Sunday, December 2, 2018

December 2018 Classes with Think Somatics + Take It Outside Fitness

Holy cow! How did the end of the year get here already? Good thing we have somatics and fresh air to help us survive the speedy world that zips around us. :-) Here's what we are focusing on this month.

JUST FYI no classes on 
Mon Dec 16
Tues Dec 17
Mon Dec 24
Tues Dec 25
Wed Dec 26

To sign up for classes and purchase a punchcard visit my website


Somatics for Knees, Hips and Feet
TUE Dec 4  | 8:30am | Studio
WED Dec 5  |  1:00pm PST  | Online
FRI Dec 7  |  8:30am  |  Studio 
When clients tell me they have "tight hips" or "cranky knees" I'll bet they have forgotten how to move their waists, shoulders and pelvises freely. See, the torso should move the limbs, not the other way around. In this class we will assess how we walk first. Next we'll go through some yummy pandiculations (somatics movements) of the front, back and sides of the torso, and then rotate the body. After that we will walk again and see how much more freely our torsos move so our hips and knees are moving with ease as well. So simple!

Somatics in a Chair
TUE Dec 11  | 8:30am | Studio
WED Dec 12  | 1:00pm | online
FRI Dec 14  |  8:30am  | Studio 
Babies, young children and all animals pandiculate multiple times a day. What is "pandicuating"? Pandiculations are gentle contractions of muscles and even gentler releases, that leaves muscles relaxed to their natural resting length. And that's what Hanna (or clinical) Somatic movements are. While typical class movements are done on a flat surface, I'll share simple, seated ways to pandiculate all day, at work, in traffic and while stuck on the phone with your stoopid internet provider. Bye bye stress, hello freedom!

How to Make Your Life Easier with Somatics

FRI Dec 21  | 8:30am | Studio |
If you had a fine, golden necklace with a knot in it, would you yank and pull at it get it untied? Maybe... You might get frustrated and make it worse. You might break it, by working hard and forcefully to change the knot that won't untangle. But if you look at it thoughtfully and gently use your senses to solve the puzzle of the knot, voila, you solve your problem with ease. This is how somatics works. You solve your problems with awareness to the situation, minus common words of our culture--challenge, resistwork harderfight-- to create change. Once you learn the secrets of somatics, you will find many things in your life become easier, just by being aware and in the moment.

Somatics for Ribs to Wrists
Friday Dec28 | 8:30am | Studio 
This will be a fun class that will free up the ribcage, which in turn will change how your shoulders, back, spine, arms and wrists move. Well, why stop there, it'll go down to the feet too. Because we are whole beings functioning as whole systems. 

Take It Outside Fitness classes
Mondays | 8:30am | Mt Tabor
Wednesdays | 8:30am | Mt Tabor
In addition to my somatics classes I offer Take It Outside Fitness classes. These classes take your somatic awareness "up into gravity" for real-life movement patterns to re-enforce what you gain in my somatics classes. Even if you opt for just the outdoor classes, you will benefit. These classes take the body into multiple planes of movement, unlike typical gym workouts, so you learn to move well so you can live well.
TIOF is my original class format where I'll share fun, clever ways to use your surroundings as your gym. You'll never look at stairs, hills, see-saws and swings the same way again. Ages range from teens to 80s. I can vary a workout for your abilities. You'll love it! Really!​

​* INFO about ONLINE CLASSES

To "attend" online classes you will need:
* a wifi connection
* a laptop computer, tablet, ipad, smart phone device (desktop computers don't work well because they are on a desk and you are on the floor)
* open space to lie down on the floor (unless we are doing a seated/standing class)
* so I can see you better, a well lit area works best
* space to walk around a bit as well

You will receive a link to the Zoom classroom in your class registration confirmation. Here's a tutorial to learn how to join the classroom once you receive the link.

​IMPORTANT!
​Please get online prior to class and set up your space so you are visible to the camera of your device. If I can't see you, I can't help you with your practice as well. Below is an example of what I'm talking about.


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

November Think Somatics and Take It Outside Fitness classes

Hey there! First off, be sure you vote this November!
Somatics, full pattern movement and civic duty are critical parts to life :-)
OK, now that I've said that, here is what we are focusing on in November.

To sign up for classes and purchase a punchcard visit my website


Somatics and Better Breathing
FRI Nov 02  | 8:30am | Studio 
Somewhere I read--or maybe one of my teachers said--adults pretty much breathe just enough to keep themselves alive. There are many factors that hinder our ability just breathe fully and in a relaxed way. The top three being, the pressures of daily life in industrial world; cultural norms; and ubiquitous concept that a tight core is a good thing. This week we will explore how these norms hinder us, how somatics balances the body to a more thermostatic level with the nervous system and how a more balanced nervous system relates to the rest of the body. You can read more about respiratory muscles here.

