Friday, January 23, 2015

Cross training for somatics

When it comes to different fitness programs, I used to think I was a Jill-of-all-Trades-a-Mistress-of-None, but now I know that the more I learn about movement, from multiple disciplines the better teacher I am. Plus we all know that doing the same routine day in and day out, year after year sets us up for plateaus, back sliding on our progress, risk of repetitive-stress injuries, and just plan boredom.

I may be all about somatics these days, but I know we need more movement than just slowly rolling around on the floor! :-) So when one of my students asked me what should she be doing in addition to her somatics practice, I thought I'd share some thoughts.

Think of Somatics as Movement 101. 
Most of us are not functioning well, so by retraining our brains to let go of chronic tension in our muscles with somatic exercises, we make everything else we do so much easier and enjoyable. Really! I was so messed up after my accident it got to where walking--one of my favorite things to do--just felt hard. Not heart rate wise, but physically I was not moving fluidly or comfortably. Now I just want to walk all the time!

Move it or lose it.
Once you are moving with better functionality, I encourage you to explore movement that get our bodies moving in multiple planes. Here are a few I came up with, but feel free to share yours too!

Hula hooping: a full-body integrated movement.
  • hula hooping
  • dancing
  • cross country skiing
  • roller blading/skating
  • hiking
  • rock climbing
  • crawling and rolling
  • skipping
  • rotational and contralateral exercises as well as exercises that move your spine in and out of flexion and extension, such as yoga or pilates, but be sure to get plenty of extension. Our world puts our bodies into flexion plenty already. 
  • tai chi and qigong
  • martial arts
  • playing with your kids, and I mean really playing with them. Play Follow the Leader and let them lead you!
  • imitate your cat or dog. They pandiculate every day, and so do babies and small children. Let them teach you how!

Go for a somatically-aware walk.
One of the first things I do when I start a class is have everyone walk around the room. I have them explore how their hips, waists, shoulders move, or don't move, as the case may be. Does one arm swing more than the other? Do they hear their feet hit the floor loudly or softly? Do they reach with their feet to pull them forward, or do they push off their feet behind them to propel them forward? Somatics encourages us to feel every move we make as an extension from the torso, but our culture has turned us into almost robotic walkers. We don't move our torsos much to move, resulting in awkward gaits and sore feet and knees. 

Check out how these women can dance with baskets on their heads. They have to move their bodies to balance the weight. If they were were rigid in their torso they'd lose those baskets in a second! Or watch how this woman balances a jug of water on her head...and what the spine looks like of the one who carries it under her arm. Yes, it may be a hardship to haul the water every day for these women, but their bodies are healthier than most westerners because they integrate their whole bodies in movement... Another student just today mentioned how women in South American cultures swing their hips and move much more fluidly. Yep! That's a good thing. In my teacher training someone said you need to channel your inner hooker. :-) 

... Walking with somatic awareness could be a whole post in itself. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Practically passive ways to improve your health

It's that time of year again. When half the planet declares their new year's resolutions, the other half says, "Meh, I never follow through so why bother."

For each camp here are a few ways to healthy up your life without really trying. So easy to slip into your day...all you have to do is think about it then take action. :-)

I love my Altras! The soles aren't really this thick. 
Get some new shoes. There are shoes galore, but most alter your foot's natural shape and how your feet should interact with the ground, which effects your gait, which effects your hips, back, spine, etc. Personally I love my Altras. They are a zero drop shoe, meaning there is no heel lift, has a flat sole and no toe spring (the part of the shoe that turns up at the toes) plus they're wide at the toe box, instead of tapering to a point. (No wonder everyone's feet are messed up!) These aren't a barefoot/minimal shoe, which most people can't switch to without a lot of practice, if ever. Your local running shoe store should have some options to explore. I got my first pair at Fit Right NW.

Reach high. This tip is from Katy Bowman, one of my favorite biomechanists around. Every time you walk through a doorway, reach up and hook your finger tips over the door frame, and then with most of your weight on your legs and feet let your body weight "hang" towards the floor.  Don't feel strong enough?  Just try to extend your arms up and then step forward a bit so your chest is between arms. Door too tall? Take your hands to the sides of the frame and do the step through option. If you did this every time you walked throw a door way you'd improve your should mobility and posture.

