The Power of How: A journal about The Alexander Technique and Movement

How to hack your dopamine balance through mindful movement


Before I get into the core of this newsletter, two things.

  • Last Mastermind Group for Embodiment Educators filling up: Are you or someone you know an embodiment practitioner looking for skilled and targeted guidance for building their business? I’m opening a new Mastermind Group and still have 6 spots left. The early bird special ends September 13, so book an interview ASAP to see if you are a good fit.                                                                                                                                                                       
  • Are you a teacher stressed about what’s going on with the Delta COVID variant and figuring out how we will navigate our in-person classes this fall? I’m no longer reading popular news outlets to get information, because it’s often just unclear clickbait and burns out my poor adrenals. Instead, I highly recommend this podcast and webpage as a source. It is heartfelt, based in science rather than politics, and calms me down with real information. Take good care of yourself out there dear ones.                                  


You know how hard it is sometimes to get your body up off the couch, or away from your computer, and take that break that you intellectually know you need? I don’t know about you, but on Monday I’m often much better at taking breaks than I am by the time Friday rolls around. Why is that?

I am not prone to depression but by Friday, I notice a marked difference in my state of mind and spirit. I have more anxiety and I’m less positive. That’s because my nervous system is trying to balance itself. I often think rest is the answer, but research is showing it takes more than that to break the cycle of dopamine hits (pleasure highs) and painful lows that follow.

Our brain loves dopamine, and it wants more and more of it. Computers in general and many apps that we use are designed to flood our brain with it, and this tips us over an edge that it is very hard to pull back from. It’s called pain/pleasure balance, and you can stop beating yourself up about it (if you have been!) and give your incredible nervous system and body some TLC instead. You’ll need to increase your ability to sit with the discomfort of not focusing on your devices.

Conscious embodiment practices give you a different kind of pleasure, something pro-active you can do for yourself that is in harmony with the way your nervous system works and will help you re-set brain chemistry and emotional balance. Subtle, gentle sensation is the medicine your body needs, and it’s totally free, with no side effects! You may have your own native ways of doing this – by all means, do them! But if you need some extra help, something specific that you can do for yourself, Cranial Nerve Sequencing can help.

A small sensation, fleeting as it may be, can infuse our entire being with delight. The color of the sun seen through your eyelid, the wind on your skin, the beating of your heart or the sound of a bird, the feeling of your bare feet on the ground. These things remind us that we are one with whatever we focus on. The natural world gives us the feedback we have evolved to thrive on, unlike computers.

I mean, have you ever felt burnt out and upset after going for a walk? In real life, we can’t always get outside for a walk, unfortunately. In my practice, I’ve discovered that focusing on specific parts of yourself and taking just a few moments to feel your body is magic if you do it in the right spirit. Playful, lighthearted, not too serious. It works best if done just for the pleasure of it. Self improvement as an attitude tends to bring me down!

What follows are short practices that you can use to re-set your pleasure/pain balance. This is a re-cap of each cranial nerve we’ve covered so far. Each practice takes less than 5 minutes. Try not to take it too seriously…

Begin standing or sitting upright:                                                 

Nerve 0: Vomeronasal organ (vestigial, may sense hormones in the air), 2 steps

1) Bring awareness to the volume of your left nostril, feel the motion of cool air coming in and warm air going out. Let this nostril lead you on a short, curious walk around your space, as if it had a mind of its own. Whatever this organ may or may not perceive, it’s a mystery! It is experienced below the level of consciousness, so you can just enjoy the mystery of it.

2) Bring awareness to the volume of your right nostril, feel the motion of cool air coming in and warm air going out. Let this nostril lead you on a short, curious walk around your space.

(Go HERE for the original video and blog post)


Nerve 1: Olfactory (sensory only, reception of smell molecules in the air), 5 steps

1) Touch the dip in the bridge of your nose (the ethmoid bone) gently, easing the skin and tissue between your eyes and feeling the shape of the bone under your fingers. It forms the inside edge of both eye sockets.

2) Bring awareness to the distance between your eyes (after you take your hand away).

3) Bring awareness to the spatial location of the ethmoid bone and olfactory nerve lightly above the level of your eye sockets. (See link to blog post below link for visuals.)

4) Bring awareness to the motion of cool air coming in and warm air going out in this higher space.

5) Take a short smell walk around your space. Notice the difference between how the air smells, and how different objects or plants smell when you place your nose near them. The subtlety of smell is mind boggling and beyond words!

(Go HERE for the original video and blog post)

Nerve 2: Optic (sensory only, reception of light on the retina of your eye), 4 steps

1) Stand with your head balanced over your feet, heels together, toes slightly apart. Close your eyes. What colors and shadows do you see through your closed eye lid?

2) Ease your eyes. Let go of tension around the organ of your eye and see how it affects your balance with your eyes still closed.

3) Locate the ground & center yourself with your easy eyes closed. Your body knows just how to balance your head over your body, over your feet, over the earth, without you having to see where you are.

4) With your eyes still closed, slowly let the weight of your head go forward and hang down towards the floor. Stop anytime you like and invite more ease around your closed eye sockets as the relationship of your skull to the ground changes. Slowly roll back up. When you open your eyes, see if you can allow your peripheral visual field to be as open as possible instead of focusing in on one thing.

Go HERE for the original video and blog post.

