THE CENTERED ROOM
Somatic Yoga Rangiora
Somatic Movement Therapy
WHAT IS CLINICAL SOMATICS?
Simple but incredibly potent is how I describe Clinical Somatics. It's a very gentle and deeply soothing practice for the nervous system - often people will fall asleep during the practice as they let go of very deep seated tensions.
Instead of learning movements we use movements to help us sense more about ourselves. One of the main techniques we use to this is called pandiculation.
This approach retrains the nervous system to move and sense the body more effectively. The results are increased flexibility and ease of movement, as well as reduced and often eliminated chronic pain related to muscle tension and joint discomfort (see below).
Why don't more people know about this?
It’s almost like it’s a secret, but truly it’s just a very niche practice in New Zealand that is mostly known by people who work in the trauma field (counsellors, psychotherapists, rehabilitation specialists etc).
That is beginning to change however, as more knowledge of these practices is beginning to spread.
This science-based practice has been around for decades thanks to practitioners such as Moshé Feldenkrais (The Feldenkrais Method), F M Alexander (The Alexander Technique), Thomas Hanna (Hanna Somatic Education) and Anat Baniel (Anat Baniel Method).
I already practice Yoga - why would I add Somatics?
I had been practicing and teaching yoga for about 20 years before I discovered Somatics. I felt very connected and aware of my body and I LOVED my yoga practice. Since discovering Somatics, my yoga practice has taken on a whole new and much deeper level of interoceptive awareness. I'm aware of so much more subtlety in the nuances of my practice that were not within my ability to sense previously. I was unaware of what I was unaware of before discovering this deeply meditative practice.
I'm very fit and active - how can Somatics help?
Being a very active person comes with its own challenges. Muscle tension is a very real problem - injuries and tightness happen from pushing ourselves too hard, or just from doing the same thing over and over again. Often we take our bodies for granted when everything is feeling good and working well. Somatic movements can help you recover and become more efficient in your body (soma) by improving neuromuscular connections.
Is this the missing link?
It sounds like it's too good to be true, and it feels like it too, the first time you experience a shift in yourself from somatics. It's as if the lights get switched on in your brain.
Somatics for me was like discovering the missing link from limited recovery through the health system to beginning to move comfortably again in all areas of my life. For about two years after recovery from a very minor injury, I was still only able to walk about 50 - 100 metres without discomfort. Soon after I discovered Somatic practices I completed an 11 kilometre bush walk with absolutely no discomfort at all. It seemed miraculous at the time - all that had changed was my nervous system's reaction to the injury. I had learned to let go of the involuntary chronic muscle tensions that I had been holding around this old injury by teaching my nervous system that movement was safe again.
You don't need to have pain though to benefit from Somatic practices. The ease of movement fostered by Somatic practices make everything easier, from working in the garden, recovering from long periods sitting at your desk, going for a run or bike ride, and moving throughout your day. The beauty of Clinical Somatics is you can do just a few movements a day for 15 minutes to achieve and maintain lasting results.
One of best aspects of Clinical Somatics is that it empowers you to be independent.
Unlike many treatments that are reliant on a professional to be with you on an ongoing basis, students can learn the concepts of Somatic movements and begin to apply these themselves.
Once the concepts are learned and practiced regularly for a period of time, it becomes possible for you to become your own teacher with your increased sense of interoception of yourself as a whole person.
You will be able to assess how your soma (mind/body/spirit) feels and where tension needs to be released, and do the appropriate Somatic Movements.
Because of this, it can absolutely be a life long solution to reducing and avoiding chronic pain.
Clinical Somatics can help with many functional physical conditions
chronic back pain - functional leg length discrepancy - disc problems - neck pain - bursitis - sciatica - frozen shoulder- joint pain - osteoarthritis- hyperlordosis - plantar fasciitis - postural kyphosis - muscle cramps & spasms- tendinitis - carpal tunnel syndrome - functional leg length discrepancy - TMJ - whiplash - idiopathic scoliosis - fibromyalgia - and more…