Archive for Somatics Exercises
Wouldn’t you agree that your neck, shoulders and head oughta move freely, easily and without pain or discomfort?
Simple, easy head movements done with a certain level of awareness can give you a:
• more comfortable neck,
• ease tension in the shoulders,
• and this can shift good feelings to other parts of yourself too.
Hijacked by tension
If your head or shoulders have been hijacked by tension, there is a natural way to release the build up muscular tension.
However, it might have to do with the fact that an important and vital connection may be “off”.
By lying on the floor, you can find out for yourself if:
a) you can do a particular movement comfortably and
b) if you can feel or sense the connection.
Watch the video below and see if you can feel the connection.
Head movement and connection
Have you checked in with your noggin like that lately?
If you haven’t, it’s never too late to dial in.
You see, if we’ve endured enough head and neck pain, that movement among others can prove to be difficult.
When my years of neck pain felt like a hard sore block that wouldn’t budge or let me move freely. Moving my neck seemed like it was one of the hardest things to do.
Yet when you consciously remind your body of the available movements that you can do, your brain can release neurochemicals of relaxation.
Making the connection – even if it isn’t there initially – will come with a little practice.
Not just 1 muscle
Mobility – the ability to move freely and easily – can be restored by regaining necessary function of a number of muscles involved, not just one specific muscle.
So if we are limiting our movement on account of pain or high tension, then this type of splinting or guarding can actually reinforce it since the brain is subject to programs and will begin to feed in information to keep things held in check.
Of course, it might seem counterintuitive to move, if it hurts.
So instead, you can imagine the movement taking place since that way you won’t upset the apple cart, yet the brain and nervous system will get the idea that the possibility to move, still exists.
The brain doesn’t know the difference between an imagined movement and an actual movement. The information and nervous system pathways turn “on”.
You can even go so far as imagining the connections too.
This all helps to prime the pump for eventual successful comfortable movement.
Head movements and the connection to the rest of your body is evident when you play with mindful ways to feel or sense your self as to how it relates with the rest of your body.
We are one piece, last I checked. The more you check-in in a different way, the far easier it is to self-adjust and turn down pain, discomfort and tension naturally.
When you move somatically, which is where you fully experience your connections and subtle feelings or sense perceptions.
You can experience the freeing up of pain, stiffness and aches as you fine tune further and deeper into your information highway of the nervous system.
This type of internal exploration is what you naturally did as a baby and child.
You were exploring deep into your sensory and motor system of both movement and the subtle feelings of small probing movement.
And if you recall or watch any baby, there’s a heckuva of a lot of exploration with misfiring, falling over and work to do to get a movement down pat.
Remember how long it took us to snap our fingers? What a triumphant moment that was.
Besides, if you’ve lost your snap, you can get it back.
Of course, as we age it can feel like ages to get it back, but it doesn’t have to be that way when you begin to experiment and tinker again.
What’s It Take
So if you go to the well of stored memory and spend some worthy time to reopen some dusty files and connections, then comfortable feelings in movement can be restored as easily and as effortlessly as it used to be.
It just calls for some quiet internal observation of your present ability.
When done in a specific “slow manner”, the part of the brain which can make the necessary changes of tension, will move the body back towards comfort and control.
To be more comfortable, may take a variety of easy, gentle movements so the connection is clear and you regain the ability to maintain comfort for life.
So have fun and keep that head sliding, gliding, turning and twisting comfortably so by feeling and making the connections.
What causes us to tilt or walk with a hitch in certain ways? How do we get out of it?
Traumas, falls and accidents can leave you whomp sided, although you will do the best you can to move as well as you can afterwards.
Even habits–such as driving a car and sliding the leg long to depress the gas pedal over and over again or the way you sit or work creates certain patterns.
Our unconscious habitual ways we stand or motion or move ourself can reinforce patterns which serve us to a point. When things become uncomfortable or we’re held in a titled or shifted manner, we’re left compensating.
The simple act of standing and feeling yourself can reveal comfort or discomfort. You can stand as you normally stand and wait. Feel whatever sensations or feelings come up as you simply stand and feel from within how you are feeling in the moment you take to check in.
When you take a moment to consider how you move your entire self or parts of yourself doing any physical activity, you might uncover certain surprises which can open both the brain and body to new possibilities and you’ll certainly learn how coordinated you are or aren’t.
