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Archive for hamstrings

Aug
12

What does Somatics Mean to You?

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The term somatics, coined by author Thomas Hanna, has been described as the body experienced from within.

What Somatics means to others?

When asked the question of what Somatics mean, I wanted to know what our class participants thoughts were. Below is a recording of one answer.


“It’s a fabulous method of healing and releasing muscles and tissues that are tight so they function more normally again. I had a lot of injuries that are resolving now. For me, it’s about releasing in a deep state body of relaxation that you get into when you do it.”

How Somatics Works, Against or With Our Mind

She then went onto to describe how she thinks somatics works at a physiological level.

“So every muscle has receptors that are constantly monitoring its length and its shortening. And very often when we get in tension patterns or have injuries, the muscles really shorten. Then this little feedback loop goes on and its shortened.

Somatics is a way of releasing that. So its really about working with the brain as much as it is working with the muscles. Then these stretch receptors in the muscles let go of that setting and begin to reset themselves to a more normal relaxed one. So… and it works!”

One of the guys in class had this to say: “For the first time in 5 years I had more spring in my step”.

Another woman chimed in: “It’s as if this is going against what our mind would think would work. We’re trained in yoga and every thing I’ve done before. Just gentle stretching is all we need to do. You know that’ll lengthen the muscle.

My experience is my body got tighter and tighter doing that. This morning I woke up and felt like I got run over by a truck because I had not been doing my somatics since I had been gone. It’s a way I manage discomfort in my body. Everything kind of crept back in again.

And I did it this morning. It’s like, it’s suddenly not everything is perfect but I feel perfectly fine. I can move again.”

Somatics, the Fountain of Youth

From one of our dolphin lovers in class…

“One of the things I say to people is… it’s the fountain of youth. It feels on every level to me.

One of the many things I love about it is I have memories what it feels like… and memory isn’t really the word… when I skied or swim with the dolphins… feeling that again, it’s so important and freeing to me.”

If you’ve experienced somatics, what does it mean to you? Please post your comments, let me know or heck even make a video and we’ll take a look at what you have to say!

If you haven’t experienced yourself somatically, you can join us for certain movement patterns we play with to free our hamstrings and back to discover deep relaxation. Find out more at our sister site how somatics can be the other side of exercise to set us free.

Categories : Somatics
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Did you laugh while trying this coordination exercise?

It might have been easy for some of you. 

Could you do it with a sense or feeling of ease rather than struggle or a lot of effort?

For the rest of us who may have teetered or tottered, let’s break it down another way.

Breakdown of this coordination exercise movement

So let’s break down this movement.

While you’re sitting on a surface, you let one knee bend out to the side, while the other knee is bent out in front of you.

It doesn’t matter if your knee (which is bent out to the side) is jacked up in the air.  You do what you can with what you got.

Somatics Coordination Exercise - Knee Out to Side

Grab a hold of the foot of the knee which is not bent out to the side. 

You get a hold of that foot with both hands.

Somatics Coordination Exercise - Hold onto foot

If you can’t reach the foot, then it’s ok to hold the ankle, above the ankle or somewhere on your lower leg.

Then you start to move towards the knee that is on the surface or near it.

But, instead of going for it like you initially might have tried…

Somatics Coordination Exercise - Begin the Movement

STOP HERE Instead.

Stop Somatics Exercise

Then you begin to reverse course.

Somatics Coordination Exercise - Reverse course

Then once you get back to where you started.

STOP Again.

Somatics Coordination Exercise - Stop, Rest, Pause

When you move again.

“IF”

If moving over that far was a bit of a struggle.  Then on the next attempt you can either move less or try it again.

When you do it again, try and feel as much as you can in terms of where the effort is coming from.

If it wasn’t a struggle, then move out only that far (just a little ways).  See if you can make that smaller movement with a slower and smoother return.

Next Move

So now that you’ve got the idea.

“If’ you want to venture out a little further, then go ahead and move a little further out or towards the floor.

Remember you don’t have to.

You could “think” about going further out when you reach your comfort zone of that movement.

Somatics Exercise - Thinking or Just a Little Further

Once again, stop if you ventured out a little further either physically or mentally in your mind’s eye.

Then reverse course and…

Somatics Exercise - FEEL as Much as You Can

This is where the goods are at.

By feeling what in the heck is going on.

Like any of the shifts or wobbles.

Now you’re using your brain to “watch” and/or “feel” what is going on.

Rest again.

Then if you’re comfortable or you wanna check it out.

You can go for it.  (In your mind’s eye too).

Somatics Exercise - Roll onto Elbow

Then when you reverse course…

Somatics Coordination Exercise - Reverse Course from this Point

Once again “feel” as much as you can.

What muscles are you using?

Where do you feel all the action happening?

If you wobble or weeble on the way back, that’s ok.

By the way… Were you holding your breath or gritting your teeth to “do” the movement?

The Other Side

So when you go to the other side.

