Friday, April 29, 2016

Fix Your Hips with Somatics classes coming in May

Are you or someone you know dealing with hip pain and not getting long term relief from traditional approaches?  The common notion is to address the hips... Clinical/Hanna Somatics addresses your whole body patterns. When I assess clients I often see hips that hike and torque, and uneven gaits (walking patterns). I also frequently see a shoulder dropped to one side or twisted too, just like the pelvis or in opposition to the pelvis. These distortions can cause any of the following:
  • tight, painful hips
  • piriformis syndrome
  • sciatica
  • "leg length discrepancy"
  • SI (sacroiliac joint) pain

Fix Your Hips with Somatics

Mondays May 16, May 23 and June 6 (no class Memorial Day)
This Somatics Studio* 

You will learn:
  • how tension due to stress and lifestyle can cause dysfunction in your body and effect how you walk, which in turn, effects your feet
  • how to neurologically reset your muscle resting length with gentle somatic exercises so you can move more easily
  • why stretching and strengthening are different from pandiculations
  • receive notes and videos for home practice
  • information about how today's shoes and orthotics don't fix the problems of our feet, but encourage adaptions to pain
Fees: These classes are part of my punchcard class options. You have many options to choose from. Decide which works best for you, but please note the expiration dates. You can use any a regular punchcard and come to any of my classes, including these Fix Your Hip Classes,
 or sign up for just the 3 Fix Your Hips Classes for $55.
Register and pay right here

Questions? Email me!

Our previous series was all about the fixing our feet. Folks loved it. Here's some feedback.

Many thanks for the new releases.
So appreciated and I must say Somatics has changed my life.
To not be in constant pain is such a relief and I just can't believe how simple this is. I do [my self care moves] everyday with the knowledge that it is so beneficial to and for me. 
Many thanks, SM

*My studio is a private residence in South Tabor. Exact location emailed to you with your receipt.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

7 reasons to explore somatics even if your insurance won't cover it

Hi everyone! I've finally found my medium to get the thoughts and passion in my head out to the world; with videos! I've created a YouTube Channel-- there's something I never thought I would say-- and am excited to share it with you.

I'll still blog, but when I create a new video, you'll see it here too.

Here's my latest video. A local osteopath started referring his patients to me. Yay! When we talked, he told me that a lot of his patients won't explore somatics because it's not (often) covered by health insurance. But I encourage you to consider it. It can literally change your life. If you're up for change... 7 reasons why you should explore Somatics even if your insurance won't cover it.

Also...I started my channel with videos covering a series of Somatics exercises Thomas Hanna called the Cat Stretch. I like to call it the Daily Supple-ment. It's a perfect set of moves to release tension in the front, back and sides of the body plus luxurious moves to improve the rotational spirals of your body so you can walk, move and live with ease. Here it is! My Daily Supple-ment playlist, just waiting to be shared with the world.

Enjoy!... feedback, comments, questions and of course sharing it with others are all welcome!

joy and freedom for all,

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Fix Your Feet Classes coming in March

Hi all! Just a short message to let you know the specifics of the upcoming

Fix Your Foot Pain classes

Mondays March 7, 14, 21 and 28th
This Somatics Studio* 

You will learn:
  • how tension due to stress and lifestyle can cause dysfunction in your body and effect how you walk, which in turn, effects your feet
  • how to neurologically reset your muscle resting length with gentle somatic exercises so you can move more easily
  • why stretching and strengthening are different from pandiculations
  • get written direction for home practice
  • information about how today's shoes and orthotics don't fix the problems of our feet, but encourage adaptions to pain
Fees: These classes are part of my punchcard class options. You have many options to choose from. Decide which works best for you, but please note the expiration dates.
You can use any a regular punchcard and come to any of my classes, including these Foot Classes,
 or sign up for just the 4 Fix Your Feet Classes for $72.
Register and pay right here

Questions? Email me!

*My studio is a private residence in South Tabor. Exact location emailed to you with your receipt.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Somatics a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

The first toothbrush as we know it wasn't invented until 1938!
A new client came the other day and reported that when she told her chiropractor she was coming to check out Somatics, he said, "Well, you know, you have to keep doing Somatics."

Well, yes. That's true. Somatics works best when you do your self-care routine regularly... is that a problem? 

Which, of course, got me thinking...

Imagine if we went to the dentist every week or so--like many of us go for chiropractic or similar treatments-- for a teeth cleaning. Personally I couldn't stand myself, and we'd probably keep more distance between each other. But just imagine

Then one day you found out about this alternative technique; You heard that folks use brushes to clean their teeth. Whoo-hoo! An affordable way to proactively take care of your teeth! You excitedly told your dentist on your weekly visit, "I'm gonna check this out! Sounds nice. I could avoid coming in here every week for you to fix my problems, plus I'd be a lot happier and in control of my dental hygiene." (NO I'm not saying you never have to go to the dentist ever again.)

