What Does Concentration Look Like?

Most people think they need to tense to concentrate. You can look at them and see the furrows on their brow and the tightness around their eyes and the hunching of their shoulders and you think they’re trying really hard. Unfortunately, all this effort only make concentration more difficult.

To have a calm clear mind, you need to sit, stand and move in a poised, calm, graceful way. If you’re all locked up in your body and jerky in your movements, you’re less likely to be efficient in your thinking.

That’s why I love Alexander Technique. You get to let go off your needless patterns of compression and tensing and by ridding yourself of this interference, you become buoyant.

Hypnotherapist Igor Ledochowski puts it this way: “You see, most people think that when they need to focus or concentrate, that you tense your whole body. Just ask anyone, what does it look like when you concentrate? What will they do? They tense their forehead, they frown or maybe they even hunch up their body. That creates more tension, and tension is related to stress.”

To achieve peak performance, you need to operate without needless tension yet not relaxed and collapsed. When people relax, they usually let go of needed tension. Their head, which weighs about 15 pounds, collapses onto the torso. The back shortens and narrows. The legs retreat into the torso. People get smaller and more compressed.

That’s no good either. Some body tension is needed to stay upright, to stay tall and poised. Alexander Technique is not primarily about relaxing. It’s about letting go of needless tension and flowing with an upright direction as the back lengthens and widens.

Look at the following videos to see how I’ve changed through Alexander Technique.

Here’s a video from February 2008. Notice all the stress and compression in my face even though I’m goofing off.

August 15, 2008 (after about six Alexander Technique lessons):

December, 2009 (after hundreds of lessons):

And today with Rabbi Rabbs:

The rabbi is a big stimulus. He has strong opinions. Before Alexander Technique, I would’ve reacted to his strong personality by compressing. Now I’m serene.

Without Alexander Technique, we tend to live our lives in a straitjacket. Our every habit pulls the jacket tighter. Every time we sit down or stand up, every time we pick up a sock and bend over to brush our teeth, most of us tend to compress and compact ourselves a little more, so that as we age, we’re pulled tighter and tighter, our shoulders become more rounded, our necks compress, our backs narrow and shorten, our lungs have less room to expand, our internal organs are shoved together, and we become a wreck.

By contrast, Alexander Technique lessons enable us to return to the poise and good use we had as children before we went to school and started sitting in desks and scrunching over our books.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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