Get a massage everyday!
Have a ball! Tennis, pinky, super, soccer, dodge, pilates, cricket, soccer balls, balls from the dollar shop, balls from your pet store, the variety of density, size, texture is practically endless. Tie two of them in a sock and roll your back against them on a wall or on the floor for a great back massage. You can roll them under your feet at your next boring work meeting. Roll a smaller ball between your hands. Even a rolling pin can iron out some kinks. Just remember, less is more. Too much pressure and your muscles can actually tighten up, rather than release. Check out Jill Miller's fountain-of-knowledge book, The Roll Model for more techniques to keep your body supple and healthy. Personally I like Jill's book much more than Sue Hitzmann's better-known Melt Method.

Lift your bootie. Your butt muscles are designed to help you walk, run, climb hills, and stand tall. I find people are either butt tuckers (pelvic tilters), or don't use their butts much at all, instead use their quads and hip flexors more to pull them along as they move, than get their butts to push them forward. So this exercise helps to wake up those butt muscles! Stand with your feet wide enough that you feel a bit of a stretch in your inner thighs, feet and toes pointing forward. You may have to actually place your hands on each gluteal (butt cheek) to get this right. Now, engage your butt muscles so your feel your cheeks engage and slightly rise upwards. Remember this is not about tucking your tailbone under, or just engaging the deeper pelvic muscles around your anus. Do about 20 of them, take a break and then do another 2 sets. You'll be amazed at what this does for your rump and hips. Granted this might look a bit odd depending on where you do it, but I bet you can find time while brushing your teeth, standing around the dog park, or doing dishes.

Somatics changes everything! OK, somatic exploration will take some time to incorporate into your day, but everyone who tries some of the exercises, loves them and actually finds the time to do a little every day. check out these simple, safe somatic exercises from a previous post. And just how do they change everything? They help aleviate pain, faulty movement patterns. Help you sleep better. Put you in charge of your health. They calm the brain, which in turn can effect your endocrine system. The list goes on...

At this time of year people think big, grand plans to lose weight, or get in better shape, so those posts are a dime a dozen. These tips on the other hand will help you function better so you actually can tackle those bigger, grander plans without injury, which will set you back... and end up having to start over again next January.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Somatics Class at TaborSpace Coffeehouse

I may be a good trainer, but my introverted self kind of sucks at marketing. :-) So, I hope you'll share this with anyone and everyone! I'm starting a somatics class at TaborSpace Coffee house on SE Belmont starting January 8 2015.

You can register for classes online and use your regular ol' punchcard too.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Somatics Sampling for the Solstice...and anytime of year!

Image a la Magickal Graphics
Happy Solstice, everyone! 

In honor of the longest day of the year, I thought this would be a nice way to enjoy the season in a relaxing, grounding way vs the frenzy so many of us work ourselves up into. Plus it's a little gift for everyone in my classes who's been asking for notes so they can practice at home...please tell me you do! :-)

You may look at the notes below and think, holy gawd, that's a lot to do. Trust me, once you have read through them and practiced a bit, you'll move through this routine in a short, smooth 15 minutes.

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.

Let's get started.

1. SOMA SCAN
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. 

2. ARCH AND FLATTEN 
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. 
SENSE: Feel the shoulders and hips press into the floor as you arch, how the back relaxes as you come back to neutral. Can you sense you are lengthening the front of your body and simultaneously shortening the back, as you arch?
FINER POINTS: though this is called arch and flatten, avoid forcing your low back to the floor. You are aiming to arch the back with the inhale, but let the back and abdomen relax back to a neutral (natural curve) of the low back as you gently exhale.

