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Archive for Back Care

When our back is out of whack, we can use the brain and our conscious attention to release held tension to restore comfort.

A simple differentiation of the spine where we pay attention to the feelings or sensations – along with the quality of a simple targeted movement – can set us up to relieve morning stiffness and ready the back for the day.

Plus, it’s a great way to free things up later on if we feel it’s necessary.

The spine is designed to extend and flex so it’s vital to remind the spine of its capacity so the rest of our body can move more easily.

When things are tight, stiff or off kilter in the middle (the spine), then certain muscles get pulled one way or the other — and this lower brain program can hold us in check.

Listen and follow along to this tuning into the spine and simple intentional movement.

Was it easy for you to feel your spine in the manner described?

If we don’t check in every now and then, the brain is very clever and begins to shut down which is why it might have not been easy for some of you to get a clear picture or set of feelings.

That’s ok.  With a few reminders and a little practice, you are waking up the brain’s command center.

If you did feel a little fidget or jerky quality that is very useful in order to regain control.

If you felt a twinge of pain or discomfort, then it’s time for a tuneup so your back can feel good and in control.

We do that using what is called somatics exercises which are generally done in such a lazy, easy and yet focused manner so that brain’s motor cortex is targeted.

When you get it down pat, the upper brain frees up the lower brain program of keeping things held in check so you can feel comfort and natural flexibility restored.

Simple differentiation to wake up both the brain and body

That easy movement (which may not always be easy if the spine isn’t cooperating) is part of a movement pattern to help wake up the brain’s cerebrospinal fluid so that brain bucket gets a little movement hello.

That Sitting Thing

If you’re in the unfortunate position of having to sit all day long, for instance, at work.

No matter if you do regular exercise, that may not be enough to change the known ill counter effects of sitting for too long.

See, certain muscles are getting programmed to be switched off and the brain will go – ok I’ll turn that department off.

Later in the day you might feel that gnawing sensation creeping in.  

We can get so used to those sensations that we can bury them since we gotta do things in life – until they remind us once again.

Standing up is a simple differentiation which can help

Simply standing up every 20 minutes when you sit, will wake up the muscles so they don’t get used to checking out.

If you have a job where you can’t – like being a driver for instance – then you can mindfully do the easy spinal differentiation movement seated to remind the spine that it can extend and flex.

Otherwise, certain back muscles can go to sleep and begin to be trained to be useless and the brain can start to give us the signal of pain

Good news is. 

Just get up and stand or be aware of how you are sitting and adjust your position consciously.

To further vary that – stand on one leg or walk around for a minute or so. Then you can sit back down.

Differentiate Your Way to Comfort & Freedom



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Even as I type a blog post such as this, I too am mindful of how sitting for too long in the same way can have the brain and body go to sleep even while I am sedentarily active in this manner.

This is why I will vary the sitting position or move mindfully to keep things fluid.

If you’re gonna keep sitting, then at least sit differently or be mindful of how you can shift your spine around.

Maintaining Comfort

All that tension we keep taking on in life, can be remedied with simple mindful movements to disperse, renew and refresh both the brain and body.

Yep, it’s really, really that simple to maintain life long comfort.

By refreshing the spine with your awareness, you can reset your muscles throughout the day, especially when they get amped up with too much tension.

At the same time, you improve the function of the brain by taking a full-brainer of a moment where you tune into movement done with awareness.

Simple differentiation movement classes

Life is movement and movement becomes easier when you can do any number of simple conscious differentiations with the central part of yourself, your spine.

And if you can get enough of these on a daily basis, then sleep becomes easier so you wake up feeling refreshed and not wiped out getting back in the grind of life.

We’d love for you to join us to learn as many simple differentiations as you’d like to remain comfortable for life.

Let me know what you thought of the movement and how your body responded.

Back pain or stiffness is quite common over the age of 40.

So what can us older stiffer duffers do about it?

Tuning into the brain will actually help.

Easy, simple movements where you tune into the quality of movement or the nature of movement itself enhances your brain and body.

