If you've had tight muscles for a very long time, doing a few Somatic Movements or having one Clinical Somatics session will not make your muscle pain disappear overnight. These muscles have learned to remain "stuck" and contracted due to messages from your brain in response to trauma, stress, and postural compensations. It takes time to adjust to moving easily and efficiently again, while also absorbing the new sensory feedback you are experiencing. But what if you have already had several clinical sessions and are pain free, and old, nagging pain keeps coming back? Here are the top three tips for dealing with recurring muscle pain.
Tip 1: Do your Somatic Movement practice every day
When it comes to creating a new habit, repetition is key. You may find that, after a clinical session or a few Somatic Movements, you move more efficiently, have improved breathing, and a drastic reduction of functional muscle pain, but this does not mean that you have been "cured." Despite your newfound freedom of movement, your brain simultaneously wants to take you into your old habits (e.g. the way you slouch at your computer). These old habits are more familiar to your brain than the new, more relaxed and efficient movement that you have created through your somatic movement practice. Changing long terms habits takes time and patient repetition, so get on your mat and start moving!
Tip 2: Do a self check-in throughout the day
To have the effects of your daily Somatics practice last longer, it's critical to address your daily movement habits and be patient with gradual improvement. Being conscious of the way you walk, stand, or do any given daily activity is just as important. As you go about your day, check in with yourself (especially if you begin to feel pain or discomfort). Ask yourself
- How you sit. Do you slump back on your pelvis, sit overly arched, or slightly twisted?
- How you stand. Do you stand with an arched back, slumped chest, or more weight on one foot?
- How you sleep. Do you curl yourself inward in a fetal position or lie relaxed on your back?
- How you walk. Do you step heavier on one foot than the other? Do you scuff your feet or walk on your toes? What part of your foot strikes the ground first?
Tip 3: Make the connection
Become aware of how your thoughts create muscle tension or spaciousness. Ask yourself why. Why do you slump at your desk at work? Why do you feel tense when you're driving? Why is your back arched when you are walking? Is there an underlying emotion attached to your actions?
Try this: Keep a journal of your somatic practice for two weeks. Write down which movements you do in your morning and evening practice. Write a few sentences about how you felt that day and what changes you felt. At the end of two weeks reflect back on your journal and note how many days you followed through on your practice. Then make the connection between your practice and what you felt in your body – emotionally and physically.
A patient, persistent practice will create new habits of awareness, posture and movement. The more consistent you are in applying your new awareness to all areas of your life, the more natural it will be.
BONUS TIP: Take the Fundamentals Immersion Course
To delve deeper into your Somatics practice, participate in a Fundamentals Immersion Course, taught by a skilled Somatic practitioner. Over two days, you will integrate new changes to help you break through to the source of your recurring issue whether it be mental, emotional, physical, or occupational.