"My initial exposure to the Alexander Technique was as an undergraduate theatre student. I discovered that issues that I had thought to be "physical", "vocal" or "mental" as a performer were all manifestations of poor use. The way that I coordinated myself both when performing and in my daily life resulted in undue tension, strain, fatigue and lack of confidence. Through most of my teenage years, I had worn a back brace in order to prevent scoliosis in my lumbar spine from worsening. The brace was extremely uncomfortable and I would collapse onto it, allowing it to hold me up instead of allowing my own back to support me. When I wasn't wearing the brace and when it eventually came off permanently, my postural support muscles had in a sense forgotten how to do their job. Instead of allowing my back to support me, I stiffened my neck, shoulders and muscles around my ribcage to hold myself up, resulting in discomfort, fatigue, awkwardness and a strained, fragile-sounding voice, hardly adequate tools for an actor. I tried very hard to be a good student and to fix the problems I was having. I performed vocal exercises, pushed my shoulders down and back and attempted vigorous exercise routines to get myself in shape, after which I would routinely fall ill. My efforts to exercise were only compounding the problem since I was exerting myself using the poor habits that I'd developed while engaging in strenuous activities such as running.
Once I began taking Alexander Technique lessons and became aware of my harmful habits, I was able to stop them and to allow improved posture and coordination to take over. My challenges suddenly became concrete and palpable. I understood that I had a lot to learn, but the prospect of learning was suddenly exciting and manageable rather than vague and frustrating. I would leave lessons feeling lighter, more grounded, freer vocally, happier, and filled with creativity. I understood what I needed to do to progress as an actor and my ability to perform greatly improved. I found myself sleeping more restfully felt more willing to get up in the morning. I took up swimming, which I had never excelled at, and would often tire after swimming two laps. I applied the Alexander Technique, didn't push myself to swim when I felt tired and was soon swimming comfortably for 45-minutes straight. I have been through two pregnancies and, despite my scoliosis, experienced no back trouble and now often find it energizing to carry a child on a long walk."
Lindsay Newitter is an AmSAT-Certified Alexander Technique teacher. She completed her Alexander Technique teacher training in 2007 at ATNYC, a three-year Alexander Technique teacher training course headed by John Nicholls and Nanette Walsh. She is currently an ATNYC faculty member and assists in training new Alexander Technique teachers. She maintains a private practice in Manhattan’s Flatiron district and has worked with people of all ages, including business executives, office workers, health care workers, actors, musicians, educators, and pregnant women. She also teaches Alexander Technique at Step Into Stride Physical Therapy and Wellness Center in Brooklyn. Lindsay has been a faculty member at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts where she taught the Alexander Technique to groups of actors, has taught many workshops and group classes for actors. She earned her BFA in Drama from New York University in 2001. Lindsay is an active member of AmSAT (The American Society for the Alexander Technique). She has been serving as the national Promotions Media Director of AmSAT since January 2011 and is also one of the founders of Studio-AT-Large, Discover the Alexander Technique. Studio-AT-Large began in 2010 and is a group of Alexander Technique teachers in NYC who provide information and sample lessons at outdoor events and wellness fairs in NYC.
What is AmSAT-Certification? AmSAT (The American Society for the Alexander Technique) exercises a rigorous credentialing process of requiring a minimum of 1,600 hours of training over three years in an Alexander Technique teacher training course approved by the organization. AmSAT members must also comply with regular continuing education requirements.