Today we know more about the brain and how it can change which means that our brain can change feelings of stiffness or reverse pain.

Rigid tension or harmful stress can be melted so we can feel more pliable, flexible and a return of pleasurable feelings.

Here are 7 tips to help us get the back… back to feeling great.

1. Use it consciously or lose it unconsciously

Many of us take our back for granted since we’ve mostly forgotten about tuning into the spine (unless it’s stiff or aching).

This unconscious behavior happens over time since we aren’t tuning in enough, until there is an issue.

The spine’s ability is enhanced when you give it some attention with your conscious awareness.

Brain conscious connection to spine

All it takes is just noticing whatever activity you are doing for a few movements and hone in on your spine.

Notice how your spine feels when you move around.

If feeling the spine is fuzzy or isn’t clear, simply tune in from the top of the spine to the bottom or vice versa.

This is just sensory information to be aware of and will wakeup the brain and body.

2. Move your spine in a variety of directions

Sounds reasonable, but who is actually thinking it through and then doing it afterwards.

Ways to Move the Spine Consciously

If we keep using the spine the same way day in, day out.  Then we set a program in the brain of what muscles are being used and others which are not.

The brain grows when you give it something different such as tuning into your spine when you move.

You up the level of the connection when mindfully bending, flexing, and twisting in a variety of ways.

3. Being sedentary or sitting too long works against us

You’ve probably heard that sitting for too long is the new smoking.  Well kinda sorta since you can sit comfortably for long periods – if you are aware.

Go team!

Sitting and rounding the spine for too long?

Sitting for long periods can undermine us since we can be unconsciously programming the brain and muscles to certain contractions, tension patterns or pulls of the spine – and before you know it they are held in check.

A key is to vary how you sit.

Plus, get up more often than you think, especially if you feel stiff or tension creeping in.

With back pain, mindful movement and awareness is paramount since this can free us while you cheer to your heart’s delight.

4. Wake-up your spine with gentle mobilizations

Easy, gentle small movements helps to rebuild and maintain the capacity of the spine.

The more gentle you are, the better you can tune into both – the how of how you are moving – and what the feelings in your back provide as feedback.

Certain neurological feedback loops can be targeted to enhance your ability to free up the back.

So let your back warm up easily and gently – and feel as much as you can in terms of how your spine can adjust (or not) before going full bore with the rest of your day.

5. Update the movement software

Our computers and devices can get bogged down if the software isn’t updated.

By paying attention to your feelings and awareness, you can change the structure of the brain through a movement software update

Brain software to change spine

This way you can enhance the memory and the information to the muscles, tendons, joints and fascia – which has many sense receptors .

A conscious movement update can smooth out the kinks and let us remain flexible

This will help maintain the spine’s ability to function when you need it most.

6. Floss your back joints

Your spine is a series of joints where you can take the plaque out of it.

Moving each one of these spinal joints

Feel both sides of the spine and notice if you can feel each segment or notice if there are any blank spots in terms of feeling each segment.

Gentle movements joint by joint (or in each group) from top to bottom and on each side helps to maintain comfortable freedom.

7. Breathe as you move

Consciously play with your breath as you move to add in another level of difference so the brain can enjoy the novelty of different ways to breathe and move.

Breathing and Feeling Movement at the Same Time

Or don’t breathe and feel what happens to your ability to move your spine.

A Comfortable Back

Mindfully paying attention to the little movements you can do helps build and maintain a foundation for overall comfortable, easy, effortless movement.

Getting in tune with the building blocks of movement helps us become more familiar with the nature of movement itself.

It is here to serve you to feel free and in control.

In nature, healthy vertebrate animals have the good sense to program and reprogram via the act of pandiculation.

For the human animal, we’ve made it simple to naturally move easier with a conscious mindful 3 step method where you delve deep into the nature of movement.

So go ahead and explore small, minute adjustments which can make all the difference to keep the back feeling good.

Apr
18

Back Hope TeleSummit

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Back Hope Telesummit

2 weeks of Back Hope

Discover all the many ways we can free ourself from chronic back pain.

Free Back Hope Telesummit.

