Archive for Pandiculation
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
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.
When trauma happens, our brain and nervous system naturally takes our body into a reflexive protective pattern. It doesn’t have to take much, a simple fall or repeated falls if you engage in more rough and tumble activities such as soccer.
Does the brain and nervous system let us live with stiff, tight muscles?
When we bear our weight more on one side or one leg, we tend to stand a bit shifted. Even if we mouse more on one side, we can develop a habit of using our muscles more on one side of ourself and before we know it, those side muscles tend to be a bit stiffer & less flexible.
Some of us tend to be more laterally flexed. You’ll see this when a neck slightly bends more to one side or the spine has what we call scoliosis. Either the spine is off center, the hip can be elevated, we feel short waisted or we’ve been told we have a leg length discrepancy.
To let go of our holding, habitual, protective patterns which are being programmed into the brain and nervous system can be accomplished with a little neurological rewiring which somatics exercises provide.
Change the brain and nervous system with the mind and body
Far more encompassing that just a body approach. With somatics we are dealing with both mind and body and the relationship of the sensory motor system.
Wherever we are compromised, we take alternate routes neurologically which may be less than optimal yet serve to move us around as well as we can. These states are temporary and can become more fixed. We forget the feel of what youthful movement was like. This state can last for years or repeat itself in cycles when we can not overcome a niggling injury or have something reoccur more often than we’d like.
If the pathways of the brain and nervous system are clear, the lines of communication facilitate better overall movement and comfort. Moving with less effort leads us to states of graceful movement we can achieve through our very own self-corrective living process using the brain and nervous system.
If we end up dragging ourself around or into ourself or stumble and have lost our youthful coordinated ways. We’re only moments away from restoring more graceful and balanced movements. The brain and nervous system are set up waiting for us to use it to more positive means.
As we age, certain concerns like balance or breaking a hip come up. An animal survives when it can move well. As the human animal we can survive without moving well yet our animals teach us the way back to getting on track through the act of pandiculation which we’ve known for some time can bring our muscles to rest.
A mindful pandiculation uses both the brain and nervous system to reset ourself. Somatics exercises are a system of differentiated pandiculations to enhance our mobility and restore natural flexibility. By paying attention and using our conscious awareness, we raise our game of moving well for life.
Brain and nervous system class
Through the conscious use of our sensory motor system, we can undo that which has been our undoing for some time.
By adding depth and dimensions to our movements opens our proprioceptive ability. We can sense our joint position and self-adjust to more positive feelings. The brain and nervous system are effectively used.
Whereas other approaches focus on the body, we can use what the brain and body are exhibiting to use that information towards self-mastery and understanding our inherent nature to move well using the brain and nervous system.
Our very own keen senses can lead us towards the comfort we seek and the very one we can maintain as we age.
Please check out these somatics exercises classes for future enjoyment of your brain and nervous system as well both the mind and body to recapture those childlike feelings of moving well for life.
Healthy adults can do kids stuff to remind our muscles how comfortable they can feel once again and again.
Pandiculation is kids stuff
Most of us began to pandiculate in the 7th week of our life. If we’re a healthy adult, we continue this very natural act to reset our muscles and movement system. This gives us comfortable movement.
If not, we can remind our nervous system of its former ability and bring it back to consciousness. This ability reminds us of our feelings of well-being.
The kids stuff we used to do fortunately has been systematized as somatics exercises which are gentle, easy reminders to self-adjust our muscles back to the comfort zone.
Kids stuff reboots our movement software
The systematic somatics exercises allows us to explore our internal terrain in novel ways which fosters the development of our brain’s motor cortex as well as re-eliciting our capacity in our sensory cortex to sense ourself at finer levels.
For instance, the simple act of breathing can be opened up merely by pandiculating ourself to improved health.
This type of kids stuff is relevant at all ages… and this type of kids stuff reboots our movement software towards better breathing and more comfort in our movement system.
Stiffness or stiff movements are learned over a lifetime and are replicated as a habit. Can we dissolve what seems like chronic or acute stiffness… you betcha we can. Remind ourself of the former kids stuff we used to do and we can feel the stiffness let go in our back, shoulders, and neck for example.
A healthy vertebrate animal moves with ease, grace, suppleness and in harmony since its movement system is coordinated and not bound up, down, sideways or held twisted.
Can we free ourself back to more harmonious states? Could some simple easy kids stuff be the ticket?
Paying attention to our internal state while we are moving allows us to recalibrate. Our body knows the way back to reset ourself to comfortable states. It’s simply a matter of kids stuff when you get right down to it.
In our earlier kids stuff moments we were highly engaged in a learning matter. Now, we can rekindle this relationship of movement, let go of it artfully, then we remember how we re-navigate our internal terrain towards ease in moving around.
Sometimes we can experience a flash from the past, we can bump into past difficulties and yet smooth things out. In any case, we are re-establishing a finer way to move and self-adjust our entire movement system.
