How often do you check in with yourself, truly connecting your mind and body? If you’re looking for ways to enhance this vital connection, you’re in the right place.
In this blog, we’ll dive into three powerful self-somatic release practices that can bring a new level of awareness and harmony to your life. Get ready to explore the transformative potential of somatic therapy and unlock a deeper understanding of yourself. Let’s jump right in!
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Understanding somatic therapy
Somatic therapy is rooted in neuroscience and is specifically geared toward your physical movements, bodily sensations, past experiences and potential traumas that you may have undergone.
Unlike traditional talk therapy, which focuses primarily on verbal communication, somatic therapy addresses our neurological and physiological responses.
It is a unique form of therapy, and there are practitioners you can seek out, as well as self-somatic practices you can do on your own to help connect with potential past emotions, suppressed or repressed emotions, or even traumas.
When engaging in these exercises, always make sure you are in a safe place and feel secure while performing them.
At its core, somatic therapy helps us appreciate that emotional distress and past traumatic experiences are stored within the body. This can manifest in various ways, such as chronic pain, chronic fatigue, autoimmune disease, chronic illness, anxiety, and depression. With somatic therapy, our goal is to tap into these emotions and past experiences, integrating and processing them.
Considering how humans relate more with non-verbal communication than verbal communication, it becomes essential to address the healing of the body, especially regarding emotions, through our physical body.
A helpful framework to understand our experience and resilience is the “resilience zone.” Within this zone, there is a middle section representing the present moment. However, we can easily be pushed out of this zone into a hyperarousal state, characterized by hyper-vigilance and anxiety, or into a hypoarousal state, marked by shutdown and depression. These states are normal and part of life, but past traumas can keep us stuck in them.
To regulate and return to the resilience zone, somatic practices are valuable. Body awareness practices, breath practices, and movement can be utilized for this purpose.
Although I will share specific techniques, it’s important to acknowledge that any form of body movement can be powerful. Walking, dancing, and fluid-like motions that ignite a sense of flow can all be incredibly impactful.
Today, we’re going to go over three different exercises that you can begin to explore in your body, mind, and life and see how they are for you.
The first exercise is called progressive relaxation. We will move through the body and create tension in each part, and then relax it. We’ll start at the feet.
I’d like you to think of curling your feet tightly and then relaxing them. For the calves, point your toes, tighten them, and then relax. When you reach the quads, squeeze them and then relax.
As you do this, bring awareness to the creation of tension and then the release of it. Notice that some areas might already be tight as you progress. Squeeze your glutes together and then relax, letting go of that tension. Continue to bring more awareness to your body.
Next, think about curling up your abs slightly, as if you’re doing a mini crunch, and then relax. Now, let’s move to the hands. Make a fist and then relax. We can also curl the arms and then let them go. Bring your shoulders up towards your ears, tighten them, and then let them go. Progress through the body systematically, creating tension and then relaxing, allowing everything to let go.
The next exercise is called the flower. While lying on your back, start with your palms down, shoulders rolled in, and feet together, with your knees bent.
From here, open the hands so you’re facing your palm towards the ceiling at the same time as opening your hips. Think you’re opening up like a flower, moving nice and slowly, and then coming back, rolling the hands down towards the floor. Shoulders are going to roll off the ground, and you’re going to feel a little tension in the neck for just a moment.
When you feel comfortable, pair that with your breath, so you can inhale as you’re coming down, opening, and then exhaling, moving at a very slow pace. Pay very close attention to your physical sensations and what’s happening in your body throughout the exercise.
The next exercise is called tapping. You can do this all over your body anytime during the day. It’s a great way to start your morning if you’re feeling slightly stressed or anxious and want to bring your awareness back to your body. Tapping involves making a closed fist and gently tapping your body, moving all around, down the arms and legs, and reconnecting with your physical self.
These are just three examples of the many somatic practices you can explore. The key is understanding that we may store emotional distress or traumas in our bodies, which can manifest in various ways. By becoming embodied, we can have a significant impact on our emotional, mental, and physical well-being.
If you found this helpful, please like and share. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. Make sure to check out all the vagus nerve exercises available here as well, as they can also be incorporated into this somatic practice.
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