A loss of balance can happen even if we’re messing around with our body.
Balance can seem elusive at times since certain factors can affect it and our brain.
1 – Compensations
For example, our shoulders can round forwards.
It’s not uncommon to see this coupled with the palms facing backwards.
You might think. No big deal. Yet, this out of neutral.
Neutral is when the palms face each other.
Move both shoulders forwards and feel if your chest sinks or slumps a little.
You know how when we have a bad day, how we can slump. While it is OK and normal to have a bad day here or there.
Life can add up to form this posture and keep us out of balance.
2 – Stress or Tension
This type of posture can lead to discomfort in the chest or upper back.
This can compound when high stress levels add the weight of our world on our shoulders.
Fun life events can take us down too.
See, as a sports fan, if you follow a team like I do which has not won a championship the past 50 years. Replaying this can have a negative affect. I’ve slumped many times over what should or could be fun.
Of course, when your team finally wins. The joy can send you to the moon!
So life and how we take part can affect us. This can challenge our internal balance where the brain can get altered.
Comfort & Safety to Restore Balance
If things are off kilter, one way to get back in balance is to tap into the brain to change it for the better.
You can change the brain by coupling the act of doing a movement with feeling how your body actually moves.
This may sound simple. Yet movement is a high level orchestrated event.
Even if you live in states of chronic pain, high tension or stress. There can be a small window where there is comfort or safety.
Doing vs. Feeling
See, the “doing” of a movement is one thing.
The “feel or sensing” at a deep level is another.
These are two distinct parts.
This may not be obvious to an outside observer who sees only the doing.
When you direct the mind and body together, this is what can help restore balance.
Exercise is generally considered a good thing.
The word “exert” may give the idea that it has to be hard work.
We tend to flip it and rather than exert, we focus on easy, gentle movement done with a level of awareness.
This is a far different approach than regular exercise where that is “more about doing”.
Moving with awareness couples the doing and the feeling.
There is much less exertion and more focus involved.
R.O.M. vs Q.O.M
Regular exercise may go for range of motion (ROM).
Moving with awareness is about quality of motion (QOM).
You tap into or notice the inherent quality of your own unique manner of movement taking place.
See, the movement system involves many layers of muscles and fascia.
The fascia which covers the muscles has more sense receptors than the muscles.
So from a qualitative view, there’s a lot that can be going on underneath the surface of a simple movement.
Plus, you can do and feel this in a playful, gentle or lazy manner. Yet, you can tune in and recharge at a very high level.
By tuning in, this is how we can change a posture and restore balance.
Not by trying to go for it or with force. You learn how to regain control with feeling and doing at a surprising minimal level.
So, to help with that. Here are…
8 Somatics Tips for Balance
Somatics, defined as the body experienced.
Since we focus on movement, you can apply this to exercise too!
1. Move with the least effort
This often goes against many people’s idea of how to exercise. Yet when we live in discomfort, this makes more sense. And it is safer to do.
If you are active, you can pay attention to your sense of effort rather than pushing with your efforts.
Remember, this has more to do with noticing the quality of movement itself.
This difference in attention is what make a big difference. This is what helps healing, recovery and living in an easy, flexible, fluid moving body.
2. Breathe with your movement
Often we tend to go on autopilot when it comes to breathing. So, becoming aware of breathing and how this is impacts your sense of effort can be quite revealing.
You can add this twist in. Do a movement and hold you breath. Feel or notice how this can affects the quality or feel.
You can choose to reverse your breath in the manner of how you would go about it. This can also affect a movement or the quality of feeling it too.
3. Move as a system not as a muscle
The big muscle–the brain–sends messages to the muscles. Then the muscles sends back a message to the brain. This feedback loop is full of information to be aware of and use.
This lets you adjust your level of effort.
Plus, you can tune into or throughout your entire body since you are one connected living being.
4. Thoughts can affect movement and impact our body and balance
Sit and think.
