Alexander Technique

Surviving to Thrive: A Union of Intuition and Reason by Ariel Carson

All living things are survivors. We are built to keep going forward until our last moments. But rather than just plodding along in survival mode, how can we move in the direction of thriving?

When we have unresolved trauma in our lives, it’s as though some part of us does not understand we survived. Even if the perceived threat has long passed, some part of us believes that we are still in danger, and our nervous system behaves as such. This affects everything from how we digest our food to how we interact with our friends and loved ones. It informs how we sense the world around us, and therefore how we move through it.

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Let's Organize Ourselves Around Spaciousness by Ariel Carson

What would it mean to organize our mind-body-selves around spaciousness and move from there? If there are an infinite number of points between any two points, then we can infer that there is an infinite amount of space between each of these points as well. It follows that between every atom in our bodies there is an infinite amount of space. We can therefore consider ourselves permeable, interconnected, affected and affecting our environment near and far. We are not closed systems acting in isolation.

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Hillary Clinton and the Alexander Technique by Ariel Carson

Whether you’re “with her” or not, that a woman has received the Democratic nomination for president is an undeniable watershed in the history of the United States. 

However, as I watched her acceptance speech last week I found myself thinking what so many of her critics and supporters alike have mentioned: that she “lacks charisma.”

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The Anxiety of Doing Less by Ariel Carson

Summertime is when we grant ourselves greater permission to take it easier. Maybe it's just that the heat slows us down, or our bodies forever remember summer vacations from school, but somehow we've collectively agreed that July and August mean it's okay to Do Less.

As someone in the business of helping people Do Less in their mind-body-selves I am in full support of this seasonal credo. However as we age, a sneaking mistrust of the ease this practice affords can overtake us.

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Living the Questions - Part III by Ariel Carson

The last post in this series outlined how if we want to enact change in our lives we’ve got to establish an embodied foundation where we feel safe; we’ve got to adopt a beginner’s attitude; and we’ve got to let go of what we think our process and/or our outcome should look like. But now what? We could sit around all day pondering these things without moving a muscle. That practice alone could be considered a kind of meditation, beneficial in and of itself. But what does this look like in action? The Alexander Technique is meant to help us find more freedom and efficiency in all our daily activities. So let’s look at how we can practically apply what we’ve learned so we can live the questions in a way that helps us do what we want to do better.

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Living the Questions - Part II by Ariel Carson

In Part I of this series we explored how real change necessitates moving toward the unknown; how moving toward the unknown is inherently vulnerable; and how in our culture, living in the vulnerability of the unknown is associated with weakness rather than strength.

In this post I aim to introduce how the Alexander Technique has given me an embodied framework to feel safe, free, and strong as I look to embrace change daily, and am therefore consistently moving toward and living in the unknown.

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Living the Questions - Part I by Ariel Carson

Students and teachers of the Alexander Technique are all after one thing: CHANGE. But what does real change entail? The Nervous-Nelly-Know-It-All in me wants immediate change along with 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed. I want a detailed outline of how to get from point A to point B, to keep me contained in the illusion that I control my life. But in order to change and learn and grow we must inevitably go towards what we do not know. Otherwise we will repeat our past in various iterations over and over again, individually and collectively.

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Gokhale Method vs. Alexander Technique by Ariel Carson

NPR recently featured a story on Esther Gokhale’s method for helping people uncover their “Primal Posture™ for a Pain-Free Life”.

 

Since its publication, this story, entitled “Lost Posture: Why Some Indigenous Cultures May Not Have Back Pain”, was sent to me so many times by members of my community, a thoughtful response from my perspective as an Alexander Technique teacher seems appropriate and hopefully useful.

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An Open Letter to Your Boss by Ariel Carson

Google’s Senior Vice President of People Operations, Laszlo Bock, recently endorsed the Alexander Technique for helping with “desk bound back pain” in his new book Work Rules.

Oh dreamy Google, if only all companies could foster such awesome workplace environments.

My universal vision is that one day everyone with a desk job, or who uses a computer for long periods of time, would learn the skill of Alexander Technique to help them stay pain free and injury free, and reduce work related stress.

In my vision, I see open spaces with yoga mats and soft cover books where employees do Constructive Rest on their lunch breaks, or as part of their prep for big presentations, or even as a way to begin meetings.

That’s why I have drafted a memorandum below to be sent to your boss. That’s right, your Head Honcho, Chief Director President Executive Officer, Charles in Charge, Super-Duper-Visor, to let them know it’s high time some changes were made. Self-care is nonnegotiable. Because hey, we all deserve a chance to be as cool as Google. 

And if you already are the boss, this one’s for you.

