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

WHERE THE #$*! IS MY CENTER?

 

 
Where is your center, and what does knowing where it is have to do with shoulder tension?

I hope you will enjoy this months video, where I attempt to debunk the #1 erroneous idea of center, and devise an experiment in which I can actually feel at least one of my centers and move it around!

If you have chronic shoulder tension, you may have a wrong notion about where your center is. Chances are the idea is too small, fixed, narrow, or just plain inaccurate. My September/October NYC Workshop, End Shoulder Tension Forever, will also address this issue, and many more.

In my workshop, I’ll be sharing two ideas that I guarantee will begin to break the hold that shoulder tension has on your body, mind, and breathing.

1) Your center of weight is never fixed because your body is always in motion. Your center cannot and should not be held in place, and is not an anatomical location to be strengthened. No muscle in your body works in isolation from any other muscle. All muscles are always working in coordination with each other!

2) Structurally and functionally, your center is your spine, skull, brain and spinal cord. Oddly, this important part of you is in the back of your body, not the middle!  Your organ contents are in the center. So the whole idea of “center” being a place supported by a small set of muscles (that can be strengthened, braced, or fixed) is revealed as being rather abstract and not having much to do your actual design and functioning.

My hunch (based on 16 years of teaching!) is that when people are looking for center, they are looking for clarity in orientation, stability, support, and strength. The shocker is that strength comes from mobility, not rigidity. Stability is a result of a balancing relationship to gravity. Balancing is relational, dynamic, and stimulating to the entire web of musculature that encases our bones and organs. And it’s way more fun than bracing! More and more exercise methods are including this idea of balance, but they have been shockingly slow to let go of the “core strength” idea. A recent survey of material on the internet found the great idea of balance still being combined with, for example, this wording describing what to “do” with your center:

“As you balance, make sure to brace your core the entire time to keep your back still and strong.”

This is impossible, and I hope you check out the video to see a demonstration of why so you can stop doing it ASAP!

There are some exciting opportunities for study this fall for new students, and Alexander Teachers too!

Be gentle, stay wild and free….

Love,

Clare

////// TENSION FREE FOR A FLOWERS SESSIONS:

I will be doing 8 TENSION FREE FOR A FLOWER SESSIONS per month!

Do you know anyone who wants relief from chronic shoulder, neck, or jaw tension without drugs or surgery? Your natural state is to feel good. If you don’t feel good, please come!

All you need to do is bring a flower with you! REALLY. I love flowers and I love to have them in my studio. Contact me and I will send you available times. First come first serve, but I’ll book you for October if September is full.

September 7th, 2016 • No Comments

NEED A CHANGE? START DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY

 

Remember when you were a kid, and you didn’t really know how things were supposed to be?

You’d do crazy things like eating mud, kissing trees, and falling asleep with your head at the wrong end of your bed, just for fun?

Well, I’ve never stopped being that way, and I don’t think you should either. That way of being was natural, and it’s a way of thinking that can be the best resource for change throughout your life.

Most people who come to work with me because they have a problem to solve. A few examples:

– Shortness of breath
– Anxiety
– Tight voice
– Chronic injury
– Narrowing range of motion
– Bad posture

These folks are usually creative, passionate and really motivated in their lives. They are also trying so hard to get where they want to go that they may have stopped considering how to get there. And no, efficiency isn’t everything. I prefer fun over efficiency myself!

My absolutely favorite moment in a lesson is when my student realizes how shockingly easy a familiar movement could be, how different it can be from what they thought was “right.” You mean I don’t have to push my shoulders back and down in my back when I raise my arms? I don’t have to “stand up straight? Maybe the way I’ve been doing this is wonky. Maybe I could…..just….

d  o      i   t          d   i   f   f   e   r   e   n   t   l   y!”

You don’t have to join a gym, or do more exercises. You can just explore the life you are already living with a more open mind! Watch this month’s video for some crazy ideas.

My experience shows that we have to “work” at doing things differently. Our habits have become comfortable, and not doing them can be almost itchy. It’s in that moment of not scratching the itch, though, that something new can happen.

This joyous, vigorous, embodied process of transformation called the Alexander Technique is the best way I know of getting out of the troubles we get ourselves in. As John Cleese said:

“I find the Alexander Technique very helpful in my work. Things happen without you trying. They get to be light and relaxed. You must get an Alexander teacher to show it to you.”

UPCOMING WORKSHOPS /////

////// NYC WORKSHOP SERIES: Four classes for $150, Wednesdays 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.

FINDING YOUR CENTER: HEAD, TORSO, AND BREATH
What & where is your center, anyway? Discover the centrality of your spine and central nervous system, experience unified coordination of movement and breath.
– September 7, 14, 21, 28
Register HERE.

