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The Cat Stretch is what Thomas Hanna called the daily maintenance somatics exercise program in his book, Somatics.

The cat stretch is a misnomer even though we often see our furry felines appearing to stretch.

Cat Stretch is not Stretching

Cat Stretch - a part of the daily somatics exercisesThe result of a cat stretch could make one more restful.

When a cat stretches, it is actually tightening or contracting a series of muscles. We’ve come to find out this is called a pandiculation. When we do this entire act, our muscles lengthen and become more relaxed.

Our clever cat uses its brain’s motor cortex to initiate a movement, which at first glance looks like a stretch. You’ve seen a cat round its back. It’s not stretching the back, it’s pulling the belly in and using the abdominal muscles to pull back.

Then… it’ll release itself. The abs are reset and ready to be used. Healthy vertebrate animals naturally reset their muscles and movement system periodically throughout the day. No wonder they rest so well. If only we could do the same.

Cat Stretch – 7 Simple Movements

Fortunately, some 300 years after we learned about pandiculations. This very act brings muscles to rest. The system of somatics exercises teaches us how to go cortical and re-establish length and comfort in our movement system. Watch the fast version of the cat stretch below.

Here is what the 7 simple movements of the cat stretch address.

1. The first movement wakes up the brain, spine and hips.

2. The second movement helps to release tightness in our front side, such as the abdomen. This will allow the back to further lengthen.

3. This movement relaxes the muscles of the back, from the neck all the way down to the foot.

4. The fourth move releases held tension levels in the hips and chest. If we’re locked-in from too much sitting or hard work, this is a go to release.

5. Most everyone’s favorite movement, this delicious move lengthens the spine, frees up the hips and shoulders… and is enough to purr along.

6. A 3 part lower body sequence to free up the feet and ankles and connect up to the hips, back and head. This helps to straighten out the legs for better walking and balance in running.

7. The final movement of the cat stretch addresses the neck, back rotation and hip mobility in a delightful seated manner. You may not need the car mirrors anymore after this.

Cat Stretch Audio Recording

Healthy animals do a number of morning resets. We can simply follow along with a morning routine of the cat stretch somatics exercises designed for the human animal. Once you learn the routine, it only takes minutes to remind the muscles of their natural length, while at the same improving the mobility we need for the day.

Just like a good cat stretch at night, we can drift off and sleep more easily too.

The Cat Stretch daily maintenance somatics exercises program is now available to download and enjoy in the comfort of your home – meow.

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    Walking with pain

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    Walking with pain everyday

    Are you walking with pain when all you want to is go on a leisurely walk and be comfortable?

    Being able to walk comfortably can be ours again when we remind our muscles of their connections to each other simply through the natural act of a pandiculation. Fortunately the “p” word has been systematized as somatics exercises

    Walking with painWalking with pain can seem like we’re dragging a heavy weight around. Lose that heavy albatross and we can be free again.

    I remember what it was like to walk a mere 50 feet and my shoulder would sear in pain. It was no fun to go on a walk.

    The hips on the other hand, had felt off track and had been clunking around since the age of 14 when I first noticed it. Pain seemed to come out of nowhere on the side of the hips, that stitch in the side, or the back of the legs when I experienced that hot poker of sciatica – ouch, ouch, ouch.

    When we get off track, we can get back on by losing what un-tracks us. Sounds complicated. It really isn’t.

    Walking in pain is miserable. Who wants to walk when we know if we do, bad things can happen. So why bother.

    By not doing one of our more natural acts, we’re doing a great disservice to our self. It’s a tough situation to be in, you want to walk and then you end up walking with pain.

    Walking has been considered one of the best exercises we can do for any number of health reasons but doesn’t that sound kind of lame. We’re the two legged animal, this is what we’re here to do. Walking in pain isn’t the option we’d like.

    Walking with pain and compensations

    A couple of considerations to amble easily is to have things arranged with less compensations or habits of movement which no longer serve us.

    If we live with a rotated hip and it clunks or doesn’t move well, this can have negative effects on the knee, ankle or our back. We’ll do a walking rather than ambulate with ease and grace.

    Tight, stiff, overly tensed leg muscles which restrict or inhibit movement may result from compensatory habits, injuries or even lack of water. Diet plays a role since the muscles need fuel. Re-programming our movement patterns, on the other hand, has been lost on many people.

