Releasing Past Traumas and Stressful History through Hanna Somatic Movements
Traumas, surgeries, injuries, past stressful life experiences, genetics, social milieu, culture, jobs and hobbies leave their mark on us and we respond with habits of behavior and self organization in movements and postures. That “mark” of habitual patterns is always in the background of our current life experiences. That “mark” from stressful life experiences leaves us with reduced capacities of self-awareness, self organization, and how we proceed with our current daily life, as well as long term goals and desires.
In Hanna Somatics and other “mindfulness” activities we are focusing on our experience now. We are using our awareness as a lens toward improving our movements and self organization. Sometimes we are surprised how far off our self perception is and catch ourself in a pattern of limitation. For example, we might focus on our right shoulder and it feels “fine.” Then we do some slow, self pandicular movements of our right shoulder where we make a comfortable voluntary contraction bringing our shoulder forward (rounding and curling it forward) and then a slow, controlled release out of the contraction. We again notice our shoulder and feel how much flatter and broader our chest and shoulder are. We have just improved our self organization, not by forcing, but by functionally using our awareness RIGHT NOW to focus on the movement capacities of our shoulder’s natural design.
All patterns of behavior and movement are organized by our brain and nervous system and are reflected physically in the way we organize our bodies through muscular contraction. To smile, laugh, frown, fight, sit, walk, feel angry, and feel joy are all expressed in the musculo-fascial-skeletal organization of our body. We habituate many of these patterns, that is we repeat them many times a day and over time. Habitual patterns of behavior and movement are necessary to live our life. When our habits formed in relationship to stressful events we also started using habitual neuro-muscular contraction patterns to cope with them. We habituated musculoskeletal patterns of contraction that create pain, body stiffness, and limitations of movement and expression.
How do we release the stressful, less optimal habitual muscular patterns in our body? In Hanna Somatics we use slow, comfortable, voluntary muscular contraction and release, done with awareness, to engage the motor cortex of our brain to reset the resting tonus (contraction level) of our muscles. Muscles that are free from excess contraction and tension freely move joints and other soft tissues, and obey neuro-muscular commands more adaptively and creatively.
Sometimes we may have emotional and intellectual insight into some of our stressful patterns. However to release out of these patterns does not necessarily require this insight. Insight in all its forms can surely be helpful. However what is most important is better self organization NOW by using awareness and other mindfulness and self observation skills to make functional movement improvements in current time.
Life goes better when we do our Hanna Somatic Movements. We enjoy physical activity free from pain and stiffness; breathe with more ease; think with less brain fog; meet emotional and psychological stressors with greater coping capacities; and enjoy social activities, friendship, and loving relationships with more comfort and joy.