What’s Your Good Soil?

Growing micro-greens from seed for yummy snacks.

A seed needs 3 things to start growing: warmth, water, and good soil. I’m playing around with growing greens this spring – it’s exciting to see what it takes for little seeds to root down into the soil, and reach up toward to sun. Sticking with our theme of coming out of hibernation – what do humans need for growth? What motivates us toward growth? We have our cycles just like all other creatures & plants on the planet. We have a time for rest, action, recuperation; tuning in & tuning out.

There’s a diagram I like to refer to – Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It suggests that we need to take care of our basic needs (food, water, rest, shelter) before we can grow into other needs – just like a seed does to grow into a plant. If we don’t have these basic things taken care of, our brains & nervous system can’t turn attention to things like personal growth or even cultivating relationships. If we experience pain in our body – like muscle pain or dis-ease – that interrupts our ability to grow as well, because that interferes with our sense of safety. Discomfort is distracting. Discomfort takes up a lot of brainpower in trying to get out of discomfort, so we don’t have the energy to cultivate the next level of our own growth and self-care.

Becoming aware of our own needs – and the order in which they need to be addressed – can help to open up pathways to actually getting those needs met, so we have the energy to move on. Doorways become clearer. So often I see folks get caught in a spin cycle of discomfort, not knowing there are ways out and habituating painful patterns.

What’s your good soil for growth? Are you getting your basic needs met as we approach springtime?

Tomorrow, we’re going to explore waking up from the pelvis & center of the lower belly. Being able to take a deep breath into the whole center activates deeper circulation and blood flow, which helps to release muscle tension. Hope to see you there!

Somatics Basics Class

Wednesdays at 9amEST on Zoom

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

Wednesdays at 9amEST on Zoom. Hope to see you there!

I’ll send out the Zoom link Tuesday evening so it’s fresh in your inbox.

(Registration closes at 9pm the night before.)

Register here.

Classes run 35-45 minutes. Make sure you have a yoga mat sized space for the practice. Your video and audio will be off when you first get in the “room”, you have the option to turn both on. I’d love to *see* you, but feel free to remain off if you’re more comfortable that way 🙂

Have you Pandiculated Today?

Let’s go back to some Somatics basics: Pandiculation! The simplest explanation of pandiculation is a “yawn-like stretch”. It’s that luscious reach & yawn you see cats & dogs do when they get up from a nap (like my kitty Chloe is doing in that pic). Human babies do it a lot. My eight year-old daughter still does it a lot, but not as much as when she was a baby. And adult humans tend not to do it much at all. It’s a basic animal reflex – anything with a nervous system pandiculates.
What purpose does this reflex serve?
Pandiculation helps to reset the central nervous system’s control over our voluntary muscle system. We develop muscle patterns by just living life, and sometimes those patterns can become painful or constrictive. This reflex helps to interrupt automatic patterns, offering more length & fuller awareness to otherwise “stuck” patterns. Try it now – yawn, reach your arms up over head in that “yawn-like, cat waking up from a nap” sort of way. What happens? You probably tightened in your arms, pulling them into your body, and then slowly lengthened them out – it’s like a contraction that you slowly lengthen out fully. That process goes through a full contraction to a full release of the muscles, which helps the brain to sense the full range of that muscle pattern. Doesn’t it feel good?! (It also may feel weird if you don’t tend to do it that often, and that’s okay too. Just be careful if you think you’re going to get a Charlie Horse & back off from any intense contraction)
Babies and animals tend to explore their bodies & worlds a little more than grown-up humans. As we grow up, we tend to sit more, we become distracted and prioritize other things, not taking time for self-care of our bodies, which as we all know, can lead to all sorts of trouble down the line. Pandiculation is one self-care tool we have reflexively. If we remember to access it, pandiculation can prevent a lot of habitual muscle pain as we gain more experience in the world (aka “age”). Somatics utilizes this reflex a lot in practice – practitioners use “assisted pandiculations” in in-person private sessions, and we also encourage clients & students to learn to utilize it themselves in an at-home practice. I always tell people, “If you do nothing else, remember to pandiculate first thing every morning, and throughout your day. It makes all the difference”. Making time in your day for a Somatics movement practice is great, but if nothing else – pandiculate often!

Downloadable Audio Classes

There is a FREE soma scan, along with other downloadable audio classes available here. I will be updating this site with new downloads all the time. Let me know if you have a request, I may have it in the library already.