The Power of Somatic Movement
How do you move when walking?
Do you feel stiffness in your pelvis or neck? Is one side more flexible than the other?
Thinking about how your body moves walking, sitting, lying down or standing, daily stressors or traumas effect specific muscular reflexes which the body holds in memory, locks into postures that contradict a flexible body. Another habit is formed!
I learned about Somatics from my training in mindfulness that Somatics holds numerous meanings in the field of clinical psychology and movement.
Both are concerned with the relationship of the nervous system and the stress response on everything we experience in our lives is related to a bodily experience.
Somatic movement focuses on strengthening the sensory-motor system
when the loss of certain muscle groups decline and using these movements to regain flexibility. Asking questions such as:
- How do you move your body?
- Is one side more constricted than the other?
- How does back feel when lying down? Is their pain, tension, is one side more elevated that the other?
- What do you notice about the way you sit?
- Is your weight more prominent on one butt cheek than the other or do you sit forward with your pelvis titling upwards and chest upright?
- How is it sitting in front of a computer, does your neck extend forward and your shoulders hunch over?
- Is there pain in your neck and shoulders ongoing?
In Thomas Hanna's book Somatics: Awakening the mind’s control of movement, flexibility and health, the seven Myths of Ageing movement series demonstrates how we can reverse the perception of the old person’s hunched posture, stiffness in muscles and joints and slowed movements of the body.
So, what is Somatic movement?
Somatic movement is a system of neuromuscular education and a movement awareness practice. This work teaches us to recognize and release holding patterns and chronic pain resulting from injury, stress, repetitive strain, and habituated posture.
Somatic movements are slow, mindful movements mostly done lying down on the floor. Some call is a western yoga! The primary focus is on finding ease and quality movement. The form of the movement is secondary, different from yoga and slower.
Some common conditions that help this work are:
- Poor posture
- Accident traumas and whiplash
- Thoracic outlet syndrome
- Disc problems
- Sacro illiac pain
- Osteo arthritis
- Pelvic floor issues
- Breathing problems
During the course of our lives our sensory motor systems, continually respond to daily stresses and traumas with specific muscular reflexes. These reflexes create habitual muscular contractions which can not voluntarily relax. They have become so deeply involuntary and unconscious that we no longer know how to move freely. The result is stiffness, soreness and a restricted range of movement.
What can you get out of Somatic movement?
It is fact that as we become older, physical activity becomes more necessary, not less.
In a ten-year study of 268 people over the age of 60, (Normal Aging, Duke University, longitudinal Studies, 1974) found that that degree and frequency of illness was related more directly to physical inactivity than to the typical factors of smoking and being overweight.
Those that are physically inactive were two and a half times more likely to spend 14 days a year bed-ridden as to those that were physically active!
In this same study, they found that people who were physically inactive viewed themselves with poor health as to those who were active.
When we reduce our mental and physical scope of physical wellness we also reduce our chances for health and longevity.
Biologically, we do slow down as we begin to observe the start of impaired motor movement decreasing in strength plus the loss of fine motor skills and coordination.
Hanna, believes that the body declines because of lack or disuse of movement. Somatics looks at how the body and mind are connected.
I’m bringing Somatic movement to my toolkit for you!
For the past six months, I have been learning this technique.
I believe the focus should be less on medications and more on non-invasive and nonsurgical techniques performed by physio and chiropractic therapies strengthening musculoskeletal systems to keep the body in tune.
Somatic movement is a compliment to these therapies and other exercises and training yourself to maintaining a flexible body.
Hanna’s Myth of Aging series applies seven movement sequence that can release the restricted range of movement.
I am looking for 5 people to teach two segments of 7 lessons (or 14 lessons) in these free trainings.
The group will decide the dates and time. I plan to begin in the next two weeks and run for seven to eight weeks. to find out more, please contact me.
Personally, the benefits are experienced within a short time combined with a regular practice in a slow and progressive manner. Somatic movement can be integrated into other exercise programs you do since it benefits yoga and slow movement exercises.
If you have any questions, please contact me by email email@example.com, set up a personal zoom call here or call me 416-452-4836.
PROGRAMS AND EVENTS
FREE SOMATIC MOVEMENT SESSIONS IN MARCH + APRIL
As part of my teacher training in somatic movement the past 6 months, I am required to teach a series of two, seven sessions of the Myth of Aging series.
I am looking for 5 people to work with me over two months at no cost.
If you’ve had some challenges with back pain or wish to improve your posture, please consider participating in these sessions. Dates and times to be determined and will begin in March.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
SILENT RETREAT DAY
You are welcome to join our Silent Retreat Day as part of the Heal to Health program on March 19th. Enjoy practicing meditation and movement over 4 to 5 hours. Find out more here and the see the schedule of activities. Cost $35.
MINDFUL TUESDAYS we Practice Together at 6 pm. Click on link to find out more.
PROGRAMS: FEED THE BRAIN and Heal to Health
Feed the Brain: A mindful eating approach is a perfect way to gain a better relationship with food and body. How can you enjoy food without suffering from the side effects of food anxiety or weight gain? Come on a journey of science and discovery of how the body functions in its natural state and have fun exploring foods that you’ve never tasted this way before. Date TBD
The next Heal to Health begins May 11th from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.
Sign up for any of the learning or drop-in sessions. Contact me about the programs and if you have any questions, I'd love to talk to you any time. Schedule a coffee/tea here.
My best in health,