Archive for exercise
Somatics exercises are the reverse way to lengthen muscles. Instead of stretching, you use the brain’s motor cortex to reset the muscles tension back to comfort.
Here’s how somatics works
Step 1 – You target the area you want to lengthen. You do this by contracting, instead of stretching, the muscles by being mindful of what it is you are doing. You have to pay attention, otherwise, the brain will not pick up the subtle cues you can notice in your body.
Step 2 – With somatics you pay attention to how you release the targeted muscles. Initially, this information may not always be clear. So no worries. With practice, you get better at feeling or sensing what is taking place.
You can immediately notice if there is any physical change when your body’s sensory-motor system is more intact.
When you “try” to stretch, this could lead the reflexes to turn “on” the switch of what is called stretch reflex. This can get the muscles to reflexively pull back, even into a back spasm.
If you push it or try to go for length or more range of motion, the brain will reset the tension back according to where it was formerly programmed to be held at. The brain’s cerebellum remembers this so when you point at something with your arm, there is pre-programmed point so your arm doesn’t go fly off of you.
So when you do somatics, you are going to get a change in length because the brain’s motor cortex can reset tension levels which cannot be reset by the cerebellum; which does preprogrammed learned movement.
The somatics movement below can relieve both the back and hamstrings of its excess tension.
In less than 2 minutes, you can feel what happens. You can listen through the first time and then replay it again to give it a go.
Otherwise, all you have to do is listen and follow along:
Check out this somatics move
So, how was that? A little different, a little odd?
Did you gain any length?
Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t, yet isn’t this a far different approach than stretching.
When you voluntarily use your muscles, your brain’s cortex can reset the length of the areas you target. Your brain will create chemicals of relaxation so you relax your self back to comfort and gain greater control.
Somatics movement classes
We offer many different kinds of somatics movement classes to help you lengthen, improve and gain greater control so you can recover more quickly and maintain comfort in the activity you enjoy.
Whether you go our book or our movement classes which target the brain’s cortex; all you have to do is follow along and let your muscles go along for a somatics journey which can give you the reverse way to feeling free once again.
The word exercise often connotes sweat and hard work. Movement on the other hand is about changing a position.
So many people in the gym are exercising and are still in pain rather than being able to move freely and comfortably. Are their exercise programs serving them?
When it comes to exercise vs movement to get us out pain, I’m going to have to side with movement at this point in my 50 year old life.
The other side of exercise programs
Somatics exercises which are often the reverse of most exercise programs out there, changes pain and discomfort levels using the brain rather than the brawn of exercise. This can be a challenge when we’ve accustomed our self to pushing, straining and over efforting.
Without sufficient awareness, the simple somatics movements can become exertion and exercise and not bring about the change we want away from pain.
So in both types of exercise programs, problems can occur not because of exercise itself but how we move our self in this ever present field of gravity. After all, you don’t need a weight to cramp yourself.
A learning process to move more comfortably is highly involved, though anyone can do it when we are mindful and not rushed. This lazy approach appears on the surface to be too simple, yet is complex in terms of feeling our way through the various connections and sensations we can perceive.
These sense perceptions lead us to move more comfortably so that it’s possible you’ll never have to go through arduous exercise programs again.
After all, I can go play soccer, ski, ride a bike, and walk comfortably along a trail without the uncomfortable strain, stress and high tension levels I used to live with while living with fibromyalgia.
Of course there is a debate whether the condition even exists yet there are many millions of people with inexplicable pain. But some of us no longer have the pains which racked our nervous system to pieces where a good nights sleep is so sought after.
The treasure of sleeping well comes to us more easily when we are relaxed enough, namely the tension levels which can lower themselves either by the thought of a breath or the ability to let go – which for many, many, many folks no longer is the case.
So naturally we attempt to use exercise programs to exercise stress away. I’m not opposed to exercise yet as I said, when I play a 90 minute game of soccer, it’s all about the movement, the dance on the field, being able to avoid getting crunched and being able to take a hit and recovery quickly… but these are the games I play. What’s yours?
Exercise Programs – An Alternative Choice
Each week I offer online somatics exercise – using simple movement which can be thought of like as the reverse of an ab crunch or inner thigh lift for strengthening.
To come through the looking glass of exercise vs. movement is a novel way to experience what a difference a change of position can foster rather than forcing or pushing our self.
You can use this learning, then do your exercise in a reverse manner and discover for yourself if alternative exercise programs like somatics may be one of the missing links.
Knee problems are sometimes not always where we think.
We often think of knee problems happening, well obviously at the knee, yet in some cases, where the pain is, the problem ain’t.
