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So... what it's all about?

Discover inner calm and physical relaxation from the comfort of your home. Join us today to experience mindfulness and presence without stepping outside. Connect with yourself, nature, and your loved ones through our guided sessions. We’ll work together to arrange classes at a time and format that suits you best. We look forward to welcoming you in our body awareness and movement therapy sessions. Stay in shape while embracing virtual wellness—see you soon!

Somatic Exercises - Explanation

What are somatic exercises?
Benefits of somatic exercises
Controlling Stress
Stretching the body without stretching
Is stretching senseless?
Muscle Tension - How to Switch it Off?
Does the Body Really Age?
How to exercise properly?

Somatic exercises or body awareness are about restoring inner balance. These movements are not about achieving perfection through mechanical repetition. There’s no right or wrong way to practice—instead, it’s about personal exploration within one’s own limits and growing capabilities, tuning into the body, which is an internal guide. Each movement is an experience of personal change, whether fully conscious or not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every movement triggers a chain reaction, often beyond our awareness, that restores balance to the body. These movements reach directly into the nervous system, registering new sensations that, although they might feel new, are already encoded in memory. They reflect our innate balance, often lost due to tensions and contractions caused by external situations. Through the diversity of movements, the range and intelligence of the body deepen. We rediscover comfort, begin to notice and understand changes, and become aware that this balance is within us. This realization is challenging, profoundly moving, and incredibly calming. Suddenly, everything becomes possible, including affirming “yes” to life with a sense of well-being.

Changing our baseline involves much more than stretching or massage. It requires a learning process that affects the mind, which controls the muscular system. This learning process is related to somatic education, which encompasses awareness of muscle tensions and the ability to control them; the mind awakens, and we function as if in a newly born body—a “new body.” 🙂

During my many travels, I had the opportunity to stay with and learn from many masters and teachers. I met people who dazzled with their wisdom, beauty, and tranquility. Often, they were active, long-lived individuals brimming with positivity, harmony, and strength. They bestowed upon me their teachings, stories, and the time I could spend with them.

Under the banner of body awareness lie delicate yet profoundly effective exercises and relaxation techniques that provide an experience of change and physical comfort through improving our posture and movement.

Advantages of somatic exercises:

  • Improve physical appearance,
  • Definitively reduce our health problems,
  • Recommended for any problems with:
    • Spine,
    • Chronic joint pain,
    • Insomnia,
  • Reduce joint stiffness,
  • Decrease discomfort and pain in the back and neck,
  • Help alleviate migraines,
  • Beneficial for intestinal and digestive problems.

Our posture, the way we stand, walk, sit, and lie down, is largely influenced by chronic muscle tension: these tensions that maintain our body in a certain posture also give us a certain form of weakness and discomfort.

We can observe tensions and chronic ailments that bring us daily suffering. Feeling pain or discomfort, our creativity is often suboptimal, our energy diminished, and we have little control over these unconditional, sometimes childhood-held contractions.

Practicing body awareness relaxes tense muscles through gentle exercises and relaxation. Often, even micro-movements help us perform tasks in a more intelligent way, help relax and control muscles, and improve the range and fluidity of our movements.

Raising awareness leads to finding balance and harmony in life, which helps to stay away from disorder and release more energy for creative work or other activities.

Relaxation is the most important and challenging exercise, unfortunately little known to Westerners, and certainly the least practiced by them. It’s not about relaxation artificially induced by the habits of our civilization: eating, smoking, alcohol, TV, etc. It’s about muscle relaxation and calming the mind.

Practicing these exercises can enrich and strengthen your awareness, giving you a new tool for integrating mind and body.

If you practice them, you know from experience that they make you stronger, more flexible, healthier, and more aware. Somatic exercises can help develop an even greater awareness of specific parts of your body, find relief from pain, and better understand how your body functions.

Whenever we’re too stiff from working too long in an uncomfortable position (as we often do during work) or when sitting in front of a computer without changing position for a long time, there’s something we can do to regain our physical comfort and flexibility: somatic exercises.

These movements give us the opportunity to relax tense muscles, which otherwise do not relax. After a few minutes of exercise, we feel fresher and often can’t believe how positively they affect our well-being. Sometimes we notice that we feel relaxed, elongated, in better contact with our axis; other times, we just feel looser and can move much faster with less effort than before exercising.

