Mind, Body and Emotions

Last week, the Take It Outside Fitness classes -- which ironically are now online during the pandemic -- focused on sensing our shoulders

The feedback after class was really interesting.

Many said they went from feeling grumpy and unmotivated to happier and ready to face the day.

Why did this happen? 

How your body holds tension plays a role in your mood and emotional state. And vice versa. 

Right now the world is shut down, closed up, and in a state of uncertainty. 

Many people's moods are mirroring the state of the world.

What does your body do when you are startled or scared? The front of your torso contracts. The belly and chest tighten. Your inner thighs tighten, your feet roll inward, the back of your neck tightens.

In the bombardment of stressful events, without releasing and letting go of that stress and those contractions, our bodies start to habituate the tension patterns of the startle reflex. 

What does that tension do to your body and overall health?

You can't breathe well. From there your brain is not getting enough oxygen. Brain fog, anyone?

With poor breathing patterns, sleep patterns also suffer.

Your internal organs are compressed, digestion is compromised.
You don't move well. With that tension in the front of your body,  the back of your body can't contract to propel you forward.

And if you can't move forward with ease, you are being held hostage by your body and emotions. You certainly don't feel at ease.

In the class, we focused on the shoulders, how they connect to the torso, skull and pelvis. We released tension in the chest, and connected to the back of the body, particularly where our shoulder blades rest on the ribcage. We did gentle, mindful contractions of the back of the body. We did contralateral movements that connect the upper and lower body for freer walking and running. We even passed under an imaginary limbo stick. 

We shifted our postural patterns to a state of pro-action and joy, and away from a sense being shut down, sad, anxious.

The Take It Outside Fitness classes are designed to be more than just "exercise" classes. Exercise classes often are about emulating what the teacher is doing, vs what are you are feeling and how you sense yourself from an internal perspective.

Take It Outside Fitness classes are an opportunity to connect your body to your brain, get better sense how you use your body in your daily life. They are a great way to take your somatic practice off the floor, and "up into gravity," as we Somatic Educators call it.

From the somatic perspective there is no "mind body connection."

The mind and body are just two sides of the same coin.

I'd love to have you in class! If you are brand new, I encourage you to start with Think Somatics classes. Get a greater sense of yourself, then move into the Take It Outside Fitness classes. 

Thanks for being here!


PS, What are you doing these days to reclaim your freedom of movement? Are you enjoying being outdoors if you are allowed to do so? Let's us know.


  1. hi kristen,

    thank you for the intro class yesterday (saturday 5.16). i learned some new things that were good for me to hear.

    as far as getting outside....i do that everyday unless the weather is just too much to handle which can happen here in the rocky mountains. but i get out most days and have plenty of woods and trails that keep me away from other people during these crazy times. i am a butterfly researcher so my work is outside when the butterflies are flying. i have to take photos of these lovely creatures to document what i have seen and how many of each species i have seen. i get to bend and stoop and move in awkward positions to get some of these pictures. also lots of walking. somatics has been a GREAT help to me in my work, and in my life in general. i thank you and martha peterson for helping me to understand more about my body. venice


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