Somatics for Pelvic Floor
TUE Nov 6  | 8:30am | Studio |
WED Nov 7  | 1:00pm | ONLINE*
FRI Nov 8  |  8:30am  | Studio  |
So many things doctors attribute to aging can be actually linked back to stress within the body. I've worked with women who have found Somatics has helped them end their urinary incontinence. Here's a post from a satisfied client who was so amazed she wanted to share her story with others.  Mean too have pelvic floors and can benefit from Somatics. Regardless if you have pelvic floor issues or not, everyone can benefit from this class... because everyone has one. :-) 

Somatics for Neck and Shoulders
FRI Nov 16  | 8:30am | Studio |
According Physicians Weekly, $90 billion is spent on the diagnosis and management of back and neck pain each year. And most people aren't actually getting relief, some are becoming addicted to pain meds. There is a better, safer, and simpler way; By tapping into the brain and nervous system that is stuck in faulty patterns and has forgotten how to release tight muscles. You aren't just a bunch parts, so why are you addressing just the site of discomfort? In this class we will address the whole spine, from skull to tailbone. You have to experience it to believe it!

Somatics and Better Breathing
TUE Nov 20 | 8:30am | Studio 
WED Nov 21 | 1:00pm | ONLINE 
See above for description.

Climb the Empire State Building at Mt Tabor
THU Nov 24  |  8:30am  | Mt Tabor  |  
Join us for a free hike that takes us up and down hills and stairs that are the equivalent of climbing the Empire State Building, 103 floors! This is not a Somatics class, but rather a Take It Outside Fitness class, but we will wrap up with somatic movements to release our muscles.


Bliss Friday
FRI Nov 23  |  8:30am  | Studio  | 
If you'd rather avoid the stress, tension, anxiety and pressure of what has become the norm of day after T-day, join us for a lovely time in the studio for somatics. Sure to leave you feeling blissed and blessed.

Somatics for Neck and Shoulders
TUE Nov 27  | 8:30am | Studio
WED Nov 28  | 1:00pm | ONLINE*
FRI Nov 30  |  8:30am  | Studio  
See above for description.

Take It Outside Fitness, Somatic Fitness and Movement Classes

Mondays | 8:30am | Mt Tabor
Wednesdays | 8:30am | Mt Tabor
In addition to my somatics classes I offer Take It Outside Fitness classes. These classes take your somatic awareness "up into gravity" for real-life movement patterns to re-enforce what you gain in my somatics classes. Even if you opt for just the outdoor classes, you will benefit. These classes take the body into multiple planes of movement, unlike typical gym workouts, so you learn to move well so you can live well.
TIOF is my original class format where I'll share fun, clever ways to use your surroundings as your gym. You'll never look at stairs, hills, see-saws and swings the same way again. Ages range from teens to 80s. I can vary a workout for your abilities. You'll love it! Really!​

​* INFO about ONLINE CLASSES

To "attend" online classes you will need:
* a wifi connection
* a laptop computer, tablet, ipad, smart phone device (desktop computers don't work well because they are on a desk and you are on the floor)
* open space to lie down on the floor (unless we are doing a seated/standing class)
* so I can see you better, a well lit area works best
* space to walk around a bit as well

Within 30-60 minutes before the start of an online class, I'll send out an email with a link to your online classroom. Here's a tutorial to learn how to join the classroom once you receive the link.

​IMPORTANT!

​Please get online prior to class and set up your space so you are visible to the camera of your device. If I can't see you, I can't help you with your practice as well. Below is an example of what I'm talking about.



Saturday, October 6, 2018

Free Online Intro to Somatics Class | Saturday October 13 2018

FREE Intro to Somatics Online Presentation

Saturday October 13  |  9:00am pacific time  |  More Details and Registration  

Hi there! Once a month I offer a free Intro to Somatics. It's open to anyone and everyone, so be sure to tell your friends and family, anyone who want to feel great in their bodies and lives without drugs, surgery or on-going treatments.

Somatics goes to the root of all movement, the brain! Learn how to release chronic tension with simple, safe and enjoyable movements so you move with ease and mastery.

* Learn what the three main reflexes to stress and stimuli are.
* What Sensory Motor Amnesia is.
* What pandiculations are and how they influence the brain.
* How Somatics is not bodywork, but rather brain work.

Somatics is unlike anything you’ve ever tried to get you out of pain.

* it’s not treatment, it’s an education
* its not stretching or strengthening
* it empowers you to "fix" yourself, (somatic educators call it _freeing_ yourself)
* it's safe, gentle and pain free!

I will explain the basics and give you an opportunity to ask questions. See you then!

Do you know what Neuroplasticity is?

This short video explains Neuroplasticity simply and succinctly.


How does Somatics change the brain?

Clinical Somatics is not a trendy new exercise class. It’s not designed to create dependency on someone to “fix” you. It’s all based on neurophysiology; how and what our brains and nervous systems do when we experience accidents, surgeries, and daily stressors. 

