About Emily Clark

Emily Clark

What are your professional credentials?

  • Alexander Technique Teaching Certificate – The Constructive Teaching Centre, London, UK, 2002
  • M.STAT – Member, Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (2002-2003)
  • M.AmSAT – Member, American Society for the Alexander Technique (2004 – present)
  • Apprenticeship – Glynn MacDonald, Master of Movement, Shakespeare’s Globe, London, UK 2003

Teacher training programs sanctioned by the American Society for the Alexander Technique (AmSAT) involve 3 years of full-time training.

How long have you been doing what you do?

I had my first Alexander lessons in 1994 when I had repetitive strain injury from working on the computer. I started training to be an instructor in 1999 and graduated in 2002.

I’ve been working with equestrians since 2003.

Besides private practice, where have you taught Alexander Technique?

  • LAMDA (London Academy of Mucic and Dramatic Art), London, UK
  • Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, London, UK
  • College of William and Mary Department of Theatre, Speech and Dance, Williamsburg, VA
  • ATTiC (Alexander Technique Teacher Training Center), Charlottesville, VA

What’s your background?

As long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with freedom of the body, mind and spirit. We lived in Fairfax, VA, but my extended family and spiritual home was in the Shenandoah Valley.

As a kid I was in love with nature, and at age 6 spent an entire summer hanging out in my crabapple tree in the backyard.

I loved the feeling of freedom I had outside, and dreamed of becoming a park ranger and homesteading in Alaska.

I ended up majoring in art in college, moving to New York City and becoming a graphic designer. A far cry from my original dream, but exciting and fun.

I was working endless hours on the computer under deadline pressure, and that brought stress, strain and debilitating pain in my neck, wrist and low back.

That’s how I found the Alexander Technique and that’s how I know it works. I still use a computer every day, but without the stress and pain.

Can you tell me more about you and your passion?

Braces, wrist wrests and painkillers didn’t help my repetitive strain injury (RSI). I was getting worse and worse. I would walk around like a robot for weeks, afraid to move my neck because of the excruciating pain. I knew I had to do something, but what?

One day at the laundromat I saw a flyer that changed my life forever.

I was skeptical about this Alexander Technique. Would it hurt? Was it too “woo woo”? Would my pain come back?

I had my first lesson and my pain went away. I felt great, and the feeling lasted for about a day.

I had more lessons and the periods of feeling good got longer and longer.

The Alexander Technique seemed like magic – it was so simple yet undefineable.

Eventually my pain went away completely. Once and a while it came back, but now I had the tools to take care of myself and I could prevent the pain.

My posture improved dramatically and my self confidence improved. I decided to ditch my great-paying job and move to London to train to be an instructor.

What influenced you to work with riders?

At The Constructive Teaching Centre in London, I studied with Walter & Dilys Carrington who had learned from FM Alexander himself.

Walter was an avid dressage rider up until his 90s. When I trained with him, he was in his late 80s. Despite having 2 hip replacements from injuries suffered during World War 2, he rode with such skill and joy it was amazing to see.

Our class went to see him ride one day as he did a dressage routine on his horse, Badger, set to music. He was beaming from ear to ear.

That was how I saw what the passion of riding could do for a person. We were also doing saddle work during our classes, and I was hooked.

How long have you been working with riders?

I moved back to Virginia and opened my practice in 2003.

I worked with all kinds of students and enjoyed it, but I found I kept attracting riders, who became my favorite clients.

When my husband and I recently moved to Oregon, I dedicated my new practice to equestrians.

What about fun?

Emily and BradI love reading biographies, thrillers and the New Yorker (I read the cartoons first).

My other passion in is designing and sewing clothes, and combing thrift stores for fabulous “new to me” stuff.

I also love cooking with my husband, Brad, biking on Portland’s Springwater Trail, and hanging out with our cat, Petunia.