December 2017 – Alexander Technique self-care for the Holidays

We’re approaching the holiday season, which can be filled with joy, friendship and fun.  But it’s also the darkest and busiest time of the year, and it’s easy for many of us to get stressed out and over-drawn in our energy.  At this time of year, I’m once again so appreciative for the wonderful tool of the Alexander Technique in which I have extensive training, both to use myself, and to teach to others.  Many people think of the Alexander Technique as being about good posture, but in our training we talk about good “use”.  This “use” is about how we react and act with our whole being – physical, mental, and emotional – to everything around us.

balancedrocksWe are constantly bombarded with stimuli, from both outside and inside ourselves.  Most of us have reactions to stimulus that take us out of our integrated and effortless self.  We get pulled off balance in many ways (physical, emotional), our reaction can involve too much effort (tension), we focus only on an end goal at the expense of the rest of us, or we push harder when we are tired, resulting in even more fatigue.  The Alexander Technique is a tool for choice: finding micro-moments when we can choose awareness, balance, ease, poise, fluidity, support, release, and the effortlessness of our natural movement.  winter

If you haven’t yet tried the Alexander Technique, I invite you to give a gift to yourself: the gift of self-care and good use.  If you have tried it, I invite you to take time for a refresher lesson, and to practice using the tools in a more conscious way during this demanding month.  Every micro-moment that you choose a different reaction adds up to a whole different state of being.

For more information about the Alexander Technique: heather@soundbeingstudio.com, or 250-716-3464.

I wish you the best of the holiday season!

 

November 2017 – Alexander Technique for Clarinet Players: Videos

As an Alexander Technique teacher, I’m always looking for ways to introduce and share this wonderful tool with other people.  As a professional musician, I appreciate, immensely, the importance of good body awareness, efficient use of energy, fluid and appropriate movement patterns, knowing how to avoid and release tension, a solid understanding of body mechanics, and being able to unify our entire self (body, mind, emotions) in any activity.  I am convinced that I would not have had a professional playing career without the help of the Alexander Technique.

I have recently partnered up with a colleague of mine to record some introductory videos about the Alexander Technique for clarinet players.  Michelle Anderson is a professional clarinet player in Vancouver, and we often play together in the Vancouver Opera Orchestra.  Michelle is also the founder of Clarinet Mentors, an amazing resource and community for clarinetists all over the world.  Check out the incredible amount of resources on her website at clarinetmentors.com.  

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Michelle and I decided to collaborate to do an introductory series of videos for clarinet players, introducing the Alexander Technique and how it can help us avoid mis-using our bodies and therefore avoid the resulting injuries that can occur.  Our video series includes six videos of 10-12 minutes each.  The online video course is available for a fee through the clarinet mentors website only.  Please contact me for more information: heather@soundbeingstudio.com, 250-716-3464.

October 2017 – Alexander Technique Workshop for CUPE support workers

On October 20th, 2017, I have the pleasure of teaching an introductory Alexander Technique workshop for the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 606 in Nanaimo.  This is a part of a CUPE staff development day for the support workers of School District 68 (Nanaimo/Ladysmith). A workplace focus on good movement, awareness, and ease can be beneficial to individuals and also the companies that employ them.  This class is a perfect opportunity to introduce basic concepts of the Alexander Technique: ideas about fluidity of movement, efficiency of design, natural support, and how we can move without tension or strain.  The class is experiential; highlighting each person’s kinaesthetic awareness, having them explore movement, and using visual and tactile learning to understand basic anatomy.  It is always a lot of fun as we explore how each person can take these ideas not just into everyday work moments but also into their hobbies and other activities as well.1510528_716252035086181_754470136_n

I am always happy to plan and deliver specialty Alexander Technique workshops for any group in Nanaimo, elsewhere on Vancouver Island, or on the mainland of B.C.  Please contact me for more information at heather@soundbeingstudio.com or 250-716-3464

September 2017 – Alexander Technique and Psychophysiology of Music Performance

The Alexander Technique is a definitive tool for encouraging ease, efficiency, and awareness in our whole selves: mental, physical, emotional.  This can be especially important in complex and demanding activities, such as music performance.  I am always happy to introduce the technique to music groups around the province.  On September 29th, 2017, I have the pleasure of teaching a 3 hour Alexander Technique class for Music Performance majors at Kwantlen University.  This is a part of the following course:

Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Langley:

Psychophysiology of Music Performance

Students will explore the psychological/physical relationship in music performance as well as the mental and emotional factors that affect learning and teaching. They will develop body awareness (posture, movement, and breathing) and its relationship to musical performance, as well as learn how to amend their physical movements to play more efficiently with less effort. Students will also investigate different approaches in developing musical skill, expressivity, interpretation, musical memory, and motivation, as well as survey different techniques for managing-and utilizing-performance anxiety.

