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May
20

Body and Balance (Updated)

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Loss of Balance

A loss of balance can happen even if we’re messing around with our body.

Balance can seem elusive at times and can be affected by a number of factors.

Compensations such as shoulders rolling forwards, palm facing backwards, bent knees, a slumping chest or even having a bad day can happen enough to begin to form such a posture over the long run.

Posture - Rounding Shoulders, Chest Caving In, Palm Backwards, Knees Bent, Slumped Over

This can lead to discomforts in the chest or upper back where high stress levels can put the weight of our world on our shoulders and can prevent us from reaching states of comfortable balance.

While we might attempt to straighten up, the weight of what is going in internally can continue to undermine us.

Bad life (fun) events such as being a Cleveland sport fan like I am, who for the past 50 years has lost count on the number of bad sports days can have an affect.

Letting go of bad (fun) events can be difficult since we can go to that sinking (movement and) feeling over and over.

So life and how we participate in it can affect us.

How to restore our body and balance using mindful movement

One way to restore balance is to employ mindful movement where you tap into the brain’s ability to direct an easy or gentle movement pattern.

You make the decision to do a particular movement and stay well within your comfort zone.

See, the doing of a movement is one thing.

Another is when you also pay attention to the feel or sensing of any number of movement actions taking place during the particular movement you decided to do.

Master Brain Software

When you direct the mind and body, thereby targeting the brain in a specific manner, you can enhance one of nature’s most potent acts to restore the body in order to re-balance.

This is a far different approach than regular exercise where that is more about doing.

Mindful movement is about feeling and sensing smaller movements or movement patterns while noticing certain self-adjustments of either a grand or minute orchestration of a particular movement.

You simply notice the inherent quality of your own movement taking place

Human Movement System

Since the movement system involves any number of layers of muscles and fascia – which actually has more sense receptors than the muscles – there can be a lot of information to process, be aware of, and simply explore.

This approach can augment other physical types of activities in order to rebalance our faster pace of life and give us a restoring respite to recharge in a more playful and intelligent manner.

Find Out How to Recharge Here

Plus, all of this can be done in a lazy, gentle, yet highly tuned in approach.

8 Somatics tips for the body and balance

Somatics, defined as the body experienced, covers many areas and here are some everyday useful tips you can use when you do easy, mindful movements such as somatics exercises to help restore balance.

You can also apply this to other forms of exercise too.

1. Move with the least effort

This often goes against many people’s idea of how to exercise, yet when we live in discomfort, this naturally makes more sense.

Even if you are highly active, you can pay attention to your movements by noticing your sense of effort rather than pushing with your efforts.

This has more to do with noticing the quality of movement itself.

This slight difference can make a big difference and help healing and recovery.

2. Breathe with your movement

Since we tend to go on autopilot when it comes to breathing, becoming aware of breathing and how this is impacting our sense of effort or the quality of a movement can be quite revealing.

You can use your breath differently and explore the differences it can make or mean when you shift your awareness.

You can do a movement and notice how you are breathing.

Do the same movement and hold you breath to feel or notice how this can impact the quality or feel.

Reverse your breath in terms of how you noticed yourself breathing to check in how this can affect a movement or the feeling of it too.

3. Move as a system not as a muscle

The big muscle–the brain–sends messages to the muscles and receives back information in our sensory-motor feedback loop.

Somatics Coordination Exercise - Sensory Motor Feedback Loop

When we become aware of how intimately involved our sense and level of effort is involved, that exploration can improve overall body balance since you’re tuning in to how you are connected throughout your entire body.

4. Thoughts can affect movement and impact our body and balance

As you do any exercise, choose to think a thought while feeling what muscles may be contracting in your body.

Or simply sit.  Conjure up a thought and feel how your muscles respond.

Play with an emotion and feel what happens as you move.

What does a thought or state of emotion do to what you feel and how you move?

Can you tune in your sense of muscles turning on or off during a particular movement, exercise or simply noticing while sitting or standing?

5.  Comfort is king

Any small adjustment such as using a pad or pillow can alleviate any struggle we might find ourself when it comes to positioning ourself for a movement, exercise or simply sitting.