    If we’re not self-correcting, we’re missing opportunities to lengthen muscles back into shape. Those lazy dogs which sleep all day usually don’t miss a beat and pandiculate themselves after periods of being sedentary.

    If we’re sitting for hours on end for instance, this type of day in day out programming doesn’t help us walk any better. The muscles atrophy towards dis-use which furthers our inflexible hobbling ways.

    The good news is, we can reprogram the muscles so walking in pain no longer afflicts us. We can improve the connections of our muscles by moving our parts lazily around in a conscious manner where the brain resets tension levels.

    Reducing tension allows us to self-correct, change our compensations and gives us new ways to move so walking with pain no longer is an issue.

    Walking with pain online class

    To end our uncomfortable ways, you can learn some simple, easy movements which resets our muscles back to comfortable resting levels. When our muscles are programmed to be more relaxed, they remember how to get there more quickly.

    Please join me for an online class of somatics exercises where you’ll learn how to lessen walking with pain. All you have to do is lie down, listen, and follow along to free things up.

    Recapturing our youthful ways of movement is a memory not long forgotten, we just haven’t accessed the part of our brain which can restore and refresh our muscles so walking with pain is a thing of the past we can forget.

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      Better Walking

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      Better walking by not walking?

      I remember when I could barely walk 50 feet and my shoulders would sear in pain and my ongoing tight back… well it would simply stiffen more as I trudged my way through it like a trooper. Why oh why?

      Good news is, I was moving. The bad news, it wasn’t getting better and so after some time I just learned to continue to move painfully and suck it up.

      So what can we do about better walking?

      To be able to facilitate better walking, just imagine those lost feelings we had of childlike, easy movement.

      We all know how well a panther can move.

      Setting up movement is what all healthy vertebrate animals do before they have to run away or go after the prey.

      Walking with stiffness like a zombie scared a lot of us as kids. Why did we lose our childlike feelings of easy, effortless movement? Is this the reward of aging or forgetting to move like an animal.

      Better Walking by Not Exercising

      The other side of the coin is using our brain, the one big muscle, to facilitate better mobility, agility and flexibility naturally as all healthy vertebrate animals do.

      Simply through the conscious act of a pandiculation which has been systematized as somatics exercises can we move more effectively.

      Somatics is not exercise in the traditional manner since all we are doing is using the brain to decrease excessive muscular contraction levels.

      By decreasing those levels, we can move more easily so better walking is accomplished through the release of held muscular positions that we consciously can’t let go off or those that we aren’t aware of in the moment.

      You can access this online class for better walking now.

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      Exercises for the Lower BodyWe often find less pain, no pain, improved mobility, better balance, better focus and concentration as a result of doing exercises for the lower body in a differentiated manner.

      Somatics exercises for the lower body can be thought of as engaging our self with the sub-programs of movement through an act of differentiation.

      Movement software update – Exercises for the lower body

      We’re not only re-programming how we move via our brain’s cortex, we can notice the distinct and different quality of the movement or of the resulting relaxation which occurs with somatics exercises for the lower body.

      When we were younger, smaller and much lighter, we spent hours and hours of programming and re-reprogramming our movement patterns through many patterns of differentiation.

      As we’ve aged and used those earlier programs, maybe we figured we have all the programs and don’t need to update the movement software anymore. We might have forgotten about the quality of differentiation when it comes to exercises for the lower body.

      For ourself and our physical development, when did we end tweaking our movement software?

      What is the proper amount?

      Healthy animal exercises for the lower body

      Healthy vertebrate animals naturally do 7-10 movement updates in the morning and 40-50 periodically throughout the day.

      While this may sound like a lot of movements to do to remain healthy. Read this article on a motion tracking study.

      Many of us have done 3 sets of 20 or lots of aerobics when it comes to exercises for the lower body. This shifts us into the brain’s cerebellum, which does learned movement.

      The somatics approach to exercise differs by having the focus not be on the higher number of repetitions but on the quality of movement itself.

      Somatics exercises for the lower body is about the act of movement itself along with the intention and precise angle of articulation so our motor cortex becomes highly involved and can change how the muscles function and come to rest.

