinesthetic sense were improving, giving him more accurate information about what his body needs.

 

Too much sitting is also associated with diabetes, heart disease, electrical activity cutting off to your legs, fewer calories being burned, and much more.

 

So please… Notice how much time you spend sitting.  Listen to your body when you feel like you want to move.  It’s the only body you are ever going to get.  Sign up for “5 Ways to Instantly Reduce Stress” 

 

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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.

Posture Talks – Corporate Wellness Trainings for Your Employees

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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. cache_3306481Companies 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.

Warming Up the Audience
Warming Up the Audience

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”

 

Posture Talks

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

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 — 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

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!

 

 

Easiest Way to Calm Nerves in front of an Audience

I love publ320403_10151090611431909_1182712153_nic 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).

Warming Up the Audience

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.

Click HERE or on the above photo to watch the warm up session.

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
  • 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?

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3 Mistakes You Make When You Get Nervous

You got the phone call.  You are going in!  This could be a chance of a lifetime!

Nervous Wreck

 

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:

VIDEO 3 Mistakes You Make When You Get Nervous

 

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, sign up for our free video series!

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Stressed, Overwhelmed, Anxious? Feel Your Feet

When you get stressed, overwhelmed, or anxious, there is a series of events that occur in your body, your brain, and your nervous system, that knock you off center.  All of your attention goes to the fearful thought or feeling, you may hold your breath, and you lose awareness of your body.

 

Feel your feet on the ground
Feel your feet on the ground

When this happens, TRY THIS!  (Yes, those are my feet.  Try this barefoot in the grass as well.  Even better.)

Notice your weight dropping down onto your feet and then onto the floor.

 

Your connection to the floor (Your kinesthetic awareness of your feet), slows your nervous system, brings you into the present moment so you can be calm again.

This technique is extremely helpful in high-stakes situations where you could easily get lost in the stream of negative thoughts that sabotage life changing opportunities.

“What if I mess up?”

“I can’t do this.”

“What if they don’t like me?”

I have my clients train using this technique for auditions or public speaking events.  They will tell me that right before an audition, instead of being distracted and overwhelmed, they feel confidence and relaxation because they are more aware of their feet and their bodies.

When you change how you move in your body, you change how you use your mind.  The Mind-Body Connection is undeniable.  Feeling your feet on the ground during times of stress can interfere with the negative thought loop.  This interference gives you the opportunity to STOP, let breath out, and choose your thoughts.  You have the time and mental space to think clearly, take right action, and succeed!

For more articles, events, and training to eliminate stress and tension, sign up (to your right) for ‘5 Ways to Instantly Reduce Stress!

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I’m a certified teacher in Jessica Wolf’s Art of Breathing


Sunday January 5 I completed Jessica Wolf’s Art of Breathing Certification for Alexander Technique teachers.  This training is only for Alexander Technique teachers who have taught for at least 5 years.

The training focused on breathing coordination and the redevelopment of the diaphragm integrated with the Alexander Technique.

What brought me to Alexander Technique 15 years ago was chronic and excruciating hip and low back pain which I now know was associated with scoliosis.

I didn’t have extreme scoliosis but enough of a curve in my spine which led to tension, stress, and pain.  This pattern of tension and pain led to  a myriad of downward pulls that cranked my shoulder up to my neck, curved my spine and ribs to the right, and yanked my left ribs down into my left hip and leg.

Unconsciously, these habits hindered my free breath and the development of my ribs and diaphragm.

I had worked with Jessica in workshops and every time I FELT the curves and twists of my spine and the asymmetry throughout my ribs.  With just a taste of freedom and release throughout my spine, ribs, and hips, I could tell that my left low back and ribs had the potential to move and release.

There was  an old pattern of collapse and rigidity that was interfering with my vital capacity (the amount of air that can be taken in by the lungs).  Unravelling the torque in my spine altered not only my physical state, but also my emotional and psychological experiences.

During one of my last sessions with Jessica, my left low back and ribs started to move not because I was doing something or forcing them to move but because I stopped gripping and tightening the muscles that were chronically locking my ribs and low back.

What an overwhelming sense of bliss.  I experienced energy or a feeling of a vibration tingling from my back down my leg.  My stress levels dropped and I felt a connection to my self and my sense of well-being.  What a relief!

I have been a AmSAT certified Alexander Technique teacher for 10.5 years and now I am integrating Jessica Wolf’s Art of Breathing into my work with clients who want a powerful and pain free body, a resonant voice.

Redeveloping the diaphragm and bringing conscious awareness to breathing coordination can help people suffering from respiratory difficulties like asthma or emphysema or unleash the power and resonant voices of actors, lawyers, or public speakers.

For more information regarding breathing coordination and Alexander Technique, email info@AlexanderTechniqueLA.com.