Gentle Somatic Yoga (GSY) is an exploration of movement that is revolutionary in its ability to improve health, wellbeing, quality of life, and personal performance.
GSY incorporates slow, mindful movements that raise bodily awareness to heal persistent tension-based patterns in the body.
The corrective exercises, called Somatic Movement Flows, are ideal for overcoming bodily pain and dramatically increasing flexibility through the healing power of brain to muscle awareness and re-education.
GSY has been synthesized by Integrative Therapist and Yoga Teacher James Knight, E-RYT, CHSE. This progressive method is the synergy of mindful movement and meditation. It is inspired by the work of Eleanor Criswell, Thomas Hanna, Moshe Feldenkrais, and Lawrence Gold.
GSY has helped diminish, correct, and/or eliminate symptoms from these conditions:
|· Chronic Lower Back Pain||· Poor Posture||· Sciatica|
|· Stiff Neck & Shoulders||· Muscle Spasms||· Arthritis|
|· Headaches & Migraines||· Knee Injuries||· TMJ|
|· Parkinson’s Disease||· Multiple Sclerosis||· Fibromyalgia|
|· Scoliosis||· Joint Pain||· Hip Pain|
|· PTSD||· Hamstring Tightness||. And many more…|
What are the main differences between traditional yoga and Gentle Somatic Yoga ?
In traditional Hatha yoga, asanas (postures) are often practiced with the intent to reach a “full expression” of any given pose. In other words, modern day yoga classes can be experienced as very athletic and the student is striving for alignment and flexibility.
In some cases, especially in an environment of competition and/or comparison, performing traditional yoga poses can lead to sacrificing a more intuitive and intentional relationship with the body. In other cases there may be so many muscles actively engaged at one time during asana practice that it can be challenging for the brain to integrate all of the information that the various body parts are providing.
Gentle Somatic Yoga, in contrast, strips all of this away from the outset. It provides corrective exercises and sequences of movement that seem so subtle, and yet it is that subtlety that provides a deep and profound experience(s) of your own anatomy.
These techniques, also called Somatic Movement Flows, are designed for a personal exploration of the mind/body connection. We do this through isolating specific muscles, mindfully contracting those muscles, and then slowly releasing them until the tone of muscles return back to neutral. It is through the practice of isolating and focusing on particular muscles in a way that provides the brain with information that it can synthesize and use to create a more integrated experience of body and mind.
The main intention with Gentle Somatic Yoga is to sense and explore the movements from within by discovering where the edginess (Sensory Motor Amnesia) is and by approaching these places with a gentle spirit of investigation.
While yoga can be considered and used in therapy, Gentle Somatic Yoga is considered an educational process that strengthens and integrates the brain-to-muscle connection. The more you can control your muscles, the more choices you have in your body. The more choices we have, the freer we are as whole and complete human beings.
What is Sensory Motor Amnesia?
Sensory Motor Amnesia is the cause of most muscular pain.
We experience Sensory Motor Amnesia (SMA) when the brain forgets how to relax tight, contracted muscles that are, in effect, on “cruise control.”
The Sensory and Motor Cortices are systems in your brain that receive information from the environment and allow us to respond accordingly through movement. For example, the sensory motor systems engage when you are learning how to play a musical instrument, ride a bicycle, and help you maintain balance when you’re about to fall. Your brain receives information (sensory) from your environment, and sends information to the muscles to deliberately move (motor).
As we age, we experience stress in various forms and we develop habits that result in storing pain and tension subconsciously. In effect, the brain forgets how to move the muscles and also forgets which muscles are contributing to the pain. In other words, with SMA, the muscles stay contracted and you feel muscular pain even when you “think” the body “should” be relaxed.
How to reverse Sensory Motor Amnesia?
Through practices like Gentle Somatic Yoga, you can retrain the brain to notice (sensory) how you move – or don’t move. Through self-awareness you are able to feel and connect with chronically tight or frozen muscles and teach them how to relax (motor).
Gentle Somatic Yoga was created to allow you to access the sensory motor systems by practicing therapeutic corrective exercises called Somatic Movement Flows. Using these slow and mindful exercises, you will learn how to regain conscious control over your movement while erasing pain and stiffness.
With regular Gentle Somatic Yoga practice the positive effects are cumulative and you will notice that over time, you will become stronger, more flexible, and capable of maintaining feelings of peace and wellbeing.