There is so much to choose from! Mindfulness is in fashion, being fit and active is a given. Pilates, Yoga, Zumba, Barre, TRX, handstand classes* … all movement, all fun. Unless you go there with those little niggles that you’ve learned to ignore for most of the time (until you lift up an unwilling child off the ground, carry a heavy shopping bag just a bit too long, are stressed out to the max in work or have rediscovered the joys of gardening and walking on long hikes). All of a sudden you’ve ‘done your back in’ in a class, although it was taught precisely and should not hurt you, you might come out with neck discomfort (a new thing to ignore to ‘get better at x’) or don’t feel the ‘mind-body connection’ benefits, because your body simply doesn’t go into the desired shapes.
Somatic Movement complements all your exercise classes (and your life!), because you explore finding your neutral – your relaxed, balanced, centred self without effort. No ‘pulling up’, reaching to the ceiling, chanting, bracing, mental effort needed. We are not working from the outside in, but from the inside out, when we practice Restorative Somatic Education.
While you can and should be mindful of the internal awareness of movement in all the classes above, you will never purely work with sensation, when there is a repertoire, a spiritual ‘goal’, or a movement to master. These are aspects of movement governed by an outside perspective.
‘Now I simply feel like my true self. I don’t care what other people might think of me’.
This is what I think of as ‘neutral’ (not in terms of alignment, because that is always dynamic) – finding your true, comfortable self, centred in your self, not in relation to a practice.
Self-sensing, self-correcting, self-healing as Thomas Hanna said. And he didn’t mean ‘bodily alignment’ with this!
*the way these classes are available to the general public. I know that if you practice yoga fully (not only asanas and in the various offerings they come from hot yoga to power yoga to all sorts of branded ‘styles), it might change. Having said that, there is a reason why so many yoga teachers of various trainings turn to Somatic Movement because they can’t access what they are looking for through yoga only.