Is texting hurting you and your relationships? Got text neck? Stephanie Michele, host of Relatable, with me and Matt Formica discussed texting norms and the hidden harms of texting too much. Setting guidelines to mindfully decrease texts exchanges were emphasized with a review of the No Text or Next pledge. Watch the interview HERE.
Doctors are now diagnosing patients with “texting neck.” Carrying your head forward of your spine to use your smart phone is causing pain, harming your posture, and interfering with your breathing. My best advice is to prioritize your body over your phone and watch the interview!
Carla Hassett, singer. musician, and Alexander Technique client, was just interviewed by Linda Wertheimer on NPR about Carmen Miranda, São 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!”
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
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
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.
The Santa Monica Shakespeare Festival begins August 9 with “Twelfth Night” and then continues with “Taming of the Shrew” on August 15. Visit Santa Monica Shakespeare for information and tickets.
I have had the honor to teach Alexander Technique during the Classical Training Intensive with Louis Scheeder and John Farmanesh-Bocca.
Performing Shakespeare has heightened challenges for the actor. Shakespeare’s characters truly mean what they say and they are usually dealing with life-and-death circumstances. These circumstances trigger anger, confusion, desperation, exalted joy, rage, overwhelming love, deep desire, and suicidal sadness.
These are all emotions that the normal person does everything in their power to avoid. They are difficult and painful to honestly communicate.
In my first 2.5 hour training with these enthusiastic actors who were hand-picked for the training and festival, I emphasized the essential ability for the actor to be able to breathe.
Under the high-pressure stakes of Shakespeare and rehearsing in front of renowned Shakespeare teachers and other highly-skilled performers, many of the actors interfered with their own ability to breathe freely so that the emotion could not pass through their bodies.
Here are some of the ways they interfered:
1) Sniffing in a deep breath before beginning a monologue. This sniffing action requires your body to work much harder to receive the breath necessary to support the complicated language and rhythm. You will actually make yourself more nervous and your body will tighten with tension.
2) Rushing to begin and get the monologue over with. When you rush, you usually have to push the words out and you compress your neck, ribs, and spine. The actor I worked with was losing her lines. Even her memory wasn’t serving her because the rushing triggered a “Fight Flight or Freeze” response.
3) Pushing the head, neck, and shoulders forward to communicate anger and/or frustration. This requires a lot of physical tension and cuts you off from your breath and voice. You also close your body off by narrowing the chest, shoulders, and abdomen.
As I worked with the actors, I gave them the light and guided touch that Alexander Technique teachers have in order to communicate the release in their neck, shoulders, and abdominal wall.
Each actor reported feeling lighter and that it was easier to breathe. This release of tension in the neck and shoulders make them look powerful and open.
I invited them to think about having space for breath to happen to them. They did not need to BREATHE. Their bodies breathe FOR them. Another way to think about this is allowing for length, width, and depth in the torso.
They all practiced Constructive Rest which is a floor exercise that allows the muscles of the torso to release into length and width.
I led everyone through an awareness exercise that demonstrated that breath moved them from the inside. They did not have to force breath in and out. This can profoundly center and calm your nervous system before auditions and performances.
Our second workshop is this week. I am eager to share the “tools” of Alexander Technique while they perform their monologues. The spaciousness in the body, which allows for free and easy breath, supports the difficult circumstances of seeking revenge, proclaiming your love, or plotting the demise of you forsaken lover.
So many websites, speakers, news articles, books, and TV programs talk about how to change your life. It is a huge market because most people either want to change their health, their financial situation, their relationship situation, to accomplish their BIG dream, or all of the above.
An essential ingredient to accomplishing these changes is having a vision. Then, making it visual by using pictures, images, and affirmations. Our brain does not think in words. It thinks in pictures.
Maybe you have created a Vision Board. When you have pictures to look at they make imprints on your subconscious mind.
If you are on the Alexander Technique LA email list, you may want a pain-free life or you want to “nail” auditions and have confidence on stage, on camera, or when you are public speaking. Those are the types of pictures you want to cut out.
Here is a Vision Board I created a year and a half ago
A lot of events took place soon after I created this.
I met Dave, my fiancee.
I also committed to cooking delicious gourmet food and signed up for a cooking class.
I was called by the LA Philharmonic to work with the opera singers.
I have also taken a lot dance and yoga classes are deep passions for me.
Recently, I have had this nagging feeling about taking my work on this planet to the next level. Shortly after this realization, I discovered Mind Movies which are like Vision Boards on steroids!!! You add affirmations and music. They move so the brain is highly activated and engaged.
Please watch my Mind Movie:
Wow!!!!! Every time I watch it, I get the chills and holler out loud “Rawr!”
There are items in here that I have no idea HOW I am going to accomplish. However, I watch it every day and I share it with YOU. From my heart to yours. What is your Vision?
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.
Two days ago, I was with a client who asked me “What do you do right before you go on stage?” From years of working on stage in dance, theater, and public speaking, I know that a thorough warm-up gets my energy flowing and my voice sparkling clear. But, what I really do the moment right before I walk on stage is remember that I am giving the audience a beautiful gift!
When you give a great gift to a loved one, you feel eager and excited to give it to them. There is a warmth in your heart that opens you to the other person. There is no tension in your shoulders or strain in your voice. You don’t need anything from the recipient and their smile and joy is what gives you satisfaction.
When you walk into an audition, pitch meeting, or interview, you have a great opportunity to GIVE YOUR GIFT. Your words, your energy, your time, your dedication, and your passion are a gift you give to your audience. When you are giving the gift of wisdom, your body is grounded, open, and confident. Your voice is warm and it fills the room. Your audience is engaged and curious because who doesn’t want a really great gift?!
In an audition, pitch meeting, or interview, people make the mistake of believing that their audience is judging them. Many auditioners will have the body language of a scared and hurt victim. When you remember that you are giving a gift that they have never received,
You no longer need to protect yourself
You don’t need to be pushy.
You don’t have to seek their approval by leaning in towards them.
You are more open to what they need to hear from you.
The warmth in your heart will carry your message into the room through an empowered and resonant voice.
Giving the gift of YOUR message removes any nervousness or worry that you may mess up or they won’t like you.
Giving the gift of your passion sets an example for everyone around you who also has a vital message to share with this world. Give your gift and inspire your audience to take action, motivate your viewers to change, and impact the lives of thousands of people around the world through film, television, or public speaking.
When I share the gift of Alexander Technique freely and generously, I see dramatic changes in my clients. I empower my clients to boldly enter any high-stakes situations with pleasure, confidence, and composure. They feel at home in their own skin and their voices communicate professionalism and power.
Ivana Shein, an actor and writer here in Los Angeles, schedules a session with me just a few hours before she steps on stage. Now, she is giving her gifts BIG TIME! This is what she said about her sessions before her one woman show:
“It was an absolute pleasure to be on stage (after my session with you). I was able to let go of the stress of producing my show and switch into my true creative mind that is in my body. It was grounded. I felt more available and free to have fun! Constructive Rest and Alexander Technique have become a important part of my pre-performance ritual. Sharon’s ability to make a performer to feel totally present, vibrant, and grounded is truly beyond comparison.”
Ivana Shein brings her one woman show “Faking It” from the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal to Los Angeles.
Faking It is a raucous look at what it takes to belong. Legally. To a country. It’s about how Ivana got her Visa. And also how she lived before her Visa. It’s about Hollywood. Living in it, living outside of it, and sneaking into it by accident. (Dates, location, time, and to purchase tickets are on the flyer to your right)