Archive for Self-care
Can too much sugar wreak havoc on the best of our efforts to remain healthy?
So we may have to clear our way through the maze of 30 years of nutrition misinformation to get back on track.
Those efforts pay the dividends of living an easier life.
At the heart of our practice in Somatics Exercises is the notion of self-regulation to ease discomfort and regain comfort so it can be maintained.
While our main focus has to do with the application of conscious brain-based movement towards refining our self-perception and the subtle feelings which can flow as a result of natural processes.
This intimate knowledge gives you a leg up on how you feel and how your body responds to life.
When we eat, our senses can be fooled and we can simply overindulge without knowing why since the brain is getting tricked.
So our healthy efforts are like moving 1 step forwards, 1/2 a step back or more.
It’s no wonder the majority of us are weighing 25 lbs. more than 20 years ago.
Look at this about our fat intake (from the Bitter Truth).
Our brain’s are having to deal with food-beverage trickery and our body, well you know the story.
Heck, when I won a t-shirt for winning intramural sports at the University of Texas in the late 70’s, I was given a large.
A couple of years ago, I was given a Wall of Fame large t-shirt to commemorate the past.
Wouldn’t you know when I compared the present to the past t-shirt. The large got larger.
Doing the Right Thing
So, at sporting events for young and older duffers like myself, I continue to see how athletes (and many people in general) are moving backwards, though they “think” they are doing the right thing.
Having kids hydrate with Gatorade is not in their best interests for the long run since their brains too can begin to form a stubborn habit to change.
Our subtle senses, which serve us through feedback mechanisms, can go through an ongoing temporary battle over a longer run causing a disarray and host of unhealthy problems.
Self-regulation is about learning and tweaking to live the fully healthy life you deserve. So some of those best efforts and right things to do have to change.
Plus, it can be fun where we come to understand how sometimes the simple things in life are quite powerful.
When it comes to regulating sugar – which can be difficult in these times – watch the Bitter Truth below.
This is heady stuff so you can watch the long version below
Not nice to have our brain think it is starving and take us on that path.
All that sugar consumption is helping to continue a downward spiral in healthy activities. Bummer!
For a another and shorter version, watch this.
Learn more how we self-regulate and bring the brain and body up to speed so you can stay on a healthy track.
Feeling good is your natural birthright.
Yet as we age our share of aches, bumps, dings, stiff feelings and various types of pain can add up depending upon our circumstances and the activities we choose to do or not.
To reverse the accumulation of life’s hurts and recapture the full pleasure in your body on a daily basis can happen when you remind yourself to…
Move Like an Animal
You see, all the healthy animals on the planet with a spine, tap into the brain to reset tension levels so they can move with comfort, agility and grace.
The human animal can too with a simple conscious 3 step plan to get the brain, body and nervous system revitalized to restore feelings of confident comfort.
So whether we feel stiff from everyday life, work or even the games and activities you enjoy or grind our way through.
There is a natural way for the brain & body to reverse stiffness and pain so we won’t have to beat on our muscles, ice, heat or use any of those balms just in order to be able to move a little easier in the first place.
Given our present understanding of the brain and how it’s like a piece of software we can change and modify.
We’ve been able to systematize what works in nature in order to upgrade both the brain and body so it can be programmed to ease tension, pain and stiffness naturally.
In the book, Move Like an Animal, you will learn:
• The 3 Simple Steps to Reduce Stiffness & Feel Pain Free
• How You Can Restore Your Natural Birthright to Feel Comfortable and in Control
In what I call, the issues in the tissues, you have the ability to use your brain and body in symphony to restore and recover those lost feelings of–feeling like your self again—even if things presently continue to stay amped up, stiff or painful.
• The One Key Movement to Feel Better Now
• How to Relieve Stress & Tension Confidently
• and Overcome Compensations which can be a Factor
In the animal world, healthy animals set themselves up daily for successful movement.
The ability to be agile, flexible and move in balance and grace is set up by the same natural neural mechanisms you too can access.
