WHAT IS SOMATICS?
Somatic Movement also known as Somatic Yoga involves a series of exercises and flows which connect the brain with the muscles and fascia (connective tissue) so you can release tightness, trauma and or pain in the body. The Somatic movements are slow, mindful, and graceful. The majority of Somatic yoga poses and flows are performed on the floor, so your body is more comfortable and isn’t fighting against gravity.
My Somatic motto’s are:
HEAL NOT HURT
NO PAIN EQUALS ALL THE GAIN!
You will see the use of a lot of props in a Somatic Yoga class for this very reason and everyone is encouraged to use them. The idea is that you are able to find that sweet spot in your body during the flow where you can feel the tension, pain and trauma releasing from your body, and if you are struggling with a pose and in pain this valuable healing processes cant take place.
Who is Somatic yoga for?
Anyone who has experienced physical or emotional trauma, chronic pain, aches and pains or stiffness, or who wants to keep their body youthful (Somatics is often the yoga of anti ageing!). It doesn’t matter about your body shape, your age, or how fit you are. The Somatic Yoga classes are designed and guided to help you to heal yourself.
Also a win about Somatic Yoga is that its suitable for all levels of yoga, from first timers to experienced yogis.
What is the difference between Somatic yoga and other types of yoga or Pilates?
Other schools and methodologies of yoga of Pilates can have great healing effects and powers (I personally used Ashtanga Yoga to loose weight as a teenager and to help me over come Anxiety). The notable difference is that Somatics helps rebuild the sensory feedback loop from your body to your brain. This feedback loop is integral to your healing journey (mind, body, soul). In Somatics you will learn to move your body gently and tune into how it feels from the inside out. You will discover where you have pain or trauma stored in your body which you may not of been aware of. You are in essence teaching your brain to notice how your body is feeling, and then how to do something about it, so you can lead a pain free and energy efficient life.
Yes there will be a large section of the class spent on the yoga mat, but its not just about breathing new oxygenated breath into your body and stretching, its about creating strength in your body.
You will find that Somatic Yoga will help improve your other Pilates or Yoga practices too. You will be able to move deeper and further, and with greater ease too. Many athletes and weight trainers also use Somatic Yoga to help improve their training.
How does Somatic yoga help with my pain?
Somatics addresses the root cause of WHY you are in pain and teaches you HOW to reverse it by using mindful moments within the class, to help you to tune into your body and mind. You will find that these often create ‘Eureka Moments’ where you suddenly realise why your shoulder hurts, why your back hurts when you drive, or why you get migraines every time you walk the dog.
‘When a muscle has been contracted over a long period of time, the brain accepts this as “normal” and doesn’t know it’s contracted – this is known as muscle motor amnesia. You are in pain because the muscles are constantly over-contracted, causing them to be weak and tired. These contracted muscles can then compress the joints and trap nerves, causing further pain. Your body tries to compensate, changing the way you move and using other muscles instead, which sets up a further pattern of pain.’ (Mab Consultants-2017)
The Somatic Yoga warm up movements are designed to wake up the brain to the reality of the contracted muscles and fascia (aka whats hurting in the body). This process then allows your brain to release these pains with the breath and gentle movements and move them out of the body in a gentle and efficient way so we can create more pain free spaces in our bodies.
I urge my Somatic Yoga students to practice the warm up movements every morning, this is ideal for someone who only have 10-15 mins free time a day to give to yoga. This small movement sequence can also be done on your lunch brake. (YouTube video of this sequence coming very soon).
Once this shift in our brains and bodies starts to happen you will find that every day movements become much easier, such as reaching down in the morning while getting dressed, getting in and out of the car, playing with our children and so on. You will also see greater results in your other sports and fitness training and you will begin to look and feel younger as you move more freely.