Tag Archives: vulnerability

Open & Emotionally Available Without Over-Exertion

An Acting Teacher’s Take on What the Alexander Technique Can Do For You (first posted on Backstage.com)

There’s a reason the Alexander Technique is the only form of movement training that the Yale School of Drama requires its acting students to study for the full three years that they attend. It’s an extremely powerful practice of body-mind integration that pays dividends for actors on many levels.

If you talk to an Alexander teacher, you’re probably going to hear them talk about ease of movement and efficiency—both extremely important when it comes to acting. And while studying the technique certainly requires that you invest your time and money in the practice, I’m here as an acting teacher to convince you that it’s a tremendously worthwhile investment both for your work and yourself.

A big part of the Alexander Technique is becoming conscious of the unconscious physical habits we’ve developed to move through our lives and do the things we need to do. Most of these habits involve chronic tension or overexertion aka using more effort than we really need to.

Engaged in continuously over time, chronic tension and overexertion have an impact on our neuromuscular system: the tensed muscles form a kind of body armor that we use to brace ourselves against the incoming emotional volleys we’re constantly subjected to.

For actors, this is a problem. We need to be emotionally available to the impulses being directed at us by our scene partners and the armor chronic tension outfits us with obstructs this process.

One thing we learn with the Alexander Technique is how unconscious we are of much of this chronic tension. This means we can’t expect to be able to just throw a switch and deactivate the armor when we want to—or at least not without some training. It’s this training that’s one of the most valuable things that the Alexander Technique can offer an actor: the ability to consciously promote physical openness and receptiveness, which go hand-in-hand with emotional openness and vulnerability.

The ability to be vulnerable is essential to crafting a memorable performance, but so is the ability to engage, to assert oneself, to play to win. The characters we play have needs and we need to embody these needs and then take up the character’s struggle to get those needs met. If that involves confrontation or conflict, we need to be able to enter into this conflict fully, to truly care about the outcome of the conflict, and to use our will, body, and voice to resolve it in a way that means that our character’s needs are met. In this process of pursuing what we need, we want to avoid either under-exerting or overexerting ourselves.

The Alexander Technique is terrific for learning to do what is necessary but not more so that we manifest our emotional truth without clogging ourselves up with unnecessary tension.

There are other advantages to the Technique as well. Through the study of the Technique, you will gain an intimate understanding of the human anatomy and how it functions, allowing you to see more subtle possibilities as you explore a character’s physicality. But in some sense this is icing on the cake; the Technique’s capacity to help us become more emotionally available on the one hand and to assert ourselves without overexerting on the other are gifts any actor can derive enormous benefit from for fuller, richer, more memorable work.

Andrew Wood is the founder of Andrew Wood Acting Studio in L.A., artistic director and founder of Uranium Madhouse, a Los Angeles-based theater company, and Backstage Expert. Check out his full bio here!

Ready to take your performance on stage, on camera, and in the spotlight  to the next level?  Sign up for Power Poise Performance a 6 week workshop for professional performers who want to up level your game so you feel unstoppable in auditions, on set, and when all eyes are on you! Begins June 27!

Couples Alexander Technique Session for Valentine’s Day

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

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

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 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!





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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