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How the Alexander Technique Helped Me Get Hired and Promoted Twice All in One Year by Ariel Carson

It started as an entry-level position, transcribing raw uncut video footage for a television production company, Monday through Friday, eight hours per day. Having no dreams or aspirations to forge a career in television, it was just helpful to have a job that paid my bills as I finished my last year of Alexander Technique teacher training.

My friend recommended me to the hiring manager, which got me in the door, but the interview went well too. Grounded through my sit bones, and the contact of my feet on the floor, allowing the chair to support me, my breath moved calmly and freely. Staying open through my shoulder girdle, and long through my spine, I did not sink down or collapse into my low back and abdomen. Voice clear, eyes bright and open, I connected with the supervisor in an alert but relaxed way. These were my Alexander Technique skills in action.

I was hired.

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New Year's Slow Change Challenge by Ariel Carson

This January ditch the tired rhetoric of "New Year New You." 

Are personal growth, change, and renewal worthy goals? Of course!

However, the instantaneous results we have come to expect from our self improvement efforts are often not achieved by sustainable means. 

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$5 Lessons for Activists by Ariel Carson

Announcing $5 Private Alexander Technique Lessons for Activists on Wednesday evenings in Bushwick from 5-8pm.

It's too frequently forgotten that self care is of the utmost importance in order to be an effective catalyst for deep, authentic, and widespread change. Finding ways to access sustainable support in your body-mind-spirit will help you stay revitalized and balanced in the face of great demands.

From learning how to walk more efficiently for marches, to holding your protest sign with less tension, to using your voice healthfully to speak the words that need to be heard, may the Alexander Technique provide you with the tools you need to stand your ground, and find pain relief, space, and dynamic stability as you move forward seeking justice, peace, and equality for all.

Your activism can extend to any arena you find pertinent, as long as you are committed to a peaceful approach. Just send along one sentence of what you are currently doing to cultivate positive change locally, nationally, and/or globally, when you email redefiningposture [at] gmail [dot] com to set up a time for your lesson.

Get Yourself Together! by Ariel Carson

Try this:

  • Mentally, or out loud, tell yourself to “Get your $#!+ together!”
  • Say it like you mean it.
  • Without judgment, closely observe what happens in your body and breath for 30 seconds as you repeat that command.

 

If you’re reading this blog post chances are you have found a satisfactory, if not more than satisfactory, socially acceptable way to “Get your $#!+ together” in order to function in your daily life. You keep yourself together mentally, physically, and emotionally well enough to sustain some sort of a career, home and social life.

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Stair Master by Ariel Carson

Using the Alexander Technique to Improve Stair Climbing Skillz

Whether you're living out your own personal Rocky Balboa "Eye of the Tiger" montage, the elevator to your 9th floor office is out of service, or you have to transfer from the A/C/E to the N/Q/R at Times Square, tackling multiple flights of stairs can be physically demanding for anyone. Here’s how to apply the Alexander Technique to take you from Stair Novice to Stair Master in 5 Simple Steps (pun intended).

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Sustainability and the Alexander Technique by Ariel Carson

You compost and recycle. You buy organic local goods. You ride your bike to work, and you shower in under five minutes. You make sustainable choices, because you know that while we have been able to run on oil and gas for a long time, accomplishing a great many things, these resources are rapidly depleting. We must now instead find sustainable renewable energy from more abundant natural resources like the sun and wind. However, as Señor Ghandi so wisely said if we must "be the change [we] wish to see in the world," supporting Mother Earth begins at the most local ecosystem we know.

 

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New Fall Smoothie for Alternative Happy Hour by Ariel Carson

Redefining Posture - Alexader Technique - Happy Hour - Bushwick

Trying to break  the ol' after work drinks at the bar routine? Introducing the new Apple Pie Smoothie as part of Alternative Happy Hour on Wednesday evenings at my Bushwick studio from 5-8pm.  Share an hour long Alexander Technique lesson with a friend, and enjoy this delicious "seasonally appropriate" smoothie while you're at it. A relaxing and nourishing way to change up your 5 o'clock habits. $30 per person. Book your happy hour today by emailing me at redefiningposture@gmail.com. *Smoothie designed by health coach Patrizia Hernandez of La Vita Wellness.


Alexander Technique? Ain't Nobody Got Time for That! by Ariel Carson

Several students have asked me variations of the same question in the past several weeks, so I wanted to take a moment to address it here.

The question:  I feel great when I slow down and become more aware in my Alexander Technique lessons, but I don't know how to maintain that awareness when I have to move quickly in the rest of my life. Is the point of Alexander Technique to be aware 100% of the time?

Answer in short:  Hell no! Ain't nobody got time for that!

There’s no way for us mere mortals to be mindful and aware of our mind-body-selves 100% of the time. We’re just not built for that.  But how about for 10 minutes a day, or 5 minutes? How about for even just a split second check-in to stop and ask yourself, "Can I do less?" or "Can I release my neck into length and my back into expansion?"

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