Your dentist might think, "Awesome! I'm overwhelmed trying to help all these people when they can take control of the situation themselves and I can help them with the biggie problems." Or would she feel, "Well, shoot! If my patients don't need me every week, what ever will I do!?" There is not shortage of mouths in town, I'm sure she'll get by.

On the other hand I have a client who got great relief from Somatics and stopped seeing her Osteopath religiously. He was thrilled that she had found a self-care solution! He told her. "I like you, but I don't want to see you all the time! Never again is OK with me, if you have ways to keep your body functioning well." Now that is a great doctor! :-) 

This same client does her homework and I don't even see her much either. I'm thrilled too. Great gal, a pleasure to have in the studio, but she has the tools and the somatic awareness to fix her problems. Awesome! 

Moral of the story? If you are in pain or just want to function better, save time, calm your nervous system (which has a whole list of positive side-effects) and be able to know yourself well so you can turn to "experts" if and when you need them, Somatics is the primo self-care solution!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Have you taken your Daily Somatic Supple-ment?

Thomas Hanna developed a series of somatic exercises he considered a perfect all-around routine for those who want to keep their body supple, functional and young at heart. He called it the Cat Stretch, but I've added one more move and call I call it the Daily Somatic Supple-ment. 

Do this routine every day for 3 weeks 

and see how your body and life change!

This series of movements will help you take back control of your muscles, so you can sense them contract and relax to their natural resting length. This is called pandiculations. We were born to do this! It's as natural as breathing in air, eating, and sleeping. Kind of funny if you think about it. As adults we can get so wrapped up in the external world that we literally forget how to breathe, eat and sleep naturally, so of course taking time to relax our muscles and nervous system can fall way down on the list to do list. If you are tired, want mental clarity and to move well so you can live well, do this routine every day for 3 weeks, with attention to your sensations within your body, and notice how your body and life changes.

UPDATE 4/24/2016 : I've created a YouTube Channel, and have a playlist that covers these exercises. So now you have two ways to learn; in the written form below and visual/audio in videos. I have additional ways to learn about Somatics too: we can work together in my studio in Southeast Portland, or we can meet online via Skype. Contact me to learn more!

Take Your Daily Somatic Supple-ment

start by lying on your back, with your legs lengthened out and your arms on the floor at about a 45* angle away from your body. Sense what your back, legs, feet, arms and head or doing. How do they contact the floor? Are things symmetrical and evenly weighted, or is maybe a hip hiked towards your waist, or a shoulder blade pressing int the floor more. Are your feet evenly flopped out to the sides or not so much. Just sense what your body has to tell you. As you move through the following exercises, you can come back to this scan and see if things change and how. Definitely do this at the end of the whole routine. 


PREP: lie your your back, knees bent with your feet on the floor, in line with your hips. 
DO: inhale and arch back, tipping the pelvis towards your feet, 
exhale and let your back and abdomen relax as your lower back returns to neutral. 

PREP: this exercise is similar to arch and flatten, but now you'll have your hands interlaced behind your head.
DO: inhale and tip your pelvis towards your feet so you gently arch the back
exhale and let the back melt towards the floor
continue to let the back come to the floor as you flex the upper body up into what looks like a "crunch", bringing your elbows towards your knees, feet gently pressing into the floor a bit, and the lower back pressing into the floor, inhale as you unfurl your upper body back to the floor, exhale and melt, relax and let your elbows meet the floor out to the sides of your head.

PREP: Lying on your front, turn your head to the right and rest your left cheek on the back of your right hand. If this is uncomfortable, move your hand out from under your cheek and have your finger tips touch the side of your face instead. Rest your left arm on the floor, legs comfortably lengthened out
DO: inhale into your belly as you slowly lift your head, arm, elbow and hand off the floor looking over your right shoulder...simultaneously lifting your straight left leg
exhale to lower back to the floor
inhale and exhale to relax at the bottom and sense the length and relaxing of your back muscles
repeat 2 more times then do the same on the other side

PREPlie on your your back, knees bent with right knee in the air with right hand on knee, left hand behind head
DO: inhale and arch the back letting the right knee drift forward a bit, you may lose touch with your finger tips as the thigh bone tilts away from the torso, then exhale as you draw the elbow and knee closer together and curl up on a diagonal as you draw your right knee inward.

