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Somatics personal exercise practice for Somatics Practitioners

Hello Everyone

I meant to ask Steve this question before we left, but my "clutch, shift gear, clutch, shift gear" mantra took over my brain on the last day of class...

"Steve, what is your daily/weekly Somatics exercise practice?  What do you recommend to other Somatics professionals as a daily/weely exercise practice?"


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Steven Aronstein's picture

Hi, Gary, 

This is a great question. Thanks for asking it! This is a longer discussion in someway, or perhaps an ongoing discussion as you all develop in this work. But heres the relatively short answer:

All I do every day is the Cat Stretch every morning. Some days, I skip if it my schedule is crazy, and I hate the feeling of not having done it. I do whatever I need or time allows for. That can be 5-25 minutes. I have a version I do that takes about 4 minutes; and if Im really in a rush I can do a 1-2 minutes of just arch and flatten. If my back is tight enough, I will "cram in" a couple A&F, a couple back lifts (maybe just a single one with both arms and then one with both legs or both combined, depending on how little time I have), and end with a couple A&C. 

I also do it before I do any exercise -- I want to perform well, not injure myself, and just feel great before and afterwards. So, if I have time to, say, garden, I take the time to do the cat stretch. It could be 5 minutes for gardening, 5-15 before I use gym equipment or go for a run or hike. If I have more issues/problems, I might take 5-15-20 minutes or more before even gardening as well as something more strenous.

The morning or pre-exercise ones have everything to do with what I need: if I have a lot going on, like I did when I started training or at various points like after a car accident or just at many times over the years for a few days or weeks just because something has come up (an injury, stress, illness, etc.) I spent a lot of time on it. 10-45 minutes.

But now its usually just about 5-15 minutes; if there is no rush, it's that duration because thats how long whatever I was working out took. otherwise, as I said, in a rush I at least do the 1-5 minute express version...Still slow, still cortical, but just less things with more focused brief attention.


You all are at the stage where for academic, personal somatic health, and experiential reasons, you should be doing all you have time for: if you can, do the Cat Stretch in the morning upon wake up, and then one of Tom's recordings at some point in the day. If no time for the recording, just do at least 5 minutes of cat stretch but more if time allows. And always do the CS before exercise or yoga or any other movment instead of traditional stretching.

Does that answer your question?




Nicole Stirbis's picture

thanks for the question, Gary and for the answer, Steve. this was helpful for me and I would not have thought to ask it. 

Gary Crowley's picture

Hi Steve, 

That answers my question quite well.  Thanks for going into such detail.  I do appreciate it.