Over 20+ experts will offer a number of alternatives to relieve and reduce back pain and discomforts.

For 10 consecutive days you can listen and learn about:

The Active Release Technique, the Alexander Technique, Bowen Therapy, CranioSacral Therapy, Emotional Freedom Technique, the Krane Training Method, Longevity, Nutrition, Osteopathy, Orthapedic Sports Medicine, Polarity, QiGong, the Satori Method, Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises, Transformational Energy Therapy Techniques, Theta Healing, Trigger Point Therapy, Yoga and more.

The list of doctors, therapists, authors, healers and experts can be found here.

You’ll be able to use their practical information right away as you listen in on up to 2 calls per day. Each of the calls will be available for a 24 hour period.

Back Hope Telesummit Starts Soon

The Back Hope Telesummit begins on Monday April 29th. See you there.

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    The Cat Stretch is what Thomas Hanna called the daily maintenance somatics exercise program in his book, Somatics.

    The cat stretch is a misnomer even though we often see our furry felines appearing to stretch.

    Cat Stretch is not Stretching

    Cat Stretch - a part of the daily somatics exercisesThe result of a cat stretch could make one more restful.

    When a cat stretches, it is actually tightening or contracting a series of muscles. We’ve come to find out this is called a pandiculation. When we do this entire act, our muscles lengthen and become more relaxed.

    Our clever cat uses its brain’s motor cortex to initiate a movement, which at first glance looks like a stretch. You’ve seen a cat round its back. It’s not stretching the back, it’s pulling the belly in and using the abdominal muscles to pull back.

    Then… it’ll release itself. The abs are reset and ready to be used. Healthy vertebrate animals naturally reset their muscles and movement system periodically throughout the day. No wonder they rest so well. If only we could do the same.

    Cat Stretch – 7 Simple Movements

    Fortunately, some 300 years after we learned about pandiculations. This very act brings muscles to rest. The system of somatics exercises teaches us how to go cortical and re-establish length and comfort in our movement system. Watch the fast version of the cat stretch below.

    Here is what the 7 simple movements of the cat stretch address.

    1. The first movement wakes up the brain, spine and hips.

    2. The second movement helps to release tightness in our front side, such as the abdomen. This will allow the back to further lengthen.

    3. This movement relaxes the muscles of the back, from the neck all the way down to the foot.

    4. The fourth move releases held tension levels in the hips and chest. If we’re locked-in from too much sitting or hard work, this is a go to release.

    5. Most everyone’s favorite movement, this delicious move lengthens the spine, frees up the hips and shoulders… and is enough to purr along.

    6. A 3 part lower body sequence to free up the feet and ankles and connect up to the hips, back and head. This helps to straighten out the legs for better walking and balance in running.

    7. The final movement of the cat stretch addresses the neck, back rotation and hip mobility in a delightful seated manner. You may not need the car mirrors anymore after this.

    Cat Stretch Audio Recording

    Healthy animals do a number of morning resets. We can simply follow along with a morning routine of the cat stretch somatics exercises designed for the human animal. Once you learn the routine, it only takes minutes to remind the muscles of their natural length, while at the same improving the mobility we need for the day.

    Just like a good cat stretch at night, we can drift off and sleep more easily too.

    The Cat Stretch daily maintenance somatics exercises program is now available to download and enjoy in the comfort of your home – meow.

    Oct
    29

    Twist and Shout

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    Twist and ShoutBeing able to twist the spine around is enough to make some of us shout – some in the agony of pain and the rest of us with joy.

    Certainly there are yoga poses where you turn the spine and pull back counter to the twist.

    As one contemplates our breath and associated feelings, some people attempt to achieve greater length by trying to get more.

    Twist and Shout Another Way and Lose the SMA

    In Hanna Somatic Education, we use somatics exercises to engage the brain in order to affect a change of information the muscles receive.

    Somatics exercises are unlike most approaches since we go at things from a brain based perspective where we use mindful movement rather than any static holding positions.

    The brain, the one big muscle, can effectively reset the resting tension levels using a more delicate approach. Much like untying a knot, gently moving our tissues unlocks held tension and stiffness.

