The state you are in, be it pain or body composition is just a manifestation of the current state of your system.
Let us look at the two maladies that affect the modern human separately to explain further:
This affects many of us and in the midst of a painful episode we think of this as a permanent state, how will we ever be out of pain and not recalling a time when we were not in pain. Here are two points to think on, the first is that pain is an output from the brain and the second is that pain is recreated every moment.
– Body Composition
This basically what people refer to in layman’s terms of being too fat or too skinny or not enough whatever. The body as a we see it is merely a manifestation of the system, if we are sick, stressed, consuming too much or too little of certain foodstuffs. The body isn’t a fixed form, everything changes cells, bones remodel, skin renews, hair grows. In fact thats a good point, in much the same way you can change your hairstyle and have to wait for it to grow for some styles we have to wait for the our body to change to new inputs be they food, movement (loaded or otherwise).
So do not look at yourself and think ‘I am fat’ instead see your body for what it is, you have an excess of calories and your body is storing it. Remedy is to alter consumption and maybe alter your movement.
With pain, look to these facts have you an injury, illness or what is covered by the term red flag if not and have been cleared for movement then is the pain an old pattern being held onto such as a limp which aided you getting around but the injury has long since healed and now the limp is causing issues on the non injured leg.
So composition of ones body can be changed and pain can be often reduced or stopped it is a case of seeing us for what we are, we are systems not statues set in stone. Are poor eating habits and levels of movement unchanging and are old ways of using ourself keeping us in a painful state, in other words how is your nervous system holding you?
Maybe the pupil learned only part of what the teachers wanted to teach them. For example they may have learned enough maths to get by and then as life developed they get or work out what else they need to know.
You can never be sure what you teach is what they learn as that is their experience. You are not there to sort the whole of the rest of their lives. We all exist in time and the future and their future needs will solved by them and applying what skills they have.
Be careful not to end gain and want more than this:
I feel better – yes
I feel lighter – yes
I am clearer in thought – yes
I can do that better – yes
Do you see that they get out of it what they get out of it, it is everything and nothing all at once.
What is the purpose of education, in its broadest and narrowest sense be it Somatics, school or sport?
An answer and one i favour is not performance per se, or even qualifications, it is merely the desire to learn and be interested. School cannot teach everything, but it can give you skills and set you off in a direction.
In the case of sport there is usually only one winner, so what of the rest, have they wasted their time? Or is their value in playing and competiting even outside the rostrum? Is the medal the only reward or can value be had from mastery and play?
In the case of Somatics, if they are in pain, or immobile help them with that and let them be on their way, on their way to be free. Let them find mastery in the rest of their lives and not expect it within the sessions. Our education doesn’t finish with graduation and neither in the confines of a movement session.
The more a motor pattern is undertaken, the more well trodden the pathway becomes.
The less a pathway is used the more it becomes overgrown.
You will have developed both helpful and unhelpful habits which have both laid down pathways. Maybe the unhelpful habits are remnants of a once useful habit.
Take for example an injured ankle, this will invoke a limp. Long after the injury has healed the limp may remain with the resultant tightening at the waist and the extra load on the other leg. Long after the initial injury has healed the compensatory patterns may cause other issues, the passage of time will hide the original cause.
People sense the pain but not the movement pattern causing it.
Note: Although originally published in relation to kayaking/canoeing this post is applicable to gripping in a general sense and could be applied to many things such as:
Writing: gripping of a pen, quality of handwriting and any pain
Cycling: the ability to control the bike with ease and any pain in arms, shoulders or neck.
Continuing the theme of sensitivity.
Gripping hard can cause problems (see carpal tunnel) esp when flexing and extending wrist. But that aside try this experiment seated and with an empty hand. Repeat each step a couple of times. Try with dominant hand in first instance.
Clench fist and relax.
With hand on forearm clench fist again.
With hand on Deltoid clench fist again
What do you notice when you clenched fist?
Functionally the hand starts in the forearm.
The harder you grip the tension goes up the arm and stiffens the shoulder girdle.
This tension up the arm results in less mobility when side support is required, which can result in strained shoulder/dislocations.
Try using the back when paddling forward and the arms for other strokes.
Your grip does not need to be that hard, it will prevent a fluid action.
Gripping hard will reduce your sensitivity of the paddles position in space.
So basically relax your grip when you paddle, the correct amount of tension is “enough” and no more.
What is useful tension and what is not useful tension.
The sensory motor homunculus resizes the body parts of the human being according to the amount of cortical representation it has. The hands, lips are larger and the torso is small as the amount of brain processing power devoted to that body part is less.
Trauma aside, be it accident or surgery, where is your pain?
Is the pain in the enlarged “smart” regions or the small “stupid” parts?
Is society plagued by hand and lip pain or by back, hip & knee pain?