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Somatic Movement – Releasing Neck and Shoulder Tension


This morning workshop will explore how to release tension held in the neck, shoulder and spine through Somatic Movement. 

We will explore gentle movement that retrains the brain to allow for more freedom of movement and improved postural and movement awareness.

The attendees will receive notes and instructions on how to practice the movements.

What is creating tension?

As we settle into a seated position, we may or may not be mindful of the alignment of our head with the rest of our body. Especially for those spending extended hours at a desk, engrossed in computer work, it’s common for the head to lean forward, drawn into the captivating content displayed on our screens.

This prolonged forward tilt places undue strain on the neck muscles, which end up shouldering the weight of the head rather than it being properly supported by the spine. Consequently, these muscles become tense and overworked, paving the way for discomfort in the neck, shoulders, and upper back. This strain can also induce a pervasive sense of fatigue, as the muscles remain constantly engaged in an effort to sustain this unnatural posture.

Man sitting in poor posture at desk

Over time, this can impact our breathing efficiency. The forward head position often leads to compression of the front of the body, hindering our ability to breathe optimally. This posture can manifest unconsciously, such as when we’re engrossed in our mobile phones or behind the wheel.

Additionally, it represents a comprehensive habitual protective pattern associated with the fear response or what’s known as the Red Light Reflex.

Lack of awareness regarding our body and postural habits can result in diminished mobility in certain areas, like the thoracic spine, leading to stiffness. Consequently, other regions such as the neck may compensate for this restricted movement, becoming overworked in our daily activities, ultimately exacerbating tightness and discomfort.

The Solution...?

If we try to ‘fix’ this problem by stretching tight neck muscles, we only make the problem worse, as the stretch reflex, as a protective response tightens muscles further. When we learn to sense our posture during sitting, standing or walking, we learn to respond accordingly to keep ourselves stable and comfortable.

Somatic Movement

Somatic movement can help us to bring awareness to our posture and gently develop our sensory awareness of the body.

Through slow contracting and releasing of muscles, we begin to improve the sensory motor control of our brains. The brain becomes better at releasing muscles at will which then eases tension in muscles and allows us to move with more ease and freedom.

When we move, groups of muscles work together to create a functional movement. Somatic movement teaches us natural, functional movement patterns that replace old unhelpful patterns of tension. Movements are slow and gentle to allow us time to sense what is happening and improve upon what we sense.

This workshop is suitable for all. If you are suffering from serious neck pain and are unsure as to whether this kind of movement will be helpful, please get in touch with me to discuss, or see a health professional for advice.

Cost £40 / £30 low waged


Jun 08 2024


9:30 am - 12:30 pm


Shirley House, 31 Psalter Lane, Sheffield, S11 8YL

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