Hibernation Somatics: Anticipating Spring

My snowy backyard. Pretty – but I want spring!

From looking at the calendar – the Spring Equinox isn’t too far away. I’m not feeling it quite yet, but I am searching for little signs to come out of that winter hibernation. In front of my house, there’s a little bulb trying to push its way up toward sunshine. I hope it makes it! I, too, feel like I am searching for sunlight and slooooooowly starting to make my way into the greater world again. This winter has held its specific challenges – we’ve had to stay inside a lot more because of the Pandemic, so we’ve been especially isolated from each other this year. A full year of this has challenged even the most hardened introverts (I speak from the heart there!). I often turn to an image of a seed in the soil during the winter to feel into my own body, in anticipation of the spring. My own Somatics practice turns even more inward and small, I explore smaller movements, and stay mostly in the center. I visualize myself as that seed – how does it feel to get ready to grow? What part of the seed starts to move first? What’s it like to start to reach out to the sun, but also root down into the soil beneath? Seasons are cycles – and so are our own internal processes, our external processes, our connections with others, and even our connection with work, effort, & exercise. Let’s be gentle in this precious time before spring – test the waters of your own growth to the greatly anticipated sunshine to come soon.

The days are getting a little longer, and green is starting to peek out from the dirt of the Earth. We are starting to come out of our internal hibernation in anticipation of spring! We’ll be starting up our weekly Somatics classes again at a new time: Wednesday mornings at 9am EST. Here is a breakdown of what’s coming up in the next 4 weeks:

Week 1, February 24th: Breathing into the low back

Week 2, March 3rd: Breathing into the chest & shoulders

Week 3, March 10th: Breathing into the pelvis

Week 4, March 17th: Breathing into the waist

Click here to register for these Drop-in classes. Thank you!

Myths about Hip Pain

I have been seeing a few clients recently who have been told they needed a hip replacement. According to WebMD, the number of hip replacement procedures that have been performed in the US has doubled in the last ten years. The reason, doctors say, is an increase in osteoarthritis. And patients are getting younger and younger.

Martha Peterson recently posted “The Top 3 Myths About Hip Pain”, which are very helpful in helping our clients avoid possibly unnecessary surgery.

Myth Number 1: “You Hip Pain is due to arthritis” Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. Many clients tell me their doctors have said “it’s just apart of aging”. I find that hard to believe in otherwise healthy people under the age of 50. I find it hard to believe in otherwise healthy people of any age, actually. I do find that doctors are quick to dismiss pain as result of “aging”, but how can any condition be the result of simply getting older?

Myth Number 2: “Your hips are weak” If muscles are tight, they are habitually contracted. Habitually contracted muscles are already working too hard. Muscles that are working too hard are not weak, they cannot be released to be weak and unusable. Hanna Somatics helps to identify this habituated over-contraction, and helps clients to regain control over the full length of the muscles, not just the part that has been contracting.

Myth Number 3: “Surgery is the only option for hip pain” Although good intentioned, oftentimes doctors are looking at a problem to fix, rather than look at the bigger patterns that may have contributed to hip pain in the first place. Although habituated muscle function can lead to structural damage, I witness many people who are just not there yet. They still have time to deconstruct patterns in the body, correct, and improve movement in the hip joints and center of the body.

I also find that clients start to “protect” their hips by not moving them very much, leading to greater immobility and tighter joints in the center of the body as well as the hips. Then it is a case of the muscles of the center working harder and doing extra jobs, potentially leading to more pain. Once the center of the body is released, the brain can trust fuller movement again, and hip pain is relieved.

For Martha’s full article, and a great video on releasing the center of the body, click here.