Somatics for visual learners

Do you consider yourself a visual learner? A lot of people do. Some even worry they won't be able to keep up or enjoy the audio recordings I share with Think Somatics Online Community Members. 

Fear not! 

Here are key reasons why I predominately offer audio recordings vs videos, and why audio lessons are actually better for your Somatic Education.

We're talking Somatic Education

Well, let's start right there, with Somatic Education. Somatics is about working with your somatic nervous system, the part of the brain/nervous system that moves and senses what you do and how you do it. To get rid of pain you need to really start feeling and sensing yourself from an internal perspective. Not just your achy parts. All of you. Your re-educating your brain and body through your sensory and motor cortexes.

Muddling the learning process with extraneous input

As an adult you have likely been conditioned to believe that watching the teacher is how you learn to move, whether it's dance steps, playing a sport, etc. When you are watching someone move, the occipital lobe (where visual data is collected), is very much involved. In an aerobics or salsa class the pace is fast and you watch the teacher to just keep up. While this is happening, the rest of your brain, particularly the sensory cortex is less able to feel what your body is doing. That's why you may feel a bit clumsy and wonder why the teacher moves with such finesse and you aren't. Yet. You are going through the motions, but not able to really sense them very well. Somatic lesson movements are done much slower, so you can feel what the heck you are actually doing! 

As babies we learned to move by moving and sensing, repeating the patterns, which would lay down neural pathways to establish our motor patterns. It was a lengthy process too. As we grew up we may have copied certain nuances of our care givers, but our first learning is with us being our own teachers. 

Beliefs about who will "fix" us

Our culture tells us that outside sources will have the answers to our pain problems. What is your first course of action when you are in pain? Go to the chiropractor? Get a massage? Work with a physical therapist? Stop moving? Demand pain medications from your GP? Believe everyone will need surgery eventually as they age, so why fight it?

Along those lines, when some people come to Somatics they are looking to their Somatic Educator as their healer. I am not your healer. I'm here to help you help yourself. Again, by becoming more aware of yourself. I can't sense what you feel from your internal perspective. That is your experience and yours only. I can make educated guesses, but you are the one with the ultimate answers. I am here to help facilitate, not fix.

Come to a live class!

It's interesting how when students come to my live classes (in-person or on Zoom) they just settle on the floor and naturally close their eyes without any prompts to do so.  They just listen to my cues and guide themselves through the movements. I provide plenty of detail to help them tune inward. I'm generally not doing the movements with them, or at least not the entire time. They get more and more out of the lessons because they practice regularly so the movements are learned. With practice, their brains can take in more and more information about how and what they do and sense about themselves.  

Then why do you have a youtube channel, Kristin?!

I started my Youtube channel to share Somatics basics with the world. So many people are searching for information, so I want to be there to provide sound education. I created it originally to help my clients remember their self care moves. But I always tell them: do NOT watch and do the moves at the same time. Turning your head to watch the video will alter the movement. 

Ironically I get tons of emails from people who found me on YouTube, asking me if Somatics can help them. Quite often they tell me they've only watched the videos, they haven't actually do the lessons. Um, Somatics can help so many people, but Somatics only works by doing it. Watching it won't. :-)

If you need visual assistance. . .

Occasionally in a live class, if I see there is a bit of confusion in the group as I'm guiding them in the lesson, I may briefly demonstrate some aspect of the movement for clarity. So they can take a peek, and then move on with their eyes closed. If that is the case, I include a video to go the recorded lesson that is added to the Online Learning Community. There is also a large collection of videos of particular movements that I incorporate into full-length lessons.

You can do it!

I hope this clarifies why learning Somatics is best done with audio lessons. (Well, really if you can get to a live class that is primo!) When your eyes are open, your brain is taking in a huge amount of information that can stunt your ability to feel what you are doing. So, take a breath, settle in and see what happens when you trust in the process. And in yourself. :-)

As always, thanks for stopping by and reading. 

PS You've been reading my blog. . . you can bop over to the Think Somatics website to learn more.


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