ALYSEN STARKO – BOWES Franklin MethodAlysen is a Level 3 Franklin Method Educator, an Franklin Method Equestrian Educator and Franklin Method Faculty.

I started out my movement journey as a dancer. At 20 years old, after dancing for almost all my life, my body was in so much pain because of the way I had been moving and training it that I had to quit dancing. The dance world is all about perfection and looking a certain way or fitting in to a certain mould. You have to force your body into a certain position. Turn your legs out, suck your belly in, pull up, flatten your back, shoulders down, chest up and chin tucked!

Which knowing what I know now, largely goes completely against anatomical function and creates a lot of tension. So it makes sense that the body can only keep this up and going for so long before an injury comes along.

While going through University majoring in psychology, I came across the Pilates method. I found that my body was starting to feel better the more I moved it in a focused and balanced way. Looking back, I think that the biggest reason I was feeling so much better after doing Pilates sessions was the fact that I was actually starting to move my spine. Throughout my dance life and strict ballet training, I was taught to hold and stiffen my torso and back. Now as I was finally moving again it was relieving a lot of my pain.

After University, I decided to move out to Vancouver Canada and take a Pilates teacher training course. I was teaching Pilates for a few months and heard of some workshops that were being taught by Eric Franklin in The Franklin Method. I had read his book “Dynamic Alignment Through imagery” and was intrigued by the anatomical component of the method. After two days of workshops with Eric I was blown away. Blown away by the application of anatomy in this way. Anatomy was taught by way of self experience; experience through imagery (visualization) and movement. The whole point of knowing the anatomy in such detail was in order to give an experience.

After that weekend I decided to go through the full Franklin Method teacher training. After 3 years of training I became a Level 3 Franklin Method Educator.

Throughout those years my body and posture underwent quite a transformation. Unlearning the movement patterns of tension and holding. Looking at how to coordinate my mind along with my body so that they actually work together. A lot of the mental representations of my body that I had in my mind were completely wrong. And if the pictures in your mind don’t go along with what’s actually happening in the body you have a mismatch. Learning what was actually happening in the body drastically changed my movement. It made it easier, more coordinated, more efficient, stronger and more flexible. There was so much more movement and strength to be had just by changing my mind and imagery. It was like my body said to me “Ah, this is what I’ve been waiting for!”.

Learning the Franklin Method has allowed me to actually enjoy the experience of moving and strengthening my body.

Since then, I’ve travelled across North America teaching workshops and classes. Including assisting Eric Franklin teach at Tisch (NYU) and within his Franklin Method teacher trainings.

I genuinely love what I do and love teaching this method. Every time that I teach I am embodying within myself more and more.