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What are Somatic Workouts?

January 10, 2024 5 min read

What are Somatic Workouts?-VPA Australia

In the ever-evolving world of health and wellness, a new form of exercise has been steadily gaining prominence: somatic workouts. Born out of the belief that the mind and body are inextricably linked, somatic exercises offer a uniquely comprehensive approach to fitness and well-being.  

Somatic workouts, also known as somatic movement, involve performing specific, conscious movements that allow us to tap into our body's natural ability to heal and self-correct. These exercises provide a deep level of body awareness and proprioception, enabling us to identify and release chronic tension and stress trapped in our muscles.

What is the science behind somatic workouts?

What role does the nervous system play in these exercises? Research shows that somatic workouts target the nervous system to help correct imbalances and dysfunctional movement patterns. By focusing on the internal experience of movement, these exercises facilitate communication between the mind and body, enhancing control over our muscles and movements. This unique focus on the nervous system is what makes somatic workouts particularly beneficial for stress reduction and mental relaxation.

Who should do somatic workouts?

Generally, anyone can benefit from doing somatic exercises however these would be a great addition for those who experience symptoms of chronic stress, tension, and painful conditions such as lower back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, and sciatica. These exercises can help release muscle tension and improve posture, potentially reducing pain over time.

Somatic exercise is also great for the aging population as it helps older adults maintain and regain mobility, reduce stiffness and enhance their overall quality of life.

What are the benefits of somatic workouts?

  • Improved Body Awareness:Somatic exercises emphasise mindfulness and proprioception, helping individuals become more aware of their bodies, movement patterns, and areas of tension or discomfort.
  • Reduced Muscle Tension and Pain: Somatic movements can release chronic muscle tension and alleviate pain by promoting relaxation and improved muscle function.
  •  Enhanced Flexibility and Range of Motion: Somatic workouts often incorporate gentle stretching and movement sequences that can increase flexibility and improve joint mobility.
  • Stress Reduction:The mindful and slow-paced nature of somatic exercises can help reduce stress and promote relaxation, leading to lower cortisol levels and improved mental well-being.
  • Better Posture: Somatic workouts can correct poor posture habits by retraining the neuromuscular system to maintain a balanced and aligned posture.
  • Injury Prevention:By addressing muscular imbalances and promoting better movement patterns, somatic exercises can reduce the risk of injuries related to muscle strains, joint issues, and overuse.
  • Increased Body Control:Somatic movements can enhance your ability to control and coordinate your body's movements, which can be beneficial for athletes, dancers, and anyone looking to improve their physical performance.
  • Enhanced Breathing: Somatic exercises often incorporate breath awareness and control, which can lead to improved respiratory function and greater oxygenation of tissues.
  • Mind-Body Connection: Somatic workouts promote a strong connection between the mind and body, fostering a sense of mindfulness and self-awareness that can extend beyond the exercise routine into daily life.
  • Holistic Approach: Somatics takes a holistic approach to health and well-being, addressing both the physical and mental aspects of wellness. This can lead to a more balanced and integrated sense of self.


  • Pain Management: Somatic movements can be effective for managing chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia, lower back pain, and neck pain.
  • Relaxation and Improved Sleep: Regular somatic practice can help individuals relax and unwind, potentially improving sleep quality.

Start with small, gentle movements and gradually build up to more complex exercises. Listen to your body and focus on the sensations of each movement. Remember, the goal is not to push your body to its limits, but to create a sense of ease and relaxation.

It's important to note that the effectiveness of somatic workouts may vary from person to person, and results may take time to manifest. Some individuals may also find that somatics complement other forms of exercise, such as yoga or pilates, to achieve their fitness and wellness goals. Before beginning any new exercise program, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or certified somatics instructor, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or concerns.

What are the basic somatic movements?

1. Pandiculation: Pandiculation is a fundamental somatic movement that involves a three-step process: contract, slowly release, and then relax. It's a way to reset muscle length and improve muscle awareness. You can perform pandiculation for various muscle groups, such as the neck, shoulders, or back.

2. Arch and Flatten:Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Slowly arch your lower back away from the floor, lifting your tailbone. Then, slowly flatten your lower back onto the floor. This movement helps improve spinal mobility and body awareness.

3. Pelvic Tilts:While lying on your back, gently tilt your pelvis forward and then backward, creating a rocking motion. This movement can help relieve lower back tension and improve pelvic alignment.

4. Cat-Cow Stretch: Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Inhale as you arch your back, lifting your head and tailbone (cow pose). Exhale as you round your back, tucking your chin and tailbone (cat pose). Repeat this flowing movement to promote spinal flexibility.

5. Shoulder Rolls: Sit or stand with relaxed shoulders. Slowly roll your shoulders forward and then backward in a circular motion. This movement helps release tension in the shoulder and neck area.

6. Side Bends: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms relaxed at your sides. Gently bend to one side, keeping your feet grounded and your movements slow and controlled. Return to the center and repeat on the other side. This exercise improves lateral flexibility.

7. Seated Twists: Sit on the floor with your legs extended. Cross one leg over the other and gently twist your upper body toward the crossed leg. Hold the stretch for a few breaths and then switch sides. This movement enhances spinal mobility and can relieve tension in the lower back.

8. Body Scanning:Lie on your back with your arms at your sides. Slowly bring your attention to different parts of your body, starting from your toes and moving upward. Notice any areas of tension or discomfort and try to consciously release them as you breathe.

9. Breath Awareness: Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and focus on your breath. Pay attention to the natural rhythm of your breathing without trying to change it. This exercise promotes relaxation and mindfulness.

Bottomline:

In conclusion, somatic workouts offer a holistic, mindful approach to exercise that goes beyond physical fitness. By focusing on the mind-body connection and targeting the nervous system, these exercises can improve body awareness, reduce stress, alleviate chronic pain, improve flexibility and mobility, and even correct posture and imbalances. So, why not give somatic workouts a try? Your body and mind will thank you for it.

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