The knee is designed primarily to bend like a hinge. It can twist a little too.
The muscles below and above the knee impinge upon it when we compensate or substitute with other muscles for instance, when we hobble around after an injury.
The muscles below the knee can be overly contracted or not functioning as well as they could be. Tight calves or restrictions in the front of the lower leg may not only rob us of energy, we may have to work that much more in order to walk and our knee problems can compound.
Knee Problems at the waist?
Often times, knee problems can occur much higher in our body than we think. You can do all the knee bends you want or turn your foot in or out to help with torsion issues.
Yet other parts of ourself can cause us to bear our weight differently. In times of injury, we can compensate by holding our side tight or cringing to the side using our waist muscles.
If left unchecked, contracted waist muscles can have some bearing on the function of the knee and the knee problems persist.
Free the waist, free the knee problems
The practice of somatics exercises, which is usually quite the opposite of other approaches, uses the brain to release contracted areas and improves the function of the muscles so we move more effortlessly and easily.
Join me for an online knee problems class.
You will learn how to release muscles below the knee as well as those at the waist.
Rather than doing standing exercises or using weights, we’ll focus on different relationships with gravity and noticing how our entire body moves, not just the knee.
Many knee problems can be solved by addressing our body as a whole moving unit instead of just the part where we experience our pains and discomforts.
Back rotation doesn’t have to be an arduous, straining event. We oughta be able to simply reach into the backseat of our car and grab those cookies when we want them.
The practice of somatics is most often s-l-o-w so the nervous system can foster the necessary changes allowing the brain to rewire itself for higher function and easier ambulation.
Back Rotation and Somatics
Somatics can be revved up a bit and done at a more exploratory level which mimics the practice of feldenkrais which is the predecessor to Hanna Somatic Education and the somatics exercises.
The difference lies mostly in the intent, yet both practices can produce wonderful outcomes such as:
• an easy sense of back rotation
• better hip mobility
• a freer neck
• and improved coordination between the shoulders and hips
Thus walking becomes smoother, more efficient and effortless.
Central to this is the function our spine.
When we tend to specialize with our muscles in a specific exercise, we forget that we are one piece, one “somewhat” integrated system of movement. We are generally doing exercise specific to a body part rather than paying more attention to our overall movement which is vital and maybe more fundamental to our well-being.
I say “somewhat”, because many of us live with compensation and substitution patterns which we may not be conscious of. Consequently, we are not as fully functional as we could be.
Easy, effortless back rotation and a fluid neck
By reminding our muscular system of its capacity to move as a whole, we can have the ability to have easy, effortless back rotation for instance.
The kind you need while driving a car so you can easily look back and not just rely on the mirrors.
Many times a pain in the neck happens because something else in the system of movement is compromised, so try as we may to move our aching neck further… it doesn’t or is strained by our efforts.
By freeing up our system of movement, easier back rotation, leads to a more fluid use of our neck.
Subsequently, coordinating the movements at the shoulder with the hips to create better cohesion with easier back rotation, again allows us to more fully appreciate how well we can freely move.
Improving back rotation with somatics exercises has delighted many people. One particular movement, generally called the dishrag or 4 way twist is often many people’s favorite movement and the one they do everyday.
Freeing our neck and improving our back rotation can be fostered when we not only pay attention to the upper back yet also taking the lower back into consideration and awareness of the movement of the entire spine.
While there are static stretches which purport to increase our range of motion.
The movement system is key, not a static system.
When will I ever need to stay twisted for any length of time. The ability to twist, rotate and bend in any number of degrees is far more satisfying.
Just watch how animals gracefully crane their necks by moving their backs and trunk around. You won’t see them hold a pose in order to gain range of motion, yet they can comfortably live with back rotation that is easy. They gain range of motion by using the movement system consciously.
For us, our back rotation problems, hip immobility, tight necks and stiff shoulders, can be solved when we include a finer sense of our mobility possibilities through gentle movement so our brain can relax the muscles by creating enough muscular output to tune down the tension so that the necessary chemicals of relaxation can bathe our muscles and remind them to let go.
Back Rotation Class
In this week’s class, I’ll be offering yet another form of somatics differentiation, where we’ll do the necessary s-l-o-w movements and also a quicker combination of integrated movement patterns so we can literally feel our way to self-improvement and greater efficiency.
As we age, we can continue a positive development by differing the way we even do our somatics exercises. While somatics are great ways to tune-up the body and ready it for the day, we can explore the possibilities of combinig the s-l-o-w way with a different speed while paying attention to the quality of the movement.
Moving quickly doesn’t mean that the range of motion has to be large either.
