The Power of How: A journal about The Alexander Technique and Movement




Have you signed up for my newsletter? If you have, it gives you a chance to engage with me and ask me questions. I make a video once a month, and this year I’m going to choose topics from the questions my readers send me. February’s question comes from Dana, a ballroom dancer in California:

“Can you please address some ways to mobilize the feet for greater range of movement? What points would be helpful to use to be able to point my toe better? I’d also love to mobilize the ball of foot so I can rise higher on my feet (demi-point).”

The video is one of my longest – 12 minutes long – and even so I only answered the first part of the question. I couldn’t fit all of my thoughts on the topic into it so I’ll say more below for those of you who have the time to read. The question raises three important issues that dancers must deal with:


Issue number 1: Limiting Ideas

You may have an idea about the limitations of your body that is too narrow, based on your past experience. I have never had one single student that didn’t have more mobility than they thought! Mobilignment™, however, proposes that making more effort may not lead to more mobility – it’s the quality and specificity of your effort that will pay off in the end. So keep your dreams alive as you read the next two issues!

Issue number 2: Over-valuation of flexibility

Valuation of flexibility (which is a variation of shape) over mobility can cause imbalance in your movement. They are both important aspects of expressivity for dancers, and there is a lovely tension between them. In many forms of dance, a high arch and a super-pointable toe are highly valued. A pointed foot creates a line that extends the leg out into space. Strong feet allow the dancer to get high up on their toes which can be used to express elation (:-) and make turning and jumping easier and more flashy. Unfortunately dancers tend to over-contract the achilles tendon and calf muscles to point their feet, and achilles tendon injuries at the back of the heal are common. So is arthritis in the big toe from over-working demi-point. Mobilignment™ proposes that we can make a shape without becoming rigid and damaging our tissues.


Issue number 3: It’s OK to have limitations

Is an external aesthetic or idea about shape more important than your body’s limitations? I find that dancers often have much more mobility than they think, especially when they learn how to keep their whole body in their awareness instead of hyper-focus on only one part. That said, we all have genetic gifts and limitations. Some of the greatest dancers in the world have limitations like flat feet, inflexible spines, and other gifts from their ancestors. It’s how they put together their body, their imagination, and the meaning of their dance that creates the magic. Shape is only one tiny part of that. If you want to increase mobility it’s a good thing, but make sure it’s in the service of your overall expressivity, ease, and fluidity. Cause that’s why dancing feels good, and that’s why people love watching you do it!



1) Free 15 minute phone consultation: (718) 243-2720

2) Private sessions in my Madison Square Park Studio in NYC

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Next open online class:
Sunday, March 29, 11 – 12:30 EST
Go here to register.


Mobilignment™ Trainings are for movement teachers who want to take better care of themselves and teach more effectively. Mobilignment™ gives you ways to access the power of the Alexander Technique simply and quickly for use in the classroom.

The next Mobilignment™ Level 1 Training will be in August 2020. Drop me a line if you are interested.

Here are some of the things that my Mobilignment Level 1 Teachers say about the effects of Mobilignment™ on their teaching:

“My AT teaching has been SO EASY this week after the training!!!”

“My students are much more engaged in their own learning process and actively discovering things for themselves instead of me having to ‘teach’ them.”

“I feel relief at discovering what is holding me back!”

“It’s so important that I, and my students, have time to integrate our emotional responses to change.”

“It’s amazing to see myself clearly without critical judgement!”

March 5th, 2020 • No Comments



In this gravitational universe, one way to define your “highest self” is the part of your whole body that is as high up off of the ground as it can be. It’s already there! You don’t have to do anything except enjoy it, and accept that it’s going to change the next time you move or shift weight.

I have developed a special framework for this kind of awareness in Mobilignment.™ I first experienced it in an Alexander influenced dance class. Mobilignment makes it possible to recognize when we are wasting energy pulling ourselves down – when gravity is already doing it for us. We can choose to “lighten up”, but it’s not about a forced cheerfulness. It’s a whole self kind of thing!

This week I celebrate the bright side of human adaptability. We can adapt in many ways to difficult situations. There’s enough written about that elsewhere, and I am very glad there is. But we also adapt very well to support, grace, and ease, without having to change anything about ourselves. No self improvement is needed.

