Somatics exercises (somatics for short) are the reverse way to lengthen muscles.

They provide the muscles with both a relaxing reset.  And a remembering or reprogramming of proper neuromuscular function.

So instead of stretching.  You use the brain’s sensory-motor cortex.  That is where you can reset neuromuscular tension back to comfort.

Here’s how somatics works

Step 1 – You target the area(s) you want to lengthen.

You do this by contracting, instead of stretching, the muscles.   Or by generating tension in a physical movement.

 
Unlike an isometric contraction where muscles or tension are held.  This is about what you notice or feel as you move.
 
By feeling what it is you are doing/moving.  The brain can pick up the subtle cues.  This can include a variety of feelings or sense perceptions.

Or the absence of any.  Yikes ; ).

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Step 2 – With somatics you pay attention to how you release the targeted area.  And how your brain goes about reorganizing or sorting the release out.
 
Initially, this information may not always be clear.  The term we us is sensory-motor amnesia.
 
So no worries.  With practice, you get better at feeling or sensing what is taking place during an act of movement.
 
When the sensory-motor system or your proprioceptive ability is more in your control.  Or intact.
 
You can more immediately notice any subtle sensations or change.

Stretching the back can set off the stretch reflex, unlike somatics

Here’s an example. A lot of people will bend over to lengthen their back. Some will try to touch their toes… and some never make it despite all the stretching they’ve tried.

Sound familiar?

When you “try” to stretch, this could lead the reflexes to turn “on” the switch of what is called the stretch reflex.

This can get the muscles to reflexively pull back, even into a back spasm.

If you push it or try to go for length or more range of motion. The lower brain will reset the tension level back. According to where it was programmed to be held.

See, the lower brain runs our learned programs.

So when you point at something with your arm. There is a pre-programmed point or level so your arm goesnt go flying off of you.

When you do somatics. You can get a change in length because the brain’s motor cortex can reset tension levels.

Those levels cannot be reset by the cerebellum; which does preprogrammed learned movement.

Below you are going to learn a unique somatics type of movement for the back and hamstrings. The muscles behind the leg.

This particular sequence is a another different way to observe and feel what happens when you generate tension.  And give you a feel for where that is happening.

In less than 2 minutes, you can feel what happens (or not). You can listen through the first time and then replay it again to give it a go.

Otherwise, all you have to do is listen and follow along:

Check out this somatics move


So, how was that?

A little different, a little odd?

Did you gain any length?

Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t, yet isn’t this a far different approach than stretching?

When you voluntarily or consciously use your muscles.  Your brain’s cortex can reset the length of the areas you target.

Your brain can also create chemicals of relaxation.  So you relax your self back to comfort and gain greater cortical control.

Feeling Free Again

To be comfortable.  Maintaining it.  And having the ability to recover  more quickly.  Is what one learns in our deeper dive somatics.

When you learn or take the brain-body into a somatics journey.  You’ll know the reverse way to feeling free again.

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