For example, by driving a left hand drive or right hand drive car, you’d certainly feel a shift of a learned habit by fumbling for a moment on a new habit or physical activity to learn.
This can let you know how one sided, how predominant and how whomp sided you may have become over the years of doing a physical movement in a certain way.
There is nothing wrong with specializing a movement pattern or doing regular exercise over and over, unless we feel certain discomforts.
But what if you went inside and fine tuned your nervous system so it could respond in a different un-whomped, less cattywampus manner?
Regaining conscious voluntary control with the muscles and your movement system–a system of coordination–starting with signals from the brain to generate a movement can unlock cattywampus tendencies and patterns.
The lower brain does learned movement and acts to balance or coordinate a movement. It becomes unconscious and automatic so you don’t have to think about it.
The signals up and down the nervous system to self-adjust tension, compression, extension, rotation–mostly go un-noticed.
The sense receptors of the tendons, ligaments, joints, bones, muscles and the fascia tune in and shift to move you around.
Imagine having to pay attention to all of that on a minute to minute basis. It would almost be incomprehensible. Your descriptions of all the senses you notice could be all over the place as to the what or how this feels like to you.
The inner game or inner knowing of our internal connections is a place where many no longer visit. The price for not visiting and checking in can result in discomfort and the feelings of pain being generated.
Your inner self is waiting to be explored. The act of pandiculation is your natural birthright to self-correct. The system of somatics exercises uses the act of pandiculation to target the brain’s motor cortex. This is far different than regular exercise since the movements are done with a greater consciousness.
How you either evolve or de-evolve physically is a choice in the inner game or somatic mastery of yourself.
By not playing in the inner realm, you can lose contact with yourself, your own vitality, and your own sense of well-being. Your memory can fade and most obviously, you may not move or feel as well as you used to.
This has nothing to do with age, it is simply abdicating the inner self. The painful or discomforting signals we feel have an opposite in the pleasurable signals, feelings and sensations you can regenerate.
To be able to walk comfortably can be set up by feeling and self-adjusting your joints, the smaller muscles, and the smaller parts of walking itself. Then when you walk, you can feel at a deeper level whatever you want to tune into as you walk.
You might even feel the shifts which can occur as you walk when you quiet your internal dialogue and simply feel how your body moves and changes as you walk.
This type of inner knowledge is invaluable since it serves to keep you connected to yourself and to the earth as you navigate without walking sticks, special shoes, knee braces, taping your muscles, etc.
In other words, to move like a comfortable human animal is to fully feel the sensations of walking itself and how this grand act changes during a simple walk.
Instead of focusing on how far or how fast you walk, you could tune into the adjustments which take place when you walk on the cracks in the sidewalk, how your foot turns over a cobblestone path, or how your hips shift if the hill or slant is a bit sideways.
You can even play one of our favorite somatic games – place your fingers on your ears and close them. Then walk and listen as you walk on some pavement. Can you hear your own internal sound?
Then find the earth and listen now to how your body speaks to you.
Please join us in a different somatics exercise walking class.
You’ll begin with our normal somatic way of exploring movements on the ground. You’ll get to reset tension back to comfortable levels. Then you’ll shift to our normal upright ways and play with walking in a way you may not have for some time.
You’ll gain greater awareness and ultimately better control which you can bank on, even as you age.
You can go from cattywampus and back to somatic mastery by joining us in our online somatics exercise class which is available for immediate access.
When Larry retired 4 years ago, he developed tightness and stiffness… actually it was going on before that in his lower back.
Watch what Larry had to say about doing the simple, easy somatics exercises which are movements designed to get your brain to release held tension levels so you can move with ease while stimulating your nervous system back to feelings of pleasure.
Somatics is Life Changing
Larry said, “It’s changed my life. It really has..”
He went through a year and a half of chiropractic care where he was “twisted, poked and yanked” and was still the same. He had “no significant change”.
A friend recommended him to see me for Somatics, something which he had never heard of. Larry learned some basic moves in 3-4 sessions and “not only did it begin to make a difference right away… not only did it make sense intuitively to me because I always felt somehow the body could be more limber but stretching, forcing it wasn’t going to do it.”