Lean on Me Props

There’s no need to tough it out.

Even the slight adjustment of an angle or body position may be the necessary thing to do so our body can be as comfortable as possible at that moment.

This can let us more fully experience ourself rather than taking away our focus in a movement or exercise.

6.  An exercise can’t hurt us

People will tell me they tried a certain exercise or even our gentle somatics exercises and hurt themself or say – “that exercise hurt me”.

If we try to force our body (and it doesn’t have to be much of an effort), it can naturally react and pull itself back quickly since it will want to protect itself, especially if it is in an injured state or we’re early in healing.

Any random, thoughtless or thoughtful movement or exercise can turn up tension levels so pain signals can be ramped up if we over do it or rev it up too fast–even if we didn’t intend to.

Once the body has been programmed to turn up signals of discomfort, it can do so until the program gets changed.

So any arbitrary movement or exercise can seem to lead us to flinching, wincing or holding our breath, for instance.

Get Back to the Fundamentals of Movement Itself

Un-Exercise & Move Well for Life!

To learn how to re-navigate our internal terrain of our movement system successfully is where we simply go back to the fundamentals and building blocks of movement itself.

“If” we bump into discomfort during any movement, exercise or exertion, we can use that information to bring our body and balance back as quickly as possible–while figuring out where our comfort zone truly lies.

More often than not, our compensations and habits of movement get us to bump the pain switch on – even to the point of it becoming chronic so the brain will naturally turn it up, though this can be reversed with a more mindful approach.

So it’s not so much an exercise, it’s what you do and how you do it.

You can change the quality of your movement in order to successfully exercise and comfortably move about.

7.  Imagination is the least effort

In difficult times, you can use your ability to imagine a movement or exercise.

It’s highly likely you won’t hurt yourself using this approach, even though I get it–sometimes just getting to the position of a movement or exercise can be test our limits.

So to imagine or eke out even a micro-movement, this can start the process to get the brain to change the body’s negative response.

It might seem like you’re not doing much, yet this counter-intuitive approach of doing less, still wakes up the nervous system since the brain doesn’t differentiate between you imagining a movement and doing it.

Try this: Imagine a movement taking place. Then do the movement.

Unleash Your Imagination

Move with Confidence & Control

Ask yourself if what you imagined, felt like it did when you actually did the movement.

This might reveal more layers from an internal observation viewpoint and provide keys to successfully getting out of a particular body-mind jam.

Successful athletes have used imagination and visualization techniques.  You can do the same by simply visualizing and feeling to the best of your ability – what it might feel like to move by not moving.

This can become a highly interesting, focused and mindfully effortless way to regain balance in the body.

8Pain is our greatest teacher and gives us back our body and balance

In the practice of somatics exercises, you learn how to wield pain and discomfort to your advantage.

Pain is treated as a signal that you can change, intensify or dissolve since you can use the brain and body to change the output of tension levels through various feedback loops of information.

With a little practice and familiarity of a simple 3 step method which mimics one of nature’s acts to reset tension levels, negative experiences can move towards more comfort and pleasure.  Once the brain remembers that it can produce more positive feel-good sensations, you’re well on your way to restoring and maintaining balance.

Somatics Body and Balance Movements

Somatics exercises move around many themes, levels and types of pain, stiffness, discomfort, and injury all leading to increased levels of comfort.

Take control of:

• your brain and your own awareness,

• mindfulness,

• breathing,

• coordination,

• tension levels,

• comfort

• and effortless effort allows a fluid body to Move Easily and Restore Balance.

Recapturing the feelings of childlike, easy movement happens.  Kinda like coming back to memory patterns where we once did this and now have the ability to restore it or enhance it using a brain and body connection.

The brain can be programmed to bring the body back to its natural state of comfort and pleasure and you can find out more in the Gravity Werks Insiders Club where we explore conscious movement to learn more about how we work and easily move from the inside out.

Simple movement patterns which can boggle the mind and leave the body refreshed, restored and in balance for more happy days ahead!

Brain-Mind-Body Work Together

Move Like an Animal BookMany years ago I saw a squirrel fall out of a tree and like humpty dumpty put herself back together again.

