Alexander Technique Instructor
I was introduced to the Alexander Technique while studying at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. I was majoring in Biochemistry and planned to study Physical Therapy in graduate school.
Mid-way through my undergraduate degree, I developed pain in my wrists. I worried about being able to continue playing music, riding my bike, and pursuing all the other activities I had once taken for granted.
Both my voice and dance instructors mentioned the Alexander Technique as a way of improving my singing and dancing abilities. As I explored the Alexander Technique on my own, I became intrigued with a method that could not only improve my dancing and singing ability, but could teach me to use my hands without pain.
I received a grant from Carleton to spend a summer taking modern dance classes and studying the Alexander Technique. After just a few lessons, there was less pain in my wrists, but I was not yet confident that it would go away forever. After being accepted at a number of Physical Therapy programs, I did not feel comfortable venturing into a field where I would be doing manual therapy on patients but would not have the tools to prevent my own pain. I enrolled in an Alexander Technique teacher training course instead. I worked as a personal fitness trainer while attending the three-year Alexander Technique teacher training program at the Dimon Institute in Somerville, MA, and was certified by the American Society for the Alexander Technique in 2001.
As an Alexander Technique instructor and lifelong student myself, I have no fear that either the pain in my wrists or the many sports injuries I once suffered will ever recur. I am always applying my ever-increasing understanding of the way the body works to my own activities. I sing and play clawhammer banjo, guitar, and mandolin in an old-time string band; dance; swim; and hike whenever I get the opportunity. I only hope to give as many students as possible the knowledge of how to pursue their own interests in a way that does not strain the body, but gives the confidence to go after the highest level of skill possible.
My background in the Alexander Technique and exercise led me to be interested in the study of posture and coordination from a scientific perspective. In 2010, I completed a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Behavior at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, with a research interest in human motor control and biomechanics. I then took a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Washington University School of Medicine doing research on movement patterns associated with low back pain. I am now an Adjunct Kinesiology Professor at the University of the Incarnate Word, teaching research and human motor control and motor learning classes and performing research projects related to the Alexander Technique.
My hope is to help build the bridge between the practical applications of the Alexander Technique and theoretical research on movement control and coordination. More details about my research are on my CV and about research related to the Alexander Technique on the science page.
In 2006, I met Steven Shaw, an Alexander Teacher in the U.K. who developed an incredibly thorough approach to applying the Alexander Technique to swimming. I grew up swimming in the lakes near my home, worked as a lifeguard and swimming instructor after college, and continued to swim regularly as an adult. However, working with Steven Shaw showed me how much more growth and development there was possible in my swimming. Through studying the Shaw Method, I drastically changed my freestyle/crawl and breaststroke to make them more dynamic and free. I added butterfly to my regular swimming routine, a stroke I had never mastered before, and was soon swimming fly across long stretches of open water without fatiguing or losing my breath. In 2011, I was invited by Steven to join the first wave of teachers he was training in the U.S. and completed the intensive training program in 2013.
I currently have a private practice teaching Alexander Technique, Shaw Method swimming, and oldtime banjo lessons in Austin, TX. I am also the Training Director for the Austin Alexander Training Course, a 3-year Alexander Technique instructor training program.
My background in personal fitness training, swimming, music, dance, and science has led me to approach my work in an innovative way, allowing my clients to make gains they never believed possible.