Tightness, Stiffness and Pain Gone
Within 3 months he noticed a very noticeable change in his lower back stiffness & pain. Within 6 months, “basically I was fine, it was cured, I’d even say it was quicker than that”.
He was stunned at the difference.
Then he reflected on our physical education experience in school where he learned to play volleyball and he said “but you never learn anything about your body”.
Somatics, A Physical Education He Never Knew Existed
Somatics taught him more about his body, how his muscles work, how his body works together or doesn’t more than anything in his life before.
“That’s physical education”, according to Larry.
Somatics exercises are designed as simple movement patterns which progressively build upon creating a better foundation for movement.
It’s like going back to the fundamentals or building blocks of movement while taking out compensations which can be the root cause of stiffness and the pains and aches we live with or not!
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:
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?
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.
Certainly there are yoga poses where you turn the spine and pull back counter to the twist.
As one contemplates our breath and associated feelings, some people attempt to achieve greater length by trying to get more.
Twist and Shout Another Way and Lose the SMA
In Hanna Somatic Education, we use somatics exercises to engage the brain in order to affect a change of information the muscles receive.
Somatics exercises are unlike most approaches since we go at things from a brain based perspective where we use mindful movement rather than any static holding positions.
The brain, the one big muscle, can effectively reset the resting tension levels using a more delicate approach. Much like untying a knot, gently moving our tissues unlocks held tension and stiffness.
When we push a contracted area, the targeted muscles become shorter. They pull back to the known set levels. They have lost their way to neutral or rest with high tension levels. The term we use is sensory-motor amnesia (sma).
SMA, muscular stiffness, stress and high tension patterns are temporary yet ongoing phenomenons until we change things with a simple movement update using the brain’s cortex.
You are a self adjusting living organism and you can adjust the feel and sensitivity levels of your muscles so they remember their way back to neutral when you twist yourself about.
Birthright to Move Well – Twist and Shout
When I lived in the near 2 decades of chronic pain, I knew there was a way out. What I didn’t know was how to simply update the body’s movement software.
Using the brain and adjusting with what appears to be deceptively simple movement, I could live a comfortable life and take out any kinks, stiffness, stress, tension and recover from injury quickly.
Our birthright is to move well. When we get off track, we can use that space between our ears to get things back online, running smoothly once again. We can twist and shout for joy as often as we want.
Twist and Shout Class
The ability to twist our self in one direction and then another can be enhanced through conscious movement rather than arduous exercise or holding our self in position for any length of time.
If we find ourself sitting too much in a day, we can grow our spine to greater length by doing a few simple easy movements which may seem initially challenging until our brain remembers to inform the muscles to let go.
Surely they will… and you can twist and shout about it.
This week, I’ll be offering an online somatics exercise class where all you have to do is listen and follow along. You can join me live or get the replay.
You’ll learn one amazing somatics exercise pattern to counter what our back keeps encountering… its gradual decline and shortening.
In a few minutes, you can:
• feel taller, straighter and longer
• feel the back relaxing
• and have greater mobility so movement itself is freer
C’mon and twist and shout with us.
When trauma happens, our brain and nervous system naturally takes our body into a reflexive protective pattern. It doesn’t have to take much, a simple fall or repeated falls if you engage in more rough and tumble activities such as soccer.
Does the brain and nervous system let us live with stiff, tight muscles?
When we bear our weight more on one side or one leg, we tend to stand a bit shifted. Even if we mouse more on one side, we can develop a habit of using our muscles more on one side of ourself and before we know it, those side muscles tend to be a bit stiffer & less flexible.
Some of us tend to be more laterally flexed. You’ll see this when a neck slightly bends more to one side or the spine has what we call scoliosis. Either the spine is off center, the hip can be elevated, we feel short waisted or we’ve been told we have a leg length discrepancy.
To let go of our holding, habitual, protective patterns which are being programmed into the brain and nervous system can be accomplished with a little neurological rewiring which somatics exercises provide.
Change the brain and nervous system with the mind and body
Far more encompassing that just a body approach. With somatics we are dealing with both mind and body and the relationship of the sensory motor system.