This extraordinary act happened during the course of my training to become a Hanna Somatic Educator over ten years ago.

At the time of the fall, I was both surprised and mesmerized by all the movements the little fellow attended to before triumphantly walking back into the woods.

While I was learning about this animal act and how we could use it both manually for the hands-on bodywork as well as for the movement patterns we teach.

What I came to discover is to Move Like an Animal and give up the ways in which I was taught to stretch.

Simple conscious movement done with an ever growing awareness trumps all the stretching techniques I practiced, even those I practiced for hours at a time to “not” relieve my chronic pain years of fibromyalgia.

I had no idea the brain could reset tension levels and didn’t think much of it initially, even though my knee was recuperating from an accident on account of micro-movement.

Tension levels can appear to hold us in place.  Many of the compensations which hold us out of balance are held at the level of tension signals generated by the brain.

When we learn to turn the switch off, the tension levels lessen so we can reprogram our muscles for more effective and easier movement.  The upside is, stiffness and pain go away.

In the past decade, I’ve continued to put this to the test in soccer tournaments where we play some 3-5 games over the weekend or more during weekly competitions.

My peers fill up the physical therapy and massage tents with all the usual aches and complaints of tight hamstrings, groins, sore backs, calf cramps and more.  Just from playing a game so many people stiffen or can’t rest knowing they’ll get even stiffer in between games.

While I’ve had my shares of injuries from the collisions and the odd mayhem which happens, I continued to foster the ability to Move Like an Animal so that the general stiffness doesn’t happen.  The aches and pains of a collision lessen rapidly.

The ability to recover quickly and be able to play again continues even as I play in the national and state level senior competitions.  So I even took this decade long experiment further and did not ice or use up the tiger balm or even have a need for a hot tub.

While those measures can ease things a bit, I took the squirrel’s point of view and re-mend with simple conscious movement.

Since I’ve helped many, many people do the same, the book:

Move Like an Animal: Feel Comfortable, Be Flexible, Move Well for Life in 3 Simple Steps,

is now out of the cage and available to download from Amazon.  If you can read this, then you’ll be able to see it and read on your electronic device.

What are you waiting for?  Are you ready to Move Like an Animal and Be Comfortable for Life?

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.

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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.

    Mar
    26

    Core workout

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    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.

    Core workout reprogramming the brainOn 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.

    Mar
    19

    Walking with pain

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    Walking with pain everyday

    Are you walking with pain when all you want to is go on a leisurely walk and be comfortable?

    Being able to walk comfortably can be ours again when we remind our muscles of their connections to each other simply through the natural act of a pandiculation. Fortunately the “p” word has been systematized as somatics exercises

    Walking with painWalking with pain can seem like we’re dragging a heavy weight around. Lose that heavy albatross and we can be free again.

    I remember what it was like to walk a mere 50 feet and my shoulder would sear in pain. It was no fun to go on a walk.

    The hips on the other hand, had felt off track and had been clunking around since the age of 14 when I first noticed it. Pain seemed to come out of nowhere on the side of the hips, that stitch in the side, or the back of the legs when I experienced that hot poker of sciatica – ouch, ouch, ouch.

    When we get off track, we can get back on by losing what un-tracks us. Sounds complicated. It really isn’t.

    Walking in pain is miserable. Who wants to walk when we know if we do, bad things can happen. So why bother.

    By not doing one of our more natural acts, we’re doing a great disservice to our self. It’s a tough situation to be in, you want to walk and then you end up walking with pain.

    Walking has been considered one of the best exercises we can do for any number of health reasons but doesn’t that sound kind of lame. We’re the two legged animal, this is what we’re here to do. Walking in pain isn’t the option we’d like.

    Walking with pain and compensations

    A couple of considerations to amble easily is to have things arranged with less compensations or habits of movement which no longer serve us.

    If we live with a rotated hip and it clunks or doesn’t move well, this can have negative effects on the knee, ankle or our back. We’ll do a walking rather than ambulate with ease and grace.

    Tight, stiff, overly tensed leg muscles which restrict or inhibit movement may result from compensatory habits, injuries or even lack of water. Diet plays a role since the muscles need fuel. Re-programming our movement patterns, on the other hand, has been lost on many people.

