Somatics for You

Spring - Summer  2017

Link to my Website.

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.

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Feel So Much Better!

Saturday Class Schedule, 10-11:30 am:
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National Holistic Institute
5900 Doyle Street, Emeryville, CA 94608

Private Sessions with Susan Koenig available

Call 510-848-4129

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Notice the muscles of the "back."  All the superficial back muscles are actually part of the shoulder or shoulder girdle.  To get to spinal muscles you must go deeper, below the superficial back muscles.
In this picture you can see the synergistic muscles that work together with the "lats."  They include pectoralis major, teres major, and the posterior deltoid.  Of course, many more muscles coordinate together to make full body movements involving our "reference muscle" the latissimus dorsi.
Reference Muscle Latissimus Dorsi

About two thirds of the back is covered by the latissimus dorsi.  This shoulder muscle can exert tremendous force on the shoulder joint (glenohumeral joint).  It has two main attachment sites.  The attachment site, labeled insertion, is on the upper front (anterior) of the humerus or upper arm bone.  The attachment site, labeled origin, begins at T-7 (thoracic vertebra 7) and runs via its tendinous connections, all the way to the tailbone.  It is a very large and powerful shoulder muscle.

There is a synergistic relationship between the "lats" in the back of the body and the "pecs" (pectoralis major ) in the front shoulder-chest area.  In fact their attachment sites on the upper anterior humerus are very close together, practically on top of each other.  Along with the teres major and posterior deltoid, they pull the raised arm downward during throwing, swimming, and hitting motions. 

The lats and pecs also work together to adduct (to move toward the body midline) the arm or raise the body when the arm is fixed, as during climbing.  Working together, the pecs and lats, prevent the downward displacement of the trunk when bearing weight on the arms, as in pushing up from a chair, walking with crutches, and in gymnastics, when performing on the rings or parallel bars.

We use our lats to do lifting and pushing, especially with overhead repetitive movements.  When the latissimus dorsi is tight/contracted, the back arches to compensate creating compression in the spine.  This is often the source of, or contributes to, low back pain.

Even though muscles never work alone, I find it helpful to use the term "reference muscle" as a guide for understanding specific movement patterns. 

The following videos demonstrate some of the Hanna Somatic movements we use for releasing excess tension/contraction in the lats and their synergistic partners.

To release excess tension/contraction and lengthen muscle fibers, Hanna Somatic Educators start by mimicking the pattern of tightness.  We make a voluntary contraction of the muscle group(s) involved in the pattern of tightness.  This alerts the motor cortex which movement pattern and muscles we are focusing on.  Then, using our motor cortex, we make a slow, controlled release out of contraction and toward muscle fiber lengthening.  Remember, the motor cortex is the part of the brain that is responsible for voluntary movement. This process, called "pandiculation," was Thomas Hanna's unique contribution to the field of neuromuscular re-education.

All Hanna Somatic Movements are done slowly, comfortably, and as precisely as possible.  We do not force and we not stretch.  We work from within the muscles' neurophysiology to decrease excess muscle tonus (contraction) and reset and lower its resting tonus.  The result is less or no pain, decreased joint stiffness, increased flexibility and strength, and a sense of easy and fluid movements as you go about your daily life.
The following videos represent some Hanna Somatic Movements I use to help release tightness and pain in the latissimus dorsi and some of its synergistic muscles.

This video begins with some anatomical information about the latissimus dorsi muscle.  Then I demonstrate a wonderful full body movement, taught to me by Eleanor Criswell Hanna, that incorporates the "lats" and many of its synergistic muscles.

In this video I demonstrate a side lying movement for the "lats."  The latissimus dorsi is a very large muscle.  Notice how you can change your arm position to access different parts of the muscle.
I feel this picture helps you understand the power generated by the "lats and pecs" as the raised arm is posed to make a strong downward pull as in swimming and other activities.

Copyright © 2017 Susan Koenig, All rights reserved.

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