Tag Archives: Somatics

Move. Adapt. Heal.

Keep moving like a kid long after you aren’t a kid anymore!

Fire in the Soul Fire and Moon

Movement Alchemy, My Tool Box

I can Help you  Reconnect to your  Body Through Movement and Awareness   


60-Minute Interval Classes:

  • Alternating periods of High & Low intensity work
  • Nia-based simple Dance choreography designed to be personalized by You.
  • Strength Training Toys & Techniques

60-Minute Dance-Movement:

  • Simple , Nia-based choreography for Movement Variety
  • Improve Balance and Coordination

Body Healing & Body Giggles:

  • Unique 30/60-Min. Body Healing Movement Classes  with an   emphasis on  learning to create body connection, flow, and release through Awareness.

Nia classes:

  • an energetic, fun way to get fit, connect to community and get your dance fix! 52 Moves fuse the energy of martial arts, dance arts and healing arts for a perfectly balanced fitness program.

Labs and Workshops:

  • that are perfect if you are new to movement or Nia. Labs and Workshops that are also rich opportunities for all of you veterans and teachers to dive more deeply into your somatic practice with others in the Nia community.

Sole Practice:

  • Keep moving like a kid long after you aren’t a kid anymore!
  • Play with a variety of toys: bands, balls, scarves, music, BrainDance to stimulate your nervous system.


  • Increased Strength, Agility, Overall Flexibility, Joint Mobility, and Functional Stability for Movement Longevity
  • Improved Balance and Coordination
  • Sole Practice is one-on-one sessions that incorporate your personal body history and natural movement style. This information is a treasure map that will lead us on a journey of mind, body, spirit and emotional fitness, well-being and pleasure.

Nia is much of what I share, but Movement Alchemy is how all of the tools fit in the tool box.

Movement Alchemy describes the transformation through movement that is accessible to every body.  Transformation that honors every body in its uniqueness and life history. Movement Alchemy is the culmination of the work I’ve done; the different disciplines of movement I’ve delved into, the variety of injuries I’ve befriended as well as the various methods of healing I’ve explored.

Awareness is the key to everything.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

We don’t have to age in pain. We don’t have to end our lives in disease, incapacity and incompetence. We don’t have to relinquish our quality of life to a standard definition or sentence of aging.

There is more. There is better. There is choice.

The real fountain of youth is awareness and the rich potential that can be realized. Through awareness there is enormous potential for living a much higher quality of life from start to finish.

What’s it going to take? Choice.

What I’m alluding to is nothing new. It’s a practice that is available to all of us.

It’s a practice that is potentially life-altering.

Not just living longer – we can do that – living better.

I am re-defining what it means to be any age. I’m not alone. I have alot of company; like-minded spirits who practice, teach and live this choice.

Is it easy? Some moments easier than others. Some issues feel impossible but I know they are not. I know that the more I pay attention, the more I notice, the more likely I am to catch tension or poor usage before it becomes habitual.

This practice is a neuromuscular one. Our nervous system is designed to protect us and to move us forward, but only in small doses.

Protection, also referred to as our “fight-or-flight” response not only creates a biochemical reaction, but a neuromuscular one as well, one we know very well. When we feel threatened to any degree, the muscles in the front of our bodies contract. This threat can be so great that we find ourselves in the fetal position without realizing it or it can be so subtle that our conscious minds may not have even registered it, but our bodies did and tension was created.

Our call to action is the physical flip side of protection; it opens us up. To open us in the front, the muscles in the back of the body must contract – back of the neck, shoulders and upper back, lower back and hamstrings. Every so often our system tells us, “Go! Now!” – save that little girl from the burning building, get on that airplane and follow your love, sign that contract, buy in to that opportunity.

Our bodies were not designed to live with these responses day in and day out. Here is where the most detrimental wear and tear occurs. When we either live in high alert in defense or in action. Muscles are contracting more and more often until it becomes habitual. Now we don’t choose, our subconscious chooses for us. What happens when you contract a muscle constantly? Fatigue and pain. Hardening and weakness. In his book, Somatics, Thomas Hanna refers to this a maladaption. Instead of my muscles releasing the tension after the threat is gone or action is needed, I remain in a constant state of high alert and I never completely release.

It is in my nature to pay attention to my body. That didn’t stop me from developing chronic tension and pain, however I have learned two things: what my tension/stress triggers are and that I have a choice in how I respond beyond my instinctive reflex. Now the real adventure begins. Now I get to re-prioritize the structure of my life and choose how I will adapt to stress. It makes a difference.

Relaxation is no longer an indulgence that I’ll get to, if I can – if I have time.

If I don’t learn to practice relaxation every day, I’m going to wind up with the typical stiff-jointed walk of many – too many, middle-aged women and the quadruple bypass surgery my dad had. If I don’t learn to release not only from my body but also from my mind and emotions, I’m going to wind up permanently fatigued, too tired to dance; too tired to have a life much less enjoy it. Nor is relaxation the 5 minutes at the end of a yoga class.

Relaxation has actually never been an indulgence.

How am I adapting to the stress in my life?

How do I use my body?

What are my habits?

Where do I hold tension?

Where is there chronic pain?

How does my body feel after daily situations? After a meeting? After a phone call? After a last minute schedule change? After disappointment?

Stress will always be in my life. Paying attention and creating deep awareness of how I respond is how I choose to derail the “inevitable”.

Not age and certainly not death – but the journey.