PREP: position yourself on your LEFT side, making your body and lower arm into a “chair”. Head resting on your left arm, knees bent at a right angle to your hips, and shins a right angle to your knees. Place your right hand over your head and placing your finger tips on your left temple.
DO: inhale and lengthen the waist line between the right hips and rib cage, breathing into your ribs and waist.
Exhale and keeping your knees together, lift your right foot/shin up towards the ceiling.
Inhale and lower the foot, and relax your body.
Exhale to relax 
Add moving of the arm and head,.
Inhale to prepare, lengthening right side of body
Exhale and lift foot, head and elbow, shortening the right waist
inhale to lower down and relax and lengthen right side of body
Repeat this 4-5 times each side

PREP: lie in your back, knees bent and feet on the floor about hip width apart, arms almost to a T out to your sides. 
DO: Imagine your arms are rolling pins, and roll one arm up the mat other down the mat... roll your head towards the up turned hand...and let both of your knees gently rotate away from the up turned hand and head. Slowly alternate.

PREP: Lying on your back, knees straight, legs on floor 
a) draw the right foot up towards your groin, turning your right knee out to the side, letting the outside edge of the right foot slide on the floor. Relax then slowly slide the foot back to the starting position straightening the leg. Let your head tilt on the floor to the left as if you wanted to see the sole of your right foot (This is inverting the foot) Repeat 3-5 times
b) next, sliding the inside edge of the right foot up and turning your knee inward. Your right hip will want to come up off the floor for this and that's ok. Let your head tilt on the floor to the right as if you wanted to see the sole of your right foot Return leg to the floor. (This is everting the foot) Repeat 3-5 times. 
c) do the above with the other foot and leg
d) let both feet slide up on the outside edges so both feet invert, then return legs to straightened. Repeat 3-5 times.
e) now try everting both feet so the knees are "knocked", repeat 3-5 times
f) lastly, keeping feet and knees together slide both feet up to the right, then extend to straightened, then to the left, alternate sides, like you were "skiing" letting the hips roll side to side with the slides

PREP: sit up and try the skiing motion while seated, then drop the knees to the right, place your right hand on the floor at your side/hip, and let the left leg shift so you bring your left knee to the sole of your right foot. Your legs are now in a zig-zag. Place your left hand on your right shoulder.
DOthere are many variations to this exercise that I share in class, but here a few standards
a) Slowly rotate your torso to the right 3 times.
b) hold the torso rotation to the right, rotate your head back to the left, then right 3 times, then relax back to the front
c) rotate the torso to the right as you turn the head to the left 3 times, then relax.
d) rotate back again to the right, hold the rotation, lift your face to the ceiling as your eyes scan the view as you drop them downward, then vice versa 3 times, then rest.
e) repeat to the other side

Clinical Somatics (also called Hanna Somatics) is a method of gentle movements that help your brain "reboot" it's connection with your muscles. Thomas Hanna called this disconnect, Sensory Motor Amnesia. Your brain is no longer aware that you have chronic muscle tension, which can pull your bones out alignment, create poor posture, resulting in a host of ailments--arthritis, frozen shoulder, back pain, even endocrine imbalances, and more. So, see, you really should give this a shot! :-)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Guest Post: Somatics, Knee Replacements and Being Pre-Op Fit

Dana came to me because she wanted to "get in better shape" and see if she could do something for her knee which her doctor told her needed to be replaced. We explored somatic exercises. She had many a-ha! moments and her gait, which had been altered due to the pain in her knee, became more fluid, but she ultimately went through with the surgery. Somatics can help people with pain in joints, but sometimes a joint has deteriorated so much that it does need need replacing. The good news for Dana, by doing somatics now and into the future she can avoid having to replace her knee(s) again which is often the case. The joints are originally worn down because the body is not moving freely. Unless the body moves freely again, the cycle can repeat itself.

Dana's Story
I am four weeks out from my second knee replacement and this recovery has been SO MUCH EASIER than the first time around.  The only variable I can identify is that I have worked out with Kristin in her studio for the past fourteen months.  Being stronger and more fit has made this recovery a totally different experience.  I am ahead of schedule as far as rehab and can only attribute this improvement to being in better shape.  I applaud Kristin and her dedication and care for her clients.  She is able to easily adapt activities for individuals depending on needs and limitations.  I am not your "typical" gym rat type and would be intimidated in one of the big box gym chains.  I can honestly say, I can't wait to get back to working out with Kristin.  I look forward to future progress and continuing to learn more about Somatics!  I am already planning my active future!  THANK YOU, KRISTIN!

Thank you, Dana! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Guest Post: Somatics has changed my life.