    When we push a contracted area, the targeted muscles become shorter. They pull back to the known set levels. They have lost their way to neutral or rest with high tension levels. The term we use is sensory-motor amnesia (sma).

    SMA, muscular stiffness, stress and high tension patterns are temporary yet ongoing phenomenons until we change things with a simple movement update using the brain’s cortex.

    You are a self adjusting living organism and you can adjust the feel and sensitivity levels of your muscles so they remember their way back to neutral when you twist yourself about.

    Birthright to Move Well – Twist and Shout

    When I lived in the near 2 decades of chronic pain, I knew there was a way out. What I didn’t know was how to simply update the body’s movement software.

    Using the brain and adjusting with what appears to be deceptively simple movement, I could live a comfortable life and take out any kinks, stiffness, stress, tension and recover from injury quickly.

    Our birthright is to move well. When we get off track, we can use that space between our ears to get things back online, running smoothly once again. We can twist and shout for joy as often as we want.

    Twist and Shout Class

    The ability to twist our self in one direction and then another can be enhanced through conscious movement rather than arduous exercise or holding our self in position for any length of time.

    If we find ourself sitting too much in a day, we can grow our spine to greater length by doing a few simple easy movements which may seem initially challenging until our brain remembers to inform the muscles to let go.

    Surely they will… and you can twist and shout about it.

    This week, I’ll be offering an online somatics exercise class where all you have to do is listen and follow along. You can join me live or get the replay.

    You’ll learn one amazing somatics exercise pattern to counter what our back keeps encountering… its gradual decline and shortening.

    In a few minutes, you can:

    • feel taller, straighter and longer
    • feel the back relaxing
    • and have greater mobility so movement itself is freer

    C’mon and twist and shout with us.

    Sep
    08

    Back Whisperer

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    Are you a back whisperer? Can you take yourself or someone you know out of a back spasm fairly quickly?

    Need a back whispererToday some 10% of us live in chronic back pain. Ouch! It’s probably not news that the number 2 reason we see a doctor is – for back pain.

    Unless of course you’re a back whisperer.

    While most adults have experienced back pain, some 14% of us will live with it for several days. 26% of us live with back pain for the entire day. That’s just wrong or so I say having had to endure back pains in my 20’s & 30’s.

    The Back Whisperer and Back Spasms

    Recently a client explained how he had helped a boy recover within 10 minutes from some back spasms.

    “I was just at leadership camp and a kid went down with severe spinal spasms. I took a nod from you and moved him from completely rigid and incapacitated to walking around normally in under 10 minutes. Very cool.”

    The kids who witnessed this now call him the back whisperer.

    That is pretty cool since 39% of us live with back pain for a few hours. Are these people their own back whisperer or what is it that most of us do to overcome back pain?

    Half, that’s 50% of the people pop pills. A good 1/4 use over the counter measures while 1/5 use prescriptions.

    For the rest of us that are trying to do something about it, 34% do stretches some other type of exercises. Men outnumber women in terms of the percentages who are doing something.

    Back Whisperer – Men or More Women

    Does this mean women already do something right? Do they have less back pain? Do they know the way of the back whisperer?

    In any case, the back whisperer secret is free for all of us to try. You can join our free mini-course and learn how to do the very maneuvers the back whisperer used on his young charge.

    Hanna Somatic Educators know how fast back spams can resolve by carefully moving in simple, easy movement patterns when coupled with our awareness. By being aware of our movements, we resolve many holding tension patters and as a result, your body may say thank you.

    Be Your Own Back Whisperer

    No need for pain meds, no special equipment, and no arduous exercise involved. The secret of the back whisperer is awareness.

    Instead of being yet another statistic, why not find out for yourself if you can be a back whisperer too.

    Categories : Back Care, Muscle Spasms
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    Jul
    08

    Kids Stuff For Adults

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    Healthy adults can do kids stuff to remind our muscles how comfortable they can feel once again and again.

