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Feb
21

Body and Balance (8 Tips)

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Loss of Balance

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.
Posture - Rounding Shoulders, Chest Caving In, Palm Backwards, Knees Bent, Slumped Over

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.
 
Try This
 
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.

3 – Life’s Events
 
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.
 
We do this using one of nature’s most potent acts.

Not Exercise in the Usual Manner

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.

Human Movement System

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.

Find Out How to Recharge Here

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.

Somatics Coordination Exercise - Sensory Motor Feedback Loop

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.

Lean on Me Props

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.

Get Back to the Fundamentals & Quality of Movement Itself

Un-Exercise & Move Well for Life!

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.

Imagine This 

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.

Unleash Your Imagination

Move with Confidence & Control

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.

Success

 
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.

8Pain 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:
 
Lower tension,
Free up stiffness,
Reduce stress,
Restore balance…
 
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,
 
• Using mindfulness,
 
• 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.
 
This is what we do (and feel) in the Somatics Un-Exercise Classroom.
 
Simple (yet powerful) conscious movement patterns pave the way.
 
This leaves the brain & body refreshedrestored and in balance for more happy days ahead!

Brain-Mind-Body Work Together

* 2017 ACP (American College of Physicians) Guidelines to Relieve Pain

When you play with the brain in a mindful way, the body can get a boost.

Targeting the brain’s sensory-motor cortex can help relieve stiffness, stress, ease pain, and improve the body and mind.

Motor Cortex and Sensory Cortex

The brain’s motor cortex sits atop the brain adjacent to the sensory cortex.

The motor part is where you can “turn on” the motor of movement. The sensory part lets you perceive or feel a variety of sensations or feelings about the quality of movement itself.

This feedback loop of information can help you in effect, move well and be freer to move around.

This little guy is called the homonculus, the little man.

Homunculus

This represents how our body parts are reflected in the brain in terms of how we use them and sense them.

As you can see from this representation:

Cortical Sensory Homunculus

The hands and mouth have the largest areas in terms of how we sense ourself.

In order to help both the brain and body as you age, you can zero in on your sensory-motor cortex so both a movement in and of itself and the quality of how you move your body is addressed by paying attention to the information you can perceive or feel.

Motor Cortex Command to Move

Plus, you can do this in a playful type of manner without a lot of hard work.

You see, the brain functions better with a variety of movements which opens up the possibilities of new neural connections since the brain itself can be changed, formed, and reformed.

Brain Exercises

Normally, we think of brain exercises like doing a crossword puzzle or doing some type of cognitive training. Any number of ways can sharpen us mentally such as learning to play an instrument, trying new recipes and good old fashioned doing math in your head.

Regular exercise itself, is good in general, and can help the brain too.

The brain thrives on novelty and our 600 muscles and 17 layers of muscles and fascia (which surround the muscles) can be used in a unique un-exercise approach by focusing our awareness on the conscious nature of movement itself.

This wakes up the brain and body since we can tap into the flow of information in our nervous system.

This non-traditional approach can augment any traditional type of exercise and can actually let us exercise pain free or be able to do the necessary movements you engage in with less tension and a different felt sense of ability.

Less Tension

The brain can be used to lessen tension through a natural process of updating our movement software.

When we have less tension or when we can sustain more neutral levels of tension, then we can move easily and agilely over the long run.

So when our brain gets challenged with paying attention, our body can actually feel the difference. Even when small, easy, gentle micro-movements are used to help set up or be the foundation for the moveable building blocks of overall coordination of movement.

Slow movements help brain functions

Watching someone do small movements, is similar to watching grass grow.

We might think not a lot can be accomplished by little or slow movement.

When you shift upstairs to target your motor cortex and do conscious specific types of movements slowly, gently and with as much awareness as possible – the brain can help the body make a number of changes.

Target Brain's Cortex

A slow movement practice is about how you pay attention to a number of areas of the body.

The conscious application of movement done slowly forms the system of somatics exercises which is essentially brain based.

9 Advantages of a Brain Based Practice

Brain Tub

1 – Pain Relief Using the Brain

Since the brain thrives on novelty, the brain and body can be used in unique ways to affect the flow of information in the nervous system.

This is set up with simple movements that can be done in a lazy, gentle manner where the mind is highly engaged.

One of the brain functions of the motor cortex is that it can reset the resting levels of the muscles. The muscles are left more relaxed.

As the muscles become more relaxed, the brain creates more feelings of relaxation and pleasure.

brain software

2 – Improved Memory

Movement is memory.

The lower part of the brain, the cerebellum remembers much like a programmed computer program which does our quick, fast movements. We don’t have to think about it, we get up and go.

Using the brain’s motor cortex allows us to change the program by noticing what is happening in our overall quality of movement as well as the actual movement.

By improving the quality of how well we can move at any age, the brain functions at a higher level since the brain’s software is getting updated.This helps us remember and experience our former youthful movement.

Strong Brain

3 – Gain Strength

Normally we exercise our muscles to get stronger.

Strength is also resiliency and flexibility.

So rather then a brawn approach, you can use the brain to lose excessive or amped up tension and stress.

Our body becomes more balanced. We remain strong like animals in the wild who reset their muscles naturally since the slow movements are done along certain chains of connections which help us move more effectively.

Posture Change - We can Change Our Shape

4 – Posture Changes

We can change our shape.

By losing compensations such as a curved spine which has our belly hanging over or the reverse when we’re too slumped.

Our new appearance results from letting go of the tension which held us in place by the lower brain and its programmed ways.

Change Posture, Gain Strength, Improve Memory and Find Pain Relief – the Easy, Brain Way

Learn More Here to Change the Brain & Body

When the brain remembers to reset to neutral, the brain functions much better and now we appear more easily upright and relaxed.