The key to relieving muscle tension is movement that engages the proper muscles and moves them slowly enough to allow them to be found and felt. Another key is achieving complete relaxation between each repetition of the exercise. These exercises remind us of how we feel the muscles being used during tension and then during relaxation when they are at rest. They help break tension habits and at the same time improve muscle control; that’s why we move faster and easier after the entire exercise session.

This is a great method for awakening mental control over movements, flexibility, and health.

We’re all committed to renewing our overall human potential in the context of a healthy environment. To facilitate this process, the following educational activities are engaged: publishing the Somatics magazine, distributing books, video and audio tapes (currently only in English in the USA), workshops, trainings, and working with individual clients. Unlike traditional exercise, the principle here is: less effort yields greater results. Each movement is performed as if it were being practiced for the first time, without routine and mechanical repetitions. The emphasis is on becoming your own somatic exercise teacher, taking care of your own body. This is a reliable way to restore flexibility to the body and regain physical comfort disturbed by muscle stiffness, prolonged work, or sitting in one position, e.g., in front of a computer. The muscular system is controlled by the nervous system. Muscles do not have control over themselves. The obvious conclusion that arises is: people tense their muscles because their nervous system stimulates them to contract.

Instead of stretching, we deliberately contract tense muscles or muscle groups in a coordinated movement pattern. Let’s focus on precisely the opposite area from the one we use when stretching; in the area we’re contracting, not in the area we perceive as being stretched.

An ideally coordinated movement pattern engages all muscles involved in the contraction pattern we want to release. The action is felt as a strong signal sent to the mind. A signal that awakens, refreshes, responding to the nervous blueprint in our mind. By understanding the contraction in slow motion, we awaken or improve muscle control. Slow movement gives nerve impulses time to reach the end, up to the mind, allowing for a clearer and more complete picture of the body.

Slow movement is the key to somatic exercises and to any other learning processes where details make a difference.

Accumulated improvement in flexibility.

Significant results come relatively quickly when we systematically practice somatic exercises, and most importantly, improvement becomes second nature and doesn’t require special attention in daily life.

At this point, to avoid accumulated tension resulting from reactions to the stress brought by daily life or from becoming addicted to tension caused by our activity, we can add a few minutes of somatic exercises as part of our daily schedule. Continuing them, we produce accumulated improvement in muscles, which controls and reduces the likelihood of injury. As relaxation develops, we may prefer somatic exercises to stretching.

Worth Learning Self-Control

It’s worth learning self-control, which doesn’t happen when someone else stretches us or even when we stretch ourselves. Changes resulting from stretching are generally unpredictable and unstable, which is very evident in frequent athlete injuries.

After stretching, people tend to return to the level of tension of their habitual experiences. Athletes and dancers try to stretch tendons to avoid injury. “Try” is the right word because stretching only produces limited and temporary effects, which is one of the reasons why so many athletes and dancers suffer from strained hamstring muscles and knee problems.

Of course, whatever rewards stretching offers also come with significant limitations. It should even be noted that stretching has essentially negative consequences.

Anyone who has ever had their hamstring muscle stretched by someone else knows how painful the experience can be, often described as torture. In addition, stretching the hamstring muscle disrupts natural coordination with other muscles, which is why legs shake after stretching. The same is true for any other muscle. Furthermore, muscle tension is maintained as a habit, through which we keep our senses in “normal” tension and reflexive postures; strenuous stretching even provokes stronger spontaneous reinforcement of reflexes. Elevated muscle tension necessitates repeating stretching. If someone stretches by exposing one muscle group against another (which is often practiced), tension in both muscle groups can increase, and the response will be contraction.

Fortunately, we have a more effective way to deal with muscle tension than stretching. It’s called non-stretching stretching, or stretching without stretching :). The term sounds paradoxical, and it seems that nothing is achieved in this way towards muscle flexibility. However, it turns out that through this method, we achieve greater results than through stretching. You will receive instructions for this technique to try it out yourself and on your body in class.

To understand how it works, you must first recognize that muscles that need stretching usually maintain tension. That’s why they actively contract. A person keeps them tense through an unconscious habit.