Judy, a true
somatic fanatic :-)
Even though I’d always regarded myself as a walker I could barely walk a couple of blocks without pain. I was three months away from a trip to the southwest and I was determined not to sit in our camper van while my husband hiked. I tried chiropractic, massage, physical therapy and acupuncture for my “stuck” and painful hips, but nothing helped long term. Then I came to Kristin after reading about somatics on her website for several months.

I started off working with Kristin with three private lessons and attended group lessons twice a week. During each lesson I discovered something; a small refinement, a new way to sense my body, a whole new way to move. I also started practicing somatics every day, sometimes twice a day. In the back of my mind I heard, “My body needs somatics.”  And the practicing paid off. My body started loosening up, in ways that all the other therapies had not done for me.  It was like a miracle! I told everyone I knew!!

On our hiking trip I did somatics in many beautiful places; a bird refuge in Arizona, Chiracahua National Monument, a monastery in New Mexico, to name a few. I did some really challenging hikes, and after every hike, I pulled out my mat and did somatics among the trees and birds. I know it helped my after-hike aches and stiffness to dissipate quicker. In Kristin’s classes I also learned some simple somatic exercises I can do while seated, so I could take care of myself while driving long miles in our camper van.

Somatics fits into my mindfulness practice.  I used to think I didn’t have any body awareness, but I now sense how my body works and that I have control over it. Somatics, with it’s slow and deliberate focus, and breathing takes all of my attention. I often make it my meditation practice, slowly moving, sensing my muscles contract then relax and lengthen under my conscious control. I’ve made it my own.

I’ve tried and continue to do many kinds of movements. I walk a lot, hike, practice tai chi and Qi Gong, but have never stuck with anything so diligently as I have with Somatics. I am now walking from my center of my body outward and am much more aware of my posture.  Somatics has changed my life. Thank you Kristin.
No, thank you, Judy! It's folks like you who make my work so wonderful. 

To learn what Judy's learning, contact me, sign up for a class, or start with private lessons.
This is what everyone needs to maintain quality of life!

Friday, August 7, 2015

which came first: the posture or the emotion?

Can your posture affect your mood? Can your mood affect your posture? And if posture can affect one's mood, can it affect one's chemical responses in the body? Well, evidently, yes!

Mood and energy levels
Here's an interesting study in which subjects either traveled down a hallway skipping and swinging their arms upward motion, or slouched as the walked down the hall. No surprise, most of the skippers felt more energetic, happier, and positive. The slouchers (think red light reflex) felt sad, lonely, isolated, sleeping, and “zombie-like.”

Other studies show body posture can affect the recall of positive or negative memories. When participants sat in a slouched position looking downward they it recalled more hopeless, helpless, powerless, and negative memories than positive ones. Those sitting upright and looking upward, found it easier to recall empowering, positive memories. Upright posture can also improve memory because sitting up straight increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain.

Builds confidence
Here's a study in which students were divided into two groups and instructed to take an upright or slumped posture while answering questions in a business interview. You guess it: Those with upright posture felt themselves empowered to rate themselves more highly when in the upright rather than the slouched position. Check out this video of Amy Cuddy’s 2012 TedTalk in which she talks about the power of posture.

Good for your innards 
A slouched posture can contribute to acid reflux, constipation, and even hernias. Hunched shoulders can lead to a less than ideal digestion. Slump into poor posture and you literally compress your stomach, intestines and other abdominal organs. Personally, I like to go for a leisurely walk after eating, which also helps with digestion.

Bone health and prevents osteoporosis
A properly aligned skeleton puts less stress on your spine and joints. Standing up straight should actually not take a lot of effort. Poor posture, on the other hand, requires your muscles and connective tissue to "hold you up" and over time your bones can actually become weaker.

Alleviate headaches
Heres' a study in which some participants were asked to perform posture exercises every two to three hours, given reminders to relax muscles, and educated as to the benefits of posture. Other participants did not follow the program. At the end of eight months, the intervention group reported 41 percent fewer headaches, 43 percent less neck and shoulder pain, and a 51 percent reduction in the use of pain medication.

So when I see bodies stuck the green light, red light and trauma reflexes I bet know they could benefit from some Hanna Somatic Education! 

If you want to learn how to get out of pain, function and live better, then let's talk. I work with clients in person in classes, 1-on-1, and you can email me to train via Skype

Friday, July 3, 2015

Are you a Trauma Queen?

Many of the clients I work with present with
the trauma reflex in some capacity.

Human beings respond to stimuli with reflexes. Reflexes are perfectly natural, but if someone gets "stuck" in a reflex pattern, pain and dysfunction can result. The trauma reflex is one of three reflex patterns Hanna Somatic Education addresses to help people release the muscular tension and stress.

