Somatics for You

April May June 2016

Link to some audio recordings of my Saturday Somatics Classes via SoundCloud.

Link to my YouTube Channel (Somatics For You, Susan Koenig). 
     You can see over 30 short somatic movement videos.

Below are links to two longer interviews of myself and Janet Hoagland, by Dana Wilberg, of the cable TV program out of Sacramento, CA, called the "Paranormal Connection."  In spite of the TV title, the interviews are about Hanna Somatic Education.

Each interview has 2 parts; each part is a little less than 1/2 hour.
Interview One: February, 2011
          Part 1
          Part 2
Interview Two:
May, 2015
          Part 1
          Part 2
In the TV studio with Danna Wilberg for our interview (see above): Janet Hoagland, left; Susan Koenig, middle; Danna Wilberg, right.

Come to Class
Feel So Much Better!

Saturday Class Schedule, 10-11:30 am:
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

Private Sessions with Susan Koenig available

Call 510-848-4129

In Memoriam: Edgar Mitchell, ScD, PhD

When he returned from space forty-five years ago, Apollo 14 Astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell committed his life to supporting a sustainable future. He worked tirelessly to understand and promote what he viewed as an absolutely necessary collective shift in consciousness. To those of us who knew him well, Edgar was an enthusiastic, loving, dedicated, courageous, funny, and brilliant man who inspired us to be bold in our exploration of the further reaches of human potential, to fearlessly challenge inadequate paradigms, and to carry his spirit of adventure into investigating our inner lives.

Link to short video about Edgar Mitchell:
“We Are One” - Edgar Mitchell 1930-2016
Book recommendation:
The Manner of Action by Graeme Lynn
Graeme was a classmate of mine and the 37 other people in Thomas Hanna's 1990 professional training in Hanna Somatic Education.  This well written gem of a book covers Graeme's expansive understandings, explanations, and examples from his study of the Alexander Technique, The Feldenkrais Method, with examples of Awareness Through Movement lessons, and other Somatic Educational offerings including Yoga and Hanna Somatic Education. 

To receive a copy of The Manner of Action by Graeme Lynn, please send a cheque or money order in the amount of $25 USD to: Graeme Lynn, #3 - 312 St. George Street, Toronto ON M5R 2P5, CANADA.
"Mindfulness: To pay attention in the moment on purpose."
           Jon Kabat-Zinn
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.
Trunk Rotation Movements

Video 1: Introduction to Trunk Rotation in Standing
This video contains information about trunk and spinal rotation to create free and easy rotation in the upper trunk, the lower trunk or pelvis, and in walking.
Videos 2 and 3: Rotation of Upper and Lower Trunk in Side-Lying
I want to thank my friend, colleague and Certified Hanna Somatic Educator, Ken Bridgeman, for reminding me of these wonderful somatic movements which greatly contribute to free and easy rotation in the upper and lower trunk and in walking.  Ken used these movements as part of his recovery from his  hip replacement surgeries.  I use them frequently to improve my free and easy sense of gliding during walking.
In this video I demonstrate upper trunk rotation, lower trunk/pelvic rotation, and the contra-lateral rotation of walking from each side of the body.
In this video I demonstrate a wonderful movement of rotational patterns differentiating each step of contra-lateral rotation.  I want to thank my friend, colleague and Certified Hanna Somatic Educator, Ken Bridgeman, for teaching me this movement.
The Wolf Story - Choosing Positive Thinking
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. "One is Evil -  It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. "The other is Good -  It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
--Author and source unknown

Copyright © 2016 Susan Koenig, All rights reserved.

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