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March 27, 2024

Letting go of pain is EASY!

But…how?!?

Your body hurts when you play, but you’re not quite sure what to do about it. 🤔 Your friends say… “Stretch! Doctor! Chiropractor! Massage! Acupuncture! Pain killers! Ice! Or… Get thee to a surgeon like I did!”

So much advice, and so much uncertainty! So, who should you listen to??

👉 YOURSELF.

When something hurts, your body is giving your brain very important information, and it’s time to listen deeply to what it’s trying to tell you.

When I did my three years of intensive training to become a certified Alexander Technique teacher in 2007, we heard this quote from F.M. Alexander over and over again: “Pain is your friend,” which sounds impossible to believe at first.

💡 And yet, pain truly IS your friend, because it’s simply your body’s way of signaling to you that you need to do something different, and that begins with THINKING differently.

That might sound abstract and unrelated to the discomfort you’re feeling right now down there in your body, but it’s actually the way the mind-body system works.

✨ Your body doesn’t move without getting the go-ahead from your brain. First, there’s a thought, and then there’s a movement, which can cause pain if it goes against your body’s natural design.

✅ Here’s an example:

When you’re performing a difficult piece of music, suddenly you think, “Uh-oh, here comes the hard part… I can NEVER get that high C# in tune…but THIS time I’m going to make sure I nail it…here it comes…here it comes…gotta stretch a little higher this time!!”

While you’re concentrating on that, your body prepares to make that stretching motion with your fourth finger, focusing hard on achieving success this time…but by doing that, your neck, arm, and hand tense up, making it HARDER for your finger to stretch to where it needs to go…

…and you play the C#. But, whether it’s in tune or not, you’ve just stretched your muscles against a contraction, and now your finger hurts. 😰

If a movement is hurting you, you’ve got to address habitual ways you think and move in order to change your experience and prevent further pain. But if you’re like most musicians, you don’t give yourself time to stop to really listen to your body, and it doesn’t occur to you to wonder whether how you’re thinking and moving might be causing or perpetuating your pain.

Instead, you blame yourself and your body 😡, and you try to get rid of your pain without addressing your thoughts at all (let alone your emotions, which are a big part of the pain-soup, too!).

You react to the pain in the same way you’ve always done – by trying to DO something about it to make it go away as quickly as possible.

👉 But trying to fix your problem by reacting this way hasn’t exactly worked for you, has it? How many days, weeks, months (or years!) have you been trying to solve your physical discomfort by reacting and DOING something in the hopes of getting rid of it?

When you’re in pain, it really feels like you HAVE to do something about it, but the truth is, you don’t. At least, not in the way you usually do. This might sound completely wrong and counter-intuitive and impossible…

But… what if you did NOTHING at all when you first notice the pain…? 🧘‍♀️

…and instead…

…pause to listen to your body…

…and get curious…

…about whether there’s any part of your body that’s experiencing a bit LESS pain? 😌

🌻 What if you could shift your attention with curiosity, and start wondering about Ease in your body instead of focusing on your pain?

This is the very first skill I teach as part of my Art of Freedom® Method when I’m helping musicians out of the pain cycle that keeps them from fully enjoying their music.

⭐ Because if you really want to get to the root of physical discomfort and learn how to PREVENT future pain, you absolutely MUST get a better understanding of how your thoughts, attitude, and emotions contribute to the cycle and keep you stuck in perpetual pain-mode.

Anything else, from self-massages to surgery (and thank goodness for things that feel good, and for doctors and surgeries when they’re truly necessary!), will truly just feed into your habit of REACTING and making externalized movements to DO something in order fix it. 😩

Thankfully, Alexander also said, “You can change the habits of a lifetime, if you use your brains,” and I have found that to be 100% true for myself and hundreds of musicians I’ve worked with.

(By the way, all of this applies to non-physical, emotional pain like anxiety or depression, too.)

It is incredibly simple and EASY to let go of lifelong habits that produce and prolong pain, once you understand the mechanism and how to think in a way that releases tension and eases pain.

In my coaching programs, I teach you how to take charge of your mind and how to interrupt the pain cycle so you can start experiencing a bit more ease in your body – literally within minutes of first working together.

So, how does this work?