It’s in our human DNA to respond with particular reflexes. We coil into a fetal position when scared, we arch our lower backs when we're called to action, we twist and bend to protect ourselves from injury or pain. It’s involuntary! Reflexes are meant to help us survive. Unfortunately in today’s world, events and lifestyle habits keep us in those reflex patterns 24/7, to the point where our brains no longer know how to release the muscles triggered for action. That’s when things go haywire. We've developed SMA, **Sensory Motor Amnesia**. Our brains have forgotten how to release the tight, tense muscles that create pain in our bodies, joints and the muscles themselves, not to mention a host of health issues typically attributed to aging, but are actually **learned dysfunctions**.

With safe, simple movements your brain learns how to release the tension and you literally change the neural pathways in your brain! How cool is that!? **Somatics is neuroplasticity in action**. 

Listen within. That's where your knowledge and power is.

 If a freer you is what you want, I'll see you Saturday! The choice is all yours.

Please visit my website for more details on Somatics

peace,
Kristin

Saturday, September 29, 2018

October 2018 Think Somatics + Take It Outside Fitness classes

Since Oct 7-13 is Mental Health Week, I thought I'd create somatic-based classes around that theme. To the somatics perspective there is no mind-body connection. We are mind-body organismsConnection means separate entities, with a link between.  I like to say the brain and the body are two sides of the same coin. What you feel is in your body is in your your mind. Your thoughts are felt in your body. Join me this month as we sense the relationship between the two. This month we will explore somatics movements--pandiculations-- in relation to breath, meditation, busy-ness and how sensory motor amnesia shows up in our body and lives.

Somatics + Meditation

TUE Oct 2  | 8:30am | Studio |  Save Your Spot
WED Oct 3  | 1:00pm | ONLINE* |  Save Your Spot
FRI Oct 5  |  8:30am  | Studio  |  Save Your Spot
Do you have a meditation practice? Have you tried but can't "get into it"? Is your monkey brain keeping you from a practice? Or maybe you have a meditation practice, have pain, and haven't found meditation a source of relief? I invite you to somatics class. Conventional approaches to meditation are top-down, left-brained driven with thoughts and concepts driving the show. Somatics is a bottom-up approach asking one to feel and sense oneself from within the body. Come! Explore somatics and find an enjoyable way to cut the chatter and chaos we believe is a part of modern life.

Take a Breath 

TUE Oct 9  | 8:30am | Studio |  Save Your Spot
WED Oct 10  | 1:00pm | ONLINE* |  Save Your Spot
FRI Oct 12  |  8:30am  | Studio  |  Save Your Spot
Somewhere I read--or maybe one of my teachers said--adults pretty much breathe just enough to keep themselves alive. There are many factors that hinder our ability just breathe fully and in a relaxed way. The top three being, the pressures of daily life in industrial world; cultural norms; and ubiquitous concept that a tight core is a good thing. This week we will explore how these norms hinder us, how somatics balances the body to a more thermostatic level with the nervous system and how a more balanced nervous system relates to the rest of the body. You can read more about respiratory muscles here.

Somatics, Sensory Motor Amnesia (SMA) in Your Body and Your Life

TUE Oct 16  | 8:30am | Studio |  Save Your Spot
WED Oct 17  | 1:00pm | ONLINE* |  Save Your Spot
FRI Oct 19  |  8:30am  | Studio  |  Save Your Spot
My teachers use to say "SMA shows up in your life, not just in your body." We all develop motor patterns and we get really good at them.  SMA is when you move a certain way, but don't have a great sense of what you're doing, or how to change to another more fluid pattern. Let's say you have developed carpal tunnel syndrome, and find your wrist gets worse as you scroll through your Facebook feed with your right thumb umpteen times a day. Or maybe you walk with a limp that your friends and family ask you about, but you aren't aware of.  Both are examples of SMA. You have gotten really good at these patterns and can't seem to move in another way that doesn't hurt or hinder your freedom of movement. SMA can also show up as patterns of mindlessly eating, getting mad at your crazy uncle at Thanksgiving dinner before he even shares his latest crazy tinfoil hat conspiracy theory around the dinner table. You expect it and your body is already ramped up. :-) Our bodies almost guide us to act ways because we have habituated patterns, but ultimately the brain is in charge. With somatics you can impact the neuroplasticity of your brain and create new, healthier patterns. 

B-U-S-Y is a 4-letter word

TUE Oct 23  | 8:30am | Studio |  Save Your Spot
WED Oct 24  | 1:00pm | ONLINE* |  Save Your Spot
FRI Oct 26  |  8:30am  | Studio  |  Save Your Spot
Last week we focused on SMA showing up in our lives. This week we go another step into cultural norms and how busy-ness is yet another form of SMA. We all have it. Just to greater or lesser extents. I don't know how many people do all that they do. Work, home, kids, partners. We can't do them all and do them all well. We make lists and check off, rather than check in. Somatics is different.  Let's slow way down and sense what busy feels like, and what calm feels like. And let that awareness carry us out the studio door, back to our daily lives, noticing how we cope better with a greater sense of what hooks us into the go-go-go of life. Personal priorities can be muddied by busy-ness.  Trade in "just do it" for "Just be."