We just have to set our mind to noticing what we can at slightly a quicker tempo when we move well and notice in the following days how our upright movements change in response as the integration develops.
Pleas join me as I give a new class where your:
• hips will be freer
• your neck will receive a lot of attention
• your back rotation will increase with easy mobility
• and you’ll be able to coordinate the actions of the spine, trunk, hips and shoulders by doing most everyone’s favorite movement pattern in a way I haven’t taught before.
Join me live or get the recording of this back rotation class.
Somatics exercises while mostly done on the floor can also be experienced as seated exercises.
That’s one of the great things about the practice of somatics, is its variability to adapt to situations and circumstances.
Seated exercises, a somatics perspective.
This may come in handy, if you’re on the plane, commuting by train, bus, ferry and even while driving in the car.
So when you decide to do seated exercises with a somatics perspective, in a car or even on a plane, you don’t have to do the movements. You can merely follow your intention to move and keep your attention on that as well as reversing yourself from that intention.
When we normally do seated exercises, we generally focus on exercise rather than the total experience of the entire movement which is involved.
When it comes to making a movement, how much effort is necessary to the movement itself can be of a great interest. By working somatically, you become more aware of all of the actions involved and the little effort needed.
When you’re doing seated exercises, there is nothing wrong with giving more effort. If it produces an uncomfortable strain, discomfort or pain, then you’re using more effort than necessary.
Seated exercises do not have to be painful
By staying under those uncomfortable levels of effort, you can more effectively reset the muscles vis-a-vis your nervous system using the feedback loop of your sensory-motor cortex.
Remaining seated for great lengths of time like when it comes to reading can be a dis-service to our body. We may be unconsciously adapting ourself to shortened muscular positions and create the habit of tight, stiff muscles without our awareness.
While in general seated exercises may be beneficial for strength, if you aren’t aware of the movement, you may be just a human doing exercise instead of feeling and sensing how your body travels in space with a weight attached to it.
Awareness is what allows us to improve how well we can move. The good news is, the brain is ready to move us forwards and get us back on track even if we decide to do what we consider normal seated exercises.
Increase function with seated exercises
Using our awareness to activate shortened muscles, not only can we can restore their length by putting the brakes on those shortened muscles, we can increase the function so the muscles serve us with easier use.
This may sound a bit counter-intuitive, yet when the brain is actively engaged with our awareness in seated exercises, it is this awareness which helps us reprogram the muscles.
Reprogramming muscles in seated exercises is important and as normal as updating your computer.
Our bodies and minds are in a way representative of a computer system which needs updating and refreshing to keep moving well. Update the movement system with somatics seated exercises, then the experience of sitting can be more enhanced.
You can download a copy of this class seated exercises class for the neck, shoulders, waist and spine.
Afterwards, you’ll have some tools to know what to do when riding in a car. You’ll get a version of what I call auto-somatics.
Simple seated exercises which can be done anywhere and anytime you sit.
Generally, when we think of exercise we are usually pushing a weight, giving a bit more effort, holding a pose, stretching or breathing more rapidly.
Cortical Inhibition Upper Body Exercises
Do we ever take the time to un-do what we just activated with our upper body exercises?
Many people would think of stretching, which we know is bad for us according to the research. There is a unique way we can actively use our brain to un-do the activating of the muscles of the upper body.
When it comes to the neck, upper back, chest, shoulders and arms… how often have you consciously worked on getting those muscles to let go?
The brain can do this through exercises known as somatics exercises which primarily uses gravity as the load to release any held contraction levels.
Those contraction levels may remain higher after we activate our muscles with normal upper body exercises. If we remain activated and tight, then the muscles can’t lower their resting rates to be more fully activated the next time we need to use them.
While we may spend worthwhile time activating muscles, we can use the brain’s inhibitory process to bring those very muscles back to neutral resting rates so they are idling in neutral rather than revved up in 2nd gear to begin with.
Is the brain factor missing in upper body exercises?
The brain can be used to release relaxation back into our muscular system so we can feel how the muscles let go and become softer.
If we are living with a tight neck from everyday stress do we need upper body exercises to strengthen that which is already tight?
Wouldn’t it seem to make more sense to have a set of upper body exercises which could release the muscles we just jacked up thus giving us a more balanced use of ourself.
Many times we often talk of balance as working the front side or the back side when it comes to upper body exercises. Do we include the muscles of our side so that each side is balanced as well? By working with the front, back and both sides we can strengthen equally and attempt to be more in balance.
Anybody doing de-activating upper body exercises?
All of these upper body exercises are all well and good yet did we take the requisite time to actively de-activate those muscles too.
