Somatics for You

 Newsletter October, November, December 2014

Come to Class
Feel So Much Better!

Saturday Class Schedule, 10-11:30 am:
October 4, 18
November to be announced
To receive the specific dates (and any changes) of my upcoming Saturday classes join my email notice list.  How?
By emailing me at <>  You will receive a short email with my class dates.

National Holistic Institute
5900 Doyle Street, Emeryville, CA 94608

Saturday Somatic Classes

Every class teaches and reviews some of the basic 7 movements created by Thomas Hanna in his "Daily Cat Routine"  (Somatics, p. 99).  Additionally you'll want to add some of the other movements that especially speak to your specific pain and stiffness.

Explore movements done on the floor, in sitting, standing, and walking to expand your ability to move with ease and confidence.  Learn some specific movements for recovering your sense of safety, balance, and alignment under stress. 

Come to My Classes Any Time
Somatic exercises are done slowly, gently, always within your comfort zone, and with internal focus on the sensations of the movements.

Doing somatic exercises this way engages the voluntary motor cortex of the brain, the only part of brain's motor system that can reduce muscular tension (contraction).

Recommended reading is the book, Somatics, by Thomas Hanna (my teacher, now deceased).  Over time you will learn all the basic exercises called the "Daily Cat Routine" (p. 99, Somatics, in the last section of the book).   Class fee: $20 per class, or 4 classes for $60.

Private Sessions with Susan Koenig available

Call 510-848-4129

My good friend Jim O'Hara who just published a fabulous book, In the Land of Shiva: A Memoir (see picture of book below).   A must read. Beautifully written personal memoir of 25 years as a Brother of the Catholic Church doing good works (mostly education of children) in India and Nepal. You are transported into the communal life of the brothers, their reassuring routines and rituals affirming shared beliefs, close friendships, and service. India changes Brother Jim, the head organizer from Wisconsin. You journey with him to a new sense of life with its smells and colors, large crowded cities, small rural villages, pantheons of Hindu gods and goddesses, Buddhists influences, tragic political events, and eventually witness his deep and abiding longing to find his own inner relationship to the spiritual.
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Love this picture of Buddha and baby from Facebook.
Quote from Thomas Hanna, Body of Life

“What the neurophysiological research of the past several decades tells us is that the kind of thoughts we think determines the quality and effectiveness of our lives.  Because thinking is an action of the entire body that mobilizes the entire sensorimotor system, the nature of our thinking activity automatically determines the nature of our bodily activity.  If we turn the same anxious thoughts over in our minds day after day, then it is certain that we are tensing and activating certain contractions in our bodies day after day.  And it is just as certain that these afflicted parts of our bodies will, through this daily abuse, become fatigued and damaged.  When we think the same thoughts of revenge over and over again, we are activating the muscles and glands of our bodies over and over again.  When we repeat the same thought of disappointment over and over, we are repeatedly stamping its motor power into the tissues of our body until they sag in forlornness.  When we repeatedly think thoughts or memories of hurt, despair, anger, or fear, we are physically injuring ourselves; we are engaging in self-destruction.”
Neck and Shoulder Tension

These two videos focus on releasing tension and pain in the area of the neck, shoulders, arms, and between the shoulder blades.  You may even feel tension release in those pesky shoulder "knots" and down the back into the pelvis.  The reference muscle for the first video is the levator scapula.  The second video focuses more on the shoulder blade in relationship to the neck, arm, and back.  Many muscles are involved in moving the shoulder blades.  Think more in terms of different directions of movement to free the shoulder blades and feel the ease of movement you gain in shoulders, neck, upper back, and arms.

After doing these movements a few times you’ll have them memorized.  Experiment and try these two movements in different positions-lying on your back, in a chair, or standing.  Do them any time you need to: in a chair at work, in bed before going to sleep or getting up in the morning, even standing in grocery line!

For those of you that enjoy learning about anatomy, I've included a couple of anatomy pictures.  Notice how the levator scapula muscle attaches to the sides of the spine in the neck and to the top, inner corner of the scapula (shoulder blade).  The second picture shows scapular muscles and movements.  Releasing scapular muscles allow it to move freely over the rib cage: up-down, toward and away from the spine, and rotate upward and downward.

Releasing Neck and Shoulder Tension - Reference Muscle is the 
Levator Scapula
Releasing Neck, Shoulder, and Arm Tension
Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction, D. Simons, M.D; J. Travell, M.D.; L. Simons, P.T.
The Anatomy Coloring Book, Kapit and Elson

Copyright © 2014 Susan Koenig, All rights reserved.

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