Somatics Surprise

TUE Oct 30  | 8:30am | Studio |  Save Your Spot
Oh look, an extra day of the month to explore somatics! Stay tuned for what's to come, or comment below to make a request.

Take It Outside Fitness, Somatic Fitness and Movement Classes

Mondays | 8:30am | Mt Tabor | Save Your Spot!
Wednesdays | 8:30am | Mt Tabor | Save Your Spot!
In addition to my somatics classes I offer Take It Outside Fitness classes. These classes take your somatic awareness "up into gravity" for real-life movement patterns to re-enforce what you gain in my somatics classes. Even if you opt for just the outdoor classes, you will benefit. These classes take the body into multiple planes of movement, unlike typical gym workouts, so you learn to move well so you can live well.
TIOF is my original class format where I'll share fun, clever ways to use your surroundings as your gym. You'll never look at stairs, hills, see-saws and swings the same way again. Ages range from teens to 80s. I can vary a workout for your abilities. You'll love it! Really!​

​* INFO about ONLINE CLASSES

Please register at least 1 hour in advance of class.
To "attend" online classes you will need:
* a wifi connection
* a laptop computer, tablet, ipad, smart phone device (desktop computers don't work well because they are on a desk and you are on the floor)
* open space to lie down on the floor (unless we are doing a seated/standing class)
* so I can see you better, a well lit area works best
* space to walk around a bit as well

Within 30-60 minutes before the start of an online class, I'll send out an email with a link to your online classroom. Here's a tutorial to learn how to join the classroom once you receive the link.

​IMPORTANT!

​Please get online prior to class and set up your space so you are visible to the camera of your device. If I can't see you, I can't help you with your practice as well. Below is an example of what I'm talking about.




Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Somatics Salon a la Think Somatics

Centuries ago, generally hosted by women, "a salon was a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host." per Wikipedia. Historically these gatherings focused on literature, art, or philosophical movements. There are modern day salons occurring around the world in the 21st century.

As you know, I'm very inspired by Somatics. It's all I talk about. :-) So are people who find me through my YouTube channel, online classes and online private lessons. With that in mind, I'm introducing Somatics Salons. These events are part of my mission to to spread somatics in the tradition of Thomas Hanna far and wide, by taking Somatics on the road.

WHAT ARE SOMATICS SALONS?
A Somatics salons is a gathering of people seeking enlightened ways to become, and stay, self sustaining, self regulating and self correcting in their bodies and minds. They want to learn about Thomas Hanna, PhD, developed Hanna Somatics, which is the foundation to the school of Essential Somatics. Hanna was a philosopher who worked with the body. He was perpetually intrigued by man's ability to stay free and autonomous. Personally I think the world is in a huge contraction right now. That's why his work is so needed in society today. There are three primary goals of the somatics salons.

  • Help people understand how the brain controls pain, and controls freedom. Humans have the ability to "fix" themselves and most of their problems. Not through force, pain or avoidance, but by sensing what they are doing so they can change it. 
  • Connecting people to sense themselves. Recognize that we have free will and the ability to self sooth and self regulate in the response to the 24/7 stressors we can not escape.
  • Connect people to each other. By sensing ourselves we can better relate to each other. When we have a better understanding of ourselves and what we feel, we can "walk in another man's shoes."

WHERE DO SOMATICS SALONS MEET?
The Somatics Salons happen anywhere in the world that has a group of students waiting for a Somatics Educator to visit! These gatherings are hosted at people's homes or in local businesses. The host(ess) helps organized the event in his/her town, co-hosting the event with Kristin Jackson.

WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA TO HOST?
  • you love somatics and want to share it with your friends, co-workers, family, neighbors, club members, etc
  • you have a clean, open space within your home that is suitable a movement lesson (think great room, basement rec room, etc) 
  • or you have access to an affordable space in the community (yoga studio, local gym, high school gymnasium, community center, Masonic lodge, church hall, open office space). The space rental fee to be negotiated with Think Somatics. 
  • the host(ess) attends the Salon for free
WHAT HAPPENS AT THE SALON?
  • Be introduced to the philosophy that is Somatics
  • learn the three primary reflexes that the brain can habituate within the body and cause tension and pain
  • Understand what Sensory Motor Amnesia is and how to reverse it
  • Learn somatic movements called pandiculations to get rid of pain and find freedom within your body and mind
HOW DO I CO-HOST?
Contact Kristin with the following information
  • Where you are located
  • If you are close to an airport, etc
  • Details about your space (dimensions, floor surface, etc)
  • How many people you can host in your space
  • Ideal dates to host our Salon
This is definitely a work in progress, but here we go!






Monday, August 27, 2018

September 2018 classes with Think Somatics and Take It Outside Fitness

It's back to school time! And it's never too late to learn something new. Especially about yourself. How you move, or not. What you feel within. How to get rid of your pain, just by learning how to sense what your muscles are doing and letting go of excess tension. It's so simple! So join me in class this month.

Take It Outside Fitness

Mondays | 830am | Mt Tabor | Save Your Spot!
Wednesdays | 830am | Mt Tabor | Save Your Spot!

