Archive for Exercise
Somatics can free up those muscles unlike other approaches out there
Somatics exericses are simple movement patterns where we use the brain’s cortex to reset our muscles back to comfort. Instead of hard work, we use our body with ease in a very intelligent manner. All you need is gravity and yourself.
Check out our 3 New Training Videos
We’re changing our former free mini-course and now have expanded it with 3 comprehensive somatics training videos where you’ll also get to download and keep several audio mp3 trainings so you can:
• Regain Mobility
• Restore Natural Flexibility
• and Recover Quickly From Injury
Simply by using 3 Steps.
What you’ll learn in our new training videos
How you can get out of back spasms by yourself…
The key somatics exercise which is a bridge to the entire system of somatics…
How to end stiffness.
How to conquer tension.
How to take on stress and beat it.
How to remain comfortable for life and more…
New free somatics video trainings available now.
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
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.
Pains in the shoulder, stiffness, weakness and even pain while sleeping on the side can be lessened with a simple set of exercises for rotator cuff. Over time, the situation can become chronic or if you’ve had surgery, it may be necessary to keep the shoulder functional.
The rotator cuff area allows us to both internally and externally rotate our shoulders while also letting us move the shoulder away, out and up to the side.
A Different Set of Exercises for Rotator Cuff
Normally both stretching and strengthening exercises are recommended by doctors, and orthopedists. Physical therapists will have you follow this protocol.
They may want you stretch after doing a reach up the wall or have you strengthen in between the shoulders. While the idea is good, we can go about it in a more intelligent fashion and manner so that the muscles lose their restriction and regain their function.
Instead of the heresy of stretching, we can pandiculate the tight, restrictive areas so those areas regain both both function and remain limber.
Somatics exercises for rotator cuff, on the other hand, use the process of pandiculation to regain mobility and give us back our function so that we can comfortably move the shoulder area back and forth and up and out to the side in this case.
A Diversity of Exercises for Rotator Cuff
With a number of stretches and strengthening exercises for rotator cuff, you learn to hold things for a period of time or do numbers of repetitions.
With somatics, we target the brain’s motor cortex. It can reset the muscles so they “remember” their function. This higher level of intelligence doesn’t require the physical strain that most people endure, instead we use our awareness of the quality of the movement. We can sense the connections we use when we move our shoulders about. This gives us a better range.
Exercises target muscles where intelligent movement takes care of the movement system which includes more muscles since we are of one piece. One integrated movement system, rather than the parts, which allows for greater cohesion and more effortless movement in general.
This gentler yet highly intelligent approach, gives us the ability to create more options to move despite the very ones we’ve guarded against or haven’t done on account of the binds holding things together.
Exercises for Rotator Cuff Class
A diversity of movement lets the brain thrive too. By going cortical, the brain creates more cells, it releases chemicals of relaxation, and we restore and recover naturally rather than forcing, straining or pushing our way through it.
“Being” with our movement system is another tack or way to move more comfortably about. To be free and regain our strength is simple.
You can join us in this week’s somatics class: Diversify Your Movement Portfolio – Exercises for Rotator Cuff. You may join us either online, by phone or get the replay.
In the little over an hour class, you’ll learn a number of different ways and movement patterns to experience how simple somatics is and yet how much power you can have.
The diversity found in the exercises for rotator cuff class will give you plenty of intelligent ammo to keep the shoulders and more, happy for life.
We often hear about a core workout. So how do we go about knowing what to do and what will help us?
The middle of our self is what many call the core. How we move the core and translate our coordination out to our extremities is important. We can then move easily, agilely and powerfully when we need to.
We used to believe our muscles were attached to the bone. Now we’ve come to understand our muscles are attached to other muscles. We generate movement with our brain’s intention. We let it coordinate our actions and we know whether or not there is room for some improvement.
A Complete Core Workout
The core is generally considered to use the muscles of the spine. In the front, muscles such as the abs, and in the back, those muscles which run from the neck to the lower back. On our sides, we can use our waist muscles.
A core workout wouldn’t be considered complete if we left out the hips or pelvis muscles. A typical core workout could be doing a variety of ab crunches so we can help stabilize the spine and protect the back.
Can a core workout be too much of a good thing? Certainly some people specifically focus on the abs. If you want a core workout such as this, just hold your breath. That way you can develop your six-pack abs and stabilize all you want.