3. BACK LIFT
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 uncortable, 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, about hip width apart
DO: inhale into your belly, and keeping your right hand on the floor, lift your elbow so you feel the muscles around your shoulder blade engage. Avoid throwing the elbow up and forward so you feel your neck muscles do the lifting
exhale and slowly lower the elbow
next inhale into the belly and lift your head to look up and over your right shoulder
exhale to lower and relax
now try lifting your head, arm, elbow and hand off the floor looking over your right shoulder, inhaling into the belly
exhale to lower
try that again and sense if there’s other part of your body trying to help. Is it your opposite leg?
inhale and do the move again, simultaneously lift your left leg. Keep the leg straight so you feel your butt muscles contract. 
exhale and lower
repeat 2 more times then do the same on the other side
FINER POINTS: inhale and exhale to relax and melt completely between repetitions of this exercise
SENSE: sense the diagonal contraction between your right shoulder and left butt muscles

4. ARCH AND CURL
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.
SENSE: Feel the shoulders and hips press into the floor as you arch, how the back relaxes as you come back to neutral. Can you sense you are lengthening the front of your body and simultaneously shortening the back, as you arch?
FINER POINTS: this is not a crunch! Avoid making this an ab exercise. Avoid lifting your hips off the floor with the movement of the pelvis and back

5. SIDE BEND
PREP: position yourself on your LEFT side, making your body and lower arm into a “chair”. Head resting on your arm*, knees bent at a right angle to your hips, and shins a right angle to your knees. Make sure your head and arm are straight in line with your torso, not tilting forward. Take your right hand over your head and placing your finger tips on your left temple.
DO: inhale and lengthen the waist line between the hips and rib cage, breathing into your ribs and waist. 
Exhale and keeping your knees together, lift your left foot and shin up towards the ceiling.
Inhale and lower the foot and lengthen the waist on the right side of your body...
exhale to relax,

inhale to prepare, lengthening right side of body
Exhale and lift foot, head and elbow, shortening the right waist
inhale to lower down and lengthen right side of body, exhale to relax and melt
Repeat this 4-5 times each side
SENSE: explore what you feel on the right side of your body as you inhale and lengthen and exhale to shorten your waist muscles. 

FINER POINTS: you can modify this exercise with your head on a block or pillow instead of resting your head on your arm extended on the floor. 
Be sure to keep your face and eyes--they can be closed, but imagine-- them facing forward, especially when lifting the head and bending.

6. WASH RAG
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. Some students say they think this looks like a belly dancer rotating her arms...
Once you have the arms going, then try rolling your head towards the up turned head. Alternate the head rolling towards the up turned hand as you keep alternating the rolling pin arms.
Got that? Now add dropping both of your knees gently away from the up turned hand and head. slowly alternate.
SENSE: Feel the lengthening down the side of the torso as the knees gently drop towards the bottom corner of the mat.alternate slowly and breathe into the ribs as you turn you can do this one for about a minute or so Soma scan
FINER POINTS: this is all about length down the sides of the body, not forcing your knees to the floor.  Explore what it feels like to focus on moving your shoulder blades to move your arms. 

7. REACH THE TOP SHELF
PREP: stand with feet about hip width apart, lift your arms gently up towards the ceiling
DO: look up towards your left hand, and reach with your left arm as you shift your weight into your left foot, hips sway a bit to the left, like a crescent moon and you lift the right heel up, shortening the right waist.
Relax and try that again on the same side 2-3 x
Try it on the other side...
then alternate for 6-8 x
SENSE: feel the length on the reaching side and the shortening on side that you lift the heel
FINER POINTS: let the body be soft and gentle, like swaying seaweed in the ocean. 


OK! There you go. Your first of what I hope will be many DIY Hanna Somatics routines. I'd love some feedback. The more I hear from you all the more I know what you want and need. I plan to do recordings but didn't get this one done in time...stay tuned!

