3 Good Reasons Not to Concentrate – Losing Touch with Yourself

In my last article, I wrote about “stretching your attention muscles” instead of “focusing.” Here’s another reason why not to concentrate and what to do instead.

When you try hard, you lose touch with your self

Working with a massage therapist who came for Alexander Technique lessons, we arrived at the root of the pain and fatigue that was beginning to interfere with his livelihood. He was trying so hard to do what he assumed was expected by his clients that he was hurting himself with his efforts to “do it right”. And he focused all of his attention on his clients, only later noticing the consequences of what he was doing to himself.

Naturally, he wants to provide a good service, and many of his clients come for the hard massage he gives. But by not focusing exclusively on the goal of a “proper” massage and broadening his awareness to include himself, his work became easier and enjoyable again. He learned to coordinate himself in a way that he could apply force without damaging his own body. He’s busier than ever now, without the pain and more able to use his energy effectively.

When we put all our attention on our goal, not only do we interfere with our innate coordination, as I wrote in my last article, we forget about how we are treating ourselves, and we tend to pay for that later with sore joints and muscles.

However, if we are curious rather than furiously concentrated, we begin to notice more. We begin to notice what we are doing with our own selves. When we realize that, we realize that change can happen, that we can stop making ourselves hurt.

As you practice the Alexander Technique, paying attention to your self – and giving your self permission to “not do” unnecessary effort – becomes second nature. Curiously checking in with your self to discover how you are using your self becomes part of how you go about your activity. And the great thing is, you can’t get it wrong! There’s nothing to get wrong. You’re just noticing. And when you notice something “wrong,” that’s when you’re headed in the “right” direction.

The next time you are trying hard to do something or to get something right, see if you can notice something about your self. Invite your self to pause and wonder what’s going on in your neck. Are you making a “this-is-hard” face? Does it help you to do what you want to do? Can you notice something about your surroundings as well as what you are focusing on? What changes? Try narrowing your focus and then let it open up to include your self as well as the sounds and sights around you. Which way makes it easier to move? Which way helps you think more clearly?

I’m curious to know what you find! Write me and tell me about your experiment of concentrating vs expanding your attention.

Stay tuned for the next two reasons why not to concentrate and what to do instead! See summer class information below, including the 6-week class in Missoula starting 7/9 and a donation-based class in Charlo. Don’t miss out!

Wishing you a fantastic summer!

Paying attention to your self becomes second nature when you practice the Alexander Technique!

DiscoverEase in Movement with Alexander Technique – Classes

6-week class
Mondays at 10:30 7/9 – 8/13 at The Learning Center at Red Willow in Missoula
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DiscoverEase in Walking in Helena
July 16 3:00-5:00 at The Lotus Helena


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Online lessons
Schedule an online class in the comfort of your home or business.
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Weekly Charlo Class
Thursdays at 10:30 at DiscoverEase in Movement studio in Charlo
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Mindful Music Making for Comfort, Health, Performance and Being More You!
July 15 4-6:30 at MMC in Helena
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Private lessons
At the DiscoverEase in Movement studio in Charlo, and in Missoula and Helena through the summer.
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DiscoverEase in Movement in Helena
July 14 2-4:30 at The Lotus Helena. 
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Alexander Technique for Singers
July 15 7-8:30 at Music Makers Conservatory in Helena
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Postural health in the workplace
Arrange posture and movement coaching at your company to keep your team healthy.
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Tips and Articles

To learn more, suscribe to my mailing list or read past articles, like “How to Help Yourself Get Out of Pain Part 1” and “Part 2” or “3 Steps to Stop Contributing to Your Own Pain.”

If you want to discover how you can learn to recognize and change your habitual patterns of tension, write me at info@discoverease.how to schedule a private lesson or to sign up for a group class. Or forward this email to have Alexander Technique posture and movement coaching at work to protect yourself from occupational musculoskeletal injury.

You can also join the Facebook group “Mind-body freedom and balance with Alexander Technique with Mari Hodges” to read tips and ask questions.

If you have questions or a subject you’d like me to write about, please let me know! Write me at info@discoverease.how or post in the Facebook group. I’d love to hear from you!

DiscoverEASE in Movement, whether you’re sitting, standing, walking, running, playing an instrument or working!

At DiscoverEase in Movement, I help people get “unstuck” and literally recover a spring in their step by releasing unconscious tension that gets in the way of free and easy movement.

I work with musicians, runners, walkers, massage therapists, healthcare professionals, people who meditate, dancers, people who work with computers, people in pain, people who want to get out and move more, people recovering from injury, people confined to a wheelchair, people who are curious …. and I find patterns of tension built up in daily life that interfere with what they want to do. I help them to recognize and release unneeded effort, be more mindful about how they use their body, and allow natural, inner coordination for greater freedom, ease and joy of movement and uprightness. For a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life!

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Join the Facebook group where you can ask questions!

I am certified by the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique, and I’m also certified as an Art of Running instructor, applying the Alexander Technique to running. I’m an active member of the American Society for the Alexander Technique and the Asociación Argentina de Técnica Alexander, and I continue my education all the time in the Alexander Technique, neuroscience, pain prevention studies, movement, non-violent communication, violin and more.

The Alexander Technique training includes self-work to incorporate the principles of the Technique and practical work with others.My training enables me to analyze movement and help others optimize their coordination. Taking the time to incorporate the Technique in a three-year, 1,600-hour training course means that when I work with someone, it’s not just manipulating the body of a person who’s passively receiving; we’re working together to discover ease in place of unneeded effort.

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Thank you for reading! I hope you have found this newsletter helpful. Please feel free to forward it to friends or colleagues who might be interested.

Contact me at:
Mari Hodges, M.AmSAT, AATA

DiscoverEASE in Movement with Alexander Technique
The Art of Running

Mobile phone: (406) 544-4625