The other evening I attended a fascinating Buddhist meditation and lecture. Lama Gursam spoke about awareness and practice. He said that the only way to truly understand how to let go of painful, annoying or unpleasant experiences or feelings was through mindful observation, meditation and practice. This method, he stated, has been proven to positively affect the brain, the body's physiology, and one's overall health. Self exploration and awareness of one's physical, mental, and emotional state is essential to the goal of creating happiness for yourself and others. As he said, "it's not just in your head, it's in your heart and body." He added that wisdom was necessary as well, and wisdom comes with time. This is the essence of what I teach my clients in Hanna Somatics: there is no quick fix for muscular pain, bad posture, back pain, habitual muscular contraction, emotional muscular tension or limited movement.
In order to achieve "body happiness," the methods are the same:
- Awareness of one's emotional, mental, and physical state (including awareness of one's habitual movement). When you practice the movements you learn in Hanna Somatics, and stay focused on the sensations in your body - the differences between before you begin your movement practice, and after you finish - you are allowing your brain to soak up the sensory feedback. This teaches your brain something new: it creates quantitative, muscular change at the brain level. Being aware of how you respond emotionally to stress in your life brings awareness of the connection between the mind/body. Again, it helps you to regain control over your body, mind and overall health.
- Experiential practice. The experience must come from the inside out - from you. It is your brain, your muscles, and your puzzle to figure out through diligent practice. The fun part is that Somatic Movements are easy, gentle and pleasant to do. Much like the peace and quiet one experiences in a deep meditation.
- Patience. When you are patient, you cultivate the understanding that anything worth mastering takes time. It simply cannot be achieved overnight. Period.
- Wisdom. Take time to look logically at what works and what doesn't work. Many of us do things because people tell us we should, that it's "good for us." Stick with your Somatics practice daily for several weeks, and don't believe me - you be the judge.