Comment below and you'll be entered into my January 2015 drawing for free prizes too. I have lots of things to give away... I'll start with Anita Boser's Undulation Exercise Book, another great somatic method of movement.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My Definition of Healthy

Morning! I thought I'd share part of my response to one of the essay questions on my Clinical Somatics Educator Program application. The directions read: Give a description of your state of health and overall bodily competence. As part of your statement, 1) give your definition of what you understand as “health,” and 2) describe what you do to maintain your state of health. 
______________________________

As a personal trainer and health coach, I’m pretty sure my definition of “health” differs from that of the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization or my fellow fitness professionals. The desire in our culture to stay young (which many translate to mean “healthy”) has become a multi-billion dollar industry. But to me, being healthy comes from within, and is a state of mind that keeps us feeling young and, therefore, healthy.

To be truly healthy, one must look inside oneself to maintain/recapture the vitality, enthusiasm, exploration, movement and desire to learn that we were all born with and exhibited in our youth. Babies and children take things slowly, have dreams and are creative. They are aware of what’s going on within and outside their bodies, and they do things with intention. No amount of supplements, drugs or potions can recapture youth because you can’t bottle a child’s perspective.

For many, growing up means growing still and set in their ways. They develop faulty habits. They lose their sense of wonder. They’d never want to admit they don’t know something for fear of it being a weakness rather than an opportunity to learn and explore.

So, how do I maintain the kid in me to maintain my health?
  • While kids don’t think in terms of moving their bodies in different planes, I incorporate plenty of natural movement such as walking, swimming, hula hooping, playing soccer with my dog, dancing around the house, and jogging.
  • My husband and I intentionally live in the Pacific Northwest and chose desk-free professions that keep us active and outdoors as much as possible.
  • I predominately eat whole foods and home cook my meals. But I also figure stress is more likely to negatively effect my body than the occasional “bad” treat. Everything in moderation. 
  • I try to be an active part of my community. I started neighborhood walks and a crafting group, and I volunteer weekly at my local library.
  • I try to use technology as it was intended—to help me in my tasks, not to consume all my time and attention.
  • I enjoy creative hobbies in which I “lose myself” and my sense of time when I’m on a roll. I love to study and learn new things.
  • I value quality sleep, as well as alone time and quiet time.
  •  I listen to and work with my body when I have a pain or injury instead of turning to medications.
  • I laugh a lot and try not to let things out of my control stress me out.
_____________________

... there's some other stuff, but just thought I'd share some of my ideas... When I was a kid technology pretty much meant a hardly-viewed, cable-free TV in the family room, plus my sister and I got our own phone line in high school. Unfortunately today's kids are being robbed of natural development. But that's another story.

 What's your definition of "healthy"? What do you do, or want to do, to stay healthy and happy? 



Friday, December 5, 2014

Is somatics for you?

Is somatics for you? I'd enthusiastically say "yes!" Everyone could benefit from some somatic education, but really it's solely up you.

At the beginning of every training course, when students get wide-eyed and are blown away by how powerful somatic education is, inevitably someone says, "Somatics Education is so effective! Why isn't it more well known around the world?!" Martha Peterson (my teacher) responds with:

 "Hanna Somatics is not just about pandiculation, muscles and bones! It is about giving yourself permission to get to know who you are....from the inside out. That can be scary and threatening for some people. It can stimulate uncomfortable change and, for many, elicit emotions that have been stuck."

I'll use a personal experience as an example. Usually when someone starts doing somatic exercises they love some of the moves and others not so much. When I started doing somatics I thought the back lift was just the suckiest move ever. I avoided it. But then while at my teacher training, and as I was doing it in class, I started to cry. Not blubbering-baby style, just silent streaming tears. One of my teachers quickly came over to make sure I was ok, and I was. I wasn't in pain, just felt like crying. We soon took a break and another teacher came up to me and said, "crying is ok, and you're actually a head of the curve, because once you get to the clinical training you'll find a lot of folks have some emotional responses too."

Instead of just blowing it off, or feeling embarrassed, I thought about what triggered those tears.

Since my bike accident I had been pissed a lot. Pissed that I got hit and wasn't healing like I expected, that my insurance company screwed me, that I had to hire an attorney who totally dropped the ball, and very sad that some of the people that I loved and trusted to help me heal had moved away during mid treatment and one even died. Top it off with a traumatic brain injury that took months to heal. Every time I started to think about things related to my accident I could feel my body coil up like a ball.