Brain Makes Powerful Chemicals of Relaxation

5 – Natural Stress Alleviation

The brain can create powerful chemicals of relaxation.

Healthy animals with a spine tap into this natural source.

They do this through the act of pandiculation as they target the brain and body.

You can zone in on the brain in a similar conscious manner to create natural chemicals of relaxation so you’re left feeling content, relaxed and in control.

Easy range of motion to squat comfortably

6 – Regain Natural Flexibility

Regaining flexibility is not about getting longer or going for range of motion.

Simply being able to squat is one thing, getting up is another.

When we let go of the binds of stress, tension and long held-injuries and compensations, the body knows where to reset to neutral so it can in effect move easy and be in comfortable positions.

You can move more freely and naturally by reprogramming the brain so a natural flexibility can be easily maintained.

Stop triggering flight or fight

7 – Improve the Immune System

When we’re constantly triggering flight or fight response in our busy lives, we’re not giving our self the chance to calm things down.

Resetting our brain and body so we can ramp it up and then back it down, allows us to live more easily with a nervous system which can be reset so our immune system is less burdened as the inflammatory response is cooled down.

This allows more good feelings to flow through us so it can aid in healing, for instance.

Sleep Better

8 – Sleep Better

Tuning down tension levels using the brain relaxes our body.

The body and brain functions much better when we can rest easy so our tissues can repair.

Resting easy happens when we feel calmer and can let go of the body and the mind.

Peace and Tranquility

9 – Greater Sense of Peace and Tranquility

When you use the brain to reset the entire body system of movement, you can move with greater ease and comfort like any other healthy vertebrate animal.

As our earlier sense of freedom returns, movement can nurture us towards more tranquil states.

This also brings us a vibrant sense of confidence to move, relax and have a calm mind.

As you use the brain and target certain functions, you can return again and again to levels of comfort where you can fully understand or appreciate the mind and body connection.

Better brain functions

When we go back to the well of movement itself and harness the power of the brain to tap into our very awareness.

The brain’s intelligence is aroused (with a little practice) so you end up with a better brain and body.

When you reset yourself with a certain level of conscious awareness, the brain functions at levels which may continue to delightfully surprise you as you age.

Get the Brain and Body on Your Side

Keep the Brain in Shape & Move Well for Life!

Categories : Brain, Brain Fitness
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Love to nap?

According to Brain Rules author, John Medina, we all need a nap.

So whether it’s a power nap or get into the nap zone, watch what John has to say.

Napping Benefits

  • Increased productivity (up to 34% according to research).
  • Improved memory.
  • Being more alert later in the day.
  • More energy.

Listening to your brain and body?

In the afternoon, your brain will try to get you to go down.

There is a battle of the brain cells telling you one thing and you getting your brain cells to do another.

Of course, chowing down that huge bowl of pasta or pizza may give you the signal to fuzz out and lie 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.  So it might make sense to do it with a clearer mind after all.

Overall, a loss of sleep can harm you since you can get in a foul mood, your logical reasoning can slow, and your attention can drift.

NASA found pilots performed better when they took a short afternoon siesta.

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.

Brain Health

Check out John’s updated book, Brain Rules…

Find out more napping benefits and other cool brainiac things which can lead to a healthier and fun productive life.

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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.

brain and nervous systemTo 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.

Aug
24

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

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Do we get enough exercise? Do we have simple ways to decrease the stress we feel in our muscles? Can we reduce joint pain?

Somatics exercises is one avenue we can all use to keep our living movement system free from a lot of the aches and pains that many people endure. We can also enhance and complement our life with a diet richer in omega 3 fatty acids.

Where do I find Omega 3 Fatty Acids?

If you’re into keeping your brain healthy, your mind sharp, and moving well, then a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids will also calm your mood too.

omega 3 fatty acidsWhen we eat certain nuts, seeds and wild fish like salmon, tuna & sardines our body tends to build up resiliency instead of breaking down when we eat processed foods.

Did you know that 90% of Americans are low on the intake of omega 3 fatty acids?

Since our bodies can’t produce it, we’ve got to include a rich source of it through what we eat.

Increasing the amount of omega 3 fatty acids can help with lowering the risk of heart disease, reducing the risk of cancer and increasing our low levels of energy.

Our heart, eyes and even the immune system can be optimized by a proper intake of omega 3 fatty acids.

What is the right level of omega 3 fatty acids?

Well I don’t know but the people looking into this like Dr. Mark Hyman who will appear on the Dr. Oz show this week will talk about a test created by Dr. William Harris who is an expert on omega 3 fatty acids on human health.

Dr. Harris has created an at home test called the Omega Quant HS-Omega-3 Index.

Now there’s a mouthful but I hear the health problems we encounter are sometime easier to fix and reverse than we think.

Often times people are very surprised with the simple somatics exercises. Their minds are literally boggled at how such simple movements can be so profound. Could the fork we use be another tool?

Simple Diet Change with Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Same thing goes with our diet. OK, I know some of us love to eat the stuff we think is food and it can be daunting to give it up.

But what if you could help prevent asthma, improve blood sugar levels to protect you from diabetes and slow down the decline associated with Alzheimer’s just by changing your diet a little.

You can take the test and find out for yourself if Doctor’s Harris, Hyman and Oz are onto something beneficial for you.

Somatics which is defined as the body experienced from within not only relates to how well or not well we feel when we move or not move, it also has to do with paying attention to the signals our bodies generate from what we put into it too.

Dr. Mark Hyman may tell you that your fork can be your friend or enemy and one of the important tools when it comes to your health and well-being.

Categories : Brain, Food Revolution
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