The Alexander Technique gave me the experience of ease, and enough time to begin adapting to it. I’ve been heading in that direction ever since. If that’s the direction you want, this work is definitely for you. There is a certain rigor to making that choice when you are having a hard time, but all you might need is some guidance and support to get you going.

January 27th, 2020 • No Comments



Wednesday Mobilignment classes in NYC have been super fun! It’s a mix of professional dancers, new dancers, and total beginners who are not dancers at all.

The really cool thing is – if you look at the short video above, you canʻt tell which is which – beginner, professional, smeshional! Everyone is discovering new, easier movement patterns. So if you want a place where you can really move and you don’t have to try and fit in to a professional dance class, it’s perfect.

Alexander Technique and Mobilignment™ at Movement Research in NYC
Gibney Dance, 280 Broadway
Wednesdays 2:00 – 4:00 pm, November & December
Click here for more info.

Lately I have been emphasizing the healing properties of the paired concepts:

“primary” and “secondary.”

These concepts propose a new way of looking at both posture and movement that will never make your body stiff and strained. Primary (towards self) and secondary (away from self) reflect the flow of life lived in a gravitational field, including towards the ground/self and away from the ground/self. It’s so simple, but it can be found in absolutely everything that we do. In the video above, the movers are naturally alternating between one and the other – but the only directive I gave them was to alternate how they were paying attention!

We shifted attention to self, then to environment (“not-self”), and then explored a kind of “wandering” of attention between the two. That alternating flow of attention is something we do all the time to navigate our world, without really “thinking” about it.

I usually start with primary because most of us don’t get enough of it. Or, if we do, we only get it in our thoracic spine and call it “slumping” because we are not allowing our head and primary focus to go all the way towards self. We are usually pulling some part of us up and out of it, causing compression and “neck forward” posture.

We rarely get to release our whole body completely into this curled state. Our grown up bodies are so different from an infants body, as the size of our limbs in relationship to our torso is so much larger. Check out this weird drawing by Leonardo Da Vinci, which shows a pretty buff semi-adult baby! Even as grown ups, though, our limbs can still fold, tuck, and spiral to facilitate this movement with some modification and adjustments:



To do it, you will really have to stop trying to straighten your spine and throw back your shoulders! Extension, or “secondary” also goes with our preferred adult mode of paying attention. We get pulled away from awareness of ourselves and into work, or whatever is being demanded of us in the world.

I suggest beginning with primary, or fetal movement, at the beginning of any warm up for activity:

1) Go on to “all fours.” Place your hands right under your shoulder joints, your toes together behind you, and your knees angles slightly outwards (definitely NOT parallel for you dancers).

2) Look down. Can you see behind you between your legs? Did your back stay straight? If so, let go. Let it curl. Your pelvis will shift up and back, but it won’t be because you tuck your stomach in. It will be because you stopped trying to keep your back straight.

3) Fold your elbows until your forearms are resting on the floor, and keep looking under yourself til your forehead rests on the floor. It should feel easy, you shouldn’t be pushing your head down with force from your neck, just letting it rest. Your knees will fold to allow the weight of your pelvis to shift and go back, where it can rest on your heels if your knees allow. If your knees are tight or creaky, just explore the movement as far as you can go smoothly without forcing your head onto the floor. Don’t push, just ease into it and out of it – back up onto all fours, looking out, and explore primary/seceondary as a movement, rather than a shape.

4) MODIFICATION FOR TIGHT HIPS: you can rest your head on a high, hard-ish pillow or block if your hip joints are tight. There is no need to push or force hip flexion.

5) After finding your easiest possible fetal resting place, you can gently roll onto your side (looking to the left or right to start the roll) and continue the spiral into a kind of open X-shape on your back – that would be a release, or “reset” from primary into secondary. Enjoy the support of the floor behind you and see how much of your environment you can take in from there.

Itʻs a release into supported expansion, instead of a pull into expansion.

Enjoy this postural reset 🙂 – and if you want guidance in how to do it, come to class!




November 18th, 2019 • No Comments