Category Archives: Private sessions

Can Alexander Yoga relieve the tensions of playing a musical instrument? Pain disappears, sound resounds!

As a new musician of the violin/fiddle, I am so amazed when I watch musicians play…the passion, emotion, skill and poise is now so much more obvious to me.  I had no idea it was such an incredible way to be with yourself and with others.  The vibration I am feeling in my whole body helps me sense the emotion that comes from the music whether it is a classical piece or a fiddle tune.  I am happy to be alive and aware of spaces inside and outside of my body.

The other surprise to me is how much subtle tension in the head, neck and jaw affects the sound of the music…it is so revealing that the ever so small adjustments make incredible changes in how the music flows out to the ear (mine and the spaces around me). I teach Alexander Yoga and have found many of the poses we do inform my body about how balanced or imbalanced I am. I can take these relationships of balance to how I am holding my fiddle.  At first I learn about myself and my habits of tension when I am not playing my instrument; then I can recognize these same tensions when I pickup my fiddle (where I have a lot of muscle memory tension).  We start with being aware of our balance and poise in our everyday moving patterns and the yoga asanas.  This new information continues to unravel and the sound of the music becomes more and more enhanced.

If you have pain from playing a musical instrument, explore the skill of learning the Alexander Technique through Alexander Yoga;  the results are long term and sustainable because you are learning to find joy, ease and fun by releasing unneeded tension.  You will enjoy playing so much more and your audience will notice the change in the sound of the music.FiddlePlayingKaren2012

What is proprioception and is it the same as kinesthetic awareness, what???

The dictionary says proprioception is:

The unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself. In humans, these stimuli are detected by nerves within the body itself, as well as by the semicircular canals of the inner ear.
kin•es•the•sia (ˌkɪn əsˈθi ʒə, -ʒi ə, ˌkaɪ nəs-)
The sensation in the body of the movement of muscles, tendons, and joints

Why would we want to be more aware of our perception of movement and spatial orientation? Because of the sense of effort that we habitually have decided is needed to do certain tasks, lifting an object, holding our coffee cup, knitting, playing golf, even standing or sitting we sometimes do with lots of tension and stress in our joints.

By educating your sensory awareness ( a combination of balance, spatial orientation, and sensations of movement in our muscles, tendons and joints), we can move in our life and do what we do with more ease in our joints, muscles and skeleton. By becoming aware of what habits may have caused chronic pain,  we can start changing where we over tense ourselves; the results will be sustainable and long term, because we are changing OURSELVES by OUR OWN awareness, which deepens and deepens as we remove the layers of habitual tension and stress.

The proprioceptive sense can be sharpened through study of many disciplines. Examples are the Feldenkrais method[26] and the Alexander Technique.  Juggling trains reaction time, spatial location, and efficient movement.  Standing on a wobble board or balance board is often used to retrain or increase proprioception abilities, particularly as physical therapy for ankle or knee injuries. Slacklining is another method to increase proprioception. more…

Interested….come have an introduction in how to sharpen your proprioceptive sense…we may juggle, do some yoga, crawl, walk, stand, and movement that you are finding challenging or painful!!

Does slumping make me look older than I really am?

When I started learning about the Alexander Technique in 1993, I had already started to slump and jut my pelvis forward, and I wasn’t even 50 years old.  And I had low back pain, my shoulders were pulled up to my ears, and all the years of wearing high heels in the corporate world (they were required!!) had made my hamstrings so tight, I couldn’t touch my toes.

I was very intrigued by this thing call the Alexander Technique, so I went for some lessons (they call it lessons, since it isn’t a therapy but an education); I was amazed at how the teacher’s gentle hands and my participation in thinking about my anatomy as I did normal everyday things, like sitting in a chair, walking, lifting a box; changed me entirely.  There was a memory that was reawakened , maybe when I was a child; and I couldn’t put words to it except, I didn’t feel heavy or burdened; almost like floating, and I had no pain or stiffness.  When I looked in the mirror I was much taller than when I had come into her teaching studio.

Well, I was so taken by this work, and that it was sustainable, and I was learning about “my” way of moving and changing what was not serving me well; I was “relearning” what I already knew that was buried behind habit and uncouscious reactions to “how to do things in my daily life”.

I now knew that the slumping was causing my back pain and stiff shoulders; and I could do something about it.  I didn’t have to age into that shape, I had a choice and it was mine to change with some help from my Alexander Technique teacher and practice on my part.  I think of it like learning a new language or musical instrument; always progressing, and learning something new, a new relationship to how I live my life.

“It is our birthright”, said F. M. Alexander, who founded this work 100+ years ago;  it is the principal behind living.  If we are easy and confident in our bodies and our everyday movement; we approach our relationships, our service, our self-care, our health in the way we most would like to be in the world as a human being.

Check out the video to the right of this article: