There have been times after working out when I’ve felt a tinge of regret, realizing that I didn’t give my best effort during the routine. It’s easy to fall into a mindset where you go through the motions without truly engaging with the exercises. However, shifting your focus from just completing a workout to connecting with your body can make a significant difference. This shift in perspective is what somatic exercise is all about, and it’s gaining popularity for all the right reasons.

Somatic exercise involves a mindful approach to movement where you listen to your body’s signals, understand areas of pain or tension, and move accordingly. It’s not about counting reps but more about tuning into your body, engaging muscles consciously, and releasing any tension you may be holding. By practicing somatic exercises, you allow your body’s needs to guide your movements, promoting relaxation and improved body awareness.

What is somatic exercise?

Somatic exercise stems from the broader field of somatic movement, focusing on the mind-body connection to interpret internal signals and address areas of discomfort. It involves being fully present during movement, cultivating body awareness, and connecting with your body’s needs.

While somatic exercise can be practiced through various activities like Pilates and yoga, it primarily emphasizes stretching. By engaging in somatic exercise, you aim to establish a deep connection with your body and gain insight into its internal requirements. This approach allows you to move without external pressures, focusing on releasing tension and fostering somatic energy within.

What are the benefits of somatic exercise?

Somatic exercise is valued for its ability to alleviate chronic pain by enhancing body awareness and symptom management. Additionally, it serves as a method for releasing stored trauma, which can have physical manifestations in the body. Through somatic exercise, individuals can address issues ranging from posture correction to muscle strengthening and even emotional relief by establishing new muscle patterns.

By engaging in somatic exercises, individuals can address muscle imbalances, improve mobility, enhance balance, and refine coordination. The practice encourages a holistic approach to healing, whether it pertains to physical discomfort or mental well-being.

Six somatic exercises to try for yourself

1. Somatic exercises for lower back pain relief

6. Somatic-inspired yoga for tension that is stored in the hips


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