If you want to:
– Maintain comfortable mobility
– Restore natural flexibility
– and Bring back the feelings of pleasure back in your body,
Then Move Like an Animal is for you.
Feel Free Again
Through a unique, counter-intuitive approach, you can feel how to:
• Loosen Up Tightness
• Release Stiffness
• and Feel the Binds Melt Away.
“The old traditional approach is sadly behind the times in preparing our bodies for strenuous activities and in rehabilitating the discomforts that impeded our life and competitive efforts. The new frontiers of understanding brain plasticity have given us exciting insights that can be controlled through brain-altering stimulation. This exciting application of the latest brain science will benefit healthy and recuperating people alike on all levels.”
-Timothy Berger, BA, MA, RN, ATC. Professor of Sports Science, Muskingum Univerisy
Since there may be those times when we may be guarding to protect a sore, tight or painful area.
Having the know-how to release it—is of great value when you need to let high tension levels or feelings of stress in the body simmer back down.
The Nature of Movement Itself
This is inherently different since it’s not about the range of motion – its more about the quality vs the quantity.
The quality and nature of movement itself are what is at stake to remain comfortable for life.
See, those wonderful animals have got this part down.
No quality. They’re a goner.
For the human animal, less than optimal quality can bring all sorts of types of pain and the various binds, stiffness and restrictions we can’t seem to shake in the long run.
Using a series of unique, gentle, conscious movement patterns targeting a specific part of the brain can restore childlike feelings of freedom.
All of this set up by the brain so you can remain comfortable as you age.
Even if you over do it, your brain and body can change quickly without even resorting to pills.
“A doctor gave me muscle relaxants and pain medication for a painful incident at work. Instead, I did a few movements and my pain was gone and I’m back to normal. It’s amazing, this works.”
-Debbie Elliott, Registered Nurse
Since animals know how to relax and let go of tension on a daily basis…
The good news is. Your brain & body is waiting for you to tap into this same conscious power source to:
– Feel more relaxed,
– and Be able to sleep more easily too.
“Filled with practical advice. This is a very useful book for anyone who wants to move and feel better. I will recommend this book to my clients.”
-Dr. Del Millers, author of Fitness & Spirituality
What Move Like an Animal is About
The book begins with the ‘Animal Secret’ act that even the human animal did as a baby.
Once we remind ourself of this forgotten or lost ability, the brain remembers what to do to reset similar to the way we update our computers.
Down the Rabbit Hole
The brain is described as the one big muscle working with various feedback loops you can use to reset both stiffness and pain.
You’ll learn which ones those are and how to access them to return to the comfort zone.
A shift from the revved up sympathetic state to the more relaxed parasympathetic state of calm happens when you tap into the specific part of the brain
See, from a more relaxed state, the muscles are ready to be used rather than starting from a somewhat or higher rate of tension. This is what fatigues and wears a lot of us down.
We’ve lost that ability to de-rev naturally since the brain will keep certain programs running like a car idling in 2nd or 3rd gear, instead of neutral.
In the exercise and therapy world, compensations are readily seen and can throw us off center. Even though we can figure out how to use our body. We may be struggling or use more energy un-necessarily.
Compensations can shift as tension levels abate since the muscles are more relaxed to allow the bones to fall in place so we don’t end up fighting or struggling against gravity.
Then exercise or physical activity actually becomes freer and easier.
Proprioception is how we feel our movement and the positions we find ourself in.
The proprioceptive police may show up with signs of mis-alignment, pain, discomfort, tightness and on-going stress which further wears us down.
-Edward Barrera, Move Like an Animal
Brain Based Approach
You’ll get a birds-eye view as how this is the complete reverse to most approaches – since it is brain based.
Rather than going for range of motion, which can actually reinforce tension and keep certain brain programs in check.
Even painful events like a muscle spasm can be reverse engineered, released and restored to comfort on account of targeting the brain.
Making the Connection
Sensing, feeling and probing around gently opens insights as to how you are connected among your 17 layers of muscles and fascia.