The Sensation of Healing

Yesterday I experienced my first one-on-one Feldenkrais® session with gifted practitioner, Julie Francis. The pain in my hip had become overwhelming. I’d seen the doctors and done physical therapy. I sensed the need for care more in keeping with how I am crafting my life. Rather than continuing to compartmentalize the issue I addressed the pain as an integrated voice of a guide.

Julie witnessed what I could no longer feel happening in my body. I had lost some specific connections to sensation. I had become an emotional as well as physical rubber band wound too many times around a straw. In the enormous tension I was creating unconsciously (and consciously I later discovered) I had lost my bones and electrified my energy output. Very simply, I was (and continue to be in varying degrees as I heal) out of balance.

After the precise, amazingly gentle and remarkably humane treatment that acknowledged not only my physical injury but the emotional injury as well, I walked through the room in a different body. I was in my body in a completely new way. There was still pain, but it was no longer attached so tightly; no longer wrapped around my bones and joints like a boa constrictor squeezing the breath out of me.

I taught 3 Nia classes yesterday; one before my session and 2 following. Unlike every other 3-class Monday, I never felt exhausted. I didn’t feel as though I was expending more energy than I could afford. Chatting with other Nia teachers after class, pain returned. I responded out of habit by pressing my right foot into the ground. The pain increased and I recognized the tension. I took a suggestion Julie had made earlier. Instead of continuing to pour my attention and energy into the pain, I pressed my left foot into the ground. The pain immediately quieted  and the tension unwound.

Today I’m spending the day moving in a softer body. A friend and movement therapist remarked this morning how my energy felt more balanced…  softer. I like this. Softer and more fluid. Not just through movement I design to look soft and fluid often feeling less than comfortable. Finally true ease.

Softer. Not a word frequently used in fitness. Not a word often used in a positive or complimentary context.

Soft. Generally considered synonymous with weak.

This healing has been on its way for some time. Even with only a glimmer of understanding on my part, the seeds of balance Have been germinating. My body has been telling me; in its wisdom, that the heart of this matter has been, in fact, my heart.

Finally, moving grief. No talking was necessary. It was the right invitation and my body began to release what I’ve been holding for a long, long time.


This is only the beginning; a first step. First step onto a fresh path. Yet another fresh path.


Permission to Heal

I am currently reading and working through three outstanding books:

Somatics by Thomas Hanna,

Pelvic Power by Eric Franklin

The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process by David Berceli.

These are three books about Healing.

Books authored by different human beings from rather diverse backgrounds seeming to have written about three separate ways of healing. The deeper I dive and swim the more I understand that these ways of healing are not separate at all, they are simply approaching from alternate routes.

The end result is the same: Healing through the body.

Watching and listening to those around me I see and hear that we should now all find ways to heal – there is so much available to us. The catch is that any healing we choose (whether it’s taking a vacation, staying in bed for 3 days, practicing self-healing or or weekly Feldenkrais Method sessions) it shouldn’t interrupt or change the lives we move through. It’s ok but it’s not really ok, as if, in theory it is understood that we all need healing but the unspoken truth is that we regard that need as a weakness.

Real strength, on the other hand is “sucking it up”, “powering through” – not needing help or healing at all.

I know that every experience we have is processed through the body. I know this through my own personal experiences. I know this through sensation. Matthew Sanford (Mind Body Solutions) talks in an interview, about being unconscious during the car accident that caused his paralysis but still has skid and impact memories. He calls is a “physical narrative”. During a motorcycle accident at 18, my eyes were closed after the initial impact but I have physical memories of repeatedly hitting the ground after going over the car that pulled out in front of us. Hitting the car had a different impact sensation than hitting the ground did.

These memories are stored, like memories of birthday parties that we fondly remember as they march across the screen of our mind’s eye. How they are stored can dramatically affect how we continue to live in our bodies.  David Berceli sites an important mechanism that our nervous system uses to releases the chemical responses to an event is shaking. Do your hands ever shake when your nervous? Or your legs? That is your body burning off the adrenaline it produced to deal with the “threat”.  Berceli suggests that if we don’t allow the shaking, tremors, trembling that follow response (not necessarily event), then we hold on to the tension – the physical narrative of the event. The body is not allowed to return to homeostasis – to balance.

That shaking, the tremors and the trembling are all part of our nervous system’s way of returning us back to “normal”. The response is natural – relieving ourselves of the effects of an experience – perhaps not unlike sweating…

Shaking is awkward. There are negative connotations associated with shaking or trembling. In a culture of “tough it out”, trembling is considered showing weakness or vulnerability. I am particularly prone to shaking. (Interestingly I also sweat profusely – is there a connection ?) When I first started teaching fitness I could hardly control my movements – even my voice shook. Dr. Berceli writes of people suppressing the trembling. I read his examples and wondered how they managed to do that – I have never been able to. I feel a pleasant sense of relief discovering that it is a normal response and that it’s actually good for me (and you too!) and that by accepting it, I may be ensuring my healing process.

So, let’s review:

1. Life is deeply lived through the body, whether we choose to be conscious of it or not.

2. These marvels of tissue and sentience are designed to self heal.

3. Our minds create obstacles for healing that don’t actually exist –  such as social constructs – silly rules for behavior that contradict the needs of our bodies for health and well-being.

4. Shaking after stressful conditions is natural and conducive to healing.

Give yourself permission,

Be your own fairy godmother.

Be your own miracle.

Give yourself permission to Heal.