Move Well (An Inside Look & Feel)

Making the Vital Connections

As creatures of movement, we oughta be able to move well or know how to successfully get back on track.

Here is an inside look at how our bones move about.

As you can see, certain relationship are evident in this model.

Here you see how the low back arches and the hip bones move forward.

The other side of that coin is where the spine flattens and the hip bones move backwards.

This innocent looking movement is not as easy as it looks.

Some people are stuck on either end of the spectrum.  Or in the middle where there is very little movement in either direction.

Freedom in movement appears when one hip moves forwards, as the other hip can move backwards.

This to and fro or forward and backward motion helps our propulsive natural ability to walk.

Of course, as we walk, one hip bone can slide up as the other slides down.

Thus, easy walking can happen since you are a living movement system.

The movement system includes:

• The brain where you learn to move or have it stored as a program.

• The nervous system is a communications network. This is where you can affect certain feedback loops.

• The 600 or so muscles help move the bones and joints.

• Other connective tissues such as the ligaments and tendons help or assist.

• The fascia covers the muscles.  It has some 17 layers.  These chains of internal connections helps us move.  It is a rich network of sensations.

More Than Meets the Eye

From a Somatics perspective...

Somatics is defined as the body experienced from within."


The movement system is not only doing movement.

It also has to do with our feelings, perceptions or sensations which arise.

The nervous system and feedback loops play a role in how well you move and feel.

Of course, life happens.

Spine Jolt

You may well know 80% of North Americans over the age of 40 can experience some sort of back pain/issue this year.  From mild to getting a most unfavorable jolt sent from the spinal cord to get our attention.

And it doesn't take much of a movement to experience a back spasm (or a calf cramp, for example).

If you've been there, you know immediately how your movement system can get locked up.  Along with the agony the experience.

Move Well

On the flip side, when you move well..


You can be aware of any number of feelings or sensations.

The key is knowing what to do when we experience negative feelings.

3 Part Act

Our fix is to learn how to be conscious of physical sensations as they arise during an entire act of a movement.

We break it down into 3 easy parts or acts.

This way you can focus on each one where there is a beginning, a middle and an end.

Remember those 17 layers of connections...

Ya Gotta Make the Connection

What you feel, sense or notice (or not) as you move or are sitting while reading this too.


In the example of arching the back where ideally the hips move forwards...

You are sending a message from the brain to generate tension. The lower back contracts to help move (or roll) the hips forwards.

Again, doing a movement is one thing.  The main thing is: what or how does this feel to you?

While it can feel good or bad or indifferent.  Did you feel how much or little tension you need to feel the hips moving forwards?

Go Big or Not at All

Some people will go big and make a big movement thrusting the spine forwards.

While other people will need not much at all.

Imagine This

In fact, even if you imagine your lower back arching.  Which you may have to do with your eyes closed to tune into it.

It is possible to feel the tension you generate even at a low or the lowest level by using your imagination.

Of course, it is OK to move in your comfortable range of motion.

It's when negative signals come up, that you learn to use that to your benefit.

Hooray for Negativity

Let me repeat!

Yes!  You can learn to use negative signals to your benefit.

This can help you back down your effort to being as comfortable as you can.

Of course, you may be in a state of chronic pain.  So it won't take much to upset the apple cart.

So going small or using your imagination will do the job for the time being.

More to the Connection

If you don't feel a thing while doing or imagining the movement, then you've been SMA'd.

Let's say you are lying on your back with your knees bent, feet flat.

Then you attempt to arch the lower back and you don't feel it, that is OK.  Could you feel if your head responded or moved while you engaged the lower back to move the hip bones?

As the song goes, "the hip bone is connected to the neck bone".

Subtle Stuff

It might be: subtle!

It may be so subtle since you were focusing your attention on arching the back.  You may not have tuned into what your head was doing or how your neck or upper spine felt.

Or you may have started to think.  And get this, when you think certain muscles can in fact contract.

Do you dare venture into the Somatics zone?

Sit and feel what thinking actually feels like.  If you do - depending upon the thought - you may actually feel certain parts of yourself tighten up or move.

Deepen or Widen the Connection

Say you didn't feel the head moving.  You could check lower down to notice if you can feel the weight shift in your feet as you arched the back or rolled the pelvis.

In any case, if you did or didn't feel it, it gives you information.

Remember those chains of connections from above?

When you check in with a little more awareness or focus, you begin to reconnect.  The information changes or clarifies.

Letting Go

But what happens when you let go?

So you've done the movement of arching the back.  You can feel the tension (or not).  What happens when you let go of the arching of the lower back?

What and or where do you feel the letting go take place?  How does this feel to you?

Could you feel the tension in the lower back letting off some?

While you were doing that, did you notice how the spine or back moved back to the surface?

Did your hips roll back or move back?

Did you feel the weight shift in your feet as you were letting go?

Did your head move?

Whoa, whoa, whoa.  That's a lot of questions.

When we're new to this way, this can be a lot to take in from doing a simple movement.


The Vital Connections

See, there can be a lot going on underneath the surface since you are fine tuning your nervous system.

You can become intimately aware of what you feel or notice. How the brain-body organizes and re-organizes "the act of movement itself".

And this is what you need to know to feel your way back to comfort.

Both doing and feeling what in the heck is going on in simple, easy to do movements.  Or at least they look that way from the outside.

You re-establish, rebuild or remind your brain-body how to make the vital connections.

Remember how I said you can use discomfort or pain or stiffness to help you get out.

This happens as you can become more intimate with the nature of movement itself.

How your brain-body responds and how that can change is what you'll learn on the way to Move Well for Life!

Learning something truly new with intense focus will create the changes in the brain."  Norman Doidge, The Brain that Changes Itself.


ed-barrera-hanna-somatic-educator-holistic-health-advisorEd Barrera is a Hanna Somatic Educator®, H.S.E., Holistic Health Advisor, H.H.A., Muscle Balance & Function Development Trainer, M.B.F.

Ed is the author of 2 books:  The 1 Thing to Do to Relieve Pain, Stiffness, Tension & stress (When You've Tried Everything Else) and...
Move Like an Animal:  Feel Comfortable, Move Well for Life in 3 Simple Steps, Amazon Bestseller in Pain Management & Aging.  

Ed lived with chronic pain and fibromyalgia in his 20's & 30's, so he appreciates the long road out and can help you shortcut your way back to feeling comfortable for life.

Ed has over 20 years of experience, helping people find natural pain relief with somatics exercises which are the complete reverse to most approaches since we use conscious gentle body movements that targets the brain’s motor cortex, resets the nervous system, and provides deeper states of relaxation which leads to a healthy, fully-functional body.

Essentially it's motor control exercises (MCE), mindful-based stress reduction (MBSR)and progressive relaxation all rolled into one which now the American College of Physicians (ACP) are saying is "the first thing to do relieve pain".

Muscle lengthening, recovery, relaxation and control are restored by this "alternative to exercise” approach; plus it's natural pain relief that actually works!

Wanna take the deep dive into the body experienced from within? Move Well Now.