Learn how to release areas of tension yourself!
Before starting each movement, please watch to see what it looks like. Please note that in the video I may demonstrate the first movement to my fullest range of motion so you can see the shape easily but actually we don’t want to use 100% of our effort! Thing along the lines of 20% physical effort, 90% mental focus!
We’re looking to safely contract a little tighter than before to highlight the tension in the part of the body that we’re working. For example if you have forward slumped posture, the somatic movements I recommend and lead you through will slump you slightly further forward than you habitually do, then bring you back to neutral with control, then you'd release any muscle effort and completely relax. This focuses your brain/muscle connection on the front of the body-this window of focus is where changes can occur at the level of the brain, reminding your front body that neutral is with your shoulders stacked above your pelvis, rather than forward of that line.
Please note that there are risks inherent in any exercise programme. The advice of a Physician should be sought prior to embarking upon any exercise regime. The creator of this video disclaims any liability for any loss, damage or injury in connection with any use of this programme or the instruction and/or advice expressed herein. The creators, producers, performers and distributors of this programme make no warranty, express or implied regarding your individual results.
If you feel pain, numbness, tingling or discomfort STOP immediately! Either wait until we move onto the next movement or visualise the movement instead.
HOW TO DO A LESSON
Have a small stack of hand towels or a small firm pillow to place under your head as needed
Go very slowly
Pause the lesson as needed to give yourself time
Move within your own comfortable range
Do NOT push or strain. You will get more benefit by doing less
Try to let go of doing the movements the “right” way
Be curious and enjoy the changes
Follow any healthcare restrictions you have been given
JAW PAIN OR FACIAL TENSION?
You may find these gentle exercises relieve your jaw pain, if it's caused by muscle tension/contraction. These somatic movements can release habitually contracted facial muscles that can contribute to headaches, clicking jaw and jaw tension. These movements can be done gently every day.
Please take the movements slowly and gently to help get your brain back in control of your facial muscles and perhaps increase your range of motion (ROM) with the jaw. A poor ROM could be due to injury, extensive dental work, surgery or pain. These movements could be particularly beneficial before and after a visit to the dentist, if you notice that you often have a tension headache after lying with your mouth open for a period of time.
What does somatic mean?
Somatic means an awareness of your body from the inside out. This is why before and after every movement, we take a moment to notice how your face, neck and jaw feel.
How does it work?
Somatics involves comfortably contracting an area a little tighter than before, then slowly and smoothly releasing that area, coming back to neutral with control. Then relaxing and noticing the sensations. This helps remind your muscles where their neutral is. This can improve our posture, taking the strain off our joints and connective tissue. Going from a forward slumped posture to a more neutral posture gives our organs of respiration, digestion and reproduction their space back in the front body! Forward slumped posture squishes that region in addition to straining the lower back and neck.
How does Somatics differ from other techniques to relax muscle tension?
Somatic movement flows involve the brain to relax areas of chronic muscle tension. One of the techniques is to really focus on the movements you’re making to highlight the area to your brain, making the process cortical. With a controlled release, noticing the movement to the very end of your range of motion - jaw fully open, jaw fully closed - the focus of moving slowly and smoothly, using mental focus, is where you begin to gain back control.
At the end of the movements, completely melt and notice the sensations. The brain loves to learn through contrast, hence we take time to notice how the area of the body feels after we’ve released muscle tension, so the changes can occur at the level of the brain.
Finally, I recommend that you mention your tension headaches, jaw or facial pain to your dentist.