    If we’re not self-correcting, we’re missing opportunities to lengthen muscles back into shape. Those lazy dogs which sleep all day usually don’t miss a beat and pandiculate themselves after periods of being sedentary.

    If we’re sitting for hours on end for instance, this type of day in day out programming doesn’t help us walk any better. The muscles atrophy towards dis-use which furthers our inflexible hobbling ways.

    The good news is, we can reprogram the muscles so walking in pain no longer afflicts us. We can improve the connections of our muscles by moving our parts lazily around in a conscious manner where the brain resets tension levels.

    Reducing tension allows us to self-correct, change our compensations and gives us new ways to move so walking with pain no longer is an issue.

    Walking with pain online class

    To end our uncomfortable ways, you can learn some simple, easy movements which resets our muscles back to comfortable resting levels. When our muscles are programmed to be more relaxed, they remember how to get there more quickly.

    Please join me for an online class of somatics exercises where you’ll learn how to lessen walking with pain. All you have to do is lie down, listen, and follow along to free things up.

    Recapturing our youthful ways of movement is a memory not long forgotten, we just haven’t accessed the part of our brain which can restore and refresh our muscles so walking with pain is a thing of the past we can forget.

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      Dec
      04

      Exercise workout plan

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      An exercise workout plan helps us get results quicker. A faster way may be to use a unique un-exercise plan instead.

      Exercise feels better when we’re more comfortable in the first place.

      A daily exercise workout plan

      Before we think about exercising, we ought to consider what sets us up for comfortable exercise in the first place.

      When we get up, we are naturally stiffer since our muscles shorten overnight.

      Oh what to do? Normally we think we need to stretch though I venture to say there may be a better exercise workout plan you haven’t considered.

      Instead of traditional stretching, contrary to popular belief and the crossed-eyes glazes I get–it is simply unnecessary when you focus on what it takes to do comfortable movement.

      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 through active movement rather than the traditional stretching ways we’ve been led to belieive.

      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 from a neurophysiological viewpoint. The brain, which can reset our muscles, needs an ongoing updating of its movement software.

      We can take out any stiffness, tension and stress which adds up during the day.

      This is why healthy animals with a spine naturally reset themselves periodically throughout the day.

      When we naturally reprogram our muscles, they are left more functional & relaxed. They are 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. If we’re throwing our parts around like a hobbling zombie, that’s waaay more work than is necessary.

      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

      One of the delightful sets of somatics exercises are called the cat stretch or daily maintenance routine.

      This exercise workout plan sets the body up for comfortable movement for the day.

      This week, I’ll be teaching a unique and slightly different version of that particular exercise workout plan.

      By modifying certain elements, the very exercise routine we accustom our self to, becomes enhanced. In other words, conscious fiddling around pays dividends.

      Please join our somatics exercise online class where you’ll hear how someone immediately felt a lot fewer aches and pains with this un-exercise exercise workout plan.


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        Aug
        27

        Recuperation

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        When you go out to do whatever physical activity you engage in and over exert yourself, what form of recuperation do you use?

        Do you use a hot tub? Do you use ice or ibuprofen to soothe your muscles?

        Laurie and myself thought we were going to play in an over 45 co-ed soccer tournament last past weekend and found out it was over 40 instead. What are you going to do at our age?

        Preparation & Recuperation

        Good thing we both practiced our somatics exercises in preparation. We also did them in between and after the games all weekend.

        This method of preparation and recuperation allows us to move more freely after engaging our bodies in an activity that is not normal in terms of our human development. All the cutting back and forth while wearing cleats is not what the natural design of the body has been used for over time.

        Wearing our joints down with this un-natural and at times risky movement activity can exact a price. We’ve watched over time how many people struggle.

        Even this weekend, we are watching how teenagers are barely making it through one game of soccer, in spite of all the training they are receiving.

        Makes you wonder how much knowledge is applied when it comes to recuperation even at this young age.

        In our age group, while others were doing some stretching, using tiger balm and downing ibuprofens… I kept a keen eye on who would make it through all the games without hearing the usual complaints of stiffness, soreness, aches, and over exertion that is very common not only in playing in adult leagues but the extra level it sometimes takes to make it through an entire weekend-warrior competition.

