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Dec
14

Body and Balance (Revised)

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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 it can be affected by a number of factors.

1 – Compensations such as shoulders rolling forwards, palm facing backwards, bent knees, a slumping chest or even having a bad day can happen enough to begin to form such a posture over the long run.Posture - Rounding Shoulders, Chest Caving In, Palm Backwards, Knees Bent, Slumped Over

2 –  This can lead to discomforts in the chest or upper back where high stress levels can put the weight of our world on our shoulders and can prevent us from reaching states of comfortable balance.

While we might attempt to straighten up, the weight of what is going in internally can continue to undermine us.

3 – Bad life (fun) events such as being a Cleveland Browns sport fan like I am, who for the past 50 years, have lost incredibly more than we’ve won (especially lately).  C’mon Brownies!

Those losses can a negative effect on the brain and body since I know how my shoulders can slump over yet another loss.

Letting go of bad (fun) events can be difficult since we can go to that sinking (movement) feeling over and over.

Over time, if we’re not careful or don’t have a way of letting life’s (self-imposed fun) stresses leave or get calmed down, the brain can reinforce our (negative) emotions.

So life and how we participate in it can affect us and challenge our internal balance since the brain can get altered over the course of the long run.

Plus, there are any number of other factors such as dealing with diseases, what we eat, our environment, and the small and large negative life events which can lead to the brain going haywire to keep us out of balance.

A Way to Restore Balance

One way to restore balance (and change the brain) is to employ mindful, conscious, easy movement where you tap into the brain’s ability to reset tension levels thus leaving you feeling calmer and more refreshed.

See you can find a  safe zone – where you’re reasonably comfortable (or at least do the best you can given your circumstances) because this is the place where positive change can happen.

Even if you live in states of chronic pain, high tension or stress, there can be a small place where there is comfort or safety when it comes to doing a mindful movement.

Simply put, you gotta start from where you are to discover where those places can be.

Doing vs. Feeling

See, the “doing” of a movement is one thing.

Another is when you also pay attention to the “feel or sensing” of any number of movement actions taking place during a specific movement.

This may not be obvious to outside observer since this is an area you have to feel and self-observe within yourself.Master Brain Software

When you direct the mind and body together while targeting the brain’s motor cortex in a specific manner, you can enhance one of nature’s most potent acts to restore the body in order to re-balance.

Not Exercise in the Usual Manner

This is a far different approach than regular exercise where that is “more about doing”.

Mindful movement is about feeling and sensing smaller movements or movement adjustments while noticing certain either a grand or minute orchestration of a particular movement.

Q.O.M vs R.O.M.

You simply notice the inherent quality of your own movement taking place.

Again, this may not be what we usually tune into since we tend to go for range of motion (ROM) rather than quality of motion (QOM).

Human Movement System

Since the movement system involves any number of layers of muscles and fascia – which actually has more sense receptors than the muscles – there can be a lot of information to process, be aware of, and simply explore from a qualitative view rather than the end goal of moving to one’s end limit.

This more mental-feeling embodied approach can augment other physical types of activities in order to rebalance our faster or hectic pace of life.

You can recharge in a more playful and intelligent manner.

Find Out How to Recharge Here

See, this can be done in a lazy, gentle, yet highly tuned in or focused approach where you learn to dissolve tension so balance naturally returns giving you back control.

8 Somatics Tips for Balance

Somatics, defined as the body experienced from within, covers many areas and here are some everyday useful tips you can use when you do easy, mindful movements such as somatics exercises to help restore balance.

You can also apply this to other forms of 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 naturally makes more sense.

Even if you are highly active, you can pay attention to your movements by noticing your sense of effort rather than pushing with your efforts.

Again, this has more to do with noticing the quality of movement itself.

This slight difference in attention can make a big difference to help healing, recovery and living in an easy, flexible, fluid moving body.

