Somatics

Essential Somatics

Pain free movement in the style of Thomas Hanna

Essential Somatics is a mindfully gentle yet powerful practice. Using simple self-care techniques, learn how to release and relax tight imgp1967-edit-2muscles, reduce muscular tension and restore muscles to their optimal resting length without stretching. The classes are designed to be educational and enjoyable. Class participants are encouraged to relax, take time breathing and to move slowly.

What is the Essential Somatic Movement Method?

‘Somatics’ is derived from the Greek word ‘Soma’ meaning the body, and is a movement method, developed by the late neuromuscular pioneer Thomas Hanna (PhD). Hanna defines soma as our ‘internal perception of physical movement’ or simply how we experience ourselves from within. The practice focuses on our individual potential to improve our self-awareness and physical control regardless of age, ability or fitness level.

Neuromuscular pain is often caused by the way we habitually sit, stand or move. These habituated states of consistent muscular contraction lead to what Hanna defined as Sensory Motor Amnesia (SMA) and occurs as our brain loses the ability to control and relax tight muscles. Through gentle Essential Somatic movements we are able to regain voluntary control of these muscles by retraining our brain and address the Sensory Motor Amnesia that everyone will experience sometime during their life.

Reflex Descriptions-As SMA may be a result of physical or emotional stress, trauma or injury, Essential Somatic movements address the body’s 3 natural stress reflexes. Hanna has best described these as: the Red Light, Green Light and Trauma Reflex

Red light reflex

  • A shortening through the front of the body, rounded or hunched shoulders.
  • Known as the ‘distress’ or ‘startle’ reflex
  • .Classified as the withdrawal response.

Green light reflex

  • A shortening of the back of the body.
  • Known as the ‘eustress’ and ‘landaue reflex’, this is our action reflex.
  • The get up and go response to the everyday world.

Trauma reflex

  • Seen by a shortening through one side of the waist.
  • Described as the ‘protective reflex’ – a cringing or flinching response to, or reaction
  • to trauma, compensatory or injury.
  • It’s how we retract and react to danger.

Somatics is Beneficial in Addressing:

  • Chronic and acute back, neck, and shoulder pain.
  • Tension headaches and whiplash.
  • Sciatica and piriformis syndrome.
  • Hip, knee and foot pain.
  • Plantar fasciitis.
  • Herniated or bulging disks.
  • Postural misalignments including leg length discrepancy, scoliosis and kyphotic curvatures caused by muscular tightness.

Benefits of Practising Somatics Regularly Include:

  • Improved mobility, strength and co-ordination.
  • Eliminate unhelpful or faulty movement patterns.
  • Improved breathing and posture.
  • Increase flexibility, co-ordination and balance.
  • Reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Pain relief without medication.

Recommended Readings

  •  ‘Somatics, Reawakening the Mind’s Control of Movement, Flexibility and Health’ by Thomas Hanna PhD.
  •  ‘The Body of Life’ by Thomas Hanna PhD.
  •  ‘Move Without Pain’ by Martha Peterson.
  • Visit www.essentialsomatics.com for more detail, videos and links to further education, training and
  • www.mipiatesyork.com for local workshops.

“…it is also possible to have a body and a life that are lasting sources of productivity and satisfaction and pride.”

Thomas Hanna PhD

Classes 60 minutes. Intro class 50 minutes. Class size maximum 10 people, so that each student receives personal care and attention.

Please be aware that there is a 24-hour cancellation policy on Somatics classes. If you cancel within 24-hours then you will still be charged the full class.

“The most important thing for you to remember is that Somatic Exercises change your muscular system by changing your central nervous system.”

Thomas Hanna PhD