        With our gray hairs, we both comfortably walked away with a 3rd place trophy. We were both happy how our bodies held up in the 90°+ heat in Yakima, WA at the aptly named Sunburn Tournament.

        Our Preferred Method of Recuperation

        Our preferred method of recuperation, using somatics exercises, allows us to be able to successfully compete and not have any of the usual stiffness afterwards. We had other weekend plans in store for the drive back.

        Recuperation at Mt. RainerOn our way back, we drive through Mt. Rainer National Park.

        The fresh air felt incredibly well to breathe. It was odd that only a couple of hours before we played in the heat of eastern Washington.

        We didn’t have to traipse around at some 5400 feet, instead we comfortably ambled about enjoying the 5th National Park in the U.S.

        Nature has a way of restoring one’s health even after grinding it out on the playing field. It’s as if our recuperation was fostered by hiking in the clean mountain air full of alpine flowers and snow in August.

        The following night we headed over to our usual over 50 fun league to play a more recreational level of soccer and once again our bodies were well recuperated so that we could enjoy playing at the indoor arena.

        The indoor game is a different type of game than the outdoor version. The movements are shorter and sometime quicker on account of the ball bouncing quickly off the boards and glass. Our quick reactions and the ability to respond without being hung-up is vital.

        Laurie’s son accompanied us. He also got to play in a game. As we were leaving, all 3 of us were asked to just stay one more game, so we played with the younger 20’s somethings.

        Now in between games, I thought I was done for the evening and would enjoy one of those malt filled beverages that many people use as a form of recuperation. Little did I know that I was about to play once again.

        On our ride back, our teenager complained of being tired. Both Laurie and I heartily laughed as we compared the number of games we all had played. The old folks had him 5 to 2 (and 98 years to 15) and neither of one of us were sore, stiff, or aching as a result.

        Even Grandma knows how to wield recuperation

        I cannot rave enough about how amazing our recuperation powers are when we use the brain using the simple somatic movements.

        While it’s of great help to have a positive mind-set, it’s fun to see how the body just keeps moving well along for the ride.

        Even grandma, who missed the last step of getting off of the boat on their boating excursion to Canada, twisted her knee and asked Grandpa to show her some of those somatics exercises he diligently practices.

        Grandma, like the rest of us, found how quickly her own powers of recuperation came to the fore when she used the somatics exercises which gets the brain to release held states of contraction while improving muscular function.

        Brain based exercises like somatics take the edge off of the muscular tension, stiffness, and the stress we accumulate. Now had I only known this when I was living with fibromyalgia, I might have spared myself the many years of chronic pain.

        No matter, to move well… can happen at least at age 50 and beyond for others. I’ll let you how it goes when I get to 60.

        My hunch is… in the next decade I’ll probably learn a little more on re-balancing the nervous system and refreshing the body with somatics exercises.

        All it takes is simple, easy movements which remind the nervous system to calm things down a notch. The powers of recuperation and moving comfortably lie well within us.


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        Aug
        15

        Be your own bodyworker

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        Wouldn’t it be great if you could be your own bodyworker and release tight, stiff, sore muscles yourself?

        Somatics exercises uses the field of gravity so you can use the brain to get muscles to lose tension and relax more quickly. This is one way to act as your own bodyworker.

        Doing a pandiculation, which is at the heart of somatics, is what we do when we do somatics exercises. When a trained somatic bodyworker works with your muscles this is called an assisted pandiculation.

        Bodyworker and assisted pandiculations.

        Hanna Somatic Educators are trained bodyworkers and movement experts who help people restore the function of muscles with either bodywork or specific exercises or a combination of both.

        This training takes place over the course of three years since even for the so-called experts, there is a shift in learning how the body responds neurologically and well let’s face, the practitioner needs a lot of practice to fully understand the thousands of combinations we all move in and how we articulate ourselves.

        In the last decade, I’ve noticed many shifts of internal organization as I too have learned my way out of compensatory habits and established newer, easier movement patterns which evolve and continue to surprise and delight me as I age.