2. Breathe with your movement

Since we tend to go on autopilot when it comes to breathing, becoming aware of breathing and how this is impacting our sense of effort or the quality of a movement can be quite revealing.

You can use your breath differently and explore the differences it can make when you shift your awareness.

You can do a movement and notice how you are breathing.

Do the same movement and hold you breath to feel or notice how this can impact the quality or feel.

Reverse your breath in terms of how you would normally think to do it as 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 and receives back information in our sensory-motor feedback loop.

Somatics Coordination Exercise - Sensory Motor Feedback Loop

When we become aware of how intimately involved our sense and level of effort is involved, that exploration can improve overall body balance since you’re tuning in to how you are connected throughout your entire body.

Once again, the “quality of a movement” and what you notice or feel lets us process or feel sensations which lie beneath the surface (where we ordinarily may not go by doing a movement).

4. Thoughts can affect movement and impact our body and balance

Simply 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?

Can you tune in your sense of muscles turning on or off during a particular movement, exercise or simply noticing or feeling from a quality viewpoint while sitting or standing?

5.  Comfort is king

Any small adjustment such as using a pad or pillow can alleviate any struggle (with tension) when it comes to positioning ourself for a movement, exercise or simply sitting or lying down for that matter.

Lean on Me Props

There’s no need to tough it out.

A slight adjustment of an angle or body position may be the necessary thing to do so our body can be as comfortable as possible at that moment.

Of course, I get it if you live in states of chronic pain so experiment and find out what works for you.

When you are more comfortably propped, this can let you more fully experience yourself rather than taking away your focus in a movement or exercise because some of the tension can lessened in the moment.

6.  An exercise can’t hurt us

People will tell me they tried a certain exercise or even our gentle somatics exercises and hurt them self or say – “that exercise hurt me”.

It’s not the exercise or movement, it’s simply that our brain can respond in a programmed way.

If we try to force our body (and it doesn’t have to be much of an effort), it can naturally react and pull itself back quickly since it will want to protect itself, especially if it is in an injured or chronic state or we’re early in healing.

Even a random, thoughtless or thoughtful movement or exercise can turn up tension levels so pain signals can be ramped up if we over do it or rev it up too fast–even if we didn’t intend to.

This is the tricky part to getting back to the comfort zone on a more permanent basis.

So it’s normal to err back into the pain program while learning how to get the brain to change.

So any arbitrary movement or exercise can seem to lead us to flinching, wincing or holding our breath, for instance.

Get Back to the Fundamentals & Quality of Movement Itself

Un-Exercise & Move Well for Life!

To learn how to re-navigate our internal terrain of our movement system successfully is where we simply go back to the fundamentals and building blocks of movement itself.

… and if we pay attention to the quality of movement rather than the range of the movement, you will benefit with more internal awareness on the road to more lasting comfort.

“If” we bump into discomfort during any movement, exercise or exertion, we can use that information to bring our body and balance back as quickly as possible.

I’m not saying this is easy at first glance or first try, however, you can regain control of the brain by observing the quality morso than the quantity of movement or exercise.

See, more often than not, our compensations and habits of movement get us to bump the pain switch on – even if we don’t mean to –  though this can be reversed with a more mindful approach which will have its normal course of learning to readjust.

So it’s both what you do and how (qualitatively) you do it.

You can change the quality of your movement in order to successfully exercise and comfortably move about.

7.  Imagination is the least effort

In difficult times, you can use your ability to imagine a movement or exercise.

It’s highly likely you won’t hurt yourself using this approach, even though–sometimes just getting to the position of a movement or exercise can test our limits.

So to imagine or eke out even a micro-movement, can start the process to get the brain to change the body’s negative response to a more pleasureable response of calming feelings, restoration and healing.

Since it might seem like you’re not doing much with small or micro-movements to the point of imagining a movement, this counter-intuitive approach of doing less, wakes up the nervous system since the brain doesn’t know the difference between you imagining a movement and doing it.

-Try this: Imagine this movement taking place. (You can even close your eyes if you want to after you’ve read it).

