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Archive for Pandiculation

Mar
24

[Update] The Tipping Point

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Ever feel like your body, brain or mind is close to the tipping point when it comes to pain?

Small injuries or minor physical setbacks might not seem like a big deal when they happen.

Brain and Body

Yet your brain might go haywire and instead of helping, it begins to work against you.

See, your personal history of injuries (big and small), infections, emotional set backs, and traumas of all sorts can lead a brain to over respond even as a small injury heals.

The brain can go hyperactive and keeps sending chemicals of inflammation to the rescue, after the fact.

Cells called microglia acts as the immune system of the central nervous system.

To protect the brain, they swell up to create a buffer while they take care of the bad cells.

The good cells, however, can keep turning “on inflammation”, which is what we see happening in anxiety, chronic pain, headaches, fibromyalgia, etc.

In other words, when we keep getting stressed, tensed out or we repeat certain physical activities with no relief, the microglia show up and create negative inflammation.

Not nice at all.

STRESS. Magnifying glass over different association terms.

Minor or major stress can magnify the situation and get activated.

Not a Big Deal

Even what we might think is not a big deal such as “I was standing there, holding a piece of paper, not doing anything and I moved a little – and felt a little pinch”.

Initially, this may not be a big deal, but then throughout the course of day, this little thing starts to get worse, gets tighter and tighter and become more painful.

Even to the point of later preventing us from doing a little movement.

This period of activation can remain “on” for extended periods of time.

Then this can get set as a program which can lead to medical conditions such as chronic pain becoming the norm.

Press Play, Rewind

It’s no wonder some of us struggle with discomfort, injury or stiffness longer than we think it oughta be around.

Each week I see and hear athletes telling me about how they have to stay in the game, otherwise if they are substituted out and then go back in, they’ve re-tightened up by simply cooling down for a few minutes.

Unfortunately, this has been accepted as normal – when clearly it is not even though many deal with this program replaying itself over and over.

As the program continues to go haywire–say an accident happens–followed up by surgeries, pain medications and having to cope with the stress of getting it together undermines our ability to completely get over it.

Even though we think we oughta be able to handle it, we aren’t addressing the physiological mechanism to change and reverse the course back to our more comfortable self.

This can further make us feel down and bums us out.

Tipping Point

 

Getting Pushed Past the Tipping Point

One by one.  An slight bump here, a little bruise there, a sprain,  a spasm, groaning to get up out of the chair, feeling old before we’re there, getting old and grumpy, a knee gone bad, stress on the job, tension at home, divorce, and the internet goes down (yeah not a big deal though it could stress us out), and so on.

The sum of our life experiences add up one by one to push us past the tipping point so the brain replays its response.

We get our negative experience yet again to the point of being chronic in many ways.

Can the tipping point be reversed?

Yes!

When we go back to what mother nature affords us to restore and revitalize in our central nervous system, then we have a chance to reverse the tipping point and successfully climb out.

Reprogram Brain & Body

In many cases, you can reprogram both the brain and body so it can create comfort instead of amplifying pain, discomfort or stiffness.

How To Reverse the Tipping Point

This can be done via the sensory-motor system and a conscious reprogramming act called a pandiculation.

This works with the central nervous system to reset tension levels so you can feel more relaxed, comfortable and in control of your well-being.

This is facilitated by simple to do mindful motor control exercises done where you regain control of the brain and body while at the same time, you get to feel and experience deeper states of relaxation and how your muscles coordinate more easily for freer movement overall.

Recently, the American College of Physicians have come on board and are saying “this is the first to do to relieve pain“.

So when we go about this systematically, then we can re-right the ship and help get things back in order and in balance.

Body in balance

Then we life throws us another curve ball, we can rebalance readily.

The reverse on-off switch to turn back the tipping point

You see, you have the inherent ability to decrease stress and lower tension by increasing it consciously using your awareness.

This concept may sound backwards or counter-intuitive, yet in practice – physically speaking – this is how you turn what is negatively “on” positively “off”.

By consciously turning “on” the central nervous system by waking it up.  

You change the painful, stiff or discomforting “on” signal “off’ by detuning or fine tuning it down so you can idle more in neutral and restore tension levels back to the comfort zone.

Similar to how a thermostat works to regulate the air temperature, your nervous system can be programmed to aid you rather than keep the on going program working against you.  

The Shift

While it isn’t easy to live in pain, constant stiffness or with high stress levels and chronic discomforts, there is a way out.

When our normal relaxed attention and focus is taken away, you can feel it shift or you can get used to it over time even though in the long run that is undermining our ability to restore ourself.

