In my last post I talked about the difference between stretching and Pandiculation. Based on the number of emails I received in relation to that article I want to clarify how Pandiculation relates to the other main elements of Somatic Education which are;
Sensory Motor Amnesia (SMA)
The Three Reflexes (Green Light, Red Light and Trauma)
You can’t fix a problem that you are not aware of. In the context of Somatic Education, Sensory Motor Amnesia is the problem, the Three Reflexes are how the problem presents and pandiculation is (one of) the tools we use to address and resolve the problem.
Everyone has some degree of SMA, from a little to a lot. Read more about what SMA is and how it develops, here.
SMA shows itself in the body as habituated contraction of Three Reflexes. These are brain reflexes, if you are conscious and reading this, then you have a brain, and if you have a brain, you will be susceptible to habituation of these three reflexes. I encourage you to read the three blog entries on each of the reflexes.
Here they are;
Green Light Reflex
Red Light Reflex
When we habituate any or all of the Three Reflexes we will inevitably have movement deficits and/or muscle pain. The extent of either will be dependant on the subtlety or severity of our Sensory Motor Amnesia. Regardless, the approach to resolving the SMA is the same. We must remind the brain how to use the affected musculature correctly. We do this by voluntarily recreating the Three Reflexes and then slowly decreating them.
In the case of Green Light Reflex, this involves purposely contracting the muscles of the Green Light Reflex, which is all the muscles of the back of the body. This allows us to take cortical* control of those muscles, and then slowly relaxing them under control. This simple act of pandiculating reduces the resting level of tension in the muscles for better movement, reduced pain and improved comfort.
Here is an example of a simple Somatic Exercise to address Green Light Reflex, pandiculating the muscles of the back of the Spine, with an emphasis on the lower back muscles. I would advice watching the video first and then doing the movement whilst listening to the video.
Arch & Flatten with Laura Gates – www.fullmovementpotential.com
Here is another simple Somatic Exercise that addresses Red Light Reflex. Again watch the video first and then do the movement whilst listening to the video.
Flower with Martha Peterson – www.essentialsomatics.com
As you can see from the videos, Somatic Exercises are performed, slowly and gently with the intention of something like a yawn. Try these out and leave a comment on your experience. I am currently developing my own instructional Somatic Exercise videos and an eBook which I hope to have available in the new year. If these are something you would be interested in leave a comment below this post.
In the meantime here are some links to Somatics resources around the web. You can find more videos from each of these Somatic Practitioners on Youtube and Vimeo.
Martha Peterson – www.essentialsomatics.com
Laura Gates – www.fullmovementpotential.com
Lawrence Gold – http://lawrencegoldsomatics.blogspot.ie/
Susan Koenig – https://www.youtube.com/user/somaticsforyou
Books about Somatics
Somatics by Thomas Hanna
The Body of Life by Thomas Hanna
Move Without Pain by Martha Peterson
Move Like an Animal by Edward Barrera
The Sustainable You by John Loupos
Somatics Exercises instructional DVDs and CDs
Fantastic instructional DVDs and CDs from Martha Peterson
Somatics Educational Resources
(about half way down linked page under the heading AUDIO). These are Somatic Movement Classes guide by the late Thomas Hanna, the man who developed this work. Highly recommended.
Comprehensive Somatics instructional CDs and DVDs for a wide range of issues.
I’ll be back soon with my regular Somatics blog posts, in the meantime share this post with anyone you know who is interested in Somatics resources around the web.