"Why I Like the Somatic Exercises"
Whenever I get stiff from working too long in awkward positions (as I must do in my work) or from sitting too long in one position (as I do at the computer), there's something I know I can do to regain my physical comfort and flexibility: somatic exercises.
These exercises give me the ability to relax tight muscles that otherwise just don't let go. After a few minutes, I get up refreshed and often incredulous that I feel so much better. Sometimes, I particularly notice that I feel taller and straighter; at other times, I simply feel looser and able to move more quickly, with less effort than before.
The key to unlocking muscular tensions with somatic exercises is to do movements that involve the affected muscles, and to do them slowly enough that I can feel the movements as I do them. Another key is to come to complete rest, momentarily, between each repetition. The exercises remind me of what it feels like to use muscles and to relax them, at rest. They help me break the tension habit, while at the same time improve my muscular control; that's why I move more quickly and easily after a session of the exercises.
The somatic exercises have other benefits, but the ones I have named are the main reason why I like them.
Lawrence Gold is one of fewer than two hundred certified clinical somatic educators in the world. He maintains a private practice, trains Certified Hanna Somatic Educators in the method, and writes extensively on the subject.
Practitioners, worldwide: Certified Hanna Somatic Educators and Resources