The only risk you run is that as you practice more regularly, your body will be less and less likely to allow you to stay on the computer for too long. It will raise the alarm bells sooner, and you will know just what to do in response.

Interested in exploring the full cranial nerve sequence with guidance and support? Go HERE to find out more.

August 23rd, 2021 • No Comments

Computer vision syndrome is a serious problem but it’s not your fault


image by Andrea Piacquadio

Is your relationship with your computer more important than your relationship with your body? People who are in pain from being on the computer for too many hours a day make up at least 50% of my practice.

One student had to take two years off his lucrative design job to recover the use of his arms. Another has the beginning symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome which is no joke.

This student’s particular body had already been through the ringer before he started in his profession, so he was more vulnerable than others to RSI and nerve compression, which in my view are totally connected to visual strain. He had old hip and leg injuries from sports, and really tight hip joints. Sitting in a chair all day was never going to be good for him.

Add to a history of injury or trauma with staring at a computer screen which is known to cause eye strain (it’s called Computer Vision Syndrome, which includes musculoskeletal problems as well) and you are headed for many different levels of trouble.  According to the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, computer vision syndrome affects about 90% of the people who spend three hours or more a day at a computer. [14]

So that’s basically, like, everyone. People, we need to make this issue into something other than good news for optometrists.

Both of these students were given a medical diagnosis that placed the blame on their bodies. When it should have been placed on the inhumane hours they were expected to work on computers!!!

When I worked in corporate wellness programs at a hedge fund few years back, I’d always ask people to tell me the honest truth (quietly, on the side, not in front of others) how many hours a day they worked on average. The minimum was 10 hours a day. The maximum was 18! Arrrrghhh!!!!!

Eye strain, as I’ve written before, is more serious than many people think because it impairs your posture, breathing, and movement. I’m not gonna lie. There is no form of treatment or body work or self-improvement that will get rid of eye strain and body pain if you are on a computer for that many hours. So what can you do, other than quit your job or start a revolution?

Here are two tips:

1) Get up and move every 20 minutes. This is so much more possible now that we work at home. Just do it! Look out the window and bath your eye with the real world – light, color, texture, space. Give attention to the periphery of your vision, not the central focus point. Give up trying to focus. Take your glasses off and let your vision be blurry.

2) Close your eyes and interview each eye, one at a time. Be sincere and wait for the answers…

Hello left eye.

– Do you feel squished?

– What mood are you in? Are you sad? Happy that we’re taking a break?

– What colors do you see behind our eyelid?

– How long would you like me to stay here with you?

You can do this sitting up or lying down with some support under your head.

You can also watch this month’s video for something a bit more in depth.

You can also start a revolution :-).

What it would be like to take a whole journey through your body like this? Let’s talk…you can book a free consult HERE and check out the entire 12 session Cranial Nerve Sequencing program HERE.

August 13th, 2021 • No Comments

Your eyes, your retina, and sleep: why darkness matters



Welcome to this yearlong journey through the 12 cranial nerves. We are spending the month of August exploring the optic nerve, which allows us to perceive light (and therefor also darkness) via the retina.

Do you suffer from lack of sleep? So many people I know are struggling to get enough sleep since the increase of political & racial violence, accelerated climate crisis, and the COVID pandemic converged into one hot mess.

The ways that we used to sooth ourselves aren’t working any more. One thing I find myself doing to cope is being online more often, and later at night – which is really hard on your eyes.

Last week’s newsletter addressed eye strain and posture – you can view the video exercise HERE. This 4 step exercise is a great thing to do just before you go to bed – instead of beating yourself up for being anxious and online too late, why not do this instead? If you understand how your retina, and the optic nerve, is deeply connected to other systems in your body, there are other things you can try as well.

Are you like me (if you are sighted) – wide awake as soon as the sun rises? I have to go to bed pretty early, say around 10 or 10:30, if I am going to get eight hours of sleep. If I need to sleep past sunrise, I have to put a black piece of fabric over my eyes that is very soft and takes the contours of my face so that it shuts out light. I’ve just accepted how light sensitive I am. We also have good dark curtains.

Light perception produces hormones in your body that affect your circadian rhythms. Light speeds you up, dark slows you down and induces the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep. During the day, when you feel energized, move as much as you can. Exercise also has been shown to increase melatonin production. Doesn’t that make total, beautiful sense? You wore yourself out, so you will need to rest! Come try my Tuesday dance class if you need some encouragement.

Dark is so important because melatonin is produced at night. Furthermore, more melatonin boosts your immune system, and less of it weakens your immunity. That’s why getting enough sleep is so important.

I started practicing Cranial Nerve Sequencing in order to find peace in this moment. Not later, when I am a better person, when I do the right thing, but now. Right now, when I’m being human, vulnerable, and stressed out. It’s helped me get so much more out of my meditation practice as well.

Each nerve could be a messenger for peace – for harmony with all that is – because that is how it evolved. The message from your retina for this week is – “I was born in relationship to the sun and the moon. I need light to wake up, to move, and to grow. I need darkness to rest and recuperate for the next day.”

Book a free 15 minute consultation today if you want to explore Cranial Nerve Sequencing and The Alexander Technique. Let me help you develop healthier coping mechanisms for the challenges ahead.


August 8th, 2021 • No Comments