About Mark

Mark Vasak Web Resolution-Circle 1.png
  • Master of Occupational Therapy from the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, 2014

  • Adjunct Professor in the Acting for Stage and Screen Program (ASAS), Theatre Department Capilano University, 2016-Present

  • Executive Co-Director of Alexander Technique Canada, 2015-2018

  • Canadian representative for the International Alexander Technique Affiliated Societies, 2015-18

My Alexander Story

Many of my friends know me as the guy who had an arm injury, 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 deeply explore how movement, posture and the ways we embody ourselves in action relate to our health and performance.

Over a decade ago I developed a chronic arm injury during my music degree. For three years I tried to address my problem through both conventional medical treatment and alternative approaches with limited success.  Although I received some short-term relief, each time I went to play my instrument my pain would return.

Overtime, my symptoms spread throughout my shoulder and back and began to limit my most basic movements and activities such as using my arm to wash my hair.  I realized that regardless of playing my instrument, if things didn’t change I would continue to experience a life limited by these symptoms. I decided that there had to be help or tools I had overlooked; more that I could do to help myself.  For me, this decision began my personal Alexander Technique journey.

Steadily and with the guidance of my teacher, I became aware of how I was limiting myself; 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 how I used myself 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 practicing the Alexander Technique in my professional and daily life, and the continued personal growth 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 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 became 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 as faculty in the Capilano University Theatre Department. I continue to create music professionally and to work in Occupational Therapy.  I’m continually inspired to learn all things movement, posture, and performance related; to guide others to use the Alexander Technique to re-discover their own health, well-being, and performance.

Select Universities and Programs I've Taught In