Pandiculation

Pandiculation lies at the core of Somatic Learning, it's the secret to re-engaging your brain with your muscles to restore muscle length.

If you've ever watched a cat put their paws out and lengthen themselves on each side of their body, you might think they are stretching, but in fact they are pandiculating. They are lengthening entire muscle groups but at the same time retaining some muscle tension.  They then gently, and slowly release this tension which helps re-set the muscle length.

This is a bit like the yawn you do first thing in the morning when you wake up.  You might tighten you arms inward as you yawn then reach out slowly.  Perhaps you tighten your back at the same time.  Then you let go and relax which helps the muscles reset to a long and relaxed state.

Pandiculation is a conscious, voluntary contraction of a muscle so that it's tighter than it already is, followed by a slow, deliberate and active release of the muscle, and then a complete relaxation of the muscle.  Just like a yawn. The trick is to lengthen the muscle to a comfortable length and not beyond it.  For those of us who have been brought up on a 'no pain no gain' regime this is hard to do, as we think that just a bit more will do us good.  But with Somatics 'less is more'.

This process of Pandiculation helps you to gain awareness of your own internal sensations and regain control of your muscles by giving your brain more feedback and stimulation.  The movements need to be done slowly and deliberately.  You need to consciously focus on what you are doing so that your brain will release those stuck muscles, helping them to relax and increase their range of motion, so in the future you can relax them on demand.