Once you understand these three reflexes, you start seeing them in your fellow humans everywhere you go!

Here are some examples of the trauma reflex (the body rotates and/or bends to the side).


Are you stuck in the trauma reflex? Watch this video to find out.

Hanna Somatic Education addresses
tight muscles that can cause:

  • sore feet and plantar fascititis
  • knee and hip pain
  • low back pain
  • frozen shoulder
  • TMJ disorder
  • breathing problems
  • headaches
  • brain fog
  • and more

As a Hanna Somatic Educator I offer hands-on sessions
and self-care exercises so you can remedy
your own pain right when you need it. 

What is involved in a Hands-on Session
"Hands-on" does not mean treatment or massage or adjustments. Hanna Somatic Educators don't work on people. Instead, we work with clients, educating them how to sense their bodies, and release chronically contracted muscles that are a result of Sensory Motor Amnesia. Sessions are performed on a table similar to a massage table and you are fully clothed. In addition to hands-on time, you are taught self-care exercises for your specific issues. Please purchase your intro session(s) here.

Classes, Skype Sessions and Workshops
There are self-care exercises you are taught to help you function better and enhance/maintain the results from a hands-on session(s). Some people prefer to start with my classes to as an introduction to HSE. Skype sessions are a great option for those not close to an HS Educator but want some guidance to get the most out of their self-practice.

I offer private workshops for you and your group (family and friends, workplace wellness, etc). Please email me to discuss your needs.

I look forward to sharing this phenomenal restorative exercise method with you!
Feel free to contact me with questions.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Blending somatic awareness into your workout

At my Hanna Somatic Education training I was the only personal trainer in the group of 18. Many were massage therapists and yoga instructors. One of them jokingly asked me why I was there, since personal training (or any typical workout sans trainer) can unintentionally contribute to people's dysfunctional movement patterns. If someone is out of alignment, workouts can literally strengthen faulty patterns.

So I thought I'd share some of my somatic awareness moves we do in my Take It Outside Fitness classes. This is dedicated to my fellow HSE students and teachers, so it might not make total sense to you if you don't have any previous somatic education experience. You should come to class or let's Skype! (I'm TrainerCrafterKristin).

Adding somatic awareness to your workouts
will make them and all your life activities
more enjoyable!
skipping forward and backward |  Swing opposite arm up to the lifted knee. Sense the waist shorten on the lifted knee side.

roll -n- tuck |  Lie supine (on your back), and without touching the ground with hands or feet, completely over, then slowly tuck drawing knees up and back down and repeat other direction.

side hop overs |  Travel sideways lifting knees as if you were hopping over parallel logs on the ground. Travel back with the other leg leading.

balance beam with lunges + turn around |  Walk the length of a "balance beam". (Use a line on a court, or a curb if you want more challenge.) At the end of the beam, lunge, stay in the lunge and pivot your entire body and legs to turn the other direction. Walk the beam and repeat back and forth. Alternate your lunges.

hopscotch |  Make sure you can hop onto your less dominate leg on the single leg hops. Try the pattern going backwards.

in-in-out |  I have no idea what this game is called, but as kids we called it in-in-out and played it all freaking day! It makes both sides of your brain work simultaneously! You can make your own topics, but let's go with the one labeled colors. Double hop on the colors square saying a color 2 times, then double hop to the next square saying another color, and go through all the squares repeating the hopping and saying a new color, and exit out the color square. You'll say 7 different colors. People look at me like I'm crazy and think "how hard could it be?". Try it. You'll be surprised at how challenging it can be. You can change the hopping patterns (single leg, single hop, etc) to increase the brain challenge.
spiderman crawl |  Sometimes called bear crawl. This move challenges the body to move contra-laterally (opposite arm to leg). Travel forward moving left hand and right foot forward, then switch. Try to keep back neutral and parallel to the ground.

lunges with bow-n-arrow | Using an exercise band without any slack between hands, lunge forward with the right foot, anchoring one of the band out in front of you with your left hand pull the other end of the band retracting the scapula. Sense the cross lateral pattern from your left scapula to your right hip. Alternate traveling forward.

runway walk | slow down a walking pattern, and exaggerate the contralateral swing of the arms and leg.  Bring awareness to the back line of the body. Sense the diagonal muscle contraction from one shoulder blade to the opposite hip.

additional x-lateral patterns | we did other cross lateral patterns with the band focusing on the back line, but I gotta get back to work so will leave it at that for now. :-)

Enjoy! and please feel free to share some of your favorite outdoor--or indoor-- somatic awareness exercises.

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