After my last post in Pt. 1, it got me thinking - did I have to learn how to chew? Or was it instinctual? Nothing for it, I had to ring my Mum. I guess to sum up our lengthy phone call, it was a bit of both.
Most babies have a natural instinct to swallow; perhaps with a little bit of coaxing, to latch on; to feed from the mother. As the baby starts to eat more solid foods, this natural instinct to swallow in addition to the repetition of parent(s) mimicking chewing movements and often making "nom, nom, nom" noises to get the taste, assists the child in developing important skills to take through to adulthood.
When we are babies, at around 5-6 months of age and on our tummies, we start to learn that by contracting the extensor muscles of the back and pushing the knees backward, the head lifts up (Laundau response, or Green Light reflex).
Gradually, babies will start to rise up and move forward (as Somas do) and little by little, progress to the toddler phase. Falling numerous times. But with perseverance, repetition, patience, habituation, strength etc, the child begins to walk.
These are just some of the instinctive behaviours and/or natural human movement patterns we discover in our bodies.
So where am I going with all this?
I have many students attending my courses in Hanna Somatics, aimed at helping people get rid of their chronic muscle tension and improve the way they move. Over this time, I have had the occasional student advise "I gave it a try, but Somatics just isn't for me".
To this I would gently ask "I'm interested to hear about your experience in why you feel this not for you?".
Hanna Somatics recreates our natural human movement patterns in the body. Sooooo, if you are human, then yes it is for you.
Understandably there may be an underlying pathological issue, however in many cases, it is the way in which the individual performs the somatic exercises. "It hurts me too much" often translates to pushing or pulling the body beyond it's comfortable limit; holding the breath; a no pain-no gain mentality; treating it like a workout. And it's no wonder with our culture that dictates "feel the burn"; "if you don't feel pain you're not working hard enough" - all of which are so deeply ingrained in our minds since our Phys Ed. days at school! Occasionally, it may even be the way in which the individual DOESN'T perform the somatic movements. "I just didn't have time"..."So this is another thing I have to fit into my day?!!"
As the picture above suggests When a child learns to walk and falls down 50 times, he never thinks to himself, "maybe this isn't for me?".
When babies are learning to eat, via a multitude of sensory learning (hand gestures and sound effects of aeroplanes, fire engines coming into the tunnel/mouth), observing parents and eventually using utensils themselves, never do they contemplate "this is all to hard! I'm never going to eat again".
Hanna Somatics is neuro-muscular education. Those chronically tight muscles that are causing you pain is because of the functional habit in which you hold/move your body. This is what you have taught your brain to do. The functional habits of your body are learned. So they can also be unearned!
Unfortunately we have developed into a "quick-fix" society, and have become impatient and/or disinterested in our health. Perhaps due in part to our culture, career and lifestyle. We want to take a pill and be thin. Press a button and have our delivery tomorrow. If we are stuck at a computer desk for hours, and we know that we need to move, the body is craving for you to stretch. But that big old brain makes a choice and overrides the instinct to move about. "This is not the time to be doing that".
We don't see cats and dogs nudging each other to remind their buddies to move.
They do it repeatedly and instinctively!
Hanna Somatics works from the inside out. Repeating these movements slowly, gently and with awareness on a daily basis, will reeducate the brain to get back voluntary control of the muscles. Only you can fix your problem at the level of the brain.