Shoulder Injury Solutions Workshop at AmSAT Yearly Meeting

I’ve been getting some very positive feedback from the participants in my recent Shoulder Injury Solutions workshop at the AmSAT Annual General Meeting. Here is a quote from one email I got this morning:

“I found your teaching to be truly fascinating and was inspired by your enthusiasm. Thanks also for speaking to me briefly about my arms and the difficulties I have encountered with them as a cellist…your insight was helpful. Images work well for me and thinking of my arms as wings makes total sense!”

It was really an honor and pleasure to work with Alexander Technique teachers in training, and long time professionals. Here are some pictures of a spine that we made out of our shoes – our goal was to get the curves of the spine to balance each other out in order to support the weight of our “head” – which was a chair. At first, our spine was kind of flat! But we worked together, looking always to feed the flow of the curves up towards the head, and eventually the movement started to flow easily through the whole room:

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Then, we lay on the floor in a “prone” position, allowing our arms to widen like wings so that the shoulder blades flowed easily across the backwards (or primary) curve of the thoracic section of our spine. The Alexander “lingo” for this supportive relationship of arms to torso is “lengthening the torso” and “widening the arms” in relationship to the torso. It’s an expansive movement that happens reflexively when you give up shortening and narrowing yourself. With the support of the floor, it is very easy to observe and let go of “narrowing” tension and generate movement without crunching the very delicate shoulder joint.

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I’m especially grateful for the support of the American Society for the Alexander Technique, which is dedicated to supporting the training of new teachers and the education of the general public about the benefits of this amazing work.

July 10th, 2013 • No Comments

CLARE MAXWELL: SHOULDER INJURY SOLUTIONS WORKSHOP IN CHICAGO

I am absolutely thrilled to be sharing some of my work with colleagues at a national conference next weekend! If you are in Chicago, there will be a forum open to the general public on Alexander Technique and integrative medicine. Iʻll post a link to that soon. Meantime, here is the info on my workshop for Alexander Technique teachers and students:

American Society for the Alexander Technique National Conference, Chicago IL

June 26 – 30, 2013

CLARE MAXWELL WORKSHOP

Prone as a Procedure: Micro-spiraling to lengthen and widen from the ground into standing

Thursday 1:30 – 4:30

Saturday 9 – 12

Description

This workshop will be about the benefits of working in a prone, or face down relationship to the floor. For me, prone is one of the major innovations of the Dart Process work initiated by Joan and Alex Murray. Many people avoid this position because our noses and necks can get crunched, so Iʻve invented a support that I call The Launching Pad that Iʻve found to be incredibly helpful in alleviating those discomforts. Iʻll share some of the simple, playful practices that Iʻve discovered through the process of healing my own related shoulder and hip injuries. You will learn ways to use prone as a support for widening your own back, ways to access your natural rotational freedom within the AT frame work of inhibition, awareness, and direction, and ways to just have fun and improvise with the natural spiraling movements that support us as we rise to standing or release back into the support of gravity. I use prone to begin and end my teaching day often, and I also use it as a possible alternative to supine constructive rest for many of my students.

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June 21st, 2013 • 2 Comments

MOVE TO THINK TO TALK TO INSPIRE

Recent studies in Neuroscience are finding that movement, specifically dance, is good for your brain and may stave off the effects of dementia. Obviously certain kinds of movement (partner dancing in particular has been studied) are good for your brain in a way that nothing else is.

Why?

Because itʻs unpredictable. You may know the steps, memorize a pattern, but when you do it with a partner, or a group of people, something new is always happening and you have to “think on your feet.”

This makes total sense to me because Iʻve been discovering in my group classes for actors at the William Esper Studio, we ALWAYS seem to think better while we are moving. Because we are, as a culture, habituated to “stopping to think,” many of my students assume that sitting and thinking is how one should study text. Inspired by a workshop with Simone Forti called “Moving the Talking” I have to disagree.

Why is it that in my classes, when the students stand up and move WHILE ANSWERING QUESTIONS ABOUT READING HOMEWORK, that they seem to actually understand the text better than when they are sitting in a chair? Why, when they are moving, do they seem better able to link their own experience with what they have read? Why are they better able to imagine themselves in the shoes of the person they are reading about?

Iʻm not sure, but Iʻm very excited about this discovery. I guess that is why Iʻm an artist and not a scientist…yet.  I assure you it is making our class discussions so much more enjoyable, fun, and even emotional – more touching and inspiring. So – do something today to make your own life less predictable. Donʻt wait for a dance class – find a way to surprise yourself with movement. Iʻd love to hear about what you discover!

June 13th, 2013 • No Comments