-Sit.  Bring your ear to your shoulder slowly.  Then imagine the ear and shoulder moving away from each other.

  • Now that you have the idea.

– Go ahead and actually do the movement.

  • How did the actual (entire) movement feel as compared to 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

Only you will know (and feel) where you comfort zone is.

Only you will know (and feel) what you sensed.

Only you will know whether you were able to feel a shift down in your hips or weight in your feet.

And if you didn’t feel a thing – that’s merely sensory information where you may have some SMA.

The least of efforts

See when we shift to what I’ll call the “least of efforts” in terms of doing a movement, i.e. imagining a movement.

This might reveal more from a slow purposeful internal observation and provide keys to successfully getting out of a particular body-mind jam.

Successful athletes have used imagination and visualization techniques for quite some time.  

You can do the same by simply visualizing and feeling to the best of your ability – what it might feel like to move by not moving.

When you spend the Somatics time – tuning in as deeply as you can – this can become a highly interesting, fun, focused and mindfully effortless way to regain balance in the body.

8Pain is our greatest teacher and gives us back our body and balance

In the practice of somatics exercises, you learn how to wield pain and discomfort to your advantage.

Pain is treated as a signal that you can change, intensify or dissolve since you can use the brain and body to change the output of tension levels through various feedback loops of information.

With a little practice and familiarity of a simple 3 step method which mimics one of nature’s acts to reset tension levels, negative experiences can move towards more comfort and pleasure with a little internal know-how. 

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

Somatics exercises were initially designed to help heal, resolve pain, and lower tension and stress.

Since these types of gentle movements are mindful and involve the brain’s motor cortex, they fall under the category of motor control exercises and mindful based stress reduction.

These are now proven to be “the first thing to do to relieve pain”.*

In general, somatics exercises work with many different lifestyles, circumstances, issues and with different types of pain, stiffness, discomfort, and injury all leading to increased levels of comfort.

Plus, they are now used by “somatic” athletes to prepare the body and help restore it after vigorous activity.

As a matter of fact, many “somatic” athletes have entirely given up stretching since they’ve learned how the brain is the one big muscle to regain control while at the same time restoring comfort levels.

General enthusiasts now have learned to consciously maintain comfortable levels of range of motion (without going for it) and are naturally flexible feeling more control and balance to boot.

It’s really up to you to go inside and take control of:

• your brain and your own awareness,

• mindfulness,

• breathing,

• coordination,

• tension levels,

• comfort

• and the effortless effort which allows a fluid body to Move Easily and Restore Balance.

Recapturing the feelings of childlike, easy movement happens since this is kinda like coming back to youthful memory patterns which are buried in the brain.

You have the ability to restore this or enhance it by reconnecting the brain and body from within.

The brain can be programmed to bring the body back to its natural state of comfort and pleasure.

This is what we do in the Somatics Un-Exercise Classroom.

This is where we explore conscious movement to learn more about how we are connected (or not) and we relearn and remind ourself to easily move from the inside out.

Simple (yet powerful) conscious movement patterns which can boggle the mind and leave the body refreshedrestored and in balance for more happy days ahead!

Brain-Mind-Body Work Together

* 2017 ACP (American College of Physicians)

Oct
30

Coordination Exercise (Revised Edition)

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Did you laugh while trying this coordination exercise?

It might have been easy for some of you.   If it was, trying doing it with your eyes closed.

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

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 working with the brain and body.  This is what our Classroom helps people discover.

Since ALL the healthy vertebrate animals…pandiculate.

Healthy vertebrate animals are doing it

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.

For example, the coordination exercise is a kind of a higher level somatics exercise.

This would be something we’d do at the end.  First, we’d explore or break it down so we can build up to it.

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

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 freeing the back, hamstrings, coordination class where you’ll get the chance to see and feel how your hamstrings and back will lengthen, when done in a specific conscious manner.

Plus, 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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