The capacity to move is a vital aspect of our lives, and we move our body every day. We walk to our job, run to the bus, work at our desk, stand in lines, workout at the gym, do yoga and play sports. However, many people don’t understand the mechanics of movement and believe they have to work hard to develop greater mobility or flexibility (i.e., no pain, no gain). This belief is not the case. The practice of Somatic movement can help alleviate this misunderstanding as well as correct misaligned muscle tissue.
With all the stress in our lives, we often forget how to restore the body back to a stress-free state, one in which the muscles are relaxed and soft, rather than being tight and rigid. Somatics not only relax muscles and reduce muscle pain, but the exercises also soften and soothe the nervous system. This is a distinct and essential benefit.
Somatic movement is useful for everyone: from the physically active to those who are more sedentary. It prepares the body for activities like walking, running, hiking or playing sports (tennis, basketball, soccer etc.) by lengthening muscle tissue. For those who spend more time sitting, Somatic movement develops greater flexibility in the hips, back, trunk and shoulders. It also reduces the debilitating effects of back, neck and shoulder pain.
All Somatic exercises are practised slowly, actively and without force. Because they are slow and deliberate, they are healing and restorative. The intent of moving slowly and actively allow the student to feel how a muscle contract and relaxes, as well as recognising other muscles that also contract to assist that specific muscle.
Practising Somatic movement, people gain greater sensory motor awareness and body intelligence. With increased awareness, people learn to use the muscles in their trunk and rib cage more effectively so that when they sit, stand or walk their posture is more aligned. Just as important, they realise when their muscles are out of alignment and know what to do to correct in this imbalance. This is the value of body intelligence.
The process of ageing can be either an adaptive or maladaptive process. It is often a matter of perspective and our awareness. We learn how to be in the body through our experience, and a Somatic practice can teach anyone to be in their body in a functionally healthier way.
Benefits of Somatic Movement:
- Feeling more relaxed and improved posture
- Reduced pain and tension in the body (back, shoulder, hip and neck)
- Heightened sensory awareness in the body & greater mental clarity
This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Now I would like to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below.