So I’ve been taking these follow-along-dance classes for about 18 months. I feel like I’ve stumbled into one of the best kept secrets in San Francisco. Who knew that there was this vast community of people who, for the last 40 years, have been plunging into dance classes where the choreography is not so much […]
About Elyse Shafarman
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Entries by Elyse Shafarman
This essay was gleaned from a conversation on social media. I took a release based modern dance class, which got me thinking about moving with effort versus moving with momentum. I posted some movement cues that seemed relevant for my Alexander Technique students, but many people commented. The following is the outcome this discussion. To […]
A friend commented, “Interesting technique! I feel I’m holding between my shoulder blades. Suggestions for release?” Perhaps you are holding your shoulder blades together and leaning back to counteract slumping? You could reverse all those arrows pointing in towards the space between your shoulder blades. This might look like letting your chest soften down as […]
Here’s a nice study* showing that anxious anticipation is associated with forward head posture, and that the ability to prevent this habit is related to a person’s scores on measures of mindful awareness. The more aware you are, the more easily you can prevent dysfunctional postural habits. Thank you science! Try Alexander Technique to become […]
In the Alexander Technique, we teach students how to find the easiest, most comfortable and most efficient way of balancing the head on the neck. This is by no means all we teach. In actuality, we teach freedom of choice and freedom from the prison of the habitual, but often, our habits are expressed in our […]
My friend, a one-time avid tango dancer and current expat in Germany, has been staying with me for a few weeks. She burst into the living room one evening and said she was having persistent heel pain. She thought she was landing harder on her left (non-dominant) heel because every time she took a step […]
Imagine that your collarbones are the strings of a cape. Imagine that your shoulder blades, back and arms are the cape. Loosen your cape strings. Enjoy letting your collarbones widen, as your shoulder blades relax, draping down the back.
Sometimes my students bring me photos and news stories to discuss. The above snap was part of a Marc Jacobs ad in the Sunday Times. We couldn’t quite believe that post #MeToo, this Dickensian image was being used to sell clothes. What happens to our unconscious when the mere turn of a newspaper page primes […]
Today, a student asked me if the Alexander Technique was a spiritual practice, if in effect, it was preparing us for death. My immediate response was that the Alexander Technique prepares us for life. But I also get where she was going. The technique boils down to letting go of the anticipatory gripping that we […]
When I travel, I almost always bring a yoga mat – a rectangular island of plushness to gently coax a jet-lagged body back to coherence. But when I travelled to Cuba to study dance, I wanted to travel light. I reasoned that I could practice on any wood floor. I could adapt. But there was […]
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