For more information on Alexander Technique workshops or lessons: heather@soundbeingstudio.com, or 250-716-3464

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September 2017 – Alexander Technique for Horn students, Victoria

The Alexander Technique has a long history of helping instrumentalists and singers to perform with less stress and likelihood of injury. Musicians do some of the most complex and demanding physical movements of any profession.  By helping musicians release undue tension in their bodies, the Alexander Technique improves the quality of movement and therefore the quality of the music itself.  It makes possible a performance which is more fluid and lively, and less tense and rigid.  I am always happy to introduce the technique to music groups around the province.

indexOn September 22nd, 2017, I have the pleasure of teaching a 2 hour introductory Alexander Technique class for the French horn students at the University of Victoria. As a professional horn player myself, I am extremely conscious of the demands of playing horn, and the possibilities of injury.  It is of utmost importance to introduce this tool to serious music students, so they can refer to it and study more of the Alexander Technique as they discover the need for more ease and efficiency in all they do.  I certainly could not have had the professional career I do, without this technique!

For more information about introductory workshops or lessons in the Alexander Technique, please contact: heather@soundbeingstudio.com, or phone 250-716-3464

July 2017 – New website: Canadian Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique

July 2017 – We are pleased to announce that the Canadian Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique has just launched a new website.

Please visit our new site: www.canstat.ca

The Alexander Technique helps people learn to move, feel, and perform better in everything they do.

It’s an educational approach used by people of all ages and abilities to increase mental and physical well-being and decrease strain in daily life.

Learn from a CANSTAT certified teacher and enhance your own health and performance today!

CanSTATweb

April 2017 – High Jump techniques – Article on Balanced Approach to Athletics

athleticsweekly.com

17 August 2016
High jump technique: Balanced approach

By Sean Carey
Sean looks at different high-jump athletes and their method of preparation and run-up. To read the article in full, click here.

Here are some excerpts from the article by Sean Carey:

“As a teacher of the Alexander Technique, a psycho-physical method for restoring or improving coordination, and with a long-standing interest in athletics, I’m always looking at how an athlete’s body works as a whole.

I pay particular attention to the balance of an athlete’s head on their neck because this relationship acts as a master reflex in the body.

How? Well, because any tightening of the large neck muscles, such as the trapezius or sternocleidomastoids, that attach to the base of the skull, necessarily exaggerates the forward curvature of the neck (cervical) and lumbar parts of the spine, and diminishes one’s internal length (the distance between the crown of the head and soles of the feet).

In turn, this imbalance will transfer the basic work of supporting an athlete’s body weight against gravity from the non-fatigable, slow-twitch muscle fibres of the back musculature to the very fatigable, fast-twitch fibres of the leg muscles. If this happens, a kinaesthetically-attuned athlete will register that they are no longer experiencing ‘springiness’ or buoyancy but instead feel heavy or tired.

This deterioration can obviously have an impact on mood and confidence. But if the athlete can improve the relationship between their neck, head and torso, they will come out of that physical and psychological slump and feel more alive, more comfortable in their skin, muscles and joints, and go on to improve their performance.”

Heather Walker is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, based in Nanaimo, B.C.  For more information about lessons and workshops, please phone 250-716-3464 or email info@soundbeingstudio.com.

 

March 2017 – Be upstanding in public presentations with the Alexander Technique

Be upstanding in court!

Optimise performance and manage stress – John Hunter outlines the benefits of the Alexander Technique to the Bar

CounselMagazine.co.uk

August 2016

Be upstanding in court!

By John Hunter (MSTAT)
An article outlining the benefits of the AT to the bar. You can read the full article here. STAT website mentioned.

Here are some excerpts from the article:

“The long association between F M Alexander (1869-1955) and the theatre dates back to the very origins of the Alexander Technique (AT). He was an actor who loved Shakespeare, loved to recite and, having lost his voice, succeeded not only in curing himself of his problem but also in discovering certain fundamental principles of human functioning. Once established as an expert in breathing and voice in his native Australia, Alexander came to London in 1904 where he developed and taught his method for more than 50 years.”

“Many turn to Alexander lessons to deal with a specific problem, back pain being the most common. A recent randomised controlled trial at Southampton University demonstrated its efficacy in this regard (see British Medical Journal 2008;337:a884, Little P, Lewith G, Webley F, et al). Pupils of the technique often report that it not only helps them with muscular aches and pains but that the benefits are myriad: general ease of movement, a sense of presence, managing stress, a way to deal with performance anxiety, quickly recovering equilibrium, heightened awareness, improved resonance and authenticity in vocal production.”

Heather Walker is a Certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, with experience working with professional performances, public speaking, and stage presence.  She is based in Nanaimo B.C, and teaches lessons and workshops in the Alexander Technique throughout Vancouver Island, greater Vancouver, and further by demand.  For more information: 250-716-3464, or info@soundbeingstudio.com