Conjure up a thought and feel how your muscles respond.
As you do any exercise or movement, choose to think a thought and feel how your body responds.
You can play with different emotions to feel how your body responds as you move.
What does a thought or state of emotion do to what you feel as you move?
5. Comfort is king
There’s no need to tough it out.
Use a prop to help feel as comfortable as you can.
A slight adjustment of an angle or body position may be the necessary thing to do. This way your body can be as comfortable as possible at that moment.
Experiment with either a prop or change of position to suit your immediate needs.
6. An exercise can’t hurt us
People will tell me they tried a certain exercise or even our gentle movements where they say. “That exercise hurt”.
It’s not the exercise or movement. It’s our brain which can respond in a painful programmed way.
This is useful information on the road back to balance.
If we try to force our body (and it doesn’t have to take much of an effort), it can react.
It may want to protect itself, especially if it is in an injured or in a chronic state.
This is the tricky part to getting back to the comfort zone on a more permanent basis.
It’s normal to err while learning how to get the brain to change.
There will be inevitable ups and downs on the way to regain control in a confident manner.
So to repeat, it’s both what you do and how you heed the quality of of the feeling of what you do.
7. Imagination is the least effort
In difficult times, you can use your ability to imagine a movement or exercise.
You won’t hurt yourself using this approach.
See, if you are having a painful flareup. You can still imagine a movement taking place.
I know this isn’t always easy. We’re more likely feeling or paying attention to the discomfort.
So why not give the brain 2 things to deal with. This is what helps breaks the cycle of pain.
When you learn how to be mindful of a movement, it is ok to feel whatever you feel. The more you can tune into, the more your brain sees a potential other option.
Thus, it’s program gets changed a little at a time until you get to a breakthrough.
Do this slowly using your imagination.
• Move your ear to your shoulder as you move the shoulder towards the ear. Then imagine the ear and shoulder slowly moving away from each other.
Repeat that a couple more times.
√ Could you sense any movement or any feeling taking place?
Now that you have the idea.
Go ahead and actually do the movement.
√ How did the actual (entire) movement feel? How did it compare with your imagination of the (entire) movement
√ Did it feel the same or a little different? Only you will know.
See only you will know (and feel) what you feel or sense.
Only you will know whether you were able to feel how your spine moved or shifted.
Only you will know if you could feel your hip move or a shift of weight in your hip.
Only you will know if you could feel or sense a weight shift in your foot.
If you didn’t feel a thing – that’s sensory information. You may have some SMA.
Successful athletes others have used imagination and visualization techniques for quite some time.
You can do the same by visualizing and feeling to the best of your ability.
This can set you up for an effortless way to regain balance in the body.
8. Pain is our greatest teacher and gives us back our body and balance
In our practice of somatics, you learn how to wield pain and discomfort to your advantage.
This may sound counterintuitive. Yet, this is how you can get back control.
Pain is a signal you can change.
You dissolve it with an intentional use of feedback loops of information.
You gradually move move towards more comfort and pleasure. You gain the internal know-how and mastery with practice.
Once the brain remembers that it can produce more positive feel-good sensations. You’re well on your way to restoring and maintaining balance.
Somatics Body and Balance Movements
Our approach was initially designed to help:
On the way to healing and resolving pain for good.
Gentle, mindful movements are now proven to be “the first thing to do to relieve pain”.*
It’s up to you to go inside and take control of:
• The brain and your own awareness,
• Paying attention to breathing,
• Noticing coordination throughout the entire body,
• Feeling tension levels,
• And learning how to Restore Comfort.
This innate ability restores and reconnects the brain and body from within.
Thus you can Move Easily and Restore Balance on Demand.
Simple (yet powerful) conscious movement patterns pave the way.
This leaves the brain & body refreshed, restored and in balance for more happy days ahead!
* 2017 ACP (American College of Physicians) Guidelines to Relieve Pain