Lucky me! My colleague, Carrie Day, and I mentored a Somatics teacher-in-training today. Carrie demonstrated a session using me as "the client." We were reviewing the proper teaching of the clinical lesson that deals with the Red Light Reflex, which looks like this: Carrie took me through the lesson and taught me to relax and release the muscles that, when tighten and habituated, can cause us to slump forward, with rounded shoulders, a tight belly and neck jutted forward. We focused on the pattern that is created when we slump - tightening into the pattern and lengthening out of it. After the session I stood up and walked around. Both Carrie and the student said, "you look completely different! You look more relaxed!" Indeed, I felt amazing. I might teach Somatics to others, but being a human being means that I live in the same world that the rest of us live in... I had been spending far too much time on the computer and driving in my car. I guess I was overdue for a "Somatic check-up."
Last week I worked with three separate clients, all with the identical problem: searing back and neck pain. They'd tried many different methods to try and alleviate their pain, all with different levels of effectiveness, but none with long-lasting success.
Every one of them was, to a certain extent, stuck in the Red Light Reflex. The problem went back to two things: long hours at the computer, and long hours at a computer terminal that wasn't properly set up. One had the keyboard too high (which encouraged her to hunch her shoulders up to be comfortable) and the others had it too low (which resulted in tight lats and an arched lower back in an attempt to keep their hands down by their keyboards all day). Their bodies were in a perpetual state of exaggeration, either overly "straight" or overly slumped forward. Both were able to rapidly gain awareness of what they were doing to create their muscular pain and are feeling quite happy about it. Now their challenge is to change their workspace to accommodate healthy biomechanics.