////// CHESHIRE, CT, WORKSHOP FOR ALEXANDER TEACHERS: MAPPING THE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM $60 for 4 hours

Learn new practices for mapping the self through the structure of the central nervous system, expressed at the level of our skin via dermatomes. Through the organ of our skin we are constantly in contact with the world and each other. How is upward direction brought about through this contact?
– Saturday, November 12, 10 – 3:30
To register, contact Michaela Hauser-Wagner at: m.h.w@cox.net

PRIVATE LESSONS //////

////// HOW DO I FIND OUT IF YOUR WORK IS WHAT I NEED?
– Come for a free 15 minute consultation – call me and come visit my studio!
– First lesson with full consultation, one hour 15 minutes: $135

////// OK, BUT THEN HOW MANY LESSONS SHOULD I HAVE, AND WHAT DO THEY COST?
– One lesson at a time, one hour, no committment: $120
– 5 lesson package: $570 ($115 per lesson)
– 10 lesson package: $1100 ($110 per lesson)
– 20 lesson package/ongoing study: $2000 ($100 per lesson)

////// DRAT. I CAN’T AFFORD THAT MUCH EVERY WEEK:
– 5 lesson slots are available at $85 per lesson for those in need. If all those slots are full, I can put you on the waiting list. Please call!

////// CLICK HERE FOR MORE VIDEOS

August 1st, 2016 • No Comments

RENEGADE STRETCHING FOR OFFICE WORKERS: JUST DO IT

 

 

This post is for all of the people who tell me, but Clare, I can’t stretch at my desk! I’m the boss! I can’t get down on the floor and roll around, or put some Prince tunes on and dance around like you!

I know. Office etiquette is important, whether you are the CEO or the newest hire. Don’t let this stop you from stretching. If you have chronic shoulder tension, you are going to need to stand up for yourself, and your body. Take a 5 minute break from your computer every 25 minutes, go to the bathroom, and stretch out there!

I promise if you try this, you will experience tremendous relief and increased productivity.

It might surprise you that in addition to stretching I also advise activity that requires tension. A little tension in just the right places can be such a huge relief for our bodies. You can learn to expand, redirect, and redistribute tension more fully throughout your whole body anytime, anywhere.

Tension patterns can reset themselves, becoming more balanced, supportive, and expansive instead of localized, narrowing, and painful.

Here is an experiment designed to explore the relationship between attention and tension:

1) Quick: what part of your body are you most aware of right now?

Take a few moments to find out.

Chances are, whatever part of you comes to the fore, tension is gathered there. Did the tension start because your awareness went there, or was it the tension that brought your awareness to itself? Hard to say, right?

2) Expand your awareness to include the entire surface of your skin. That’s a huge expanse of tissue, so take a little time. Where is your skin touching air? Clothes? A chair, or the floor, or any other supporting surface? Yield yourself into that support, enjoying the contact and the sensory experience.

What happened to the tension you felt before? Did it change?

My experience is that when I expand my attention to take in the whole of me, tension dissipates. Since I’m still sitting here, however, there must be some tension somewhere! It’s just distributed differently. Muscles love to be used, and then released. Bodies love to move in the fullest range possible. So you really do need to get up from your chair, and no, standing at a desk all day is not a complete solution either.

Fully activating and energizing ourselves is a necessary part of releasing unwanted muscle tension. Tension properly distributed through your whole body doesn’t feel like tension anymore anyway. It feels light, fluid and effortless.

If you are suffering from patterns of localized chronic tension, I have a core curriculum of dynamic movement explorations that, done in the right frame of mind, can free you from those patterns. I’ve been working with this material for about 16 years now, and I totally trust its efficacy. I’ve tested it out on all different kinds of folks. It works.

////// HOW DO I FIND OUT IF YOUR WORK IS WHAT I NEED?:

////// FREE 15 MINUTE CONSULTATION: CALL ANYTIME OR COME BY THE STUDIO IN PERSON TO FIND OUT IF PRIVATE LESSONS OR WORKSHOPS ARE BEST FOR YOU.

////// WORKSHOP SERIES: Four classes for $150, Wednesdays 12:30-2

////// OK, BUT THEN HOW MANY LESSONS SHOULD I HAVE, AND WHAT DO THEY COST?

– First lesson with full consultation, one hour 15 minutes: $135

– One lesson at a time, one hour, no commitment: $120

– 5 lesson package: $570 ($115 per lesson)

– 10 lesson package: $1100 ($110 per lesson)

– 20 lesson package/ongoing study: $2000 ($100 per lesson)

////// DRAT. I CAN’T AFFORD THAT MUCH EVERY WEEK:

– 5 lesson slots are available at $85 per lesson for those in need. If all those slots are full, I can put you on the waiting list. Please call!
 
////// CLICK HERE FOR MORE VIDEOS

July 7th, 2016 • No Comments