Mark Vasak, M.OT, B.Mus, CANSTAT certified teacher of the Alexander Technique.
Mark provides private Alexander Technique Instruction, workshops, and teaches the Alexander Technique on faculty in the Capilano University Theatre Department in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
- Instructor on faculty in the Capilano University Acting for Stage and Screen Program
- International representative for Alexander Technique Affiliated Societies 2016-17
- Co-Director of the Canadian Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique
- Master of Occupational Therapy from the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine
- Bachelor of Music: Numerous performances in the Vancouver International Jazz Festival
Institutions and Programs Mark has Taught at Include:
Many of my friends know me as the guy who injured his arm, disappeared for a few years, then reappeared having overcome his injury with the side effect of 'amazing' posture. In reality, my injury was the start of a journey to develop a deep understanding of how movement, posture and ways of engaging in the world relate to health and performance.
For the past 15 years I’ve explored the Alexander Technique and its related science to learn how to use it myself and share it with others. I’m a relentless self-experimenter and my own learning, coupled with the work and guidance of many others, drives an ongoing process to learn, teach, and share even more.
I'm passionate about teaching others to use the Alexander Technique and it's related ideas to enhance their lives and fully express what they're capable of. Sometimes this means first getting out of pain, and other times it's about enhancing performance. In all cases, it's about taking real, motivated action towards becoming the best version of yourself; all through the unique lens of self-awareness, thinking, posture, and movement.
MY ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE STORY
Over a decade ago I developed a chronic arm injury from practicing guitar during my music undergraduate degree. For three years I tried to address my problem through both conventional medical treatment and alternative approaches. Although I received some short-term relief, I found that when I went to play my guitar, my pain returned. As time passed, my symptoms became chronic in nature, affecting even my most basic activities such as using my arm when washing my hair. After three years of failed attempts to find a solution, and with pain now spreading throughout my shoulder and back, I finally gave up my dream of pursing a Bachelor of Music on guitar and hit a low point in my life.
Later that year I had the realization that regardless of playing guitar, if things didn’t change I would continue to experience a life limited by my symptoms. I decided that there had to be help or tools I had overlooked; more that I could do to help myself. For me, that decision began a journey of that included learning the Alexander Technique.
Steadily and with the guidance of my teacher, I gradually became aware of how I was contributing to my own issues; how my own movements, postures, and reactions were perpetuating my symptoms. As my skill in applying the Alexander Technique developed I learned how to change these for the better and re-learned to engage in life and music without the onset of my symptoms. I returned to finish my Bachelor of Music and went on to work as a professional guitarist.
Because I had experienced tremendous benefits from applying the Alexander Technique to my professional and daily life, and the continued personal development I saw in my own health and performance, I began to learn everything I could about the science of the Alexander Technique with the aim of one day being able to contribute some of its ideas to the bigger scope of science and healthcare. I put my music career largely on hold and entered the second stage of my journey.
I took a distinctly cross-discipline approach, training for three years as a teacher of the Alexander Technique and studying biomedical physiology and kinesiology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC. I got involved with a neuroscience lab where I explored how the brain organizes, creates, and learns movement and was tempted to continue on with research in the neurosciences, but was dissatisfied with the delay between cutting edge research and its practical application to improve people's lives. To address this, I re-directed my efforts and obtained a Master of Occupational Therapy from the University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine. I graduated with two awards, the first in research and the second for the highest academic standing in the program.
Today, I teach the Alexander Technique both privately and on faculty in the Capilano University Theatre Department. I further work in Occupational Therapy, and continue to create music professionally. I’m inspired as ever to help others learn to use the Alexander Technique to enhance their own lives, and to further understanding of all things movement, posture, and performance related.