Wherever we are compromised, we take alternate routes neurologically which may be less than optimal yet serve to move us around as well as we can. These states are temporary and can become more fixed. We forget the feel of what youthful movement was like. This state can last for years or repeat itself in cycles when we can not overcome a niggling injury or have something reoccur more often than we’d like.
If the pathways of the brain and nervous system are clear, the lines of communication facilitate better overall movement and comfort. Moving with less effort leads us to states of graceful movement we can achieve through our very own self-corrective living process using the brain and nervous system.
If we end up dragging ourself around or into ourself or stumble and have lost our youthful coordinated ways. We’re only moments away from restoring more graceful and balanced movements. The brain and nervous system are set up waiting for us to use it to more positive means.
As we age, certain concerns like balance or breaking a hip come up. An animal survives when it can move well. As the human animal we can survive without moving well yet our animals teach us the way back to getting on track through the act of pandiculation which we’ve known for some time can bring our muscles to rest.
A mindful pandiculation uses both the brain and nervous system to reset ourself. Somatics exercises are a system of differentiated pandiculations to enhance our mobility and restore natural flexibility. By paying attention and using our conscious awareness, we raise our game of moving well for life.
Brain and nervous system class
Through the conscious use of our sensory motor system, we can undo that which has been our undoing for some time.
By adding depth and dimensions to our movements opens our proprioceptive ability. We can sense our joint position and self-adjust to more positive feelings. The brain and nervous system are effectively used.
Whereas other approaches focus on the body, we can use what the brain and body are exhibiting to use that information towards self-mastery and understanding our inherent nature to move well using the brain and nervous system.
Our very own keen senses can lead us towards the comfort we seek and the very one we can maintain as we age.
Please check out these somatics exercises classes for future enjoyment of your brain and nervous system as well both the mind and body to recapture those childlike feelings of moving well for life.
Healthy adults can do kids stuff to remind our muscles how comfortable they can feel once again and again.
Pandiculation is kids stuff
Most 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.
When our back is a little out of whack, one of the keys to restoring comfortable movement lies in the simple differentiation of a very simple movement pattern.
Listen and follow along to this simple movement.
Somatics exercises are generally done in such a lazy, easy manner and surprisingly the rewards are better mobility, a return to natural flexibility and we feel renewed and more comfortable.
Simple differentiation to wake up both the brain and body
An easy movement such as the one in the audio recording is enough of a simple differentiation to wake-up the brain’s cerebrospinal fluid as we arise in the morning.
Healthy vertebrate animals wake-up their body and brain with simple movements which serves as their warm-up. Before we begin to exercise, we can do an easy simple differentiation or number of them varying the same theme, then we’re good to go like Fido.
If you’re in the unfortunate position of having to sit all day long for instance in the car, working and then sitting down to eat (unless of course you dare to stand up and eat for a change). No matter if you exercise, that may not be enough to change the known ill counter effects of sitting for too long.
Standing up is a simple differentiation which can help
You may have to plan on standing up every 20 minutes or so. You see, when you sit for too long, those muscles below the belt go to sleep and begin to be trained to be useless. No wonder we don’t walk as well or as much as we need since we’re basically training ourself to have muscles which no longer respond in a healthy manner.
Good news… just get up and stand, stand on one leg or walk around for a minute or so. Then you can sit back down. Even as I type a blog post such as this, I too am mindful of how sitting undermines us. This is why I often stand or kneel or sit in a different position, then change it and vary it afterwards.
If you’re gonna keep sitting, then at least fidget around or be mindful of how you can shift your spine around. All that tension we keep taking on, can be remedied with simple mindful movements to disperse, renew and refresh us.
By refreshing the spine, we can continually renew our muscles throughout the day, especially when they get amped up with too much tension. At the same time, we improve the function of the brain by taking a mind-body break or giving ourself a full-brainer of movement done with awareness.
A class on simple differentiation
After all life is movement and movement becomes easier when we can do a simple differentiation with the central part of ourself, our spine.
Renewing a simple way to move our spine, refreshes our movement system from the inside out. Practicing this periodically throughout the course of the day will let us rest easier at night so we can get a good night’s sleep and not wake up stiff or aching.
Please join me this week for a simple differentiation class which can make all the difference to having a comfortable spine for life. Refresh that spine so it can be renewed and you’ll feel regenerated. All it takes is a simple differentiation.
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.