Too much of core workout centered on the abs can eventually pull the chest wall down and leave you with a tight stomach, a sunken chest or less mobility. The other way to achieve this is to sit too much and let gravity take care of it.
On the other hand, the one big muscle, the brain, controls the resting levels of our muscles. Mel Siff, the author of Facts and Fallacies of Fitness, noted that reprogramming the brain was more important than strength training or aerobics.
Instead of stabilizing our spine for a base of support we can use our dynamic movement system for easy, comfortable movement. When we need more power, we can use our ability to generate it with a seamless transfer throughout our entire coordinated being.
A core workout for good posture
To be able to sit comfortably with a good posture takes the requisite amount of balance of tension. Too much on one side and we could be pulled too far forwards, shifted to one side, rotated or slumped back.
Maintaining our mobility so we can move comfortably lets us use our natural flexibility to be strong. Lose the flexibility, diminish the mobility and now the posture will struggle to keep upright or even walk comfortably.
When we shift towards a brain based way of reprogramming tension levels, then sitting and walking becomes more effortless. A good posture is maintained by the signals we can self-corrects through our sensitivity of this fine balance in tension levels.
A simple easy core workout can be the reminder it takes. Minor or micro-adjustments can be the shift we need or have forgotten to remember to use to be able sit comfortably upright without a back support. The best back is the one you have and can maintain with ease.
Rock around the clock core workout
Simple, easy movement using an intention to move uses our brain’s intelligence to rewire the nervous system so our muscle to muscle system is enhanced. This enhancement is how healthy vertebrate animals naturally reset themselves and remain agile and powerful.
You can join me in this week’s online core workout where you’ll learn how to rock around the clock and free up the front, back, sides, and length of the spine. We’ll also get those hips and pelvis involved.
All you have to do is lie down, listen and follow along. It’s “oh too simple”.
A core workout doesn’t have to be arduous, we can simply move and coordinate our own powerful actions to leave us both relaxed and ready.
The word exercise often connotes sweat and hard work. Movement on the other hand is about changing a position.
So many people in the gym are exercising and are still in pain rather than being able to move freely and comfortably. Are their exercise programs serving them?
When it comes to exercise vs movement to get us out pain, I’m going to have to side with movement at this point in my 50 year old life.
The other side of exercise programs
Somatics exercises which are often the reverse of most exercise programs out there, changes pain and discomfort levels using the brain rather than the brawn of exercise. This can be a challenge when we’ve accustomed our self to pushing, straining and over efforting.
Without sufficient awareness, the simple somatics movements can become exertion and exercise and not bring about the change we want away from pain.
So in both types of exercise programs, problems can occur not because of exercise itself but how we move our self in this ever present field of gravity. After all, you don’t need a weight to cramp yourself.
A learning process to move more comfortably is highly involved, though anyone can do it when we are mindful and not rushed. This lazy approach appears on the surface to be too simple, yet is complex in terms of feeling our way through the various connections and sensations we can perceive.
These sense perceptions lead us to move more comfortably so that it’s possible you’ll never have to go through arduous exercise programs again.
After all, I can go play soccer, ski, ride a bike, and walk comfortably along a trail without the uncomfortable strain, stress and high tension levels I used to live with while living with fibromyalgia.
Of course there is a debate whether the condition even exists yet there are many millions of people with inexplicable pain. But some of us no longer have the pains which racked our nervous system to pieces where a good nights sleep is so sought after.
The treasure of sleeping well comes to us more easily when we are relaxed enough, namely the tension levels which can lower themselves either by the thought of a breath or the ability to let go – which for many, many, many folks no longer is the case.
So naturally we attempt to use exercise programs to exercise stress away. I’m not opposed to exercise yet as I said, when I play a 90 minute game of soccer, it’s all about the movement, the dance on the field, being able to avoid getting crunched and being able to take a hit and recovery quickly… but these are the games I play. What’s yours?
Exercise Programs – An Alternative Choice
Each week I offer online somatics exercise – using simple movement which can be thought of like as the reverse of an ab crunch or inner thigh lift for strengthening.
To come through the looking glass of exercise vs. movement is a novel way to experience what a difference a change of position can foster rather than forcing or pushing our self.
You can use this learning, then do your exercise in a reverse manner and discover for yourself if alternative exercise programs like somatics may be one of the missing links.
