What is Gentle Somatic Yoga®?
Therapeutic Yoga + Somatics
Gentle Somatic Yoga® (GSY) incorporates therapeutic yoga & somatic movements that are slow, mindful and help amplify bodily awareness so it can self-heal. This allows the practitioner to self-correct and permanently release persistent stress-based patterns from within their body (Soma).
Instead of stretching muscles, GSY utilizes the technique of pandiculation to reprogram muscles to their most optimal length in a resting position. The restorative sequences, called Somatic Movement Flows®, are ideal for unwinding stiffness, pain and postural imbalances, and will dramatically increase flexibility through brain-to-muscle re-education. From this place of new-found freedom, we naturally return to our generative state of peace and well-being.
GSY has been synthesized by Movement Educator and Yoga Teacher James Knight, E-RYT, CHSE. His progressive method is the synergy of Hanna Somatic Education, hatha yoga, meditation, and Core Energetics (body-oriented psychotherapy), as well as principles ascribed to quantum mechanics. James’ creation has been inspired from the work of Eleanor Criswell Hanna, Thomas Hanna, Moshe Feldenkrais, Lawrence Gold, Tom Myers, John Pierrakos, Toni Petrinovich, as well as others.
GSY is dedicated to researching, pioneering, and facilitating the most leading-edge neuroscience in movement education. You can learn more through GSY’s Advanced Study Programs, Teacher Training Certification, Spiritual and Cultural Immersion Retreats, and one-on-one virtual sessions.
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…|
More Gentle Somatic Yoga Information
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. The therapeutic yoga & somatic movements provide 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 root cause of most chronic musclar pain. It is when the brain has lost the ability to relax tight, contracted muscles that are in effect functioning on “cruise control”.
With Sensory Motor Amnesia the brain, which controls the muscles, forgets how to relax our tight muscles. When the brain forgets how to engage the muscles, it also forgets which muscles are even involved in the pain. The muscles stay contracted and we feel muscular pain even when we think we are “relaxing”.
The sensory and motor cortexes are the aspects of the body’s nervous system (brain and nerves) that instruct your muscles on how to function. For example, the sensorimotor system informs you on how to ride a bicycle, play a musical instrument, and how to rebalance yourself when you’re about to fall. Your brain receives information from your environment in the form of sensory input, and sends motor information to the muscles telling them how to move.
It can be corrected with therapeutic yoga & somatic movements.
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 with therapeutic yoga & somatic movements 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.
GSY Article & Interview with James Knight
Gentle Somatic Yoga is a process of discovery and exploration where a person can reconnect with parts of themselves that they may have disowned unconsciously through patterns of holding stress and tension from modern day life. Via a careful and methodical process using therapeutic yoga & somatic movements, the practitioner discovers for themselves from the inside out how the joints and bones stack.
“Like it or not, our bodies are a map to our whole entire life experience mentally, emotionally, physically,” he states. “We temporarily forget how to use our bodies because the muscles can become unconsciously contracted even in resting states due to a reflection of stress.”
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