Elyse Shafarman elyseteaches the Alexander Technique at American Conservatory Theater's MFA Program, Berkeley Rep School of Theater, and in private practice in San Francisco and Berkeley, CA.

Elyse trained with Frank Ottiwell at the Alexander Training Institute - San Francisco (2003). During this time, she paired the 1600 hours of experiential learning required to teach Alexander Technique with a Master's degree in Physiological Psychology, where she had the opportunity to study the scientific underpinnings of the mind-body connection.

A word from Elyse:

"Ever since I was a teenage dancer, I’ve been fascinated by the connections between thought and physical state. Perception, cognition and emotion influence our degree of muscle tension, rate of breath, state of alertness, tone of voice, and even quality of performance as artists. And more mysteriously, the unconscious conditions of the body play back and affect our conscious mental state. This fascination has led me into scientific research and somatic practices.

I began studying the Alexander Technique as a Modern Dancer at SUNY Purchase. Conservatory training is grueling. The harder I worked to become a better dancer, the more my neck, shoulders and hips locked with tension. My first Alexander teacher, Jane Kosminsky, was also a dancer. She helped me learn how to work without automatically tensing my neck. My balance, flexibility, jumps and pirouettes improved. When I danced, the strain was gone. I felt as though I was floating. 

The fascinating bit for me was that these improvements did not come through muscular conditioning or stretching. Efficient coordination emerged as I learned to first recognize and then stop habitual tension reactions. Those early lessons affirmed the basic logic of the body as a structure designed to move at joints, designed to move without strain.

In my current work with students and in my own practice of dancing Argentine Tango, I find the Alexander Technique continues to be a simple and profound means to calming the nervous system, preventing pain and injury and opening creative channels in performance."

Elyse's background includes a 10-year career in Modern dance and training in a wide array of somatic and mindfulness disciplines, including Body-Mind Centering, Feldenkrais, Gyrotonics, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Svaroopa Style yoga. She has taught Alexander Technique throughout the Bay Area at diverse venues including American Conservatory Theater's Summer Training Congress, Elephant Pharmacy, Jeffrey Bihr Studio, The French American International High School, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and San Francisco State University. 

Elyse is honored to help people of all ages and vocations find freedom in motion.