At Victoria’s University School of Sports and Exercise Science in Australia, James Zois sees the same epidemic I’ve been raving and kindly reminding you about – stop stretching!
Look at this poor guy stretching
By attempting to stretch his hip flexor, he’s actually tightening his hamstrings, the muscles behind the leg.
He might be even contracting his back muscles to be able to get that foot to the buttocks.
Maybe he can still sit on his heels, but the point is… a stretch such as this is still done at professional levels and worse, high schools and even middle schools kids are being led down this lazy and counter-productive route.
Lazy on account of research moving on. Athletes do not need this to warm-up.
Divorce Counselor for Stretching
As a divorce counselor for stretching… you can rest easy, there are other ways to lengthen muscles and warm them up.
For instance, healthy vertebrate animals aren’t stretching either. It’s not what you think.
They consciously contract and then release themselves.
By refocusing your attention on what muscles are designed to do, that is to contract, we can reset them and ready them at the same time.
Stretching is Over
Leave it to the folks who’ll continue to argue about it saying it makes them feel good rather than understanding it’s a waste of time and we can use our intelligence to reset things rather than pulling us apart.
Even for us 50 year olds, stretching is over.
An exercise workout plan is useful to promote well-being.
Feeling well in our body is satisfying when have useful tools which allows us to move more freely and easily.
A daily exercise workout plan
Before we think about exercising, we ought to consider what sets us up for exercise in the first place.
When we get up, we are naturally stiffer since our muscles shorten overnight.
Oh what to do? Start with an exercise workout plan.
Instead of traditional stretching, which we know harms us, we can move ourself simply.
Simple, easy movements to articulate our joints primes the muscles for our larger movements throughout the day. After all, you won’t see Fido stretching nor hitting the weights in his exercise workout plan.
Instead, Fido reprograms the muscles first.
The most important exercise workout plan
According to Mel Siff, who wrote the book, “Facts and Fallacies of Fitness”… the most important exercise is reprogramming the central nervous system. He considered this to be more important than strength training and aerobics.
This makes obvious sense. The brain, which can reset our muscles, needs a continual updating of its movement software.
We’ve got to take out any stiffness and tension we accrue.
This is why healthy vertebrate animals naturally reset themselves periodically throughout the day.
When we naturally reprogram our muscles, they are left more functional and ready to be used since they’ve been given the cue to let go of any residual holding tension.
Muscles which are less tense, move far easier than the ones which keep us bound up, throwing our parts around like we’re a hobbling zombie.
Our brain’s cortex can do the job to reset the muscles. This is why we can use the un-exercise approach of somatics exercises anytime to feel better.
Exercise workout plan class
There exists a delightful set of somatics exercises which are known as either the cat stretch or daily maintenance routine.
This exercise workout plan sets the body up for movement for the day.
This week, I’ll be teaching a version of that particular exercise workout plan.
By modifying certain elements, the very exercise routine we accustom our self to, becomes enhanced.
Join our somatics exercise online class. This set of movements can be quite the useful exercise workout plan.
Back Pain Relief 24/7
Why 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.
“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.
Did you laugh at this coordination exercise?
Coordination exercise for natural flexibility
Things which look easy take a lot of coordinating actions and natural flexibility.
Developing this kind of flexibility can be achieved via a learning process using the brain’s intent to create movement patterns and experience them in novel ways which releases any holding or compensatory patterns we carry.
When we’re stiff and too contracted or not as mobile as we’d like, a movement like that coordination exercise may seem to take a lot of effort.
Coordination exercise to build strength
We can naturally and quickly develop the requisite strength by setting up the building blocks of movement so a coordination exercise such as the one in the video… becomes effortless.
Strength can be achieved in many ways. Somatics exercises lead us down this path as we need the requisite freedom in movement of our smaller muscles to move the larger ones.
Coordination Exercise Class
We’ll do more than just that particular movement you saw in the video in this week’s online class, though not on a table like you saw. We’ll give it a whirl on the ground instead.
You’ll get the chance to see and feel how your hamstrings and back will lengthen
by doing a simple test at the beginning and end of class.
What sets up our ability to do a coordination exercise easily and naturally is accomplished using the pandicular process which is at the heart of somatics exercises.
You can join our online hamstrings and coordination exercise class for the hamstrings, back, knees and more.
Have you been hamstrung and tried all sorts of hamstring exercises lately?
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 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 this Friday for some online hamstrings exercises and more.
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.