    Pandiculation is kids stuff

    Kids StuffMost of us began to pandiculate in the 7th week of our life. If we’re a healthy adult, we continue this very natural act to reset our muscles and movement system. This gives us comfortable movement.

    If not, we can remind our nervous system of its former ability and bring it back to consciousness. This ability reminds us of our feelings of well-being.

    The kids stuff we used to do fortunately has been systematized as somatics exercises which are gentle, easy reminders to self-adjust our muscles back to the comfort zone.

    Kids stuff reboots our movement software

    The systematic somatics exercises allows us to explore our internal terrain in novel ways which fosters the development of our brain’s motor cortex as well as re-eliciting our capacity in our sensory cortex to sense ourself at finer levels.

    For instance, the simple act of breathing can be opened up merely by pandiculating ourself to improved health.

    This type of kids stuff is relevant at all ages… and this type of kids stuff reboots our movement software towards better breathing and more comfort in our movement system.

    Stiffness or stiff movements are learned over a lifetime and are replicated as a habit. Can we dissolve what seems like chronic or acute stiffness… you betcha we can. Remind ourself of the former kids stuff we used to do and we can feel the stiffness let go in our back, shoulders, and neck for example.

    A healthy vertebrate animal moves with ease, grace, suppleness and in harmony since its movement system is coordinated and not bound up, down, sideways or held twisted.

    Can we free ourself back to more harmonious states? Could some simple easy kids stuff be the ticket?

    Paying attention to our internal state while we are moving allows us to recalibrate. Our body knows the way back to reset ourself to comfortable states. It’s simply a matter of kids stuff when you get right down to it.

    In our earlier kids stuff moments we were highly engaged in a learning matter. Now, we can rekindle this relationship of movement, let go of it artfully, then we remember how we re-navigate our internal terrain towards ease in moving around.

    Sometimes we can experience a flash from the past, we can bump into past difficulties and yet smooth things out. In any case, we are re-establishing a finer way to move and self-adjust our entire movement system.

    The quality of a movement rather than the strength or force of a movement is what sets us free. The precision in which we can be aware of our internal arrangements is a path to greater ease and freeing up our muscles to regain mobility while restoring natural flexibility.

    When we reacquaint ourself with the method or process of natural reorganization, we might keep doing this kids stuff for the rest of our comfortable life.

    Kids Stuff Class for Adults

    When we’re injured it might feel as if we’re beginning from scratch to move around. All the bracing, holding on and tensing may seem normal yet when we let go of our holding patterns more quickly, we reboot as we did as children.

    You can join me for an online kids stuff somatics exercise class. All you have to do is listen and follow along to remind yourself of how easy, simple movements can unlock tight, stiff, holding patterns. The brain will take care of it in seconds.

    You’ll get to free up the back, shoulders, neck and hips in our one hour+ kids stuff class where you can join us live or get the replay.

    Nov
    13

    Back Pain Relief

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    Back Pain Relief 24/7 – Better than a Hot Tub

    Better than a Hot TubWhy live with back pain when we can do something by our self to get the back pain relief we need, when we need it.

    Simple, easy gentle movements change the brain. By changing the brain, we can directly change the comfort levels of our back muscles which many of us have experienced with great displeasure.

    The constant, gnawing, seizing signals I lived with in my 20’s and 30’s didn’t give me any moments of significant back pain relief, it was just grief.

     

    Watch the Video Below

    “Learn to live it” was the motto I heard and bought into.

    Whadya gonna do about back pain relief?

    Like many people I tried a number of approaches… the hot tub “was” one of my favorites.

    The heating pad, those ice packets and tens units didn’t get the job done. Nor did the pain meds either.

    Well, what did I know. I had no idea I could use the brain to change those discomforting signals to finally feel the back pain relief I thought I deserved while having fibromyalgia to contend with.

    Those recalcitrant and tight back muscles didn’t wanna seem to budge other than remaining taught with tension.

    All the lathering of tiger balm, icy hot and other gels while soothing couldn’t shake the beast of living with chronic tightness.

