I was renting a clinic space in a pilates studio several years back and heard one of the teachers remark - Stabilize, then Mobilize...Stabilize then Mobilize.
The remark is a key teaching principle of the pilates model that was being taught to students on reformers - a pilates apparatus that challenges load and rebound as you lie on a carriage pushing and pulling against cables and springs.
I immediately thought to myself - I disagree.
What I have learned from well over 10 years of working with dysfunctional movement and pain patterns with clients is that stability arises from fostering ease in mobility. Optimal function of muscles in movement patterns requires that one must regain control over their muscles. Muscles have the job of contracting and relaxing. If a muscle is chronically tight or tense the muscle cannot do it's job. Optimal control is a non-negotiable before attempting to strengthen the body in higher load exercise.
It is not implicit that the right muscles are going to do the work, particularly when we enter a modality of rehab after an injury, surgery or prolonged cycle of stress or bad movement habits.
What needs to happen first - and frankly, what should be a foundation for all maintenance programs, is a short Somatic or Somayoga practice. Doing this 3x per week will keep your body’s muscles primed and engaged - “online” so to speak - and in connection with your brain so that they contract and release well. So that you can perform your best in higher loads when needed.
So the truth really is that stability arises from mobility, not the other way around.
Using the somatic technique of Pandiculation is the only self propelled, non-invasive way that I know of to get muscles back functioning well when they have fallen into stuck patterns leaving them feeling sleepy and weak.
Re-awakening the brain’s control over muscles teaches them how to function well again so that movement in yoga, pilates, weight training, skiing, hockey, golfing, running and biking is efficient and effective.
Updating Your Muscles' Software
Another way to look at pandiculation is this. It is 2021 and let’s say a few years have passed since you bought your computer. In order for your computer to work optimally, you must update your software and operating system regularly. And when you don’t you notice slow opening of programs, programs quitting spontaneously and a sense of inefficiency as you try to maneuver through your work tasks.
The fundamental movements in Somatics are Arch and Flatten, Diagonal Arch and Curl, Arch and Curl, Side Curl and Back Lift. A regular practice of these movements is a powerful way to reboot your muscles - to re-establish a felt sense and knowing that your muscles are up to date. As you work with these practices, you will notice yourself moving better in your daily life and activities.
Your muscles should be long and at ease when they are at rest. Not tense.
Stay tuned for our next post on Reciprocal Inhibition - a key teaching principle of the Method we teach. This principle is fundamental to understanding functional movement and why you need to look at the relationships of opposing muscle groups.
If your focus on is on where symptoms are presenting in your body then you are looking in the wrong place.
You can get started with us by visiting our YouTube Channel where you can start exploring SomaYoga practices. Then from there jump onto our Video on Demand Channel and let us support you to build a sustainable home practice.