Uncharted Territory

Uncharted Territory

Half way through my nine day "Hanna Somatic Education ®" module I lay facing the ceiling on a table curling my right shoulder towards my left hip. My classmate gently reminded me with her clear words and confident hand to contract my abdominal muscles. In that moment both her words and touch immediately helped to shine a spotlight of awareness onto my abdomen. This showed me that I had only been focusing on my shoulder and not all the muscles that were assisting this seemingly simple action. After a few more pandiculations we switched to the left shoulder.

This is an example of one of the many practitioner-assisted pandiculations that Hanna Somatic Education can offer to an individual. A pandiculation is a specific type of movement that is innate in all mammals. As humans we pass through an acculturation process and tend to become disconnected from this life enhancing gift.  Through the teaching of a "Hanna Somatic Educator ®" pandiculation can be re-learned and accessed at anytime through daily self regulated reinforcement.

As her words invited me I began the same somatic movement on this new side thinking it would offer a similar experience. She again reminded me that I needed to be aware of my abdominal muscles. This time something was different! Before I even said anything and during my movement my classmate touched the area of my abdomen where there didn’t seem to be any movement and communicated her observations as I moved. I began to feel clumsy as if I wasn’t doing it right. I searched for places inside myself that I usually don’t have to even think about going when I ask my body to move. I was fumbling to no avail for the right switch to throw to encourage my body do as I had intended. With my new understanding of Somatics there to help me cut through the sense of confusion I finally came to a conclusion. This sleepy space was a rather large area of Sensory Motor Amnesia.

Sensory Motor Amnesia “The condition in which the sensory-motor neurons of the voluntary cortex have lost some portion of their ability to control all or some of the muscles of the body.” (Hanna 1990)


In my mind I had relegated "Sensory-Motor Amnesia" to being small places of space or stuttering movement during a long pandiculation (a somatic movement). Through this session a whole area of uncharted territory had been revealed to me. Many questions continued to flow in and out of my awareness. Could this be in connection with my shoulder pain? Was this why I have altered my body mechanics at work? Where did this originate? This wasn’t just information that I was receiving it was a knowing that arose from very deep within. Somatics is continuing to reveal a new form of language and direct communication with my soma. I not only found an area where some of my current aches and pains may be stemming from but I now have a way to regain control over this area of my body.

I still haven’t been able to pinpoint the cause of this particular space of "Sensory-Motor Amnesia" but then again its a process not a destination. As my mentor once told me in a zen saying that he loves so much “only don’t know”. I am continuing through regular daily Somatic movements to make connections and exploring new nooks of discovery. The pain that I used to feel so helpless about is now manageable and I am coming into a place where I am empowered to alleviate it when ever it arises. This is a gift that I could not have imagined. I invite you, and can only hope in time that you too will discover this gift for yourself.

Ryan MoschellCHSE, LMT

8 – 4 - 2011