Off to India!

As many of you know, I was very fortunate to be able to travel with my mother to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2008.  I will be hitting the road again!  

This time I’ll be trekking in Northern India (Sikkim) with both my mother and my older sister. My mother, who has trekked extensively for over 25 years, has always yearned to go to Sikkim. She is not only a role model for me as a courageous and energetic woman, but as a Somatic Educator I can’t help but point to her as the best example that I know of “use it or lose it.” The lesson is to just keep moving no matter what age you are.

I will be in India from November 16 – December 10. I will be back in the office on December 13. Don’t forget the Walking with Ease With Healthy Knees workshop on December 18 from 1:00-3:00pm.

Please be sure to attend the Saturday drop-in Explorations class. These classes are profoundly effective at teaching you to release stubborn muscular pain. The more you practice the gentle movement explorations of Somatics, the more improvement you make in your awareness and the more you can apply it to whatever activity you enjoy.  An hour of Somatic Movement can teach you to make great changes in your body as you relieve pain.

Carrie Day will be teaching class on November 20, and December 4. There is no class on December 27.  Carrie will be available for private Somatics sessions at Shakti Yoga.

As I hike slowly through the foothills of the Himalayas I will enjoy the movement that comes from long days of hiking, no driving, no computers or email, and substantially less stress than we have in the NY/NJ area! It will be fascinating to experience my nervous system calming down and to note the changes in my own body. I’m not sure how I’ll enjoy subzero temperatures at night, but I will surely have stories to tell.

I look forward to observing the movement patterns of the different people I will encounter. Due to the lack of certain modern conveniences, many people in the developing world continue to move in ways most westerners don’t. Despite the benefits of most modern technology (something we often take for granted), it is this very technology that causes us to literally forget how to do many of the most basic movement patterns, from reaching to bending over to pulling and pushing.

I look forward to picking up the blog again when I come back! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, go out and play, keep doing your Somatic Exercises, and explore the world around you.

Keep moving forward!

Pain-Free Sitting at Work

Tonight I’m teaching a class called, “Pain Free At Work.”

The beauty of Hanna Somatics is that it’s full of easy to understand and easy to apply principles and techniques that can be done anytime, anywhere – even while sitting at your desk or work station. In tonight’s class, we’re going to do simple, seated Somatic Movements to remind muscles that they don’t have to stay tight and “frozen” while you’re at your desk. Many people underestimate how the way they SIT can contribute to back pain, sciatica, hip joint pain, neck and shoulder pain, and poor posture.

Tonight, students will learn how to sit up “straight,” bend to the side, move their hips, and relax their muscles when they have to sit for long periods of time. These movements are great for those who drive a lot, commute, or work on computers.

In a Somatics class several weeks ago, students learned a sitting  exercise that taught them to  experience the difference between sitting with a tight back and sitting with a relaxed back. If you slouch, sitting with a straighter spine will feel odd, only because whatever you do habitually becomes “the norm” for your muscles. When you learn to change your posture and sitting from the inside out,  it will take time for that new posture to feel “normal.” All that is need is patience practice, much like improving your golf swing or learning a new dance step. This is called “sensory motor learning.

After this particular class I heard two of the students remarking “how amazing it is to learn to sit properly!”

These two women were business executives who sat all day long at their desks. I heard them talking about their chairs – which ones were advertised as “the best for your back,” and which ones were, in fact, really comfortable. One woman laughed and said, “well, my chair is cheap, and comfortable, even though it’s not supposed to be!” Interesting.

Many people think that the solution to a problem, (finding a “good” chair or a common sense approach to chronic pain that works) needs to be expensive and complicated, but this is not necessarily true. Pain can disappear after only a couple of clinical Somatics sessions, and a good chair doesn’t have to cost $1000. The photo on the right shows the chair the “Anne” recommends. It’s the Nominell Swivel Chair from IKEA. It costs $139.00.

One of the businesswomen contacted me a few weeks after the class and told me that what she noticed about her IKEA chair was that it allowed her to sense her body weight, balance, and posture. It provided good feedback so that when she slouched, or over-arched her back, she was better able to self-correct.

Sitting on chairs, with our legs at right angles to our hips, isn’t a great thing to do for hours at a stretch, but you can learn how to sit without pain.

Somatic movement explorations (and a good chair!) can go a long way toward helping you be pain free at the office – or in your car – whenever you want! So come to class and learn how to work pain-free: Nov. 11, at Shakti Yoga and Living Arts in Maplewood, NJ – 7:45 – 9:00pm.