Blog Post #9: Somatic Training
What is, hands down, the BEST approach in exercise?
There is not one, superior modality of exercise. The key is choosing, based on passions you have. FUN and good “feels“ in the mind, body and spirit is what determines the best kind of bodywork for any individual. I personally teach and practice a vast array of methods- I am an equal opportunity mover. But all of them, at their foundation, are Somatic Training.
What does that mean? It is essentially honing in on body sensations and optimizing the movement accordingly. Good form is not simply what “it” looks like- it’s what it FEELS like. This superior approach results in repatterining muscle use and alignment to be most efficient. It prevents injury and results in a more powerful body (as well as mind and spirit)! You may want to invest in a few private sessions with a seasoned functional movement or Pilates instructor if you feel lost with this concept. I am also always updating my site with more content that will help too and I love questions about the body… so shoot! Comment below or email me!
This idea may sound basic, but I have taught hundreds of bodies over the years, and I can confidently say that almost no one started out having a good command of this foundation. For most, identifying what they are feeling (especially subtleties) seems inherently secondary to mimicking gross body movement. But knowing what you want to FEEL in a movement (and what you don’t), is infinitely more powerful than learning the movement itself.
Example: You lift and lower your legs and upon checking in with your body, you feel primarily your back and thighs working. That will result in a completely different outcome than if you do the same movement and you feel your transverse abdominis (stabilizing your spine and relieving your back muscles) and illio-psoas group (responsible for lifting the legs in this movement, primary sensation in the belly). There is one difference between these identical looking, yet infinitely different, exercises… Somatic Training! Training your mind and body to connect and determine the desired sensation and optimal muscle use. Small tweaks in body position, range of movement, leg extension and body awareness can result in totally different muscle use!
We may think we know our bodies simply because we are in them. We “feel” sick, fatigue, or pain. But that’s like knowing when your car is out of gas, stalled or overheated. Those are all symptoms of something that has been happening under the hood for a long time before the light came on the dash. Good mechanics are tuned into their car at all times. They are trained in its subtleties. They hear that quiet tapping sound or feel the slight pull in the steering. They know what to do before it gets bad or dangerous. They hear the car when it is speaking... they don’t wait for it to scream.
We MUST be as in tune with our bodies as a mechanic is with his car. Commit to this and you’ll prevent countless breakdowns and overheating episodes in your own life and body! Not to mention, you will LOVE hugging curves at high speeds once you really learn to drive that thing!
And because we are truly WHOLEistic beings, this concept comes full circle. If Somatic Training is the focus, you will not only yield massively more benefit physically, but you will also STRENGTHEN YOUR INTUITION!! Because the body is a main tool for experiencing intuition, the more you train the mind body connection, notice your body’s sensations, learn about your body- the stronger your conduit for intuition becomes.
If you want your squat to build a powerful booty, rather than knocking or straining your knees. If you want to finally understand that nagging pain in your _______. If you want to look forward to exercise and prevent injury in your workouts… then you want Somatic Training. Train with me on amaliamarialee.com. I’ll remind you of what you want to feel in your movements, what you don’t want to feel and why. I’ll show you how to access and feel the most supportive muscles for the job. Also- do your favorite activities and workouts while paying more attention to the subtleties of how and what you’re feeling. Even better, write it down in your Intuition Journal for positive reinforcement and motivation!
Take the focus off the calories, and put it on the feels, my loves. It doesn’t necessarily mean working less hard. Working hard can feel AMAZING! It’s changing the metrics. It’s continuing to build intuition though your physical practices. Use movement as yet another way to bring more joy into your life. This WILL work. Keep committing to it. Joy. Fun. Sensation. Awareness.
Keep listening to your body and all its wisdom, and join the revolution.
Love and gratitude,