So! While I was doing the back lift, I was partially in a position that I was in when I got hit. Leaning forward with my head turned to the right, seeing a car barreling at me. Totally vulnerable. Fight-or-flight overdrive. My body had been avoiding moving that way for 3 years. It wasn't super painful, but didn't feel great. Not undoable, but I just didn't want to "go there". but this time I let go. I cried, I trusted myself, and I moved forward. It was at that moment that I no longer held anger in my body or let my thoughts overwhelm me.  It was a huge turning point for me in so many ways...

That's not to say that only those who are emotionally stressed can benefit from somatics! There are three standard reflex patterns that a Somatics Educator looks for: green light reflex (imagine military posture, chest up, tight low back), red light reflex (also called startle reflex. Imagine rounded, slumped shoulders, head protruding forward) and trauma reflex (the torso bends and/or twists to one side). So many people have these postures but may not be aware of them or how they came to be. It can be from an injury, lifestyle habits, attitude, stress, or surgeries.

So, like I said, everyone can benefit from somatics. You can break through poor habits and faulty functional patterns. You can release emotional tension stored in your body. From there, who know's what else can shift in your life!

Somatic movement changes everything.

Are you ready for it? If so, consider attending one of my classes, workshops and or meet privately. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Find out what others are saying about Somatics

I know. Somatics, somatics, somatics. I go on and on about it all the time now. I can't help myself. Why wouldn't I want to educate people how to reduce pain, lower stress, and just plain function better!

But I'll shut up... so you can check out this video my friend Jen Neitzel put together, and you can get perspectives from my students. When I saw this, I was blown away by everyone's personal experience, and how powerful it is for  them all. I'm so friggin' lucky/excited/happy to share this with the world!



If this sounds like something you want to experience too, please contact me. We can work together in one of more of the following ways.

  •  1-on-1 sessions (in-person and via Skype)
  • small group classes
  • workshops
  • downloadable audio files for your home practice (coming soon!)
Thanks for stopping by!
Kristin

Friday, October 24, 2014

Can Somatics make you taller?

Not a beautiful photo, but the results are fabulous!
Hey all! Thought I'd share a photo of a little "test" we did in my Somatics Restorative Fitness class this morning. I taped sheets of paper to the wall and had everyone reach up as high as they could, then I marked the tip of the hand on the paper.

Then we did a series of somatic moves that Carrie Day, (one of my NJ somatic teachers) calls Reach the Top Shelf. She was kind enough to share her playlist with me. Thanks Carrie!

The moves focused on lengthening the waist and back muscles, as well as opening up the shoulders and relaxing the neck. At the end of our hour together here's some results of what we saw on the retest. The ages of these four women in class range from mid forties to late 70s.

So can somatics make you taller? Not exactly. We don't get "taller" per se, but we can regain length that we lose from age and those habitually tight muscles that compress our spines, hips and shoulders. So, if you feel and see yourself "shrinking" as you age, Somatics can give you back the height you've lost along the path of life. I don't want to give away anyone's age, but the two who showed the biggest improvement were older than the other two. Pretty rewarding, eh?!

Want to get taller with us? Check the class schedule or email me to set up a private session.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Changing things up with Take It Outside Fitness

So I bit the bullet last week and sent out a message to the world, and my entire email list, that I'm shifting gears away from Take It Outside Fitness as we know it.

The response was overwhelmingly positive! And I'm grateful. I'm so excited to shift more into somatic exercise. If you need some background, check out my teacher explaining what Somatics is here, and here's a few previous posts where I discuss it.

Of course there are those who still want and crave my outdoor programs. No worries, I'm not going to give them up!

One of my big loves of somatic education is that it's all about me helping you to be your own teacher.  After all, that's what I always wanted to do with my trainings; not create dependencies, but educate you to Take It Outside on your own. So I'm going to share our workouts. CrossFit calls them WOD (workouts of the day). I won't be doing these every day, but as I have time... and of course if I get some positive feedback I'll know I should keep going.

