Updated: Nov 20
We all know the physiological importance of movement. At this point there are multitude of studies that show us how detrimental being sedentary is, and how important it is to be in motion. Sometimes movement is prescribed as a one fits all, however, not all movement is ideal for all. There is a lot to be gained from the right practice/movement. To explain it in a very simplistic way, somebody whose knees fall in will benefit from different exercises than someone whose knees fall out. If we are stuck in certain positions and doing random exercises with a fast pace, we will be reinforcing those unwanted established patterns, instead of creating new and better ones. The issue with that is that in the long run if we're not well aligned, we will Be more prone to degeneration and more pain. Being in good alignment helps us function at our best! As I am writing this, I am reminded to relax my shoulders, which I tend to tighten when I'm focusing on something intently.
I am a somatic practitioner, besides being a corrective exercise specialist and I think that they both have their place in an integrated movement routine. Looking at movement from a corrective exercise perspective I can see the muscles that are under active and overactive and help balance those to gain better posture and alignment. The bringing of awareness through the somatic practice is very important as well, because what we do through most of the day with our bodies counts a lot in terms of maintaining our posture. I can take one hour of my day to do a routine of exercise, however if the rest of the day I am slumping on my chair or raising my shoulders up to my ears, then I am reinforcing those less-than-ideal patterns.
Somatic training is a broad umbrella that includes movement that is done with awareness and focus on the internal sensations versus the external look of the movement or outcome. As explained before a major benefit of slowing down and noticing what is happening, is to be able to disrupt the already established patterns. Somatic training offers many other benefits as well. Some of us might know that the way we move can say a lot about us. You probably know who is coming towards you without looking at the person, as we all have our particular ways of moving. If that is the case, it also means that adding different ways to move to our already established ones, will help us expand our possible responses in life. How so? If I were a person with an “it’s all ok” attitude, or an overly adaptable person, this would be helpful in not stressing myself out with little things. However, that attitude might not be ideal when someone is trying to walk all over me. I might need to access a punchier response in that case, but if I don’t have that quality of response in my toolbox, I would be limited. A wonderful way to add that would be by adding punchy and pressing movements to my routine. I might want to work with pushing motions and other things as well.
Because the way we move often reflects our connection with our inner and outer world, we can create changes in our lives by becoming more mindful of the way that we move and by adding more movement possibilities to our palette. Somatic practitioners have an ample training that is very in depth, but you can start to improve your posture and well-being by adding more body awareness throughout your days and by experiencing different activities than your regular ones.