Alexander Technique and the Power of Pausing
The ability to take a moment to pause before we start any activity, or before we react to any situation that presents itself, is very powerful. If we can learn to pause (just for a split second – not even noticeable to anyone else) we then have a moment of choice. We’re not just acting or reacting automatically – in our habitual way. Instead we can act consciously and intentionally.
This ability is probably the most important thing we learn in the Alexander Technique – and is a principle at the very heart of why the Alexander Technique works! If we do not learn to pause mentally we will miss the opportunity to choose the way we want to act and be stuck in our habitual way of doing things. We’ll lose that moment of possibility for change.
The idea of pausing is not new to most people. In fact it comes through in our language – look before you leap and think before you speak are two sayings that come to mind immediately. However, for me the Alexander Technique takes this to a whole other level. We learn to use this pause to help us identify and change the subtlest habits of tension and posture that infiltrate the way we move and react throughout our day.
A pause is powerful because it gives us the opportunity to:
- be present to ourselves right now, rather than jumping ahead
- assess the situation and different options on how to proceed
- make a reasoned choice of how we react
- act with intention rather than on automatic pilot
What if you pause right now while you’re reading this blog? Take a moment and notice your feet on the floor, notice the contact you have with the chair you’re sitting on, become aware of your breath flowing in and out of your body, and look around at the space around you. On just this simple level, did just stopping for a moment and being aware of yourself in this present moment change anything at all?
Do you have times in your life where you’ve been able to successfully pause and rethink how you want to react for the better? Can you think of specific triggers that cause you to react in a way you’d like to change? Would a moment to pause be useful?
Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.
There have been so many times when I have looked back and wished that I had done as you suggest here and Paused! Sometimes I speak too quickly and then realize that if I had taken the time to think a bit before speaking I would have said something differently. So this is a great reminder and a valuable technique for approaching life in general! I should probably print out the word Pause on a piece of paper and hang it on my wall as a daily reminder until it comes more naturally!
Glad you like the post, Donna. Learning to pause more often is really the key to being able to change our behaviors and responses. Print out the word “Pause” – great idea!
I love this. So many times, even just today, I should have paused before speaking. Great idea to print out the work Pause as a reminder. Great blog!
Thanks, Melinda – I’m glad you liked it!
Congratulations Imogen on your first blog post of this blog! And a very nice post it is. I know very little about the Alexander Technique but I am aware of the technique of pausing (mainly because that is something I don’t do enough of!). I agree that it is something that more people should do consciously- especially with speaking. I am interested in learning more about how pausing is used in the Alexander Tech. and hope you will blog about that.
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Thanks for your comments. I will definitely be posting more about this specifically and many other aspects and applications of the Alexander Technique.
That’s an ingenious way of thinking about it.
Tip top stuff. I’ll expect more now.
Woo hoo! So proud of you! And I have learned, through Alexander Technique to pause before speaking engagements and at networking groups – also to pause for a moment if I start talking too fast or start getting very nervous. It’s a simple yet very effective tool
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Thanks, Louise! You are quite right – this is so simple and effective – and yet not always easy! However, the more we practice pausing, the more it becomes available to us in those more stressful situations.
What a wonderful beginning to your blog. I’ll be looking forward to future posts. But right now I’m pausing to enjoy this moment. And BTW, I’m giving this post two “paws” up! 🙂
Glad you like it! Love the two “paws” up 🙂
Excellent point Imogene! I agree 100% that the ability to pause is the most important skill learned through the Alexander Technique. I know of no more effective way to learn this vital ability!
Absolutely, Dawn! Thanks for the feedback.
Wonderful blog Imogen! I have learned so many useful techniques from coming to you for Alexander Technique lessons. Thanks for remiding me to be mindful when going about my day, to pause and breathe. Will remember when doing cooking classes.
Theresa – I’m so glad you found my blog! Remembering to pause and be mindful of ourselves in the midst of our daily activities is the key to change. Looking forward to your class tonight 🙂
Hi Imogen–rec’d this link via Robert Rickover [thx Robert!]. A 1st blog!! Congratulations. I’m not there yet…. I’ve been teaching AlexTech for over 20 years & have found the ‘PAUSE Button’ concept to be the most easily experienced & integrated concept for my clients. One year, a client in an ongoing group, found flannel cloth with paws on it and made ‘Paws Buttons’ for everyone in the group. Flannel paws fabric w/ a silver button w/ a paw on it. Fantastic and fun reminder to PAUSE. I’ve shared my own Paws Button with clients facing an important interview, audition, or going on a family visit. Thx for this posting & happy to meet you.
Lynn – glad to “meet” you too! I love your story of the “Paws Button” – thanks so much for sharing.
Thanks for this great blog. I am a Nia Teacher in Samoa. The pause button blog reminds me of the state of RAW, Relaxed – Alert – Waiting. Such an amazing tool for all things, even during dance class. I am inspired to use this as my focus of this week’s class. Also shall share on my Nia page. Looking forward to the next blog!
Cheryl, I’m glad you enjoyed the blog. I’ll have to remember RAW – Relaxed – Alert – Waiting – very nice! I believe Nia pulls from the Alexander Technique as well as other modalities, so not surprising there’s a nice correlation. Thanks for sharing on your page.
This just may keep me out of trouble–I often speak before thinking! Thanks!
Yes – pausing is great! It’s remembering to pause that’s not so easy. Practicing helps it become more natural.
This is a great blog Imogene! Thank you so much 🙂
I think that throughout my life I have incorporated the power of pause, or maybe it was a subconscious part of me? I know that in many, many instances I do pause to “think before I speak” or “look before I leap”, but it’s automatic, I don’t specifically focus on it. Perhaps as a teenager I didn’t, though! But it’s been a life lesson.
I’m really looking forward to learning more about the Alexander Technique in your future blogs, and of enjoying what you are sharing with us!
Congratulations on a wonderful start in the blog world 🙂
Great that you are incorporating pausing in areas of your life already. It is really a great tool. Thanks for commenting 🙂
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