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Somatic Exercise 101: Your Intro Guide To Starting A Somatic Exercise Program

Posted by Kelsey Juntwait on

What are somatic exercises?

Somatic exercises are repetitive, simple movements that release physical tension as well as psychological trauma being stored in the body.

Unlike traditional exercises that focus on building strength or flexibility, somatic exercises emphasize the mind-body connection while improving bodily awareness. They rely on a series of slow, controlled movements that are designed to help individuals understand how their body responds to stress and tension.

Somatic exercises are often used as a form of therapy for chronic pain or injury rehabilitation, and have been shown to be effective in reducing physical discomfort associated with stress and anxiety. These exercises can include movements like gentle stretches, breathing exercises, and body scanning techniques. 

Who can do somatic exercises?

Anyone and everyone can do somatic exercises!

The slow, rhythmic movements are accessible to people of all ages and fitness levels, making it an ideal practice for anyone looking to improve their overall health and wellbeing.

How do somatic exercises work?

Somatic exercises work by improving the communication between the brain and muscles. These exercises use slow, gentle movements to help individuals retrain their muscles and improve their posture, mobility, and overall movement patterns. These exercises focus on the sensory receptors in the muscles, which help individuals become aware of any tension or discomfort in their body. By becoming aware of these sensations and consciously releasing them, individuals can improve their body awareness and movement efficiency. Somatic exercises also work to reset the nervous system by stimulating the parasympathetic response, which is responsible for rest and relaxation. This helps individuals to release any physical and emotional stress that may be stored in their body. Overall, somatic exercises are a gentle and effective way to improve overall body function and well-being.

What are the best somatic exercises?

The best somatic exercises will depend on the reason behind why you're starting a somatic exercise practice in the first place! You can take our quiz, Where Is My Trauma Stored In My Body, to find out!

Can I do somatic exercises for trauma?

Yes, somatic exercises are incredibly beneficial in healing from trauma.

Somatic exercise specifically focuses on how past experiences (particularly traumatic ones) can be stored in the body as physical sensations. So adding somatic exercises into your healing journey can provide relief from those physical symptoms as well as the more emotional ones.

It's important to remember that healing from trauma is a process that looks different for each individual though, and particularly when it comes to what kind of trauma you're healing from. 

What are the benefits of somatic exercises?

Somatic exercises have a myriad of benefits for both the mind and body. These gentle movements help to release muscle tension and increase flexibility, promoting better posture and alignment. They also improve awareness of the body and create a better mind-body connection, leading to a reduction in stress and anxiety. In addition, somatic exercises can help with pain management, particularly in conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Additional benefits of somatic exercises include:

  • Sleep Issues
  • Gut Issues
  • Chest Pains
  • Constant Fatigue
  • Long-Term Anxiety
  • Long-Term Depression
  • Brain Fog
  • Chronic Muscle Tension
  • The Inability To Lose Weight (Especially In The Belly)
  • Neck Pain
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Jaw Pain
  • Night-Time Teeth Grinding
  • Chronic Tension Headaches
  • Difficulty Taking Full Breaths
  • Panic Attacks
  • Poor Posture
  • Repressed Trauma

Can I do somatic exercises for anxiety?

Yes, somatic exercises can absolutely be done to heal from anxiety or the generalized feeling of anxious thoughts.

Somatic exercises are a valuable tool for managing symptoms of anxiety. These exercises focus on calming the mind through movements that engage the body, helping to release tension and promote relaxation.

Practicing somatic exercises on a regular basis can help individuals to better manage symptoms of anxiety, including feelings of restlessness, tension, and worry. By engaging with the body in a positive way, individuals can increase their awareness of physical sensations and learn to be more present in the moment. Somatic exercises can also help individuals develop greater control over their breathing and improve overall physical health, reducing the negative impact of stress on the body and mind. Whether practiced alone or in conjunction with other therapies, somatic exercises are a valuable tool for anyone facing symptoms of anxiety.

What are good somatic exercises for back pain?

Somatic exercises are increasingly being recognized as an effective remedy for chronic back pain. This form of exercise targets the central nervous system by consciously releasing tension in the muscles surrounding the spine. It involves a gentle and slow sequence of movements designed to awaken the mind-body connection and re-educate the body on healthy movements and posture. The exercises help to increase body awareness and relieve back pain and tension by releasing muscle contractions.

Start a 30-day somatic exercise program to heal your back pain for GOOD.