So if you can consciously tune into what it is you’ve either become accustomed to – or what is not healing in the way you think it oughta – like taking a little no big deal tumble or not being able to sit comfortably…

That very signal is the clue and target to tune down the brain and body going haywire.

Pandiculate Out Pain, Stiffness, Stress or Tension

Comfort Zone

Since force won’t help, a more laser focused and mindful use of the power of the brain and body lets us reach a personal comfort zone which can be secured with a little conscious practice to hit the target of feeling better.

By dialing into the haywire signal, you can fine-tune the pain activating signal or mechanism so it can reverse course.

Reset

The resetting and recalibrating begins to happen with what some have called conscious micro-movements or professionally known as motor control exercises where you move with minimal effort while dialing into the subtle tiny adjustments and feelings or sense perceptions so change happens readily. 

There is both an art and practice to get back to your former happy pain-freer self which nature has set up for you to access at any minute.

Through a series of trial and error easy, gentle movements and a systematic approach, the ability to feel relaxation returns.

The fact is you can tune down what is turned negatively “on” because the switch has been activated to inhibit and end the pain, stiffness and discomforts by starting small in order to get back to living more fully.

Afterwards the nervous system acts to continue to decrease the output or charge so relaxing feelings return.  It’s like giving yourself a hot tub treatment using your brain and body.

Brain Tub

Nature

In nature, this is how all healthy animals with a spine self-regulate to remain agile, comfortable and nimble. 

Use the brain and body together to move well with daily reprogramming that most of us aren’t aware of, even though it is built into our living system to tap into.

When the human animal gets back to tuning in and restoring this lost art or natural process to calm the system, you get the:

relief,

relaxation,

and the knowledge you can replicate feelings of comfort.

You can do this as often as you need or when necessary to take out stress and tension from everyday life events which accumulate in the course of our busy lives.

While you can’t escape stress, you can take control of your central nervous system as best as you can and further the possibilities of a comfortable felt-sense of living.

When you remember how to do this – you can let things roll off of you like a duck ruffling its feathers.

You’ll have what appears to be an uncanny ability to regenerate.

This is how nature sets it up for us to learn how to wield this ability and not be held outta control by feeling how control needs to be regulated to move well.

Evidence

Since there is evidence that your microglia cells “remember” prior assaults and turn things up painfully when necessary.  They can stay on and fire up more quickly.

Same goes in the opposite direction.

The better you get at using the brain and body, you can bank on turning on those chemicals of relaxation on much faster too.

The American College of Physician have finally recognized that progressive relaxation, mindful-based stress reduction and motor control exercises are the way to go where you can even drop the acetaminophen for back pain.

According to Dr. Gary Kaplan, these 3 things seem certain:

√ The source of inflammation are tiny cells called microglia.

√ Your history of physical & emotional assaults add up and increase inflammation.

√ Chronic pain and depression are neurodegenerative conditions.

How to Reverse the Tipping Point Yourself

Knowledge is power. When you have the self-help tools to learn what to do for yourself.  You can self-regulate the brain and enhance the nervous system to work for and with you.

Fortunately, we’ve systematized an approach to use both brain and body with gentle, small micro-movements (motor control) along with mindfully fine tuning coordination with a certain level of awareness to take you into deeper states of relaxation which restores the nervous system and your body’s basic feeling of comfort and well-being.

Now that you have a better understanding of the tipping point, you can choose to naturally heal, self-protect, self-learn, and have the self know-how to prevent and maintain your healthy state of living.

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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.

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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Many times when people get a cramp in the calf, they’ll call it a charlie horse.

Since healthy vertebrate animals naturally pandiculate, that is to say, they can take out any charlie horse or muscular stiffness, it may be appropriate to give them their due the next time you get a butt cramp, rather a charlie donkey.

Since we’re not going to see a cheetah pull a hamstring running at 70mph, if it did, would that be a charlie cheetah?

Would pigs be offended by the cheetah… since maybe they have a claim on the charlie hammie.

When you get laid out by a back spasm? Is that a charlie elephant?

Muscle cramps can happen as the spinal cord sends a signal to the muscles to pull back quickly… and if you use the animal know of a pandiculation, you can quiet down the zoo.

What’s your animal? Who’s your charlie?


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Aug
05

Letting Go of Muscle Tightness

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A number of people have been telling me how they try to let go of their muscular tightness, discomforts or pain by either breathing into it, visualizing or using positive mantras.

These methods can be quite useful but we may not always be successful with these approaches.

Your brain is set up to use the natural process of a pandiculation by using Somatics Exercises. These unique exercises send a message from your brain’s cortex through the spinal cord and out to the muscle or muscles which need to let go.