These classes are super fun and invigorating. We blend recess games, play, agility, balance and somatic awareness to stimulate your whole body AND brain. Think you're too old to join? Ha! Ages run from 30s all the way up to 80+! And yes, we meet for class, come rain or shine. Students say they love earning the bragging rights to say they Take It Outside no matter what! Keeping it real. :-) 

Release Your Neck and Shoulder Tension with Somatics

TUE  Sept 4  |  8:30am  |  Studio | Save Your Spot
WED  Sept 5  |  1:00pm  |  ONLINE* | Save Your Spot  
FRI  Sept 7 |  8:30am  |  Studio | Save Your Spot
According Physicians Weekly, $90 billion is spent on the diagnosis and management of back and neck pain each year. And most people aren't actually getting relief, some are becoming addicted to pain meds. There is a better, safer, and simpler way; By tapping into the brain and nervous system that is stuck in faulty patterns and has forgotten how to release tight muscles. You aren't just a bunch parts, so why are you addressing just the site of discomfort? In this class we will address the whole spine, from skull to tailbone. You have to experience it to believe it!

Happy Knees, Hips, and Feet with Somatics

TUE  Sept 11  |  8:30am  |  Studio | Save Your Spot
WED  Sept 12  |  1:00pm  |  ONLINE* | Save Your Spot
FRI  Sept 14 |  8:30am  |  Studio | Save Your Spot
When clients tell me they have "tight hips", "sore feet: and  "cranky knees" I'll bet they have forgotten how to move their waists, shoulders and pelvises freely. See, the torso should move the limbs, not the other way around. In this class we will assess how we walk first. Next we'll go through some yummy pandiculations (somatics movements) of the front, back and sides of the torso, and then rotate the body. After that we will walk again and see how much more freely our torsos move so our hips and knees are moving with ease as well. So simple. see you there!

Somatics for Chest, Arms, Hands and Wrists

TUE  Sept 18  |  8:30am  |  Studio | Save Your Spot
WED  Sept 19  |  1:00pm  |  ONLINE* | Save Your Spot
FRI  Sept 21 |  8:30am  |  Studio | Save Your Spot
Our arms start all the way in at the breast bone in the front of the body and at the spine and shoulder blades all the way down to the pelvis in the back of the body. There are even muscles that run from your skull to your shoulder. So if you are experiencing pain or mobility issues with your shoulders, carpal tunnel syndrome, neck and jaw, come to class! We will soften, not tighten the body, so you can move with more freedom and ease, and of course pain free. 

Fall Prevention the Somatic Way
TUE  Sept 25  |  8:30am  |  Studio | Save Your Spot
WED  Sept 26  |  1:00pm  |  ONLINE* | Save Your Spot
FRI  Sept 28 |  8:30am  |  Studio | Save Your Spot
A brain that has good control of the body and how it functions and moves, will be less susceptible to falling down. Even better, a brain that has sound control of how the muscles contract and release, will fall more softly, if you do happen to stumble and/or fall. This class will be seated and standing.


​* INFO about ONLINE CLASSES

Please register at least 1 hour in advance of class. 
To "attend" online classes you will need
* a wifi connection
* a laptop computer, tablet, ipad, smart phone device (desktop computers don't work well because they are on a desk and you are on the floor)
* open space to lie down on the floor (unless we are doing a seated/standing class)
* so I can see you better, a well lit area works best
* space to walk around a bit as well

Within 30-60 minutes before the start of an online class, I'll send out an email with a link to your online classroom. Here's a tutorial to learn how to join the classroom once you receive the link.

​IMPORTANT! 
​Please get online prior to class and set up your space so you are visible to the camera of your device. If I can't see you, I can't help you with your practice as well. Below is an example of what I'm talking about.
Picture

Thursday, August 2, 2018

It's never just one muscle that is causing your pain

So often clients come to me and "say my doc/PT/chiropractor/massage therapist says my _______ muscle is too weak, tight, etc. and that's why I'm in pain."

Hate to break it to you, but that is a total myth. Repeat after me.

No. Muscle. Functions. By. Itself.

You are an amazing being, with your brain controlling how your muscles contract and release as needed. When we move well, we feel well. We move in well orchestrated ways. Those ways are called motor patterns, but sometimes our patterns are fouled up by accidents, surgery, repetitive actions, that kink us up and we end up not feeling like ourselves and moving less than optimally. How we move brings so much into play, from head to toe. To say that one little muscle needs to be stretched or strengthened is not looking at the whole picture. That whole picture, being you.

You aren't a machine, so you don't need to fix a "part" of you, i.e. a particular muscle. Instead you need to address how the system is functioning. And what controls how you function and move? Your BRAIN!

There are seven layers of muscles make up the back of your torso that bend you forward, backward, side ways and into rotation.

