I feel taller! 🔆 My shoulders feel looser! 🔆. My knee stopped hurting!
My back feels better! 🔆 It's easier to breathe!
These are the types of things that students say during their Alexander Technique lessons.
The Alexander Technique is a practical self-help method for learning to move with more poise, presence, and power. It offers a way to make friends with gravity so that you develop a more balanced, comfortable, supportive posture.
You have a natural support system within you, a system that allows for an upright, expansive, lively presence. Whether you are walking in the woods, washing the dishes, talking with a friend, or playing the violin, you have an inherent ability to move freely, think clearly, and enjoy the moment. Yet, due to learned patterns/unhelpful habits and knowledge gaps, you may unknowingly interfere with your innate freedom, ease, and expressiveness.
Most students initially seek help for physical issues, including improved posture or pain relief (eg.--back pain, shoulder tension, carpal tunnel, or TMJ). Performers, such as actors, musicians, athletes, and professional speakers also study to improve their craft or to relieve performance anxiety. Whatever the initial reason for lessons, students often discover benefits that reach beyond their original expectation. Because of the mind-body connection, physical changes simultaneously create change on other levels--mental, emotional, social, and spiritual.
Lessons invite more awareness and more choice--more choice in how you respond to the stresses of life, more choice in how you move and think, more choice in how you want to be in the world.
The quality of your attention is equal to the quality of your life.--Lilly Sutton
Mindfulness means choosing how you use your attention. It’s a practice for being present without judging, and without getting lost in your thoughts. It’s not about pushing your thoughts away or taking a break from reality—It’s about developing a different relationship to your thoughts and perceptions.
The mindfulness that I teach expands your field of attention so that you are simultaneously present for others, the world around you, and for yourself. It’s an attention that's purposeful and focused, yet also wide and inclusive. For example, in a conversation, you can notice your own thoughts and still attend to the person you're with. You can complete your work at the computer while you also let your breathing be easy
Practicing mindfulness in silence with your eyes closed is valuable, but this practice teaches mindfulness in everyday life—while working at your computer, talking with a friend, or going on a walk.
Mindfulness can help you…
Judging keeps you stuck. Acceptance invites change. --Lilly Sutton
Guided meditation is a powerful tool for de-stressing. Clients have said that helps them feel simultaneously relaxed and energized, light and grounded, calm and alert. It helps you feel better right away and it also has benefits that last beyond the session.
Guided meditation offers a structured practice for building body awareness. Why do we use the phrases, “Be sensible!”, “Come to your senses!”, or “That doesn’t make sense!”? Your bodily senses are a crucial aspect of your intelligence. When you learn the vocabulary of your body, you can use its signals to help you care for yourself on every level. Your dashboard tells you when your car needs gas. Your body language lets you know when it’s time to care for yourself and lower your stress-o-meter.
Guided Meditation can help you...
Your body is a truth detector.--Lilly Sutton
When you enter a relaxed state and suspend your usual thought processes, you are going into a trance, also called a hypnotic state. Trance states occur naturally, like when you’re daydreaming, when you're on a long drive, when you're engrossed in activity, or when you're in love. Meditation can also create an altered state of being that's a kind of trance.
Trance states can be helpful or harmful. When you’re in the shower and a bright idea pops in your head, you’ve been in a beneficial, creative trance. Remembering past traumas, may put you into a negative trance.
I use therapeutic hypnosis to guide you into a beneficial trance, a state in which you can access creative solutions, a state in which you are more resourceful and resilient, a state in which you can release long-held patterns that have held you back. In this positive state you can process understandings on a deep level--a level that may be beyond words and yet leads to new insights, fresh discoveries, and spontaneous solutions.
· Any problem is an invitation to learn. --Lilly Sutton
You have a natural ability to enhance your health through your own thinking--your beliefs, your intentions, and your expectations. It’s known as the placebo effect, and pharmaceutical companies have scientifically proven it many thousands of times. The effect is so well-established that drug trials must factor it out of their results and show that the drug being tested is more effective than the person's belief that the drug may help them. (Often, it's very close.)
Have you heard of the "nocebo effect?" It offers persuasive evidence for the power of your mind. In pharmaceutic trials of potential cancer-fighting drugs, some of the control group subjects (the subjects who do not receive the medication but don’t know if they’re receiving it or not), still suffer the side effects of the medication. In other words, their hair falls out, not from the medication, but just from believing that they might lose their hair.
An acupuncturist friend told me about her patient who received dramatic relief from chronic back pain. He happily reported these good results to his physician, who said, Oh, acupuncture! That's just the placebo effect! The quick-witted patient replied to his doctor, Well, her placebo's better than your placebo!
Some people already have a naturally powerful placebo response and for others the response is not as pronounced. Wouldn't it be to your advantage to boost the placebo effect, to strengthen your own ability for self-healing?
Mind-body healing methods can help with problems ranging from headaches to asthma, immune health to blood pressure, insomnia to inflammation, pain relief to skin conditions. Any condition that is affected by stress can potentially be helped by learning to use the power of your mind.
Have you ever noticed how freely a baby breathes?
Do you often feel like you’re not getting a full breath?
Did you know that your breath is what powers your voice?
Easier, fuller breathing enhances every aspect of who you are--it lessens your stress, balances your nervous system, and relieves overall muscle tension.
Years ago, at the hospital where I worked, I taught the patients deep breathing. It was (and still is) the most well-known technique available. While deep breathing can be of some help, I now teach a more effective breathing method--a method that creates a fuller, easier inhale and a fuller, more satisfying exhale.
Easy Breathing releases the stress response, and it's especially useful for issues like anxiety, asthma, and pain. Singers, athletes, musicians, and public speakers can all improve performance with better breathing. It even helps you to think more clearly and be more productive. Besides that, Easy Breathing feels terrific! After a breathing lesson, clients often describe having an expansive feeling, a sense of spaciousness and connection. One student described it as a "natural high."
You can use Easy Breathing to:
What’s it like when someone truly listens to you?
Can you remember the last time you felt heard and understood?
Would you like to be better at listening to others, and to yourself?
Listening is at the heart of everything I do. I put this photo of Mazzy Grace because dogs are known for listening and Mazzy has especially big, beautiful ears. But listening is more than just hearing words. True listening comes from a deeper place. It requires a willingness to put aside preconceptions and judgments so that you can hear what's underneath the words, receive the person behind the words.
Being heard, seen, and welcomed as you are can be a profoundly healing and even life-changing. Paradoxically, feeling understood, accepted, and safe to be as you are can be a turning point for making the changes that you want for yourself.
The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention.
--Richard Moss, M.D.
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