"Introduction to Somatics" workshop 1st December 2-4pm at Space to Move, Plymouth. £15. Please book in advance here
Next Somatics Movement 6 week course "Fuller Breathing"
11.30-12.30 Wednesdays at Liskerrett Centre, Liskeard (starts 6th November)
Somatics is the foundation of all movement. It is the experience of sensing and moving from the inside of your body. Through simple, gentle exercises it teaches you to move with efficiency and ease and to find "neutral", where your muscles are at their full resting length. It gives you relief from long term tension and pain. So whatever you love to do, be it walking or Tai chi or football or dance or any physical activity that you aspire to do or want to improve, Somatics will help you.
I am running short courses in Somatic Movement as devised by Thomas Hanna and taught by Martha Peterson. The courses are six weeks long and teach you a set of basic movements that help you release long held tension in the muscles at the centre of your body. It is not about strengthening your muscles but about releasing them to their full length, regaining a neutral, relaxed state of comfort. This helps you move more freely, prevents the build up of tension and relieves pain.
There are a few fundamental ideas and principles underlying somatics, which are:
- your body is a co-ordinated system and everything relates to the centre. Therefore if you injure your ankle, for example, it affects your hips and your waist, your shoulders and the whole of the rest of your body.
- your brain controls your muscles via the nervous system - the sensory motor system. In order to move a muscle you need to be able to sense it and vice versa. Somatics teaches you to become aware of and regain control over the muscles and areas in your body that are under constant tension without you realising it. These are areas of what is known as "sensory motor amnesia".
- your body has three main stress reflexes. These are your natural survival reflexes and are designed to protect you. However, if they are constantly triggered and never released they cause chronic muscular tension and pain. All three reflexes can happen suddenly or build up over time. Usually people have a mixture of all three but one will be more dominant than the others The reflexes are:
- the "red light" reflex, also known as the "startle reflex", which is a tightening of the front of the body, a curling up in order to protect the vital organs. Constant triggering of the red light reflex in response to fear or worry results in rounded shoulders, depressed chests, shallow breathing and mid-back and neck pain
- the "green light" reflex, also known as the "landau reflex", which is a tightening of the back of the body, in preparation for action or escape. Constant triggering of the green light reflex in response to excess demand and stress, results in lower back pain, sway back, protruding belly, stiffness in the neck and trunk.
- the "trauma" reflex is a one sided tightening of the body or a withdrawing of a limb into the centre of the body as a result of injury or long term one-sided action. This results in unevenness, rotation of the body and hip and shoulder pain.
Classes are run in blocks of six and follow Thomas Hanna's original movement series of the same name.
They take place at the Liskerrett Centre, Liskeard, at 11.30am - 12.30pm on Wednesdays and at Space to Move, Plymouth, 11am -12pm on Thursdays. Cost £7 per session
"Freeing from Centre to Periphery":
Course dates: Liskerrett Centre Intro session: 4th September, then 11th 18th, 25th September and 9th, 16th, 23rd October.
Course dates: Liskerrett Centre 6th, 13th, 20th 27th November and 4th, 11th December
Private Clinical Somatic Education Sessions
I am currently training to be an Essential Somatics Clinical Educator on the three year professional training course run by Martha Peterson of Essential Somatics. The clinical sessions address the three stress reflexes - the red light, green light and trauma reflex - and the sequences used were devised by Thomas Hanna. The clinical sessions involve hands-on feedback or "assisted pandiculations" which help you feel more clearly which muscles to contract and which to turn off, and how to improve your control over them as you gently release.
I am offering one-to-one clinical somatic education sessions. Please phone or email for further information and booking.