The fascia which has more sense receptors than the muscles are part of the movement system.
When you delve deeply into the sensory-motor system, lost or forgotten connections begin to wake-up so that even sitting becomes more comfortable.
What to do about Oops, Falls, Strains and Traumas and How A Squirrel Offers a Way Out?
You’ll get to learn how a squirrel opened my eyes to the very method I was learning about and how this act can restore things in ways we may not have thought possible.
The binding process starts.
As we age, the stiffness, the binds and high tension patterns may have been or begun as a result of some type of trauma to our body.
We can accumulate these patterns which can be layered over other traumas.
We can think of this as a temporary ongoing phenomena since the signals to hold on, keep doing their job according to the set program for many, many, many years in some cases.”
-Edward Barrera, Move Like an Animal
R-O-A-R Your Way Back
To recover over any restriction (R-O-A-R).
Free up stiffness, postural or movement difficulties, niggling injuries, high tension levels and the like can be felt when you recognize how the brain is set up to serve you, so you can remain comfortable for life.
For those of you who really want to take things another step further.
Check out the back of the book where you can get access to the free audio version of the movements.
By listening, you’ll tap into another part of the brain which will deepen your experience to heal, restore and revitalize like a human animal can.
Ready to Move Like an Animal Again
After having lived a life of chronic pain and earning the label of fibromyalgia, I can say “it feels great to have more good days than bad ones”.
It’s my great pleasure to have Amazon bestseller, Move Like an Animal, out now in paperback and digital so you too can R-O-A-R back into life and feel the full pleasure of your body returning and maintaining even as you age.
Your brain and body can feel free, relaxed and in control.
So are your ready to Move Like an Animal for the rest of your comfortable life?
Are you in the Nap Zone?
Want to remember more easily, be more productive and have better health?
Then take an afternoon zzzzz according to Brain Rules author, John Medina.
NASA found pilots performed better when they took a short afternoon siesta. No wonder why my dogs use this same strategy and somehow continue to move well in a moment’s notice.
In the afternoon, your brain will try to get you to go down. In our hectic, busy, everyday life, our mind has got to keep us going so we can go-go-go and do-do-do. In the middle is a battle of the brain cells telling you one thing and you getting your brain cells to do another.
Or is it you ate too much pasta for lunch and you just wanna lie down with a fully belly?
The loss of sleep can harm you. You can get in a foul mood, your logical reasoning can slow, and your attention can drift.
Napping On the Job
While it may be hard to convince your boss, napping on the job or napping during the day may help. People like Pablo Picasso and many others knew napping, increased productivity.
The evidence is gaining and we can all benefit just like other countries or regions which understand how nature has some of the answers to better health built in. Or you can watch or ask Fido.
Check out John’s book, Brain Rules, and find out more napping benefits and other cool brainiac things which can lead to a healthier and fun productive life.
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.
Are you a back whisperer? Can you take yourself or someone you know out of a back spasm fairly quickly?
Unless of course you’re a back whisperer.
While most adults have experienced back pain, some 14% of us will live with it for several days. 26% of us live with back pain for the entire day. That’s just wrong or so I say having had to endure back pains in my 20’s & 30’s.
The Back Whisperer and Back Spasms
Recently a client explained how he had helped a boy recover within 10 minutes from some back spasms.
“I was just at leadership camp and a kid went down with severe spinal spasms. I took a nod from you and moved him from completely rigid and incapacitated to walking around normally in under 10 minutes. Very cool.”
The kids who witnessed this now call him the back whisperer.
That is pretty cool since 39% of us live with back pain for a few hours. Are these people their own back whisperer or what is it that most of us do to overcome back pain?
Half, that’s 50% of the people pop pills. A good 1/4 use over the counter measures while 1/5 use prescriptions.
For the rest of us that are trying to do something about it, 34% do stretches some other type of exercises. Men outnumber women in terms of the percentages who are doing something.