Simply trying by willpower to relax habitual tensions will surprise you to recognize that our ability to do so is limited. We cannot relax certain points, even with special breathing, visualization, or other techniques.

At some point, we may even assume that these muscles are completely relaxed and only need to be stretched. We may not realize that we automatically contract them to the habitual posture stored in the central nervous system. Any attempts to stretch them will only stimulate impulses for repeated contraction, maintaining the impression of what is familiar. Strong stretching is less productive because it triggers stretching reflexes, contracting muscles even more. That’s why the hamstring muscle (and other muscles) quickly stiffen again after stretching or massage. A better result can be achieved by changing what relaxation feels like for a particular person. It’s a change from continuous tension to relaxation, occurring at the central point of tense muscles.

Chronic muscle tension burns energy. Muscle contractions and tension cost us a lot of energy; we don’t need it during relaxation. It turns out that muscles don’t voluntarily relax, yet they tense up unconsciously. Firmness or muscle tension is zero during relaxation.

At:

  • 10% muscle tension, we have tired muscles,
  • At 20% tension, we feel fatigue and muscle pain,
  • At 40% tension, continuous fatigue and pain occur, leading to chronic pain.

Muscles held in prolonged tension become weak because they cannot move freely; they are exhausted from the overwork caused by prolonged tension.

They behave like a constantly running motor, burning a lot of energy, and we cannot switch it off. Lactic acid is produced, which, if not removed from the body, causes pain.

We have about 800 muscles, but despite their large number, the muscular response to stress can be overcome! It’s worth doing it to feel young regardless of age. In practice, this means enjoying muscular unity, both when it is low in contraction, causing energy expenditure, and when it spreads out when it is very high in comfort and control.

The basic somatic task is to have better self-control and to learn to flow with the stress and trauma of life like a cork floating on the surface of the water; whether calm or turbulent, it always floats on its surface.

Remember, only we see our body from the inside. Others see our body only as a third person, not the first. This is not a complete view of the human being. It is necessary to have a self-aware, feeling, moving, self-responsible view; such a view gives self-feeling from within the body, and further self-knowledge, …… self-healing.

Somatic exercises allow you to take control of your muscles. During exercises, emphasis is placed on muscle tension, followed by relaxation. After each exercise performed at a slow pace, there is a minute of relaxation to create a pause, peace (prathana translated from Sanskrit: calming the senses, deepening self-awareness and integration, meditation).

Aging is defined as a process of degeneration. Currently, we may live longer, but not necessarily better.

If we could find an answer to why our bodies experience a crisis in middle age, we could prevent it. Start preventive measures. Hans Selye recognized that physiological diseases can arise from psychological reasons, mainly caused by stress. Everything we experience in life is ultimately a bodily experience. Often, we learn to live with pain and injuries, not believing in the possibility of changing this state.

However, we know that some people escape the aging process. We have many examples of active long-lived individuals; for example, Sophocles wrote his works at the age of 90. There is no reason for our bodies to suffer; they can only end their lives regardless of age because death is a natural part of life.

Habitual state of sensory-motor amnesia (SMA) is the loss of memory of how certain muscles and muscle groups are felt and controlled. Because this phenomenon occurs in the central nervous system, we are not aware of it. Our self-image, what we can experience, and what we can do are deeply destroyed by the habitual state of forgetfulness. But it has nothing to do with aging. It can occur anytime, even in childhood. It mainly occurs in children who grow up in dysfunctional families or in fear, such as war or aggression. Permanently raised shoulders, sunken chest, overly curved neck caused by chronically contracted muscles are also the main symptoms of traumatic accidents and serious surgeries undergone at a young age.

It should be noted that habitual state of forgetfulness:

  • can start at any age but is usually noticeable after the age of 30-40,
  • is associated with the nervous system,
  • can also be unlearned because the adaptive response is learned, reprogrammed.

Unlearning what has been learned and remembering what has been forgotten are unique, wonderful human abilities. The eight basic somatic exercises provide a simple, effective way to reprogram our habitual state of forgetfulness.

Somatic exercises positively influence major health problems of the circulatory system, cancer, and mental illness. They can change our response to questions:

  • how we live,
  • how much we believe our mind and body cooperate with each other,
  • how we think,
  • how strong we are in controlling our lives,
  • how responsible we should be in taking care of our entire existence, which in turn affects the philosophical understanding of the nature of our existence.