If you practice Somatics, you may be aware how to use the simple 3 step process by actually contracting your muscles followed by the s-l-o-w release and pausing to sense the effect.

When you feel or sense the release of yourself letting go, you are in a state of learning and reminding your nervous system as to the “how to” of actually letting go.

We often try to deal with accumulated stress, tightness or pain by just breathing into it. This works “if” you already know how to let go in that particular area of your body.

Using your mind to communicate with the muscles, reminds them of their function, and serves to creates a memory pattern which reinforces the learning of how to let go.

You are actively creating and releasing the chemicals of relaxation into your body through the 3 step process of a pandiculation which you can use any time you feel the need.

In other words, you’re also creating a reservoir of the feel good chemicals of relaxation which you can bank on.

The more you practice with the 3 simple steps, the more easily you can tap into your natural resource of turning off stress, tightness, discomfort and pain.

Then once you have the hang of it, and your muscles know and remember how to let go, then breathing, visualizing and following through with your intentions and mantras will move you up a notch in realizing your healthy lifestyle.

Letting go is easy once you know how… you can join us on Saturday, August 14th for a live webinar on how to use the P word to get your muscles to let go in your legs, hips, knees, ankles and feet.

Somatics is defined as the body experienced from within. Thomas Hanna coined this term which not only relates to movement as is taught in Hanna Somatic Education®, it also relates to our entire being.

While I normally comment on movement as a key to well-being. Moving to the refrigerator and in the grocery store or sitting down for a prepared meal in a restaurant is another part of a strategy to well-being.

If you’re loading yourself up on packaged foods and expect your body to move well… please try it again and see if you get the same result. I applaud the efforts of Jamie Oliver’s television show and his intent to plant seeds to improve not only how school children eat… it’s a lesson for us big kids too.

Moving well also requires you to nourish your being with food that gives you positive energy and one of the simplest of foods is merely drinking clean and healthy water.

Lack of hydration, ill nourishment and medication, both legal and illegal will take you away from moving well as nature intends, otherwise, all the pandiculators, the healthy vertebrate animals would be in a mess too. Some of them are on account of what they have access to as well as your children and the community you live in.

I know when I travel and can’t get organic food, I’m in a literal bind, which thankfully only lasts for a small duration and when I discover areas which have co-ops and healthy restaurants which I even discovered in Sin City, Las Vegas in a soccer tournament I was competing in…

My hope is that Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution will re-spark what so many have come to understand how food is delivered to children at school, what is available at the grocery store, and what we ingest as fast food.

Healthy minds thrive on good food, physical activity, great relationships and the inner feeling of connectedness. This is somatics. To move with intelligence is our birthright as is evidenced by how we pandiculated in our mother’s womb. To continue to move well is fostered by this intelligent act of pandiculation.

To eat well is a choice to wield another and further intelligence to allow us to move, think and act freely with a consciousness promoting well-being for all of us. Our health care reform moves onward when we all participate in promoting well-being and practicing it… and modeling it for all children.

It’s not always easy to take the time to prepare a good meal, move with intelligence, think clearly and act in a positive manner… but when the seed is planted and we repeat the simple practice of hygiene in all it’s varied forms, then we truly progress to living life as easy and as well as it can be.

It’s an effort that is well rewarded with feelings of pleasure, confidence, and self-actualization. Life is simple… eat well, move well, think well, be well. The paths can be varied, overlap and your somatics sense of yourself will feel and know it. It’s just practice and revolutions such as Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution remind us of our greatness, our capacity to feel it, and that desire which calls us to move forward.


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Did you get a glimpse of Apolo Ohno right before he races?

Did you also notice that after what appears to be a yawn… how relaxed he became? Of course you had to watch it in progress to see him show the response of relaxation.

When you’re at the top of your game or wanting to keep pace with younger talent, you’ll use any edge necessary, though in this case, Apolo is using nature’s process of a pandiculation…

And he may not even know about it, as most people don’t… but it doesn’t matter what it’s called since this is just like many natural processes we use without knowing why.

Healthy animals with spines use this little known process to remain agile, quick and strong.

They’ll practice a series of pandiculations first thing in the morning and periodically self-adjust throughout the day. This explains how well they can move and it serves notice to us what we may need to remind ourselves on a daily basis…

How well you move is up to you? Can you improve with age? I think so and though I was living in chronic pain for the better part of two decades… years later I earned only a couple of medals in my 40’s.

My secret training method… pandiculate of course. Now I’ve got some work to do to catch up with Apolo and the rest of the healthy animals.


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