        A hands-on bodyworker in cooperation with a person has to figure out what needs to be released. By assisting a person with a pandiculation, both parties can sense a result taking place.

        These assisted pandiculation often turn into the self-pandiculations that a person will do as the somatics exercises or homework to keep improving mobility, flexibility and the diminishment of panful signals.

        Become your own bodyworker

        As you become familiar with the somatics exercises, you can learn how to become your own bodyworker using gravity as the load or weight of resistance when you move yourself in the variety of movement patterns to restore function and improve coordination.

        You can also use your own hands to provide the resistance with some of the somatics exercises. It’s best to be led by a Hanna Somatics Practitioner who can give you the idea or guide you along this path to help restore balance in the muscles.

        When we use our own hands as a bodyworker on our self, we may be able to learn how to modulate our efforts with a little bit of practice.

        Be your own Bodyworker Class

        Be your own bodyworker and move like an animal insteadReminding the movement system as to how it moves is what all healthy vertebrate animals do to keep themselves moving well. After all, what kind of bodyworker can they go to themselves?

        For the most part, nature has set it up so all vertebrates can move well merely be reminding the nervous system to reset, or reboot if you will.

        Fortunately, we can apply a systematic approach through the somatics exercises and use these tools to be our own bodyworker when needed.

        This Friday, August 19th, I’ll be offering an online class in somatics exercises so you can do your own pandiculations in the field of gravity.

        You’ll also learn how to use your own hands and be a bodyworker so you can do things like sit more comfortably crossed legged and free up your hips and hip flexors.

        When we use our brain and neurology in novel ways, we can foster growth and education in the ways in which we move. We can actually move better as we age.

        Now I’m only saying that when I compared myself to a group of 55 high school athletes and few if any had the hamstring flexibility of someone 3x their age.

        Register for this Friday’s class. Find out for yourself how free you can be. Sign up and be your own bodyworker.


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        Exercises for the Lower BodyWe often find less pain, no pain, improved mobility, better balance, better focus and concentration as a result of doing exercises for the lower body in a differentiated manner.

        Somatics exercises for the lower body can be thought of as engaging our self with the sub-programs of movement through an act of differentiation.

        Movement software update – Exercises for the lower body

        We’re not only re-programming how we move via our brain’s cortex, we can notice the distinct and different quality of the movement or of the resulting relaxation which occurs with somatics exercises for the lower body.

        When we were younger, smaller and much lighter, we spent hours and hours of programming and re-reprogramming our movement patterns through many patterns of differentiation.

        As we’ve aged and used those earlier programs, maybe we figured we have all the programs and don’t need to update the movement software anymore. We might have forgotten about the quality of differentiation when it comes to exercises for the lower body.

        For ourself and our physical development, when did we end tweaking our movement software?

        What is the proper amount?

        Healthy animal exercises for the lower body

        Healthy vertebrate animals naturally do 7-10 movement updates in the morning and 40-50 periodically throughout the day.

        While this may sound like a lot of movements to do to remain healthy. Read this article on a motion tracking study.

        Many of us have done 3 sets of 20 or lots of aerobics when it comes to exercises for the lower body. This shifts us into the brain’s cerebellum, which does learned movement.

        The somatics approach to exercise differs by having the focus not be on the higher number of repetitions but on the quality of movement itself.

        Somatics exercises for the lower body is about the act of movement itself along with the intention and precise angle of articulation so our motor cortex becomes highly involved and can change how the muscles function and come to rest.

        These types of exercises for the lower body advances a cumulative approach to improving coordination, awareness, heightened balanced, and sharper sense of ourself.

        Exercises for the lower body with a twist.

        By changing our relationship with gravity, this small twist on doing exercises for the lower body is enough of a difference for our muscular tissues to evolve towards higher function.

        When we change our effort, or even interrupt a pattern with our intention, this furthers along our brain to help the sub-program of movement to improve.

        In this week’s Friday’s online class, we’re going to play with more exercises for the lower body doing the unusual somatics exercises in the normal way as well as in other differentiated and interesting ways.

        You’ll consciously interrupt the simple 3 step method and learn a few newer ways to enhance the practice of somatics exercises in this class for exercises for the lower body.


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