It is my sincerest wish that the past month of newsletters have inspired you into deepening your self-care practices. It has been fun for me to compile the information as it encourages me to do the same. 🙂 

This is a new endeavor for me to remain consistent in offering you videos and discounts that allow you to learn more about self-care and healing your body, teaching others how to heal theirs or teaching others to teach their clients and students.

And as I promised, I have a new Somatic Movement self-care video for you and a new promotion. Keep reading to learn more.

For more self-care videos like this please visit Somatic Wellness TV

The video this week is called “Swimming Frog” and the anatomical focus is the legs, hips, and low back. This is the perfect self-care sequence to help you improve strength, flexibility, and coordination for those that enjoy walking, hiking, biking, and/or hiking. Also, for those of you that have, or had at some point, sciatica, this is a good one for you to reverse those symptoms along with intent to change the pattern once and for all. 

You might be surprised how quickly you will feel results with this Somatic Movement Flow. Good news is that the more you practice, the more you’ll enjoy the long-term benefits. It takes, on average, 21 days of practice to fully repattern your brain-to-muscle connection to return your muscles to their most optimal length (flexibility!) in a resting position. 

How it works…

In Gentle Somatic Yoga®, instead of focusing on stretching we pandiculate. 

What is the difference?

Stretching involves deliberately extending our muscles and tendons to feel their elasticity. Oftentimes this action is held in a static position for a period of time. For most people that can feel somewhat uncomfortable and at the same time pleasurable. A common collective belief comes to mind: “No pain, no gain”. 

The negative part of stretching can come if we don’t pay attention to our body’s message that enough is enough. Many people hold a stretch too long and what they don’t know is that if the body feels in danger of injury (on an unconscious or conscious level) it could stimulate a physiological response to stress called the “stretch reflex”. 

Reflex implies that the body reacts quickly in response to the threat of danger and recoils instinctively to protect itself. Thank goodness we have this reflex because it keeps our body safe. Think about if your hand gets too close to fire. Without thinking your body will respond and move away quickly so it won’t get burned. We don’t need to “think” about it. It’s a natural reflex. 

By the way, this is a very primitive aspect of our nervous system and actually doesn’t occur in our brain, but rather in our spinal cord. 

The Art Of Pandiculation, on the other hand, is very different from stretching. Instead of a static experience of holding the body in a specific shapes for extended periods of time, we move in and out of shapes intentionally. 

Pandiculation is the main technique and hallmark of Gentle Somatic Yoga and makes it unique compared to other popular styles of yoga.

Pandiculation involves three phases: 

  1. Choose an anatomical focus, for example the hamstrings. With this focus, mindfully engage this muscle group… but just long enough so that you can feel the muscles contracting. From here pause and let yourself embody the sensations that emerge. 
  2. From this place of internal awareness, consciously disengage and slowly lengthen this muscle group to its fullest range of motion without pain our strain. In other words come to your “edge” without moving into a typical stretch. Sometimes the body will be in stretch, but in Gentle Somatic Yoga (GSY) we intend to not hold this position for longer than 3 second. Why? To avoid triggering the Stretch Reflex. 
  3. Then, MINDFULLY release all muscular effort. In GSY it is important to build this internal awareness of choice points and feel it from the inside/out. This is called interoception and is actually the definition of Somatics. Somatics is a term that Thomas Hanna coined when developing Hanna Somatics. 
  4. Pause for a few moments and repeat instructions #1-4 for several repetitions. This process engages the sensory motor cortex and this is the process that repatterns the brain-to-muscle connection. The end result is that muscles release stress and tension naturally. The muscles return to their optimal length in a resting position. Good news… this new length of muscle fibers and connective tissues affirms flexibility, strength, and vitality throughout the Soma. Best part: the results can be long lasting if practiced regularly. 

Animals employ pandiculation instinctively as preparation for movement. You might be able to witness this in your own pets as they wake from a nap and move their limbs. Adults are the only ones who change from pandiculation to stretching based on popular ideas about exercise. 

The Swimming Frog Flow highlights:

  • The lower back muscles
    • Extensor
    • Flexor 
    • Iliopsoas
  • The muscles in the hip to knee, called hip flexors, 
    • the quadriceps in the front of the thigh 
    • and the hamstrings in the back of the thigh
    • IT band
    • Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL)
  • The muscles in the lower leg
    • Gastrocnemius
    • Soleus
    • Plantaris

The most common complaints involve the hamstrings and lower back, which in turn can affect other muscle groups close to them, creating a cascading effect. The other muscle groups that have been “recruited”  learn to compensate from the tight or injured muscles and lead to overall pain and stiffness.

Swimming Frog allows you to learn how to pandiculate the muscles in the areas mentioned above to help address a list of symptoms, including sciatica,  pelvic floor disorder, tightness of psoas, neuropathy, and/or hip flexor tightness (the inability to sit comfortably on the floor cross legged comfortably). Add this to your self-care routine and see a difference the more you use it!

See our Tips and Guidelines to enhance your success.


We’re happy to continue to feel the excitement and interest in GSY programs from our online students. 

As a result of that, we’re delighted to support your continued education. We want to create an opportunity to continue studying with us by offering a discount on our standalone, self-paced Level 2 course to include our existing students in our holiday offerings.

We’re offering you a 20% discount on the Level 2 course. Use coupon code online20 at checkout.

If you have any additional questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Click HERE.

Blessings on a joyful, stress-free holiday season,

James Knight, Founder of Gentle Somatic Yoga & Wellness

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