Pandiculate your Way to Health
These cats are showing us some of the “secret moves” of a pandiculation which we humans can use to remain comfortable and pain free. They might appear to be stretching, when in fact, they are not.
Healthy animals with a spine use pandiculation to be healthy and move well.
The human animal for many reasons has forgotten to follow this simple script of hygiene for the muscles, fascia, joints, bones and brain. Our movement system, if you will, can be reset back to comfort.
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.
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.
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. This may illustrate the importance of this simple act of pandiculation which I cover in Move Like an Animal: Be Flexible, Feel Comfortable, Move Well for Life in 3 Simple Steps.
Healthy animals engage their bodies in this pandiculation act through a series of maneuvers which look like stretching.
Contrary to popular belief, IT ISN’T. Animals contract their muscles, then release. Watch them closely or arch your spine or pull your belly in. This is what muscles do when they receive the message from the brain to move. When you shift your focus to what the muscles are actually doing, welcome to pandiculation step one.
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 and we tend to forget to take care our body from the inside first; unlike all our fellow animals with a spine.
Let’s say we count the number of babies in the world today. Add in all the animals with a spine. 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.
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. Pandiculation is a complete reverse to our ways on how we’ve been stretching. A pandiculation is a faster and more natural way to go about gaining length in the muscles since the brain can reset things quickly.
Our pets have been showing us how to be happy movers every day. Too easy and too simple to believe.
When we remind the brain, fascia, muscles and joints of their ability to move effortlessly and easily, we can engage the entire three part act of a pandiculation to make us 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. We can simply follow their lead.
To have to have the natural ability to move easily and comfortably is simple. This ability stems from reminding our self how to self-correct through the very nature of this act of pandiculation..
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.
This may sound strange or weird, yet as you up the level of your internal awareness, your brain readily adjusts and improves your abilities to decrease stress and tension levels.
Since pandiculation offers us 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.
We can pandiculate to re-organize our movement software. Sort of like updating our computers.
If we sit a certain way, or keep doing our movements habitually, then we’re setting our self 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. We can get stiffer, be more tense and carry all the stress we can take. All it takes is a simple pandiculation to reset and reboot our movement software and good feelings.
Pandiculating is a sign of health.
To maintain our own well being can happen with the simple act of pandiculation. Simply feel and update. 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? We could remain forever in movement 1.0, tread water and remain bound feeling there’s no way out.
Isn’t time for an update? Pandiculation gets the job done.
Give it a try, the only thing we have to lose is our pain, stiffness, soreness, aches and ungainly and uncomfortable ways we keep moving about. Do you remember being free?
Yes, you can pandiculate your way to health and move as easy as you used to.
Is it a secret? No, pandiculation is nature’s antidote to moving well for life.
Ed Barrera is a Hanna Somatic Educator® and author of Move Like an Animal. He has over 10 years of experience, helping people find natural pain relief through somatics exercises which uses the act of pandiculation at its heart.
This is the reverse to most approaches since we target the brain’s motor cortex 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!