Keep in mind you don’t have to go for it… unless you want to.

Somatics Coordination Exercise - The Other Side

If it’s hard or a struggle on the other side…

Then either do less.

Or “think” you can and simply feel whatever you can as you do or imagine that particular movement taking place.

Coordination Exercise for Natural Flexibility

First, a movement which looks easy takes a lot of:

  • coordinating actions
  • a good sense of mobility
  • and natural flexibility.

Mobility, is the ability to move easily or freely.

This is what sets up an ability to remain comfortably flexible.

Things have got to start moving first before any of us can reach certain states of flexibility.

The way we do this with somatics exercises – which is the reverse to most approaches out there – has more to do with the brain and body.

See, we achieve natural flexibility by not stretching.

We are targeting the brain in a precise manner so you can feel as much as you can using feedback loops like your sensory-motor system.

Somatics Coordination Exercise - Sensory Motor Feedback Loop

Since the brain communicates to the muscles, we get the muscles to be more adept at their jobs by reprogramming the brain’s software.

This brain update allows us to use a more refined level of mobility, so flexibility is more easily maintained.

So if you’ve got your mobility and flexibility, then coordinating movements or exercises like this one, can be relatively easy.

No struggle, no fuss.

Effortless Movement

So what appears as effortless movement is a brain and body event.

Many of us can do it or get back to it by reprogramming our movement software using an easy 3 step method.

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This mimics what is naturally done by ALL the healthy vertebrate animals…

Healthy vertebrate animals are doing it

But we take things a step further by applying more conscious attention.

Developing or redeveloping the ability of effortless movement can be gained using the brain’s intent to do or imagine certain specific movement patterns.

This coordination exercise is a kind of a higher level somatics exercise.

This might be something we’d do at the end of putting together a number of other movements before we’d attempt it.

Though it’s good to test it out first.   To see and feel where you are at.

Then we can break it down further using other differentiated patterns of gentle, easy movements so you can arrive back with better control.

Coordination Exercise to Build Strength

You can naturally and quickly develop the requisite strength by setting up the building blocks of movement so a coordination exercise such as this one… becomes effortless.

While it might feel as if you gotta give it some oomph.  Strength can be achieved in many ways.

Somatics exercises lead us down this path as we need the requisite freedom in movement of our smaller muscles to move the larger ones.

Then we can more fully appreciate different levels of easy coordination on the way back to recapturing lost or forgotten abilities.

Somatics Exercises Coordination Class

Somatics exercises were initially designed to help people overcome all sorts of pain from all sorts of activities.

Even if we’re in the couch potato group – which don’t get me wrong – I love lounging out too.

Easy, gentle movements, which are broken down into manageable parts, paves the way for easier movement overall.

Conscious movement done with a simple 3 step method – frees the body so comfort returns again and again.

We’d love for you to join our somatics freeing the back, hamstrings, coordination class where you’ll get the chance to see and feel how your hamstrings and back will lengthen, somatically speaking.

You’ll get to explore movements for the back, hamstrings and knees too.

And you’ll learn the simple trick of knowing what to use to make this coordination movement feel and look easy.

Somatics Exercises Class 34 - Freeing the Back, Hamstrings, Coordination

So, let me know if this somatics coordination exercise movement was easy or a bit of a laugh.

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Oct
23

Hamstrung by Hamstring Exercises

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Have you been hamstrung and tried all sorts of hamstring exercises lately?

Hamstring Exercises

Those muscles behind the back of the legs can be tight and stiff in spite of our attempts to loosen them by stretching.

Is it possible to release other muscles associated in a causal chain of movement which will allow the hamstrings to be more comfortable?

Somatics hamstring exercises focus on the brain’s ability to release chemicals of relaxation so the hammies are free to move about without all the stiffness or tightness we carry around with us.

Hamstring exercises and a tight back

Many times, a stiff back is what prevents hamstring exercises from being effective. You can actually tighten things without realizing it, if you push contracted muscles beyond their set limits.

Freeing up the back is often necessary for the hamstrings to function more effectively.

Not only that, we may need to free up the shoulders, which if left too contracted, can have adverse effects all the way down to those screaming hammies. Ouch!

Somatics hamstring exercises class

Instead of the usual hamstring exercises and approaches, somatics exercises work with the brain’s cortex to release held muscular contraction levels which frees up the hamstrings.

Having a more flexible back, looser shoulders, more functional abdominal muscles and a freer neck allows the hamstring to work in concert with certain patterns of movements.

Hamstring exercises while all well and good, may not provide the necessary connection towards freer movement overall.

Join us  for our unique set of movements and hamstrings exercises which can surprise you in their effectiveness and ease of movement afterwards.

Somatics is often the reverse of most approaches out there since we use the brain to focus on freeing up movement rather than the brawn of exercise.

Hamstring exercises can be fun when we coordinate entire movement sequences which will ultimately free the hamstrings and undo being hamstrung.

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