Getting stiff from exercise or feeling the tension increase in our muscles doesn’t necessarily have to remain. Any rigidity would be hard to balance by what, more upper body exercises to strengthen tight or stiff muscles on the other side of what we think we need to balance.
In normal exercise, we’ll lift or move with ideas like 3 sets of 10 to build strength or we’ll do many movements so our aerobic capacity increases through the repetition of swinging a limb many times.
By using the brain in a very conscious manner, all we need to do is just say three or less movements to get the brain to reset the muscles.
Then we can move onto perhaps a different angle or different intention to re-focus the brain and improve the movement and the memory of that particular movement.
Moving freely, easily and naturally as healthy vertebrate animals do comes from the very same procedure they use to move well, be agile, and appear graceful with their movements.
This type programming and learning comes from the brain. We human animals have forgotten how to use this other side of the coin when it comes to upper body exercises.
All it takes is just a different orientation with gravity and being mindful so we can more fully return ourself to a fuller capacity and have a more or deeper balanced approach with upper body exercises.
If you’d like to find out how to rebalance in a completely different way, then join us on Friday, July 16th. You can join us live, online or get the class which will be ready for replay afterwards.
We’ll explore how to use the brain with simple movements to reset those muscles which often don’t when it comes to upper body exercises.
Why exercise and pain don’t have to go together?
We often activate muscles and rarely think about de-activating them unless we think or are told to stretch. Stretching, as we know it is bad for us.
The other side of exercise and pain. Animal know-how.
Instead, the de-activation of muscles is the other side of the coin and is what can allow us to free a painful back spasm for instance.
Healthy vertebrate animals have this know-how to move well. Below is a video on a human animal, who at the age of 79, learned about the system of de-activation to control a back problem which plagued him since age 42.
A woman was scheduled for back surgery. She was curious as exercise and pain was going hand in hand in her life. During the course of one afternoon, she learned how how to de-activate muscles as animals do.
She went to Alaska on vacation and merely did 5 of these unique de-activating exercises and she traveled pain free in the car and plane for the next two weeks.
When she came back home, she cancelled the back surgery merely from learning how a unique form exercise and pain don’t have to go together.
Naturally, she saved herself and the healthcare system $39,000.
It’s amazing how life can change when we get back on track so we can do what we want again.
Exercise and pain don’t have to go hand in hand.
As a former member of what I call the pain club… I lived with a chronic pain condition known as fibromyalgia. This affects some 5+ million Americans. The minority of the 10% who live in this painful state are men.
Despite all our efforts, if we continue with both exercise and pain, then it ain’t working and there’s no need to push through it anymore.
If you want to be done with exercise and pain then learn to move like an animal again. You can even try it for free. Try the other side of the coin and learn how to deactivate painful, aching, tight muscles the way nature intended.
Get past exercise and pain.
Animals have the know how. We’ve merely lost the fine sense of moving well like the animals we truly are. You know, the nice ones who won’t bite you… though some of them bark awfully loudly, especially if you live in pain without a resolution.
Download some free animal moves so you can experience how exercise and pain will no longer be in the same equation.
Exercise and pain is not how it’s supposed to be.
You can get 100% out of physical pain and stiffness, the way nature intended for us to get out of pain, not by exercise but by un-exercise the way animals do.
Exercise and Pain is not the way to go.
Immobility and bracing doesn’t have to be the way.
• Without drugs
• Without surgery
• Without any special equipment
You can naturally get out of pain and discomfort as simply as healthy animals do to move comfortably.
The secret of what healthy animals do to stop pain has been systematized for our benefit.
To heal agonizing muscles for good without surgery and without medication can be achieved with an un-exercise system.
Exercise and pain is not the animal way.
Using three simple steps that is similar to what cats and dogs do every day is the secret which will unlock the way out of a painful recovery and give us back the ability to walk easily for instance.
To be comfortable in long car rides or to go skiing once again, even after they’ve told you, you won’t be able to do it… is what they don’t know. There is a natural way out of pain.
If we experience exercise and pain, we’re moving further away from our natural birthright of moving easily and comfortably.
Living Pain Free is easy and instead of exercise and pain as we know it, we can un-exercise our way out of it.
We can follow Fido’s lead since animals un-do stiffness and immobility all the time yet no one really notices or pays attention to what it means for us human animals.
This little known animal secret comes with a $5 word called a pandiculation. When you do it, you can move like a tiger again and feel how exercise and pain no longer go hand in hand.
It’s simply a matter of un-locking the code of stiffness without all the fancy equipment. We’re already endowed with a brain which can un-do pain and stiffness.