So here's yesterday's workout routine at Mt Tabor

Mt Tabor Workout Plan
We started with a walk and standing somatics exercises (I guess you'll just have to come to class or email me to set up a skype session to learn these! :-) then we did the stairs.

From the stairs we had 10 stations at the picnic tables on the east side of the park facing beautiful Mt Hood

  1. push ups x 12
  2. reverse planks on a bench or hip lifts x8
  3. breaststroke off the edge of the table x8-10
  4. side step ups with side crunch 10+10 each side
  5. tricep dips x 12 or 8+8 with foot crossed over knee each side
  6. front step up + balance with a front kick to back kick 8 alternating
  7. prone scissor lifts off end of bench x 8
  8. dead bugs x 20
  9. incline overhead presses x 12
  10. elevated plank to downdog x 5

Once they had finished our first set of the stations it was a repeat of the stairs + stations 2 more times. Then a relaxing gab-fest walk back to the parking lot and some stretching.

 Yes, I need to get my butt in gear to develop these with photos and/or videos, but until then, a list of the exercises will have to suffice. If you don't know what these are, join us in a class to learn more or set up a private session.

These are intended for those who know how to safely exercise with proper form and functionality. You are responsible for your own safety and welfare at all times. Talk to your healthcare provider before starting this or any exercise routine. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How to get the most out of your somatics practice

What's my number one tip for making the most of your somatics practice? 

Somatic exercises change your muscular system by changing your central nervous system

Remember that and you will reap the most benefit. As my somatics teacher says, muscles are dumb. They don't do anything on their own. They do what the brain tells them to do. All day your brain tell your muscles what to do involuntarily (like breathing, walking, driving a stick shift--all things you have mastered and no longer consciously think about). On the other hand, your brain can also tell your muscles what to do voluntarily (like learning to write with your left hand while your right arm is in a cast or swing dancing for the first time.) 

Here are some additional key points to remember when doing your somatic exercises:
  • Feel it from the inside out. Somatic exercises should bring awareness to any sensory-motor amnesia (SMA) patterns within your body. If you can feel it, you can change it. Only you feel what your body is telling you. 
  • Go S-L-O-W-L-Y. In my training someone said, "slow is the fastest way to change your brain." If you go quickly, or anticipate the next move you can't feel what's happening in the moment. Thomas Hanna equated it to watching a training movie in slow motion to see the movements of athletes. He said, the slower you go, the more you can notice.
  • Make it effortless. Forget the mentality of "no pain, no gain" workouts that send tons of sensory feedback to your brain from excessive effort and strain. Somatic moves, done slowly let your brain receive just the feedback it needs. A Feldenkrais Practitioner I know has a great cue: move your bones, not your muscles
  • Do not force the movement. Thomas Hanna equated a tight muscle to a knot in a rope. Yank on it and it only makes it tighter. You have to examine the knot (feel the tightness) to undo it (release the tension).
  • But in the same light explore your range of motion that you can move through effortlessly and gently at this moment. Our muscles are meant to move! The current pain you feel is from not moving smoothly and through full range of motion, but holding patterns that result in pain.
  • Somatic exercises do not cause pain. The movements are perfectly normal patterns. Some people may feel a bit sore after the first session or two since muscles that have been habitually tight for years, are lengthening. It's kind of like a massage; It feels good but you might be a bit sore afterwards. Regular practice will help your muscles retain their new length so you feel great and move with ease. If you are doing an exercise that is uncomfortable speak up. There are many vectors one can move a leg, hip, arm. Variations are fine, but there are a few key points that are critical for getting the most benefit.
  • Most somatic exercises are done on the floor. A flat surface with minimal cushion is ideal. A rug or blanket on a yoga mat works well. 
  • Lastly, wear comfortable clothing that's loose and easy to move in.
I hope that helps you with your practice. I'd love to hear from you if you have a mantra of sorts or thoughts on what you do to make the most of your somatic exercises. If you haven't yet taken a class you can see my schedule here.

Peace and health,
Kristin
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