Habitual state of forgetting/memory loss is not a medical or surgical pathology and cannot be diagnosed or treated in these categories. It is, however, a somatic pathology that does not require surgery but education, or rather re-education, which is a reminder.

How to Achieve Optimal Benefits from Somatic Exercises:

  1. Remember: Somatic exercises change your muscular system by teaching and shaping new habits through the central nervous system.

  2. Learn the nature of habitual sensory motor amnesia (SMA): Understand how it arises in the mind and where it occurs in the body; we do this by reading it and rediscovering it.

  3. During exercises, focus on the internal sensation of movements.

  4. Perform exercises on a mat or carpet: Wear loose clothing and stay away from noise.

  5. Move slowly: Allow the mind to notice everything happening in the body during movements.

  6. Move gently and with as little effort as possible. Avoid forcing any effort; acting against the muscles comes from the tradition of old patterns of physical training, which did not yield positive results. If you want to untangle a knot, you must clearly see the thread and only then gently untangle it. Pulling the thread will only tighten the knot further.

  7. Somatic exercises are not painful: The movement patterns of these exercises are normal movements of the musculoskeletal system. If you perform them slowly and gently, they are completely safe. Harming yourself during exercises is unnecessary, harmful, and of course, not fun. People who already suffer from habitual sensory motor amnesia, especially those with completely tense muscles in the lower back area, may sometimes feel pain in the initial phase of exercises when these muscles begin to lengthen. This should be accepted, and when these muscles lengthen, the pain will cease. Even very painful backaches after three days of exercises will cease.

  8. Be systematic, patient, and positive: Be systematic and determined in your practice. Be patient, not expecting quick body repair, but seeking brilliant and lasting changes in your comfort, range of motion, posture, and overall functioning. The most important thing is that you are positive in your expectations, predictions, and sure of improvement.

  9. Exercise in the morning and evening: The mind is slower and more susceptible to the learning process during these times.

Reflexotherapy

Benefits

  • Relaxing effect: The treatment causes a feeling of deep relaxation, which allows the body to effectively respond to aggressive external factors. After the treatment, patients usually experience a return of good form and well-being.

  • Preventive action: It ensures full homeostasis (the ability to maintain a relatively stable internal state, for example, blood composition) and frees the body from tensions, which are the source of disorders and a sign of the development of many diseases.

  • Improvement of blood circulation: Reflexology treatment increases the flow of lymph and nutrients to the limbs, improving blood circulation in all parts of the body.

  • Detoxification of the body: It stimulates the organs responsible for eliminating toxins in the liver, large intestine, skin, lungs. Increases the effectiveness of detoxification processes in the body.

  • Increase of energy: The treatment adds new energy, thanks to which we cope better with chronic fatigue and weakness.

  • Calming effect: Reflexology expands the ability to think, improves concentration and the ability to focus attention.

  • Balance between body and mind: At the root of many physical activities lie negative emotions, and reflexology allows them to be released? It leads to unblocking the circulation of energy.

Reflexology

Reflexology is a natural method of therapy based on the stimulation of precisely defined points on the hands and feet, called reflexes, which are connected to appropriate parts of the body and organs. Reflexology has its roots in ancient cultures: Egyptian, Hindu, and Chinese. Like acupuncture, it uses a holistic approach, i.e., focusing on healing as well as disease prevention. Stimulating certain points during treatment can alleviate blockages and tensions that affect the flow of vital energy and normalize the body’s internal functions. Does the reflexologist’s massage on the skin’s surface provide harmony, regulate the work of internal organs, and achieve a full state of relaxation, which in turn promotes health and cures existing disorders. Reflexology in an effective and non-invasive way allows fighting the harmful effects of stress. It releases the body from tension, relaxes muscles, and improves blood circulation, lymph, and energy flow. Pressing certain points on the feet regulates breathing, stimulates the immune system and hormonal responses. Stimulating appropriate energy points can affect mood, bring back lost energy, both physical and mental. Reflexology improves the general well-being, as well as the functioning of the immune system, the body’s defense, which reduces the risk of illness. The effect is usually instantaneous, although in the case of chronic diseases, more time and treatments may be necessary, positive effects of therapy often occur.

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