Take a look at the following images of the muscles that run along the back of your body. Each one shows layer under layer of muscles along the back of the torso. If one of them is doing something, they are all doing something. Some may contract together. Some muscles will lengthen as the opposing ones shorten (contract). In the same light there would be muscles in other parts of the body which would contract/lengthen. You are whole being, not doll or machine, made of isolated parts. When you are free in your body, you function well as a whole system, a whole process. How you respond to stress in life will influence how your brain and body function. When the brain becomes unaware of how it's controlling the system, things can hurt.



lats, gluteal muscles, back pain

Layer 1.
These are the muscle directly under your skin and any subcutaneous fat.
_________________



Layer 2.
Muscles directly below layer 1.
_________________



Layer 3.
Notice there are even muscles between your ribs. If you are shallow breather, your ribs aren't moving well and you can have shoulder, jaw neck, even hip issues.
_________________



Layer 4.
Notice the long muscles that run from your neck to your sacrum.
They help you bend backward and rotate your spine.
_________________



QL tight, back pain, scoliosis, leg length

Layer 5.
People so tell me about their "tight QL", the quadratus lumborum. The QL is one of the many muscles that help the body bend sideways. So do the obliques and other muscles of the torso. Perfect example of how no muscle works in isolation. If you've been told you have a shorter leg, your QL as well as muscles between your ribs, along the side of your body can be tight which "hikes" the hip up "shortening" the leg. You most likely don't have a short leg. You have a tight side of your body.
_________________




Layer 6.
Notice the band of muscles running just along the spine.
These are your multifidi muscles. They too, are involved with side bending,
bending backwards and rotation of the spine.
_________________




Layer 7.
Notice the muscle inside the rib cage. That is your diaphragm. It is a muscle.
But we seldom pay attention to its action. When you take a big breath in your diaphragm should expand (contract) downward like a pump, drawing oxygen into your lungs. If you take a big breath in and find you lift your shoulders and breathe towards your collar bones, your diaphragm is not functioning as it was designed to do.
Shallow breathing can lead to feeling a bit anxious and exhausted. 
_________________


So what is the point of this simple anatomy lesson? If you've been told you ___________ muscle is too tight, weak, etc, please know it is not working in isolation. You may be told to stretch or strengthen that one area, but that's a laborious, short sighted approach to getting you out of pain and functioning well. But it is the current paradigm, isn't it? It's what I use to think as well. Once I learned about how somatic movements are meant to bring the whole system back to homeostasis, ie, no tension, just relaxed muscles to their natural resting length, it made perfect sense. Clients say the same thing, once they learn the secret. If you want to get out of pain quickly, with enjoyable movements, please consider Clinical Somatic Education (ESE).

Clinical Somatics is the intelligent, safe and fast way to relearn how to move well so you can live well.

Somatics is not a trendy new "thing". Humans are actually genetically designed to release pent up muscle tension. But in industrialized nations, humans have been encouraged to lead rushed lives, not pay attention to their internal awareness, and as a culture we are told to sit still, "tighten the core," face forward, stand up straight, etc.

We have learned how to not move, and therefore be dysfunctional.

Somatics on the other hand is a re-education in how to find homeostasis within your system so you can let go of tension and stress without stretching of strengthening your already tight body. Stretching and strengthening do not change motor patterns, the chronic contractions in your muscles, or release them to their resting length.

What does? Pandiculations. Pandiculations are gentle contractions, just strong enough to sense tension within your muscles, so the nerve receptors, which have been on autopilot, become aware of what the muscles are doing, and then slowly releasing tension so the receptors relearn to let go and relax muscles.

If you've tried everything, but still can't find relief, if you're tired of working so hard but still feel "old," get in touch, sign up for a class or schedule a private session. I work with people online lessons too.

With Somatics you can reclaim freedom in your body and life. The choice is yours.













Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Somatics is not a "thing"


As part of my 3-year clinical training I had to write a philosophy paper about Somatics. Thomas Hanna was a philosopher in addition to a Hanna Somatics Educator. This is my paper. So while people ask "what is somatics?" maybe an understanding of what it is not will help people better understand what it is.


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 If I can impart one key message about Essential Somatics it is this: Somatics is not a thing

Things can be gadgets, modalities or gurus. Things can be revered as special ways, maybe even mysterious ways to do something to achieve something. We seek these things for our problems, from losing weight to being better business owners to getting rid of pain. The point is these things are outside of ourselves. 

Somatics is not a thing.

Think back to when we were kids. We didn't know anything. Everything was new and exciting. We had a gazillion questions about everything. We touched things. We stuck things in our mouths. We tired to convey to others what we were feeling. We were aware of things that adults take for granted and go unnoticed.

We were using our brains and senses to figure things out. 

Let me say that again. 

We were using our brains and senses to figure things out. 

Fast forward to adulthood. If you are involved in adult education, the experts tell you, relate what you teach to something the (adult) student already knows.  

Which explains my dilemma. 

Since Somatics is not a thing, it can be challenging at first for some adults to “get” it.  We are adults after all, and have well entrenched beliefs and think we know pretty much everything, or at least enough to get by. That’s not meant as an insult. If we were to discover something that goes against our current beliefs we might not want to learn/believe/experience something new. That rigidity can be our enemy. Kids don’t think this way. They don’t have any preconceived notions, yet.

