On average, people are sitting 9.3 hours a day. Stress, anxiety, and chronic pain are epidemic. When you collapse at the computer, in your car, or out in the world, you CANNOT breathe freely and easily, which also means:
You have less energy You have less focus You have less courage You have less confidence You’re more guarded from others You feel exhausted You feel small
And the real problem is that most of this behavior is unconscious, habitual, and FEELS NORMAL, but it’s not healthy and it’s not living.
Practicing a new way of moving and breathing through life means you release years of compression and holding in your body. You get to let go and take up space.
Sucking in your stomach and “standing up straight” with all your muscles prevents your diaphragm from moving freely and easily. Your diaphragm moves like a parachute or a jellyfish and most of that movement is around the level of your waist. You can see in the above image that most of the diaphragm is in the back, not in the chest.
If it is time to understand how your body breathes you and experience confidence, calm, and energy of well-coordinated body and breath, then consider training in the Alexander Technique.
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.
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.
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, and how to release muscular tension related to their response to pain.
Semi-Supine is supportive of a long spine, a balanced body, and free and easy breathing. 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. Want to live fully and breathe for life? Train in the Alexander Technique.
Want a special and unique way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your loved one?
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 your 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 $180 (normally $120 for a single private session.)
Surprise your Valentine with this unique and wonderful Alexander Technique session today!
Many of my Alexander Technique clients do because they want to increase their mindfulness and they often ask me about their meditation posture. Most people are either too collapsed, trying to feel relaxed, or they are too stiff, trying to sit up straight with a lot of muscular tension. This makes the body a distraction in meditation.
Robert G. is an entrepreneur who just finished taking the 10 week Foundational course in the Alexander Technique with me. During his final session, we looked at his meditation posture. I would like to share some of the guiding principles that allowed him to have such an open, upright, and relaxed meditation posture.
“The most surprising aspect of applying Alexander Technique to my meditation posture was paying attention to the means-whereby, or HOW, I moved into the posture. Staying aware of my body breathing while I moved into mediation was essential to not tensing or collapsing my torso.” Robert G.
Here are a few guidelines to help you have a meditation posture (you can apply these to sitting in a chair too) that will eliminate distracting body aches and tension and support a focused, clear, and calm mind:
*Breathe out slowly even as you are bending down (even getting into a chair). Unconsciously holding your breath tightens muscles of your throat, chest, back, and abdomen. Breathing out slowly ensures that you are aware of your body and allowing the muscles of your body to loose and long.
*Have your knees lower than your hips. Most people have tight hips and a tight low back. If your knees are lower than your hips, your hip muscles won’t pull on your low back forward and down into a slouch. This allows your spine to also lengthen.
*Allow the mask of your face and your chin to slowly and gently move down. This lengthens the back of your neck and also, lengthens your spine. You especially do not want the back of your head falling towards your neck and shoulders.
*Allow your abdominal wall to release into length. Your sternum and your pubic bone release away from each other. Most people do not know that when they collapse and shorten the abdominal wall, they are collapsing the spine.
*Finally, you do not want to hyper extend the spine by arching your back. Many people think that to have a straight spine they have to squeeze the back muscles and arch it. This overworks the muscles. They get fatigued. Then, you get uncomfortable and start fidgeting.
These physical practices will give you spine, diaphragm, and muscles the support they need so your body won’t distract you. You will have more space inside your torso for the movement of breath, which will soothe and calm your nervous system. Now you are ready for the deep work of meditation.
Most people think that breathing and posture are two separate functions. They either try to “Stand Up Straight!” or they try to “Take a Deep Breath” Both strategies interfere with the natural uprightness of your spine and your body’s ability to easily move with your breath.
Are you making these mistakes?
1) Breathing in by lifting your chest and shoulders. This requires many muscles in upper body to grip and tighten and prevents your diaphragm from moving properly in order to for breath to enter your lungs. This habit stiffens your alignment as well.
2) Holding your breath. Holding your breath actually requires your muscles to work hard. You will also start to feel frantic, panicky, anxious, and/or nervous. Your breath rate will go up and you may even be hurting your back. Your posture will be diminished because all of your muscles are squeezing.
3) Sucking in your belly & controlling the breath. Your body breathes better than you do. If you are trying to breathe deeply while holding in your belly, you are interfering with your body’s natural breathing coordination.
These mistakes can not only cause physical pain but also evoke nervousness, fear, and anxiety. Your voice is also squelched. Letting breath out releases muscles and allows your body to take care of you. Your BODY breathes better than you.
If your breathing seems difficult, your body is tense, and your voice is strained, the Alexander Technique may be the solution.
When you listen to a powerful performer, it’s not just the words that captures your heart. The sound of a dynamic performer’s voice can give you the chills, comfort you, inspire you, and rally you to action! They have a powerful voice that fills the room and captures your heart!
There are 6 qualities of an engaging and powerful voice that can propel you towards SUCCESS, whether that means speaking on stage, in front of colleagues or clients, or interviewing :
1) RESONANT Your voice is sound and sound is vibration. The vibration of your voice bounces off the bones of your body and it fills the room with your message.
2) EMBODIED Your voice comes from your entire body, not just your mouth. When you are connected to your whole body, your voice is amplified from your feet on the floor, to your legs, hips, belly, back, and head.
3) GROUNDED The body of a dynamic speaker is grounded which means that both feet are hips-width distance and planted on the floor. This will calm your nervous system and literally allow you to breathe with ease.
4) TENSION-FREE You don’t have to push your head forward and tighten your neck, shoulders, and abdominals to make sound. An attractive voice that gives you the chills pours out of a body that is released and open which allows for a flexible ribcage that moves with your breath.
5) ENERGIZED Without tension, you are calm and the energy of your message can flow out of your body and impact your audience. They will literally FEEL the energy radiating from your voice.
6) COLORFUL With the above 5 qualities, your body is free to move with your breath and voice. This gives you the ability to play with pitch and pace. You can speak in a low voice when you want your audience to taste your every word and with a quick and forceful voice when you call them to action!
Watch the video that describes The Voice that Fills the Room and Captures the Heart of Your Audience!
With these 6 qualities, capturing the hearts of your listeners is joyful and easy. They will feel your passion and joy and join your movement.
Your voice and your body language depends on free and easy breathing! Train in the Alexander Technique and find your gorgeous voice
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!
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”
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
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 gift, visit the PRIVATE SESSIONS PAGE.
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.