    Heck, even the stretching routines I had learned… would not solve the riddle. But what did I know. I had no idea that stretching was compounding the problem as today’s research points the fallacy of this method. Who knew the back pain relief I truly wanted was not to come by stretching.

    Back Pain Relief Class

    Shifting our internal state of discomfort can be remedied when use the brain’s ability to reset the resting levels of our muscles so we can truly feel the back pain relief we think is possible.

    This is well within our natural ability. It’s a matter of getting back on track through a learning process which somatics exercises are the avenue for.

    A systematic approach of un-doing muscular tension and un-locking tigthness, inflexibility and the rigiidty our back muscles have accumulated shifts with simple, easy movement done with a particular kind of awareness.

    To experience this simplicity, you can join us for our online back pain relief class where you’ll learn 35 movements to free up both the lower back and the upper back.

    Your brain is better and more effective than a hot tub. These natural sets of tools are available 24/7 for back pain relief.


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      Oct
      23

      Hamstrung by Hamstring Exercises

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      Have you been hamstrung and tried all sorts of hamstring exercises lately?

      Hamstring Exercises

      Those muscles behind the back of the legs can be tight and stiff in spite of our attempts to loosen them by stretching.

      Is it possible to release other muscles associated in a causal chain of movement which will allow the hamstrings to be more comfortable?

      Somatics hamstring exercises focus on the brain’s ability to release chemicals of relaxation so the hammies are free to move about without all the stiffness or tightness we carry around with us.

      Hamstring exercises and a tight back

      Many times, a stiff back is what prevents hamstring exercises from being effective. You can actually tighten things without realizing it, if you push contracted muscles beyond their set limits.

      Freeing up the back is often necessary for the hamstrings to function more effectively.

      Not only that, we may need to free up the shoulders, which if left too contracted, can have adverse effects all the way down to those screaming hammies. Ouch!

      Somatics hamstring exercises class

      Instead of the usual hamstring exercises and approaches, somatics exercises work with the brain’s cortex to release held muscular contraction levels which frees up the hamstrings.

      Having a more flexible back, looser shoulders, more functional abdominal muscles and a freer neck allows the hamstring to work in concert with certain patterns of movements.

      Hamstring exercises while all well and good, may not provide the necessary connection towards freer movement overall.

      Join us  for our unique set of movements and hamstrings exercises which can surprise you in their effectiveness and ease of movement afterwards.

      Somatics is often the reverse of most approaches out there since we use the brain to focus on freeing up movement rather than the brawn of exercise.

      Hamstring exercises can be fun when we coordinate entire movement sequences which will ultimately free the hamstrings and undo being hamstrung.

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      Oct
      17

      Hip and Knee Pain

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      Watch Hip and Knee Pain Video.

      Easing hip and knee pain

      Was that an easy move for your hips, knees and your back? To ease hip and knee pain, the back needs to be supple and flexible.

      While some people will argue the case for strengthening the core, we can find ways to ensure the middle of our self is loose enough to have the requisite mobility to move easily.

      Hip and knee pain can often be alleviated when our middle, the spine, begins to unwind itself from holding patterns which prevents us from moving our hips and knees comfortably.

      Better mobility lessens hip and knee pain

      Hip and knee pain sometimes go hand in hand when the hips have lost their mobility as well as the spine. Our knees may continue to get pounded in the same manner day in, day out when our mobility is less than optimal.

      To move the knee around comfortably is to regain the ability and mobility we once had. Since movement is a memory, we can refoster those memories by going back to the well – of youthful movement in the artful ways in which somatics exercises remind us to move easily and with the least effort.

      Natural flexibility allows hip and knee pain to abate

      Instead of hard work or over zealous exercising, somatics exercises offers us a reverse way into the brain by slowing things downs so our hip and knee pain gives as we regain our natural flexibility once our mobility returns.

      This week, you can join me for an online somatics exercise class where you’ve already seen the last movement. Now all we have to do is do the steps before that so the hip and knee pain abates when our movement software is updated.

      We can learn to our way back to getting out of hip and knee pain by regaining the mobility we had and rediscovering our natural flexibility…otherwise you can kiss your knees hello!


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