      These types of exercises for the lower body advances a cumulative approach to improving coordination, awareness, heightened balanced, and sharper sense of ourself.

      Exercises for the lower body with a twist.

      By changing our relationship with gravity, this small twist on doing exercises for the lower body is enough of a difference for our muscular tissues to evolve towards higher function.

      When we change our effort, or even interrupt a pattern with our intention, this furthers along our brain to help the sub-program of movement to improve.

      In this week’s Friday’s online class, we’re going to play with more exercises for the lower body doing the unusual somatics exercises in the normal way as well as in other differentiated and interesting ways.

      You’ll consciously interrupt the simple 3 step method and learn a few newer ways to enhance the practice of somatics exercises in this class for exercises for the lower body.

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      Exercises for Lower Body

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      Exercises for lower body can come in handy when you’re a senior athlete.

      Instead of preparing to run or lift weights for this past weekend’s Washington State Senior Games, I chose to do some un-conventional exercises for lower body.

      Exercises for lower body. The other side of the coin.

      As a senior athlete, I’m very interested in how my muscles can return to function as quickly as possible. By working with the space between our ears, namely the brain’s cortex, we can reset the muscles back to a comfortable resting place so they won’t ache, complain and need any ibuprofen.

      Exercises for lower body equals gold medal.Getting the gold is one thing, being able to be comfortable afterwards and ready to play again is another.

      Rewiring the brain with exercises for lower body using somatics exercises takes out any compensations and substitution patterns.

      Since many of us substitute or compensate with our muscles, to regain better function through a re-wiring process with our given structure… takes time.

      It is in the very time of now, we can observe how we can change our self.

      Taking steps to increase our function with exercises for lower body even during an event can allow us to move well especially after the competition is over.

      Limping to the car and looking forwards to the hot tub is what some people will do.

      Athletes who struggle with compensations are like the many people who have to be athletic just to move their body around by pulling themselves or trying to move rather than it being more effortless, easy and comfortable.

      Undo the compensations with exercises for lower body

      Are we all so far away from graceful movements? Hardly, if only we were to re-program the muscles, then we’d get to experience that youthful wonderful movement we once had or were denied.

      By working with the brain, we can lessen the negative output to the muscles. We can take out the stress and excessive tension.

      What I mean is the excessive tension and holding patterns that muscles will do based on habits, shortening of our muscles and even things like dietary issues and medications which compound how we can effectively move.

      Exercises for lower body can be done with the least effort when our brain organizes movement in an efficient manner. We can regulate this time and time again.

      To manipulate ourself well in space, to move as well as you can… doesn’t require hard work, just focused attention on how well you can move.

      As we become consistent, then we restore our natural ability to do what all healthy vertebrate animals do which is moving with awareness.

      The quieter we become in ourselves, the more we’ll notice… and there’s a lot beneath the surface if we dare to venture inwards. We can sense how our compensations can unwind with unique exercises for lower body.

      Unlike stretching or strengthening, with somatics exercises you are engaging the brain’s motor cortex where the learning of movement occurs as well as the resetting of the muscle’s length.

      Exercises for lower body to un-lock muscles

      With the number of substitution patterns and compensations we’ve created, we can still unlock and unlearn those so we can improve our movement patterns which is vital to moving well for the long run.

      Even certain training habits and the usual exercises for lower body where we’ve been cued a certain way may have fostered a furthering of compensations unless we took the time to release those compensatory habits.

      Moving with natural patterns rather than conditioned patterns allows us to return to moving freely. Then, we use those conditioned patterns in the games and activities we enjoy.

      With our 600 muscles and 17 layers of muscles, it’s no wonder some of the aches and concerns we have remain a mystery or are left un-resolved.

      We can help resolve things with unusual exercises for lower body. We can go back into our sense of movement and notice the adjustments which take place.

      By noticing our own self-adjustments, we can master the art of moving well before, during and after our competitions, games and dances.

      Becoming aware of how we hold ourself, we can truly let go and return to moving effortlessly and easily with some unusual exercises for lower body known as somatics.

      Want to change the quads, psoas, and other leg muscles in a very different and easy way?

      Join us this week, Friday August 5th for an online class on exercises for lower body.

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