Tip: Paying Attention

In learning to use yourself better, ie, how to improve postural support, breathing and movement, paying some attention to how you do what you do is inescapable. How to pay attention? How do we remember to remember? The first thing is a decision that it is worthwhile doing so! Often pain triggers this decision. Pain is a reminder to pay attention to how you are doing what you are doing. And fundamentally, whatever you are doing, postural support, breathing and movement are always part of it! It’s easier and less uncomfortable to pay yourself some attention and not be in pain, than not to pay attention and end up in pain. I am, of course talking about attention informed by the sort of sensory-motor information which you get through Alexander lessons.

Once we have made that decision, which is a sort of commitment to oneself, we may need to find triggers, e.g. transport, whatever form it takes. You can use every time you get in the car, or when you walk, or ride your bike, as an opportunity to include yourself, as well as your environment, in your attention. Regular activities like eating a meal, brushing your teeth, exercising, putting on makeup, or shaving present another opportunity where you have plenty of “processing power” available to pay attention to you self and your manner of doing whatever it is. As you train yourself to approach a trigger activity with an attitude of attention, then attention gradually becomes easier and you can extend it further. Initially it requires a lot of thought, and gradually it becomes easier to continue to be present with yourself in the act of doing other stuff as well. You are working on the way you are using yourself; postural support, breathing and movement are the basis of every activity.

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