5 Posture Suggestions for Using a Laptop


The laptop is the modern tool of choice for work on the go. While it’s an amazing machine, the proximity of the keyboard to the screen presents a challenge to maintaining good organization through the spine.

Here are some suggestions:

1) Use one book or equivalent to raise the laptop closer to eye level. Every inch counts, especially the longer you sit, and you can still use the keyboard. Perfect for coffee shops:


2) Place Laptop on top of books, shoebox or equivalent to raise the screen closer to eye/head level. Use an external keyboard or mouse. Notice the hands are still a little higher than the elbows. Ideally, the hands and elbows are at the same height:


3) Buy a desk that has levels, so that you can place the laptop closer to eye/head level. Place the keyboard/mouse on the lower level. You can use a firm pillow behind your back for extra support:


4) When sitting on a couch, use a pillow in your lap to bring the laptop up a little higher. If the couch is deep, use a pillow behind your back for support:



5) I find using the laptop in bed a great option. Use several pillows to build a gradual curve. Bending the knees allows the legs to provide support for the torso, neck and back:


Add pillows under the elbows for more support:


If your legs get tired, lay them flat or cross them underneath and use a pillow under the laptop:


Hope that helps. Happy laptopping!




Power: Are You Giving It Way?

I’ve had a number of directors send me actors whom they wanted to use for a powerful role – such as president, king, queen or other dominating character – but the actor seemed too weak or diminished. He or she couldn’t project power.

How do we know if a person’s powerful or not?

Subconsciously, we know immediately. Like animals, we are highly perceptive motion detectors. In a blink of an eye we can evaluate another person’s power. This happens in all our daily interactions, but it’s especially poignant in auditioning and performing. Casting directors are constantly evaluating movement quality or body ‘music.’

What exactly is power and how do we increase it?

Some might prescribe a trip to the gym, which could help, but true power is not derived from having or flexing big muscles. True power is generated by exquisite coordination of one self – mainly, having an excellent relationship between head and spine, and moving from this central organizing principle.

Contrarily, If we collapse on or constrict ourselves, we give up our power. We literally impede our ability to do things. Our charisma diminishes as well.

Note the power difference of the same actor:

If we want to play a weak character, this can be an effective choice. Note the actors below and how the power switches between them in the two photos:

We can also lose our power or create weakness for comedic effect:

photo Stephane Hamel                Letanguerrant photography

photo Stephane Hamel
Letanguerrant photography

Often times, especially when auditioning, we’re not aware of what we are doing, how we are using ourselves, and therefore, how we are coming across. We get lost in anxious thoughts or the side rather than staying present and we greatly diffuse our power:

photo Stephane Hamel                Letanguerrant photography

photo Stephane Hamel
Letanguerrant photography

Notice the difference when come back to ourselves, our stature and the present moment:

photo Stephane Hamel                Letanguerrant photography

photo Stephane Hamel
Letanguerrant photography

So don’t constrict and collapse your power away. Cultivate it!

You Need More than Core Strength

“I really need to strengthen my core.”


For years I’ve been hearing about the concept of Core Strength. Whether it’s at a dinner or party or from a perspective Alexander student, they talk about how important core strength is. They associate core strength with health, good posture or, as we say in the Alexander world, ‘good use.’


There is some truth to their claim. There are muscles lining the spine that allow us to, for one, balance on two legs rather than four. And if these are inactive, they atrophy and are not available when we need them.


But these muscles can be difficult to access. They activate best when we are balancing ourselves, specifically, balancing our head on top of our spine, like a top hat on the tip of a cane in the palm of our hand. These are best accessed by good form or – I believe we’ve aptly named it – good use. Unfortunately, we often rely on large, external muscles groups, which are ill-suited to the task.


There’s a growing list of training techniques claiming to ‘strengthen the core.’ Pilates is one. I have taken dozens of Pilates classes and thoroughly benefited from and enjoyed them. If taught well, they can be a great ivory tower to work on strengthening the body with good form. But it is the form that is more important than the muscles. The muscles will follow suit.


The challenge is what happens when we leave the ivory tower. We could do 1000 core strengthening exercises and then pick up our purse or check our cell phone like this:
photo Stephane Hamel                Letanguerrant photography

photo Stephane Hamel
Letanguerrant photography

When what we really need is to learn to do it like this:

photo Stephane Hamel                Letanguerrant photography

photo Stephane Hamel
Letanguerrant photography

If we learn to do that (well coordinate the whole system as it’s designed), the core will strengthen, perfectly as required, every time we pick up our phone or do any other human activity.
What’s paramount is HOW we do things or ‘use’ ourselves.

I should also mention that there can be some pitfalls to these core strengthening exercises if done improperly. If we associate good use with holding, clenching, or over-tensing muscles to stand or perform other human activities, we are interfering with our design and this can cause problems.

Just look at how kids move: they don’t suck in their abdomen or tuck their pelvis to stand up or do anything. And neither do we have to as adults. This excess force not only wastes energy and strains the musculature system, but it constricts our breathing and internal organs. Plus, we often tire after a while from this effort (it can be exhausting), and then collapse the whole system.

What we can do instead is balance the skull on top of the spine. If the head is in good relationship to the neck as we do any activity, that is all the core strength one needs.