Pandiculate your Way to Health
These cats are showing us some of the “secret moves” of a pandiculation which we human animals can use to remain comfortable and pain free.
While it might look to us as stretching.
One cat is lengthening her leg, the other is rounding her back and the other two may be arching their spines.
They are actually not stretching, even though your eyes will tell you they are.
Healthy animals with a spine use the act of pandiculation to be healthy and move well.
While you’ve most likely have been told to stretch your muscles.
How many of us actually do this on a daily basis or as often as your pet cat or dog does?
The human animal, like you and me for instance, for many reasons has either forgotten to follow this simple script of hygiene or doesn’t take the time to reset the movement system – except maybe like 5 minutes before some physical activity if you’re an athlete who remembers what they taught you to do.
The movement system includes the muscles, joints, and bones as well as the brain, nervous system and what covers the muscles; the fascia.
This movement system which has a ton of sense receptors can be reset back to comfort using both the brain and body with that funny sounding word of pandiculation.
While the term is little known.
The definitions vary: An instinctive movement, consisting in the extension of the legs, the raising and stretching of the arms and the throwing back of the head and trunk, accompanied by yawning.
Yow.. that’s enough to make you pandiculate your own jaw.
What I’m talking about is the entire act and process of the pandiculation itself. So bear with me as we go a little deeper into why this isn’t stretching and how we’ve come around to a different viewpoint and understanding.
The pandicular response was identified by Thomas Hanna, the author of Somatics and the originator of Hanna Somatic Education®. He’s the one who came up with the term Somatics.
Somatics, not semantics, is defined as the body experienced from within.
Pandiculation is one of those acts we experience unconsciously when we yawn or we can use our consciousness and awareness of what our body is actually doing or feeling when we pay close attention to what seems like a boring event.
The act of pandiculation is simple yet the goods are in the entire act.
While animals know not to answer the emails and pour a cup of coffee the first thing in the morning.
The ability to move comfortably throughout the day is what is at stake.
Healthy animals engage a number of muscles throughout their body in this pandiculation act. You’ve seen them go through a series of maneuvers which looks like stretching.
Again I’ll make the point – contrary to popular belief, IT ISN’T STRETCHING.
Animals contract a number of muscles, then release.
Just like the cats above. When you lengthen your leg – feel what is tensing.
When you round your back. Can you feel how you can contract the muscles of your belly to actually round your back?
When you arch your spine, where do you feel the contraction or tension taking place?
So when you consciously pay attention to how your muscles receive the message from your brain to contract, you shift your awareness in a way which is quite the opposite of stretching. Now you’re consciously engaging the brain’s motor cortex.
Welcome to pandiculaton act one.
Did you know you pandiculated in your mother’s belly?
Just ask Mom.
Maybe she didn’t know you were pandiculating but she could feel you move around.
You kept engaging in the act of a pandiculation until you get old enough to forget about this fountain of youth.
Why this is so? I can guess it’s because we have things to do and places to be. The morning alarm goes off, then answering an email, checking facebook – all too easy to do in bed. OK, guilty as charged.
Taking a cue from our pets looks cute and “oh too simple” to have a meaningful impact on our health and well-being.
So when we tend to forget to take care our body from the inside first; unlike all our fellow animals with a spine who aren’t checking their emails. But hey, our dog does loves entertainment too and watches “Dogs with Jobs” and goes ape when “his show” is on. You gotta see his focused attention.
That – focused attention – gets set up on account of pandiculating with a certain consciousness. Pretty cool, eh?
In part two of a systematic pandiculation, you regulate the tension by paying attention to what is happening with your movement system.
Do the Pandiculators Rule?
Let’s say we count the number of babies in the world today – and the few more who just showed up. Welcome.
Add in all the animals with a spine on planet Earth.
We could say that pandiculation rules in sheer numbers.
This natural self-care act is what we had almost from the get-go.
For the past few centuries, pandiculation has been studied and found that our muscles come to rest. In other words, they become relaxed as one of the positive benefits.