The quality of a movement rather than the strength or force of a movement is what sets us free. The precision in which we can be aware of our internal arrangements is a path to greater ease and freeing up our muscles to regain mobility while restoring natural flexibility.
When we reacquaint ourself with the method or process of natural reorganization, we might keep doing this kids stuff for the rest of our comfortable life.
Kids Stuff Class for Adults
When we’re injured it might feel as if we’re beginning from scratch to move around. All the bracing, holding on and tensing may seem normal yet when we let go of our holding patterns more quickly, we reboot as we did as children.
You can join me for an online kids stuff somatics exercise class. All you have to do is listen and follow along to remind yourself of how easy, simple movements can unlock tight, stiff, holding patterns. The brain will take care of it in seconds.
You’ll get to free up the back, shoulders, neck and hips in our one hour+ kids stuff class where you can join us live or get the replay.
Pains in the shoulder, stiffness, weakness and even pain while sleeping on the side can be lessened with a simple set of exercises for rotator cuff. Over time, the situation can become chronic or if you’ve had surgery, it may be necessary to keep the shoulder functional.
The rotator cuff area allows us to both internally and externally rotate our shoulders while also letting us move the shoulder away, out and up to the side.
A Different Set of Exercises for Rotator Cuff
Normally both stretching and strengthening exercises are recommended by doctors, and orthopedists. Physical therapists will have you follow this protocol.
They may want you stretch after doing a reach up the wall or have you strengthen in between the shoulders. While the idea is good, we can go about it in a more intelligent fashion and manner so that the muscles lose their restriction and regain their function.
Instead of the heresy of stretching, we can pandiculate the tight, restrictive areas so those areas regain both both function and remain limber.
Somatics exercises for rotator cuff, on the other hand, use the process of pandiculation to regain mobility and give us back our function so that we can comfortably move the shoulder area back and forth and up and out to the side in this case.
A Diversity of Exercises for Rotator Cuff
With a number of stretches and strengthening exercises for rotator cuff, you learn to hold things for a period of time or do numbers of repetitions.
With somatics, we target the brain’s motor cortex. It can reset the muscles so they “remember” their function. This higher level of intelligence doesn’t require the physical strain that most people endure, instead we use our awareness of the quality of the movement. We can sense the connections we use when we move our shoulders about. This gives us a better range.
Exercises target muscles where intelligent movement takes care of the movement system which includes more muscles since we are of one piece. One integrated movement system, rather than the parts, which allows for greater cohesion and more effortless movement in general.
This gentler yet highly intelligent approach, gives us the ability to create more options to move despite the very ones we’ve guarded against or haven’t done on account of the binds holding things together.
Exercises for Rotator Cuff Class
A diversity of movement lets the brain thrive too. By going cortical, the brain creates more cells, it releases chemicals of relaxation, and we restore and recover naturally rather than forcing, straining or pushing our way through it.
“Being” with our movement system is another tack or way to move more comfortably about. To be free and regain our strength is simple.
You can join us in this week’s somatics class: Diversify Your Movement Portfolio – Exercises for Rotator Cuff. You may join us either online, by phone or get the replay.
In the little over an hour class, you’ll learn a number of different ways and movement patterns to experience how simple somatics is and yet how much power you can have.
The diversity found in the exercises for rotator cuff class will give you plenty of intelligent ammo to keep the shoulders and more, happy for life.
Does Fido understand the art of movement better than us?
The Art of Movement Loosens Stiffness
Aging seems to come with a price of more stiffness, less mobility and flexibility which is a long forgotten memory. So why does Fido continue to move well as he ages?
Simply put, he pandiculates. He sets himself up for successful movement when he practices what appears as those morning stretches. Instead of stretching, he is contracting himself along a series of muscles in order to gain both relaxation and function.
This art of movement practice virtually goes unnoticed by us yet is key to moving well.
Free Muscle Cramps with the Art of Movement
When is the last time you saw Fido run and get a muscle cramp? All we have to do is rollover in bed… and out go the lights. Ouch!
To free a muscle cramp or muscular spasm is no big deal when you come to understand the art of movement which will easily and surely release what seems to be a mystery for many.
A tight, tensed up muscle releases itself not by pulling away in the opposite direction. This forceful method continues to be the way most people go at it.
On the flipside is to use an internal switch by learning how to tune down the built-up or holding tension. This is done by subtle movements in the direction of the offending signal.
Obviously there is an art of movement required here, yet anyone can learn how to successfully release a cramp.
The Art of Movement At Home
Good news is you don’t have to travel far to regain or master the art of movement.
Please join me for an online somatics exercise class where you’ll gain access to the art of movement using the power of subtlety to erase stiffness, regain mobility and restore the lost sense of flexibility.
Youthful movement isn’t just for the young. The art of movement can be practiced at any age.