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


This video is for all of you folks with RSI, neck and shoulder injuries, and back pain. It’s one of the most common questions new students ask me about, so I thought it might be useful to share…and a nice excuse to get an extra nap….


Why is it that we tend to break ourselves into bits and pieces when we train as performers and artists? Actors work on movement in one class, voice in another, alignment in one class, emotional freedom in yet another. Visual artists and writers are given no information at all about their bodies, with which they make art.

Because there are so many skills to learn, as a young dancer I lost sight of a fundamental truth: I live, move, breath, and act in every moment of every day as a whole person. Good alignment, easy movement, free and powerful voice, skillful use of materials, and emotional connection with self and others all come from the same place – me! They are all related.

The Alexander Technique gives you the ability to bring your whole self into any situation. In lessons and workshops you get support for making the conscious decision to stop breaking yourself up into tiny bits and pieces.

This unifying process has some wonderful, unpredictable side effects for my students:

– A student comes to me seeking relief from neck pain. What he gets is relief from severe anxiety that’s been plaguing him for years (because he is so worried about his neck, he started forgetting about the rest of his body, didn’t know where the ground was, and felt unsupported), and a newfound emotional freedom and ability to express his feelings to people he loves. His neck still hurts, but less, and he goes off to train as an AT teacher.

– Another student comes to improve his voice and breathing – and discovers that he hasn’t enjoyed movement AT ALL for YEARS. His voice gets more resonant and powerful after just 3 lessons, but he is most surprised to actually be enjoying the way his whole body feels when he gets out of bed in the morning.

– A student comes with severe pain and numbness in her arms and hands. She has been trying to stretch them and take care of them as best she can, but they just keep getting worse. We discover together that she has scoliosis and that there is a natural twist in her spine. She’s been trying to straighten it out and flatten her shoulders, which has tightened and weakened her whole back. She doesn’t need to stretch her arms, she just needs to leave her back alone so it can support her arms better, which it does quite happily, and she stops worrying so much about her hands…..

In other words, because everything is connected, you come for one thing, and sometimes you get another, better thing!



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March 4th, 2016 • No Comments


Check out this video of an easy stretch for people with lower back pain and/or tight shoulders. It’s best to be very gently stretching your spine if it’s super tight or if you have a slipped disc or other injury!

Injuries of any kind can bring up powerful emotions.
If you’ve experienced back pain that makes it impossible for you to carry on your daily life in the way you want to, at your normal pace, with full independence – you already know this. The pain and your feelings about it weave themselves together into a particularly charged weather system.

When you are inside that system, it can be very difficult to take in anything new. Neuroscience has shown us that a little bit of excitement or stress actually promotes learning; but being in a state of fright or paralysis basically blocks any learning process and forces you to rely on habitual patterns of behavior.
I’ve been through many of these storms over the years, and I can tell you first hand that the Alexander Technique is a possible solution, and it might be shockingly simple. However, it will require you to learn new stuff about yourself. Fun stuff, sometimes hard stuff! EVEN IF you have a lot of pain. For me, there were a surprising number of layers to my pains and fears, and I could only peal them away so fast.

The Alexander touch – so accepting, open, and supporting – is one of the best tools I know to melt away fright and paralysis no matter what your situation. It puts you into a curious, open frame of mind where exploration is possible. And basically, yes, it’s a loving touch. Loving touch calms us down. Simple. And it can open you up to a life of fun and learning!

If you are having back pain right now, and have really tight shoulders and neck, try this simple stretch in this video and see if it helps.


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– Clare





February 3rd, 2016 • No Comments


Check out this nice side to side stretch that I designed as a warm up for auditions. Read the post below if you want to know how it came about!


Let’s start 2016 with a radical idea: stop trying to do your best! NOT trying to do your best just might result in more fun, more clarity, more confidence, and more success this year, depending on what “best” means to you and how it manifests in your body.

One of the world’s most beloved improvisation teachers, Keith Johnstone, has this to say about the number one problem that all performers face: FEAR.

“I tell people not to do their best. Because . . . when they’re doing their best I don’t get their best. So I try to persuade them to be average. Because if you’re wonderful, and you’re average, you’re still wonderful. Trying to do better is trying to be better than you actually are, and I don’t think you can do that.”

Imagine this: what if you could face challenging situations in your life resolving to be…just as you are? What if you could throw away all of your terrifying ideas about trying to be “better”?

You can! But you might not be able to do it alone. Because it’s hard to believe it could be so easy. Since when have you ever heard anyone say, I did my average and NAILED IT!!!! Average is just …..too vulnerable for many of us, I think.

Each person is unique and the ways in which each of us “tries to be better” can be very specific. One of my students, a young aspiring actor just out of school, has started nailing auditions and getting work because he is no longer paralyzed by anxiety. His old way of preparing for an audition was to “center and quiet” himself in preparation – like a typical Alexander Technique “lie down” in fact…which, for him, was actually kind of infuriatingly impossible. Because auditions are too exciting and he simply could not calm himself down! We figured out that if he stopped TRYING HARD TO CALM HIMSELF DOWN before an audition, and instead did big, energetic, side to side movement (which really opens and activates your respiratory system), he was much less anxious and did much better. It wasn’t difficult for him, and didn’t take much time. Of course he still has some normal fear, but the idea that we shouldn’t have fear at all is a bit crazy, don’t you think?

I personally needed someone to show me HOW to do less, and I needed it proven to me over and over again before I REALLY came to believe that the Alexander Technique was worth dedicating my time and considerable energy to.

It’s been the best investment I ever made, and that’s why it’s what I teach today.

Would you believe the vulnerability of “average” is really enough? Are you ready to invest in something that will bring the REAL you closer to people instead of farther away? If you’re not super busy trying hard to be better than other folks, or better than your real self, you are so much freer to play, have fun, and create beautiful things with those people you’ve been trying, dying and vying to work with.

We all need more of that.

If this speaks to you, I would really love to work with you and show you what I mean.


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Peace and love,

– Clare

January 3rd, 2016 • No Comments