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Somatic Spelunking – Adventures Into Your Soma…

Information Contortionists – By Ryan Moschell

 

The information age has given rise to the heights of our human intellects. In fact, I read recently that “a single copy of the daily New York Times contains more information than the average 17th-century Englishman encountered in a lifetime,” (Schuessler, 2011). We have always been, and continue to be, curious beings with an enormous appetite for new information. From the stock market to the tabloids we want to know and know now!  The list of basic human needs (food, water, shelter) in our modern industrialized society now includes high speed internet. This hunger for more information can entice us deep into our thoughts, and many times, our bodies pay the price.

 

What do you notice about the woman in the photo?

 

As a species we have just begun to adjust our bodies to the electronic interface systems that we have created to serve us. This form of body contortion happens unconsciously in order to obtain our daily dose of news. Our desktops, laptops, iPads, cell phones, and Kindles, have become so woven into fabric of our daily lives that we have begun to adjust our bodies to fit these limitations. I have personally become very aware of this issue as I am growing more and more attached to my cell phone. I find that I tend to hold my cell phone in such a way that my shoulder and arm are in contorted and contracted positions for long periods of time. If I am not paying close attention, this positioning and intensity can create lingering tightness and pain. Pain and stiffness of one’s body is directly related to utilizing each one of these information delivery systems.

 

The human mind can take us to far off places while leaving the awareness of our bodies behind. Who has read a book for hours only to get up from the chair feeling stiffness and pain? Who has, while driving some distance, ended up in a contortion just to keep the repetitive task easy while tuning out the body’s pleas for attention? If you have a conversation with almost anyone, you will find that most people are consciously aware of the pain and stiffness that comes with using modern electronic devices.The issue is that moments later they will answer their cell phone or open their laptop and unconsciouslyrepeat the same behavior. Our need for information from these devices can override the body’s messages that warn us that its not good for our health to continue this learned pattern. You may ask “How can I continue to stay in the flow of information and maintain your health?”, “How can I find relief in a world that requires that I use electronic devices?”, “How can I make the unconscious patterns conscious to gain more control over my health?” There is a way that you can learn to have your information and maintain your health: it is called Hanna Somatic Education.

 

“Somatics provides us with a way to live under the stressful demands of an urban-industrial environment and still remain healthy – physically and mentally. It helps us to understand the tendency-of life in general and of technological societies in particular – to wear down our well being. There is no need to give in to this blindly and the unavoidable effect of aging; rather we will meet it with open eyes and overcome it.” (Hanna, 1988)

 

The woman pictured above is in, what Hanna Somatic Education calls, the “red light” pattern. Her laptop is bringing her into this position. A laptop is a portal which is offering her information that is desired and on which she is focusing. She becomes engrossed in her work and may loose touch with her body’s natural messages that may tell her to change position or get up and move. The “red light” pattern becomes habitual in her body when she regularly returns to this information gathering position. Then this form of muscular bondage increasingly begins to hold her body in this hunched over position. Even if when she rises from this position, she pulls her shoulders back to sit up straight, the brain has become habituated to the reinforced “red light” posture. Once the “red light” pattern is habituated, the body becomes less efficient; it has to use more energy and struggles to stand up straight. The reason behind this is that the muscles of the front of the body have become tightly locked into position. What Somatics does for you is it teaches you how to release these tight muscle patterns so that living with healthy posture and ease of movement are more natural again.

 

Hanna Somatic Education is not a therapy, it is sensory-motor re-education. The Mind controls the muscles. The Somatic Educator leads you back to your body; and through regular movements, you will learn to use the muscles to communicate with your mind. You learn and master a language of movement that will free your Soma from the inside out.  Somatics is self-regulated and therefore is safe for everyone. You will learn to deepen the experience of your Soma and find imbalances. The most empowering aspect to this discipline is that, for the rest of your life, you will have a way to find and your own alleviate pain.

 

– Schulesser, Jenifer. September 5, 2011. New York Times

 

– Hanna, Thomas. 1988. Somatics, xiv

 

© 2011, R. Ryan F. Moschell, all rights reserved

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