SMARTer bodies

Tag Archives: avoiding chronic work related injury

Repattern the Body and Repattern Yourself

We recently wrote about muscle memory.  Click here to read that post.  It makes sense to follow that up with an explanation for how our work can apply.

Somatic work helps to give people the freedom of choice follow the same old pattern or to consciously change.

In the physical body, someone chooses one path of movement over another because of their movement history, body type and compensation patterns. Most of the time this is done unconsciously. The problem is that because of the quick adaptation of our neural pathways (muscle memory some call it) the more we do a particular movement pattern, the quicker we are to choose that pathway over another and we lose our options over time. This imbalance eventually leads to problems and injuries.  This same process applies to emotions. If we choose one emotion to react with (because of our unconscious habits and emotional history), the body quickly learns to prepare for this reaction in the future, and the faster the reaction will occur, limiting the possibility for choices.

To give a concrete example:

Unresolved emotional trauma can manifest as anxiety or depression. Breathing in someone who is anxious or depressed can be  unhealthy or inefficient.  Usually their breathing is so challenged, some may have this diagnosed as asthma or allergies.  Serious digestive problems can also be attributed to an inability to breathe well.  Short and tight inhalations, which are typical in individuals who don’t cope well with stress, lead to an over adrenalized, revved-up nervous system and aching kidneys.

So much of this can be resolved by breaking down mal-addaptive breathing patterns and finding new places for the breath to reach.  In doing so, you calm the nervous system, your organs, and create a physical environment in which the body can better function and the mind can find another way to process a stressful trigger.  Breaking the previous breathing pattern and finding a new way to breathe is like release the hold the anxiety or depression may have.  This is how therapeutic movement that helps to facilitate awareness of breathing and the body in direct relation is fantastic for releasing stored up emotion.

On an even deeper level:

The automatic reaction resides in the nervous system and in the emotional body, the endocrine system: Our hormones.  The endocrine system is a global system, meaning that the hormones are not restricted to our nervous systems, but affect our entire body! For instance, if our body releases epinephrine (adrenaline) due to fear or anxiety, this causes the blood vessels to dilate, the digestive system to slow, the heart rate to increase, the pupils to dilate, and switches our metabolism to release triglycerides (fats) into the bloodstream to be used as fuel. etc. Now imagine that every time we experience fear, all of these things are happening! This affects the health of ALL of our organs at once! Not only that, but the more it happens, the faster this response happens, and the less options for other reactions we have. Over time, this can easily tax our whole body. Another example is if we are holding stress or anger.

This is one of the reasons why therapy and movement are SO important. Our job as movement educators is to educate our clients of these dangers and teach techniques to avoid chronic stress and maintain a happy, healthy life!

Achy Painful Hands and Wrists? Watch Out for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome!

If you recently have experienced discomfort in your hands, like pain in the fingers, knuckles, wrists, palms or forearms then keep reading!  That discomfort may be a sign of an underlying problem.  So many jobs involve repetitive motions with our hands, which can over time be a source of major discomfort and even injuries. Suffering from pain in the hands and wrists is becoming increasingly widespread, so you are not alone. Industrial occupations like factory work and office based jobs that require typing on the computer for long hours are the two most common professional activities that can lead to aching wrists and hands. This condition, if it last for more than a few weeks, is often referred to as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)!  But this pain does not always have its source in that particular area of the wrist.  So it is safer to refer to this issue as a repetitive strain injury.

Our hands are an amazing part of our body, and they make the uniqueness of the human experience possible. From supporting yourself in different yoga positions, to grabbing a cup of coffee, and writing a note, our hands do miraculous things everyday. The hands are made up of many different bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments that allow us to do a variety of stunningly complex movements. So what is the best thing to do if you are suffering from discomfort in your hands and wrists? Doing different hand exercises and stretches can help a great deal, as well as taking frequent breaks during repetitive motion to stretch your fingers, wrists, and palms. Drinking lots of water is also helpful, because water is essential in ensuring that all of your joints and fascia (connective tissue) are well lubricated for easier motion!   Yoga is also very beneficial, because it strengthens the hands and wrists, as well as the forearms and also increases blood circulation to those areas.  Our heavily industrialized world makes for some interesting challenges. But there are natural solutions, like yoga, fascial release, trigger point therapy and other therapeutic movements that can help!

Tips for Office Workers

Last weekend Kim and I taught a great workshop at Reebok. Geared towards tired office workers and computer users, the information was very much appreciated and we look forward to doing it again! We realize that more people need this information, so we’ve decided to post the tip sheet we handed out. Definitely email us if you have questions, or leave a comment. Also, if you love what you’re reading think of how much better it would be if Kim and I came to your office and gave the workshop there! Contact us also if you’d like to book us for corporate classes and workshops. Read More

Reebok Workshop: Yoga for Office Workers and Computer Users


Tired of feeling tired? Chronic fatigue is a common complaint of many computer users. Office workers are subjected to 8 or more hours of consistent computer use each day of the week. The demand of keeping the body held in this unnatural and static position can lead to a myriad of complaints, such as:

Back Pain
Shoulder and Neck Pain
Headaches and Migraines
Eye Strain
Painful Hands and Wrists
Teeth Clenching/Grinding

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to fix this! On Sunday, May 22nd Kim-Lien Kendall will teach a workshop assisted by Melissa Gutierrez. From 3:30 – 5:00 pm you will learn how to alleviate your symptoms and reverse the negative affects of sitting and typing all day. Amongst the techniques used will be somatic movement, yoga, breath therapy, and trigger point therapy.

You will leave feeling better and will have learned how to prevent your pain with tips you can use while at work. Location: Reebok Sports Club, 67th and Columbus. Cost for Members: $20, Non-Members: $35 Registration is necessary, please do so by Friday, May 20th.
Contact Anne-Sophie Rodriguez, Group Exercise Coordinator, at or call 212.501.1419.