I am a certified Hanna Somatic Education practitioner, a graduate of the Novato Institute certification program in Novato, CA. I am also currently president of the Board of Directors of the Association of Hanna Somatic Educators.
In my 40s, I began to experience periodic back pain that would keep me out of work for days at a time. I gradually started to curtail my activities, due to fear that my back might “go out”. In addition to these back pain episodes, it was discovered that I had tempero-mandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ). My jaw would often click with chewing and would become quite painful. I began to be afraid that by the time I got to retire from my job as a technical writer for a corporation, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it. I tried chiropractic treatments, chi gong, and acupuncture, all of which helped to some extent, but the effect didn’t last.
In my mid-50s, I was introduced to Hanna Somatic Education and was very interested to hear that it purported to not only be able to relieve the kind of pain I had been experiencing, but also improve my flexibility and functioning for the rest of my life. I was skeptical, but willing to try it out.
After my first individual session with a practitioner, my shoulders, which had been depressed and rounded forward for my whole adult life, were freed and moved back. They looked two inches wider when I looked in the mirror! My breathing felt easier and my arms swung in a relaxed way when I walked. That experience inspired me to buy and study Thomas Hanna’s book “Somatics”. I began doing the exercises he described and found that I was gradually becoming more in tune with my inner sensation, more aware of when I was about to do something that would hurt me. My muscles were becoming more relaxed, and the incidents of back and jaw pain decreased in frequency, then stopped altogether. As I continued my practice, my posture changed to become more upright, and I no longer experienced shoulder tension with walking. I even regained ½” in height that I had lost over the years. Eventually, I felt called to pass on these kinds of benefits to others and to become a practitioner.
I feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with Somatics clients of all ages and backgrounds. It is inspiring and energizing to watch the changes that happen when people really engage with the process of somatic education and begin to discover themselves from the inside out.
Over the years of working with clients, I would periodically be asked to recommend an exercise program that would complement the Somatics work. Eventually, I discovered Essentrics, which works all the muscles in the body with every workout, and uses all the joints in a full range of motion. After doing this program myself for just one year, I have become as strong and functional as I was 30 years ago! I love teaching these workouts and am seeing some great changes in my students.