When people ask me what I do, to keep it short and sweet, I often just reply, "I teach people how to use their brains to get rid of their pains." 

Which usually breaks the ice--I mean everyone can relate to pain, right? So they want to know what exactly it is that I do.

So I explain what Somatics is and how it works, then they ask questions like:

"Is it like massage?" 

No. 

"So its like pilates, right?" 

Not even close. 

"Yoga?" 

“Welllll....there could be some distant philosophical similarities."

Yoga is a perfect example of something that has become a thing. I don't claim to be a yoga expert, but what I like to call "western yoga" pays just a teensy tiny homage to “real yoga”. Western yoga is now sold as a physical exercise program. Some yoga schools have trademarked poses, sell special gear, heat yoga spaces to 100+ degrees 24/7 and play bass rock at the threshold of pain. In reality the yoga poses practiced in gyms across the US are just a fraction of the original physical, mental, and spiritual practice of yoga that originated in ancient India. Just one example of a thing, but I digress.

When I chat with clients and total strangers about Somatics they tell me all kinds of things they do for pain. 

“I have the best massage therapist! I've been going to him for years. He can fix me right up. Well, I feel amazing for a while, but then the pain comes back…."

“I was in an auto accident and now my left leg is shorter than my right, so my doctor told me to wear orthotics. I don’t really like them, but I need to wear them.”

There is some sort of all-knowing, ubiquitous “they” that doles out advice that becomes part of our beliefs, because we’ve heard these “tips” so many times. 

They say we should walk with our backs like this.” 

“I’ve heard I should do this with my shoulders.” 

“I’m trying to get my pelvis to do X." 

These shoes will make me run like this.” 

“I try to engage my abs to X percent.” 

“My pain is because I have arthritis/compression/stenosis/etc.”

You’ve probably got your own. I know I sure did! 

After a Somatics for Wellbeing class at Portland Community College, a man came up to me and said, "This class has been amazing. I’ve been going to a chiropractor for over 30 years and never felt like this! Who do you suggest I go see to continue this?" I looked at him, and said, "Uh, me? Since Somatics has been so great for you, how about you come in for a hands-on session with me, a Somatics Educator?" He looked at me like I didn't understand and replied, "No, I mean, can you recommend a good massage therapist. Or maybe I should go to an acupuncturist." I didn't press it, but he really back pedaled from pursuing Somatics. 

It dawned on me, he thought he needed a thing to fix his pain. It didn’t make me mad. It actually made me kind of sad. Sad that he had less faith in his own personal experience of himself, than some thing. 

I can relate though. After I was hit by a car while riding my bike I did pilates. A figured a “tight core” would help me, which is what we hear all the time, right? Now I know a tight core is the complete opposite of freedom of movement, which my body was lacking. I got acupuncture, which I really did enjoy, but the pains I had never went/stayed away. The chiropractor I saw was worthless but I wanted to believe what everyone said, that it would help. Physical therapy made my pain worse. I explored a bunch of other things, but nothing lasted. I will say cranio sacral work and osteopathic treatments were helpful, but slow going. 

Then I found a Somatics. The first time I explored the movements I got instant and lasting relief in my left hip and that was 4+ years ago. I was sold. I signed up to learn how to teach the movements in that book, and became a Certified Somatics Exercise Coach. 

I taught the movements to clients and they absolutely loved them! They felt things in their bodies that they hadn’t felt in a very long time, or maybe even ever. Cool!

Then I started reading Thomas Hanna’s books, Somatics: Reawakening The Mind's Control Of Movement, Flexibility, And Health; Bodies in Revolt;The Body of Life, and articles in Somatics Magazine. 

Thomas Hanna (1928-1990), who developed Hanna Somatics, was a philosopher who’s shining philosophy was how humans can become and remain physically and intellectually free. The driving force of his work as a Somatic Educator and philosopher was to help people realize the potential we all have, and with that potential we can take responsibility for our own bodies, lives and minds.
Humans, unlike other animals, have neo-cortexes—the thinking, executive functioning part of the brain— that make us human and give us free will. It’s when you understand that, then everything changes. And you realize Somatics is not a thing.

So if somatics is not a thing, what exactly is it, you ask?

You are not a thing either. You are a soma. Your body is what you see in the mirror and what others see when they look at you. Soma is greek for living body, which Hanna further defined as the body experienced from within and where we experience mind/body integration. So what you feel from within you is you. No one else can have that experience and that should just send chills down your spine if you think about it. You and your brain have a world in and of itself. No one can be you. No one can feel what you feel. And surprise! There is no mind-body “connection.” The brain and body are one, two sides of the same coin, wrapped up in the soma, the being, that is you, at this moment in time. 

Remember when I said when we were young we were using our brains to figure things out. Think about that. When you were a brand new baby you didn't know jack squat about how to do anything. While a baby horse can walk in 3 minutes after birth, a baby human can take anywhere from 6 to 17 months to walk. 