In my six-month private coaching program, I take you step by step from learning how to move with more mindful awareness and ease without your instrument, to being able to practice the most challenging techniques and musical passages on your instrument, with conscious awareness and effortless ease.

This is not based on magical thinking – it’s based on how the brain and body are wired together for natural, well-coordinated movement. We are designed to function well, but our habitual ways of concentrating and over-thinking tend to create unconscious tension that keeps getting in the way, and which eventually cause physical and/or emotional pain.

💎 In my coaching program, you’ll be learning how to integrate the Five Pillars of my Art of Freedom® Method for conscious living and masterful artistry: Purpose, Mind, Body, Spirit, and Artistry, and how giving these aspects of yourself their full respect and attention will allow you to bring more consciousness and joy to every moment of your life.

The program takes you step-by-step through a series of powerfully simple, short Awareness Etudes developed by the creator of Primal Alexander (hands-free Alexander Technique), Mio Morales, which is the practical foundation that guarantees your success.

✔️ The first step in breaking this cycle is to learn how to differentiate between relative tension and ease in your body. Surprisingly, this is NOT something people automatically able to do, but just about everyone who is open to learning can quickly learn to do this.

✔️ Once you know how to do that, you need to develop the skill of shifting your attention away from the tension, pain and discomfort and get curious about where in your body you’re feeling just a little bit less uncomfortable… until you can begin to notice places in your body that are relaxed, quiet, and just fine.

✔️ What you focus on, you get more of. Therefore, learning how to recognize the results from how you tend to think and what you tend to focus on, you’ll gradually choose to explore what happens when you get curious about calm and ease in your body, so you can have more of that experience.
Soon, you’ll be experiencing more and more of that ease, and you’ll know exactly what to do to repeat and enhance that experience.

📅 By developing a consistent daily practice of these little mindful movement studies, you’ll get more conscious control over your thoughts so that you can direct your mind to give you more of a sense of ease. You’ll become more sensitive to what’s working for you and what’s not, so you can consciously choose more of what works.

After about a month of study, you’ll be able to do very simple movements with effortless ease away from your instrument, at which point you’ll be ready to learn how to apply this effortless ease to the way you approach, lift, place and play your instrument.

🪁 This process is simple, joyous, and enlightening for musicians at any stage of their musical journey, as I’ve taught all kinds of musicians, from amateur beginner to Juilliard faculty. Most people are amazed to discover how a slight shift in their attention can change their experience from heavy, down, and frustrating to light, free, and awesome, and how their state of being utterly transforms the quality of their music-making.

Over the next months, you’ll learn more and more ways to break through physical and mindset barriers to success, you’ll build your confidence, overcome performance anxiety, and start feeling better and better about your playing as your sound improves and your technical facility takes off, and you make much faster progress than ever, with much less effort!

You’ll learn a new way to respond to your pain and heal – not just your body, but your whole self, while learning how to vastly improve your music-making in the process, with this powerful three-pronged approach:

❤️‍🔥 Private Coaching Sessions, including a special VIP Strategy Session to look at your overall life goals, purpose, and direction

📚 Three Self-Study Courses, teaching the principles of The Art of Freedom® Method and the Alexander Technique to create positive new habits and improve your mind-body skills applied to how you practice and perform.

👥 PLUS – TOTALLY OPTIONAL: Live Group Classes & Supportive Community, where can interact with an amazing community and learn along with other musicians working on the same things you are.

This is an incredibly powerful program that is guaranteed to help you feel better in body, mind, and spirit, while greatly enhancing your ability to practice well and thoroughly enjoy your best performances with reliable consistency and more and more joy and ease.

If you want to learn exactly how to take charge of your own mind and body so you can feel better and enjoy your music again sooner, message me to let me know more about your situation and how you think my program can help you. Let me know what you’re most interested in learning. I look forward to hearing from you and discussing more about how we can work together soon!

With Love & Enthusiasm,

Jennifer

p.s. Want a preview of what’s possible? Come to my upcoming workshop: “3 Keys to Play Your Instrument PAIN-FREE” on April 1st and 2nd! Just let me know if you want me to send you the details and registration link.


Tags

Alexander Technique, Awareness, coaching, mind-body awareness, Pain


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