Getting to the other side of exercise and pain
All you need is you and Gravity to live pain free. Moving freely in the field of gravity is easy with a little animal know-how.
If gravity isn’t working for you. You already know the pain of living in it. There is a way out of this misery. Simple, easy animal moves shows us the way out instead of exercise and pain.
If we’re living with the frustrations and limitations that pain brings, healthy animals know the easy way out.
To un-do physical pain right it its tracks is to un-exercise.
To get immediate relief from pain… with a little practice as healthy animals do, you can move easily again.
Exercise and pain is not what animals do. To move like a cheetah and get immediate relief from pain, all it takes is a little animal know how and the pain is gone.
When is the last time you saw a cheetah pull a hamstring or get into a back spasm?
You can discover how animals know-how to move freely by using an un-exercise system known as somatics exercises which gets us out of pain.
After you try the animal secret, you might think differently about exercise and pain.
Back to the question of ever seeing a cheetah or dog in back pain let alone ever seeing one pull a hamstring?
How does another animal tell the other one… wait, I just pulled a hammie… would you eat someone else today?
Unlike our fellow animals, we wouldn’t eat each other at a sporting event or when we merely move quickly enough to feel the pain of a muscle spasm and go down and out.
So what in the heck is it that animals know? What is their secret for not pulling a hammie?
There’s a little known animal secret that cheetahs, cats, dogs and pretty much every animal with a spine knows…
But every human intuitively understand it… even babies in the womb get it…
It’s odd how we really don’t know about it and use it to our advantage… otherwise, the statistic that some 70-85% of Americans have experienced back pain in their life is high when you consider that it happens even if you are exercising too…
Did you know… that you can un-do pain and muscle spasms with a relatively little known healthy animal secret?
There’s no mystery to transforming the root cause of physical pain and agony… you know that one of pulling a hamstring or getting taken out by a back spasm.
Once we understand there is a natural way for a human being to get back on track and be as well as any healthy animal.
Just like animals, we’ve got a similar movement software system built in… yet we don’t access it.
We have forgotten to access our movement software and update it… simply, easily and effortlessly.
Why have we forgotten?
As a human, we’ve evolved in ways where we’ve undermined our self, since we’ve basically forgotten this most natural ability…
How to move like an animal and reprogram our movement software. By doing this, muscles move comfortably.
While this might sound like a lot of work, it actually isn’t, in fact…
What’s ironic is that we had this programming down pat as babies in the womb. As adults, it’s as if we went into a sensory motor amnesia of sorts.
We’ve merely forgotten to remind our nervous system of its capacity so our brains just check out. You’ve heard the term, don’t use it, lose it.
Somewhere inside each of us, is what I call our lost movement files. Like childhood memories, youthful movement isn’t lost, it’s forgotten and the brain waits for us to access these long since forgotten ways.
Healthy animals…on the other hand practice what we think is a secret, yet this is what points a clear path away from those painful muscle spasms… the stiffness we sense… and the built up muscular tension which ties us in knots.
Check back on a future post as I’ll talk more about exercising and having pain. The healthy animal secret points the way out of pain and muscle spasms. In the meantime, you can find out for yourself how to move like a healthy animal again.
What do most doctors, physical educators, professional sports trainers, magazine articles & even tv exercise shows have no clue about…
They don’t understand what Fido knows that could unlock your muscles and set you free once again.
There is a startling truth about your physical pain and how you can get out of it…
with a way most people aren’t talking about.
You can get out of pain more quickly and easily than you ever thought possible.
But let me back things up by saying “Having Pain Sucks”
Flinching & bracing is no way to live since living in chronic pain is hard… since it seems like it may never end or go away.
It might even seem like it keeps you guessing by moving around and not getting better, just becoming worse.
Having to take a hot shower just to get started in the morning to soothe already aching muscles… is no way to live.
Feeling older and over the hill before your time is not the way you thought it was going to be… but it’s become a way of life or so for the moment.
Is there any reason to live in this cave of despair?
You know that place to shut everyone and everything out since the relentless pain is too much.
That lingering flu-like feeling which doesn’t let go…
What’s interesting is that no one really get its since they say “you look fine to me”.
Like a bad movie version of Ground Hog Day… everyday you wake up in pain, everyday you wonder why does that mack truck keep hitting you… and you keep forgetting the license plate number too.
Sadly in this movie, you want to stay in the hole since you’re too tired…
And now what? Another day of aching pain… another day of misery… another day of the pain coming back.
But you know about this…you’re really tired and really tired of the endless pain which doesn’t go away.
So I’ve got a weird question…
Have you ever seen a cheetah or dog in back pain or ever seen one pull its hamstring?
The story will be continued…