What are good somatic exercises for hip flexors?

Somatic exercises for hip flexors can be highly beneficial for those experiencing tightness or pain in this area.

One example of a somatic exercise for hip flexors is the knee folds movement, which involves lying on your back and gently bringing your knee up towards your chest, then slowly lowering it back down. This movement helps to release tension in the psoas muscle, which is often responsible for hip flexor tightness.

Another somatic exercise for hip flexors is the arch and flatten movement, where you move your pelvis from a flattened position to an arched position, again helping to release tension in the hip flexor muscles.

With regular practice of somatic exercises for hip flexors, individuals can experience improved mobility, reduced pain and stiffness, and an overall sense of ease in movement.

Start a 30-day somatic exercise program to heal your hip pain for GOOD.

What are good somatic exercises for sciatica?

Somatic exercises are a mind-body approach that has been proven to be effective in alleviating sciatica. These exercises involve gentle, controlled movements that aim to improve body awareness, release muscle tension and improve overall posture. Muscles such as the glutes, hip flexors, and lower back muscles are all targeted by various somatic exercises. Regular practice of somatic exercises can result in increased mobility, decreased pain levels, and improved quality of life for people suffering from sciatica. 

Start a 30-day somatic exercise program to heal your sciatica for GOOD.

What are good somatic exercises for lower back pain?

Somatic exercises have been found to be beneficial for those experiencing lower back pain.

One example of a somatic exercise for lower back pain is the pelvic tilt. This involves lying on the back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground, and slowly tilting the pelvis back and forth to gently stretch the muscles of the lower back.

The cat cow stretch is another somatic exercise that is helpful for lower back pain. This involves getting on all fours and alternating between arching the back and rounding it, which helps to release tension in the spine.

By regularly practicing somatic exercises, those with lower back pain can improve their mobility and reduce discomfort while avoiding potentially harmful treatments like medication or surgery.

Start a 30-day somatic exercise program to heal your lower back pain for GOOD.

What are good somatic exercises for the jaw?

Somatic exercises for the jaw can provide relief for those suffering from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, tension headaches, and other conditions related to jaw tightness.

One such exercise involves gently opening and closing the mouth while placing the tip of the tongue on the roof of the mouth. This helps to relax the muscles around the jaw and promote proper alignment of the joint.

Another exercise involves placing a finger on the jaw joint and gently moving it back and forth, paying attention to any areas of tightness or discomfort.

These exercises can be performed several times throughout the day and can help alleviate pain and discomfort associated with jaw tension. 

Start a 15-day somatic exercise program to heal your jaw pain for GOOD.

What are good somatic exercises for the neck and shoulders?

Somatic exercises are an effective way to release tension and improve mobility in the neck and shoulder area.

One such exercise is the neck roll, which involves rotating the head gently from side to side in a circular motion, allowing the weight of the head to guide the movement.

Another exercise is the shoulder shrug, where the shoulders are lifted towards the ears and then relaxed back down.

Somatic exercises focus on increasing awareness of the body's movements, allowing for a more mindful approach to releasing tension. They can also help to improve posture and reduce pain in the neck and shoulder region.  

Start a 30-day somatic exercise program to heal your neck and shoulder pain for GOOD. 

Can I do somatic exercises for weight loss?

Absolutely. Somatic exercises are a great way to lose weight because these specific exercises lower the levels of cortisol in your body — the hormone that makes it so darn hard to lose weight to begin with.

Cortisol levels can be the arch-nemesis of those trying to maintain a healthy weight. So managing (and lowering) those cortisol levels is the key to keeping a healthy weight in check. And since somatic exercises are a great way to lower cortisol levels in the body, somatic exercises are also a great way to drop a few pounds too.

Do I need anything for somatic exercises?

No! Our somatic exercise programs don't require any equipment to get started. These are 30-day programs you can do in the comfort of your own home in less than 10 minutes a day.

Can I do somatic exercises at home?

Yes! You can do somatic exercises in your own home (and even in your own bed!). Nothing extraordinary is needed to do somatic exercises, making them an excellent choice for anyone trying to improve their health and wellbeing.

How do I start doing somatic exercises? 

Start a somatic exercise program TODAY with The Workout Witch! With multiple courses to choose from that specifically target your pain, your stress, and your trauma, we have programs for everyone. 

We suggest taking one of our quizzes to get started with a somatic exercise program built specifically for YOU.