Just as the mountains and valleys were created over millennia through the forces of nature, anything that lasts takes time, effort and consistency: a friendship, a marriage, a career, good health. A hand on the arm of a friend in need builds compassion and togetherness. Listening to an upset child builds trust in the present as well as for the future.
Being present to your own bodily experience contributes to the quality of your long-term health.
Why are so many of us resistant to taking care of ourselves? What purpose does it serve to not listen to our bodies, our physical sensations, and our own feelings? And how do we lose our ability to sense from the inside what it feels like to be us? How much of our avoidance of ourselves is conditioned ("I'm not worth taking care of"), the result of emotional or psychological trauma (which can separate us from our physical sensations and a feeling of safety) and how much develops unconscious adaption to our environment: timetables, deadlines, self-imposed or otherwise?
Hanna Somatic Movements re-set the brain's ability to sense and move us with ease and comfort. They are gentle, simple movement patterns that, when done regularly, can reduce the habituated muscle tension that results from our adaptation to life's stresses. They are profoundly effective and yet pleasant and calming. So when people tell me that they "don't have time" to do their Hanna Somatic Movements every day (even though they also say that they no longer have the aches and pains they once did), I ask them whether they brush their teeth. The answer is always a laugh, a "yes, of course," and "I get your point." Muscle pain is a great motivator, just like cavities! Treat your Somatic Movements as part of your daily healthcare routine, rather than a luxury or a chore. Reconnecting with your internal experience of yourself is every bit as important as caring for your appearance, hygiene or nutrition. Without the ability to sense and control yourself self-regulation, stress resilience and self-knowledge is only an idea.
Get to know yourself
Just recently a friend of mine broke her ankle. Due to compensation and a now awkward gait, her hip began to hurt. My advice was to take it easy and listen to her body. Give herself time. She said that her doctor told her that she could go back to life as usual - driving, walking, etc. – but her ankle, hip, and sore body were telling her otherwise. She was frustrated, and caught between what someone else (her doctor) told her and what her body was telling her. Who was the expert here? Have you ever felt that way before?
Thomas Hanna once said that no one will care as much about your body as you will.
He was right. Pain changes who we are; it can change the very goals and dreams we have for ourselves. It is a slippery slope to a loss of self-control. If your muscles are tight and painful, the only person who can change that is you. When you pay mindful attention to how you move every day, how you respond to stress, and how you interact with your own life, you will be taking the first step on the road to somatic awareness and the ability to regain full control of your body, integrate your emotions and bodily sensations and, ultimately, freedom to be who you were intended to be. In taking time to care for your body you are taking back control of the living process that is you. And ultimately how you want to live your life is completely up to you.
Participating in a Somatics event, or scheduling a one-on-one session for individualized guidance can teach you life long skills and techniques, concepts, and movements that will take that awareness deeper and farther; it could be the difference between feeling out of control and in pain, and getting your life back.
And you ARE worth it.