Back Whisperer – Men or More Women
Does this mean women already do something right? Do they have less back pain? Do they know the way of the back whisperer?
In any case, the back whisperer secret is free for all of us to try. You can join our free mini-course and learn how to do the very maneuvers the back whisperer used on his young charge.
Hanna Somatic Educators know how fast back spams can resolve by carefully moving in simple, easy movement patterns when coupled with our awareness. By being aware of our movements, we resolve many holding tension patters and as a result, your body may say thank you.
Be Your Own Back Whisperer
No need for pain meds, no special equipment, and no arduous exercise involved. The secret of the back whisperer is awareness.
Instead of being yet another statistic, why not find out for yourself if you can be a back whisperer too.
Next Tuesday, February 7 at 8am (pst) I’ll be appearing on Susan Rich Talks, Blog Talk Radio Show, Rich and Gluten Free.
While I’m a big fan of a gluten free diet, we’ll be talking about living pain free, getting rid of our aches, and losing stress & stiffness as we successfully age using an approach noted as far back as 1680.
Blog Talk Radio – Women 4 Women Network
As the guy who lived with the so-called women’s disease (fibromyalgia), I’m grateful to be asked to be appear on the Women 4 Women Network. They are empowering women both in business and life.
3 Steps to Getting Out of Pain on Blog Talk Radio
I’ll share the 3 simple steps it takes to change those painful signals to ones of pleasure so you can get back to doing what you want again with your body.
You’ll learn some moves you can do. All you have to do is listen and follow along and feel yourself in the 3 step process of what is known as somatics exercises.
Blog Talk Radio and the Divorce Counselor for Stretching
When I was told to stretch to keep myself limber, little did I know I was actually taking myself backwards – even though I spent as much as 2 hours per day doing it, thinking this would help limber me up.
Whew, I had to come through the looking glass with regards to stretching and helping people find their way to aging gracefully. See you on Susan Rich’s blog talk radio show.
Relief for neck pain with an easy relaxation approach
Are you still doing the things you were doing with your neck 10 – 15 years ago? Or are you guarding or immobilizing yourself in order to protect yourself?
Relief for neck pain won’t be achieved through immobilization yet we can use discomfort as our guide to actually have a chance to relax tight, stiff neck muscles which might feel like a brace or vise we’re trapped in.
As we get older, does age prevent us from doing what we want physically in our body or is our accumulation of stress throughout our life taking its toll?
Do we have the capacity to discover a natural way of relief for neck pain by applying a novel approach which has been reported to relax muscles for over 300 years?
Hands-on approach to relief for neck pain
Pandiculations, which the founder of clinical medicine reported in 1680, relaxes our muscles has been systematically used by Hanna Somatic Educators where we teach people how to use the un-exercises of pandiculations systematized as somatics exercises.
Relief for neck pain comes when we un-do tightness, stiffness and regain lost mobility and return to natural flexibility which is comfortable without strain. As we move with greater ease, we can appreciate a greater sense of internal muscular connections.
In the video below, you can find out for yourself if the hip bone is connected to the neck bone. Afterwards you can try the hands-on approach as a means for relief for neck pain.
Simple movement can facilitate our understanding of how we are connected throughout our body. When we lose these connections, we lose a certain sense of ourself. Our internal guide to reset naturally avails itself so that relief for neck pain is felt as natural – as if we knew this all along.
In the many years of exercises I attempted, I had to come through a looking glass to both feel and understand how our brain can rewire the nervous system as we did as children. The conscious act of a pandiculation we did in our mother’s womb has the potential as relief for neck pain when we become reacquainted with a former ability.
Relief for neck pain and more
Please join me in this week’s online un-exercises (or get the replay) on a delightful class for the muscles of the neck and spine – which will include the back and belly as well as a movement for the ribs and hips which will tie everything together.
You’ll also learn to release some muscles in the chest and shoulders too which will help free up the arms.
And you’ll also learn a few more specific hands on techniques like you did in the video above.
Relief for neck pain can be accessed from within without any special equipment, just a little applied know how that you already possess within your nervous system.
