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Have you noticed mindfulness is all the rage right now?
If you are not familiar with the concept here is Wikipedia’s definition “Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment.”
That may sound a bit obvious but we live in such a go-go world. We rush around as if we are skimming over the surface of life. A mindfulness practice will change all of that.
Some people cultivate mindfulness through meditation and bring their attention to the breath or a repeated word or mantra.
Alexander Technique practitioners practice by paying attention to ourselves. We pay attention to how we move, react, and think. This attention to self is a mindfulness practice.
In fact, it has been said that the Alexander Technique is Mindfulness in Activity!
So why would we practice mindfulness?
Well, it has been scientifically proven to reduce anxiety and depression.
Mindfulness also increases immune function, improves higher brain function, lowers the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases one’s awareness, increases clarity in thinking, and cultivates feelings of calm and peace.
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
And guess what – no side effects!
But it is the way in which mindfulness brings about a deepening and a more meaningful existence that really inspires me. There is no doubt in my mind that practicing the Alexander Technique has completely changed my life. You can read about my first experience in this blog post.
Here are 3 very effective ways to bring mindfulness into your life. These are simple but profound. Do not underestimate their simplicity. Simplicity can ensure profound change. Simplicity is good.
- Stop! Really, really stop. Stop and pay attention to your senses. Notice what you see. Notice what you hear. Notice what you smell. Notice what you touch. Notice what you taste. Paying attention to your senses is a most effective way for you to slow down and take in your environment, live in the moment and bring about mindfulness.
- Exhale and wait to breathe. We Alexander Technique folk approach breathing very differently than other practices such as yoga or meditation. Instead of starting with a deep breath, first, exhale whatever air is in your lungs and wait. Wait until you feel a little tug in your diaphragm area at which point you allow the air to come in through your nose. You repeat the process several more times. You are not trying to hold your breath but rather are waiting to feel the need to breathe again. Here is a video I made about breathing.
- Practice the AT Lie Down. Lie down with your head on some books 2-3X’s a day for 15-20 minutes. Not only will this practice do wonders for your aching neck and back it will make you feel more at ease and connected with the world. Here is a short instructional video I made about the AT Lie Down.
So you have learned 3 very simple ways to improve your life.
My name is Mary Derbyshire. I am a movement and fitness coach and an Alexander Technique teacher and have been in practice for over 20 years. I teach people how to move better. HOW you move is at least as important as moving more. You can work with me in many different ways. You can sign up for my blogs when you enter your information in the 7 Ways to Turn Back the Clock. In my FREE video course Sitting for Success, you will learn how to sit better with improved posture and less pain. Click here for the FREE video course. I have also created a mini-course that addresses back and neck pain called 5 Ways to Heal Back Pain you can get that here. I have also written an Amazon bestseller Agility at Any Age: Discover the Secret to Balance, Mobility, and Confidence. The book is interactive with 40 videos that help you learn how to move better. You can access the videos with a free app called QR code reader or if you buy a Kindle version you can access the videos on an iPad or computer. You can purchase the book from Amazon here.
Let me know how you get on! I love hearing from my readers!