Consider this: no thing taught us how to do all the movements we learned to do, that lead to walking, that lead to running, skipping, hopping and so on. We didn’t need any thing to make it happen. No gadgets or contraptions.  Just our brains and nervous systems. We learned how to be and move all on our own. Our brains and nervous systems helped us balance our giant heads over our bodies. Our brains and nervous systems helped us go from lying face down to being able to lift our heads to face forward and our legs up in the air behind us. And as Thomas Hanna said, we were pretty stoked when we did that for the very first time. (I’m paraphrasing, of course.) That arching of the back is called the Landau Reflex and it's what leads human babies to get up and move forward into the world. It's a key stage of development. But again, no thing made that happen. We did it because we wanted to move forward! It was just us and our brains and nervous systems, evolution, and hopefully adequate caregivers encouraging us along the way. If we weren't motivated and using our senses, and had given up way back then, we'd still be in our cribs having someone changing our diapers. Ironically what we want to avoid as we get older. :-)

So what does that have to do with Somatics? Ah ha! This is where people start thinking Somatics a thing. Nope, Somatics is re-education. A re-education in you, and you are not a thing. With all the sensory stimulation we were absorbing as young babies and toddlers we literally taught ourselves to move well and freely. We were little masters of our destinies, and just imagine if we had continued on this trajectory of self awareness. But alas, just as we were about to take on the world, our training became externally driven. We were told: Sit down. Face forward. Stop moving about! What we had learned on our own was being taken away. Our brains started to prune away our freedom of movement and to some extent, unadulterated joy. 

Now, as adults we are looking for something to recapture that freedom. But many of us don’t think it is possible. We have pain, both physically and mentally. We may even think it’s our age and inevitable. We have been told that there are others outside of ourselves that know us better than we know ourselves. We go looking for these things to remedy us, when we can actually remedy ourselves. We have our brains and nervous systems still, after all. We are still somas. All the fabulous movement we could do at a young age was self taught. Now is the time to stop chasing things and look within. That is where our knowledge and power lies. Not outside of ourselves.

Body workers do just that; they work on bodies. Somatic educators are just here to help you reclaim what is rightfully yours, but forgotten. 

You once knew how to move with ease and you can do it again. 

Yes. You. Can.  

Somatics is just re-education to relearn our natural/god-given ability to do what we did on our own as children and babies. We learned by moving and we pandiculated. All animals pandiculate. That stretching thing your dog does every day is actually a pandiculation. It helps the muscles of the body relax to their natural resting length. We did the exact same thing all the time as babies and toddlers. You may still do it if you allow yourself to take a big yawn, reach your arms over your head and contract your muscles then let them gently go. No stretching. No strengthening. A pandiculation is just a neurophysiological reset to let go of excess tension in the body. If you can relax out of your patterns of tension and stress, you will move with freedom and contentment. No outside things make that happen. You do it.

I can help you have a better sense of yourself, and then you take it from there. Humans have been led astray from who they truly are. But with pandiculations, you will find that as you re-learn to move with ease, your life will become easier. Things will no longer have their draw. 

In all honesty, I think this is a key reason Somatics is not better known. Humans are the only species on the planet that pay to live. And if we take away all the extraneous BS and things that don’t really matter,  how will the “powers that be” (advertising, mega-corporations, political parties, religion, school) control us if we are free? We can be content  with just being ourselves.

You were born to be free. To paniculate and sense yourself. Somatics is just a way for you to rediscover your innate ability to self regulate, self correct, and self sooth. It helps you let go of tension that holds you back from being your true self. I believe if we have a better sense of ourselves we can better relate to the world and those around us. Less tension within means less conflict outside. And wouldn’t that be a nice thing?

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Dowloadable Somatics Classes

Do you wish you could take a Somatics class, but there is no Hanna--or Essential or Clinical-- Somatics Classes in your area? No problem!

Take a look over on my store front and you'll find full-length classes you can download for your permanent collection. Now you can take a somatics class any time, anywhere in the world!

I've created video classes and audio classes. Some people wonder if they need video classes to "get" the moves. No, you really don't. In my audio lessons I walk you through the movements very precisely, so you understand what we are doing at all times. In all honesty, when you are following along with any lesson, you should have your eyes closed anyway, so audio lessons are perfect. Why do I say that? Because when your eyes are open your brain is taking in a lot of additional data that interferes with what your sensory motor cortex is doing and sensing.

By closing your eyes, you gain much more internal somatic awareness.


If you get confused at anytime with an audio lesson, shoot me a message. Let me know which lesson and which movement you have issue with and I''l clear up any questions you may have.

Currently I have:
Somatics for Your Feet
The Daily Supplement which is a full body routine based on Thomas Hanna's Cat Stretch routine.
Somatics for Stiff Neck and Shoulders is quite popular.
Somatics for SI Joint Pain which can be helpful for sciatica and piriformis pain.
Seated and standing Somatics moves are great for anyone wanting alternatives to the typical floor movements.

I'll be adding new ones all the time, so be sure to sign up for updates and special offers.

Thanks for stopping by!

~Kristin
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