I was renting a clinic space in a pilates studio several years back when I heard one of the teachers remark, "Stabilize, then Mobilize... Stabilize then Mobilize".
The remark is a key teaching principle of the pilates model taught to students on reformers - a pilates apparatus that challenges load and rebound as you lie on a carriage pushing and pulling against cables and springs.
I immediately thought to myself - I disagree.
I have learned from well over ten years of working with dysfunctional movement and pain patterns with clients that stability arises from fostering ease in mobility. The optimal function of muscles in movement patterns requires that one must regain control over their muscles. Muscles have the job of contracting and relaxing. If a muscle is chronically tight or tense, it cannot do its job. Optimal control is a non-negotiable before attempting to strengthen the body in higher load exercise.
It is not implicit that the right muscles will do the work, particularly when we enter a modality of rehab after a surgery, injury, or prolonged cycle of stress or poor movement habits.
What needs to happen first - and frankly, what should be a foundation for all maintenance programs, is a short Somatic or Somayoga practice. Doing this 3x per week will keep your body's muscles engaged and primed - "online," so to speak - and in connection with your brain so that they contract and release well. In other words, it is so that you can perform your best in higher loads when needed.
So the truth is that stability arises from mobility, not the other way around.
Using the somatic technique of Pandiculation is the only self-propelled, non-invasive way that I am aware of to get muscles back properly functioning when they have fallen into stuck patterns, leaving them feeling weak and sleepy.
Re-awakening the brain's control over muscles teaches them how to function correctly again so that movement in weight training, hockey, running, biking, yoga, skiing, pilates, and golfing is effective and efficient.
Updating Your Muscles' Software
Here is another way to look at Pandiculation. It is 2021, and let's say a few years have passed since you bought your computer. For your computer to work optimally, you must update your software and operating system regularly. And when you don't, you notice programs opening slowly, quitting spontaneously, and a sense of inefficiency as you try to maneuver through your work tasks.
The fundamental movements in Somatics are Arch and Flatten, Back Lift, Diagonal Arch and Curl, Side Curl, and Arch and Curl. Regularly practicing these movements is a powerful way to reboot your muscles, re-establish a felt sense, and know that your muscles are up-to-date. As you work with these practices, you will notice yourself moving better in your daily activities and life.
Your muscles should be long and at ease when they are at rest. They should not be tense.
Stay tuned for our next post on Reciprocal Inhibition - a fundamental teaching principle of the Method we teach. This principle is essential to understanding functional movement and why you need to look at the relationships of opposing muscle groups.
If your focus is on where symptoms are present in your body, you are looking in the wrong place.
You can get started with us by visiting Resolve Pain Guru's YouTube Channel, where you can begin exploring SomaYoga practices. Then, jump onto the Video on Demand Channel and let Resolve Pain Guru support you to build a sustainable home practice.
About the Author: Carrie and Nicole are certified IAYT SomaYoga Therapists and Somatics Educators who have specialized in working with clients in pain for well over 10 years. Their mission is to teach you revolutionary techniques to tap into your body’s innate intelligence and its ability to heal.
You could also call them “pain geeks” because they are extremely passionate and inquisitive about all things related to what causes people pain. To understand the true mind-body connection and to reset the nervous system in powerful and simple ways.
They specialize in skillfully combining the tools of Somatics, SomaYoga, Anatomy, Functional Movement Training, Mind Study and Yogic Philosophy to bring about more joy and freedom in the lives of those they work with. They teach to professionals and individuals sharing their Method.