An exercise workout plan helps us get results quicker. A faster way may be to use a unique un-exercise plan instead.
Exercise feels better when we’re more comfortable in the first place.
A daily exercise workout plan
Before we think about exercising, we ought to consider what sets us up for comfortable exercise in the first place.
When we get up, we are naturally stiffer since our muscles shorten overnight.
Oh what to do? Normally we think we need to stretch though I venture to say there may be a better exercise workout plan you haven’t considered.
Instead of traditional stretching, contrary to popular belief and the crossed-eyes glazes I get–it is simply unnecessary when you focus on what it takes to do comfortable movement.
Simple, easy movements to articulate our joints primes the muscles for our larger movements throughout the day. After all, you won’t see Fido stretching nor hitting the weights in his exercise workout plan.
Instead, Fido reprograms the muscles first through active movement rather than the traditional stretching ways we’ve been led to belieive.
The most important exercise workout plan
According to Mel Siff, who wrote the book, “Facts and Fallacies of Fitness“… the most important exercise is reprogramming the central nervous system. He considered this to be more important than strength training and aerobics.
This makes obvious sense from a neurophysiological viewpoint. The brain, which can reset our muscles, needs an ongoing updating of its movement software.
We can take out any stiffness, tension and stress which adds up during the day.
This is why healthy animals with a spine naturally reset themselves periodically throughout the day.
When we naturally reprogram our muscles, they are left more functional & relaxed. They are ready to be used since they’ve been given the cue to let go of any residual holding tension.
Muscles which are less tense, move far easier than the ones which keep us bound up. If we’re throwing our parts around like a hobbling zombie, that’s waaay more work than is necessary.
Our brain’s cortex can do the job to reset the muscles. This is why we can use the un-exercise approach of somatics exercises anytime to feel better.
Exercise workout plan class
One of the delightful sets of somatics exercises are called the cat stretch or daily maintenance routine.
This exercise workout plan sets the body up for comfortable movement for the day.
This week, I’ll be teaching a unique and slightly different version of that particular exercise workout plan.
By modifying certain elements, the very exercise routine we accustom our self to, becomes enhanced. In other words, conscious fiddling around pays dividends.
Please join our somatics exercise online class where you’ll hear how someone immediately felt a lot fewer aches and pains with this un-exercise exercise workout plan.
Living with pain we feel in our muscles, nerves, joints, organs and even our skin which hangs around for more than six months is a doorway to chronic pain.
I lived with strange nerve and chronic pain while enduring sciatica, inflammation, tenderness, soreness and stiffness which all attributed to an ongoing state of unhappy muscles, nerves and limited painful movement. It even felt as if I couldn’t get enough breath into the muscles to move easily.
Chronic pain is a thing of the past
When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, it was a relief to learn that the uncomfortable feelings I had been having in my 20’s and 30’s had a name to it.
As a kid, I remember looking at the muscle magazines learning what I needed to do to make this skinny kid into a muscular powerhouse. Even while living in chronic pain, I went to the gyms, stretched, lifted weights, thinking this would be a way out since exercise is usually considered a good thing.
Muscles and Chronic Pain Need Not Co-exist
There are many approaches to helping people naturally overcome chronic pain. You can find out about some of those in this month’s Max Sports & Fitness where yours truly has finally made it in a muscle magazine.
Living with Chronic Pain
Our brain and body can serve us naturally to ward off the stiffness, aches, and pains we feel in our muscles and elsewhere. Through a long series of trials and errors, I stumbled onto how animals naturally self-correct and move so well.
While I believe in a natural aproach of pandiculating, the process animals use. This has been systematized as somatics exercises which offers a key to un-lock muscular stiffness, improve mobility and take us to a place of natural flexibility.
There are other complimentary approaches which can take us a step closer to a life not full of chronic pain. Being free in our body and moving well is our birthright.
Sometimes we need a little help and a plan to get out of chronic pain with the desire we can return to all the fun activities life has to offer.
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.