You might have heard of Somatic Movement, but what exactly is it, and what can you expect from our Somatic Yoga classes?
Somatics has its roots in Feldenkrais & The Alexander Technique, and is a common-sense safe and easy way to reverse chronic tightness and pain.
The idea behind Somatics is that you’re in pain because your muscles are over-contracted due to a repetitive movement (such as sitting at a computer) or an injury. These tight, over-contracted muscles become fatigued and weak, and may also compress the joints and trap nerves, causing further pain.
Your body tries to compensate to avoid this pain, changing the way you move and using other muscles instead, which sets up a further pattern of pain.
Your brain doesn’t realise the muscles are contracted and accepts it as ‘normal’ – we call this sensory motor amnesia. The specific somatic movements we do ‘wake up’ the brain to the reality of the contracted muscles, and retrains them to release and move in a pain-free way.
A Somatic Yoga Class
In our Somatic Yoga classes, we perform specific exercises that reconnect the brain with the muscles so you can let go of tightness in the body.
We perform the exercises on the floor, so your body is more comfortable and isn’t fighting against gravity.
We always start and end with a ‘soma scan’ – this involves tuning in to how you really feel, noticing any pain or stiffness and any differences between the left and right sides.
We do the movements very slowly and deliberately to re-calibrate the brain: the brain can notice the muscles are contracted, and then relax them (imagine pressing the re-set button on your computer). If there is something that you can’t do – perhaps it is too painful – we can imagine doing the movement, and still get the benefits.
We recommend wearing loose, comfortable clothes that you can move in, and we do Somatics without shoes (people often keep their socks on, especially in the colder weather).