After a healthy, active childhood, I got sciatica. I had always thought back pain was for couch potatoes. Yet I was in really good shape — I galloped racehorses for a living, surfed, worked out regularly and was only 28 years old. Yet I was in constant pain and miserable. I tried physical therapy, chiropractors, yoga, acupressure, read numerous books on back pain, and tried their endless exercises. Nothing worked. I avoided movie theaters, museums and malls — anything that required standing or sitting for more than half an hour. After 6 years, I figured I wasn’t going to get any better.
Finally, someone suggested I try the Alexander Technique. Intrigued, I gave it a try. Lessons were enjoyable, and I learned a great deal about how badly I carried myself and moved. I learned how to stand upright, but without effort. Eventually my shoulders weren’t hunched inwards. (I was pulling my shoulders in without ever feeling what I was doing.) The stiffness throughout my legs and torso melted away. Standing for long periods was no longer difficult. I grew 1/2 an inch. I felt more confident. Then, one day I realized I didn’t have sciatica anymore. I also didn’t have neck and shoulder pain, both of which I had before getting sciatica, and which I had long ago just tried to live with. Now, I felt great!
I realized that my bad habits were what caused my pain. I saw that I unconsciously contorted myself — a habit I didn’t notice. Once I learned to move more freely, I felt better all over, and my pain went away. In pictures or videos, I noticed the difference. Everything looked easier about me (and felt that way, too). Keeping control of a tough or nervous horse, and not getting injured are the two most important and difficult priorities of riding racehorses. To my surprise, the Alexander Technique helped me do both. Horses I dreaded riding became easier to ride, even enjoyable. The quiet I developed in myself affected the horses, and they became calmer, trusted me more, and were rarely out of control. Also, riding wasn’t so hard on me. The soreness and injuries I used to get vanished.
What amazing changes from a back pain solution. My only regret was that I hadn’t found the Alexander Technique sooner! I trained to become an Alexander Technique teacher (a three-year, intensive program) and have been teaching for 13 years.
From the beginning of my teaching career, I have worked with people from all ages and backgrounds. Although back pain is now my focus, I also work with those looking to optimize their performance—actors, singers, musicians, dancers, athletes — while using less physical effort. The list of famous actors and musicians who endorse the Alexander Technique is impressive, and is always growing.
Because of my background with horses, I’ve worked with riders looking to more easily move with any horse they ride, which fosters cooperation and definitely improves performance. Public speakers are another clientele I work with who really improve with the Alexander Technique (F.M. Alexander came up with the Technique because he lost his voice on stage)
However, anyone who would like to find more ease and grace, regardless of what they’re doing would benefit significantly from the Alexander Technique.