This relaxation response can be felt when we consciously pandiculate. It will deepen as we practice since the brain gets reminded to create this state more quickly.
When we think about how long we humans have been around. This act has been with us and all the other healthy animals with a spine for some time.
Pandiculation is very natural and easy.
A mindful pandiculation can be done quickly. The brain will respond quickly to reset any held or holding tension we carry.
Unlike the ways we’ve been taught to stretch, you won’t ever have to hold yourself for any length of time. No counting involved. No special equipment either.
Pandiculation is a complete reverse to our ways on how we’ve been stretching or attempting to gain length so you can be less stiff and feel more naturally flexible.
A pandiculation is a faster and more natural way to go about gaining length in the muscles since the brain’s cortex can reset things quickly.
Our pets and other animals have been showing us how to be happy, comfortable movers every day.
The happy pandiculators can self adjust tension, stress and even pain out of the body through a systematic application of pandiculation.
When you remind the movement system of the brain, nerves, fascia, muscles, joints and bones of their ability to create effortless movement. All it takes is to engage the entire three part act of a pandiculation to make you feel comfortable again and again.
Since animals move so readily, flee from danger and swoop in quickly, they know how the set up to agile movement begins. You can simply follow their lead.
The natural ability to move easily and comfortably is simple. While movement itself can be complex, it’s when we break it down into smaller parts we can more fully comprehend the simplicity of what we tend to overcomplicate as humans.
Simple movement can be extraordinarily sensed, felt and self-adjusted.
If you’ve been pandiculating, then you “get how” being aware of your body gives you solutions to your physical issues and how it can also offer insight into other areas of your life since the mind and body is connected.
The good news is as you up the level of your internal awareness, your brain & body readily adjusts. Your abilities improve and you’re able to decrease stress and tension levels more quickly and efficiently.
A conscious practice in pandiculation also offers an avenue into motor memory. Our memory itself becomes clearer and our focus is much sharper.
Pandiculation is just another aspect of hygiene like brushing our teeth.
Like updating computer software, you can pandiculate to re-organize your movement software.
Say you sit a certain way, or keep doing your movements habitually, then you may be setting yourself up for proprioceptive disaster.
Knowing where your joints are in space and feeling your body’s position helps to keep you feeling good and moving away from discomfort.
When our movement software doesn’t get updated. It’s just keeps falling behind. Stiffness, tension and stress then carries the day and stays with us long into the night for days, months or years for some people since the brain can go haywire since the normal and natural reset nature has afforded us, is no longer being used to our advantage.
All it takes is a simple set of pandiculations to reset and reboot our movement software so those good feelings can flow again.
Pandiculating is a sign of health.
To maintain our own well being can happen with the simple act of pandiculation. Simply feel, update and update again as necessary so you can dissolve any mounting tension or stress the tissues accumulate.
Who knows how well you’ll be able to move as you age?
That’s entirely up to you.
How well can you use your body for your benefit?
It’s up to you to update the movement software out of version 1.0 and beyond.
Isn’t time for an update and feel good day after day even as you age? Pandiculation gets the job done and you can join us here.
Give it a try, the only thing we have to lose is our tension, pain, stiffness, soreness, aches and ungainly and uncomfortable ways we keep moving about. Do you want to still have those childlike feelings of freedom and easy, comfortable movement?
Yes, you can pandiculate your way to health and move as easy as you used to.
Is it a secret? Not any more. Pandiculation is nature’s antidote to moving well for life.
Ed Barrera is a Hanna Somatic Educator® and author of Amazon bestsellerMove Like an Animal. He has over 10 years of experience, helping people find natural pain relief through the systematic approach of pandiculation known as somatics exercises.
This approach is more like un-exercise since you target the brain’s motor cortex & movement system which leads to a healthy, fully-functional body. It’s not just “alternative medicines” or “an alternative to exercise”; it’s natural pain relief that actually works!