Sponsored Blog: A Self Care Option for Pain Relief

by The Village Green
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Martha Peterson and Gena Rho-Smith

Martha Peterson and Gena Rho-Smith

Unraveling the mystery of my chronic pain and stiffness seemed a daunting task. I was frustrated that I couldn’t get at the imbalance I felt on the left side of my body. It literally tugged at me, tipping me slightly to the left despite my yoga practice. I had lost control of the muscles on my left side to the point where I would loose balance, at times falling from my bike, or over-efforting in yoga, always to the left.

I knew a lot about the body, just not enough to help myself.

Martha Peterson first introduced me to the powerful work of Thomas Hanna well over 10 years ago when we both worked at Shakti Yoga in Maplewood. Martha was studying to become a Hanna Somatic Educator at the time, I was teaching yoga. She had a passion for this work developed by Hanna because it helped her get out of her own knee and hip pain. I loved our conversations about movement, sensory motor amnesia and the brain. I nodded politely when she referred to my classes as somatic. I had no real idea what she meant, and I wanted to know more. It started with the word Soma, a body as experienced from within.

I found Hanna Somatics to be powerfully effective in restoring balance and coordination of muscles I had lost voluntary control of. Again, hungry for more, I dove deep into learning with Martha through classes, workshops, and more conversations. The deepest dive was 2 years ago into Clinical training with Martha.

Her mission to spread the word and educate others about Hanna Somatics led her to author one of the primary resource books on the subject; “Move without Pain,” along with a series of instructional videos used by both clients and professionals. She has become one of the world’s leading teachers of Hanna Somatic Education, offering professional training programs in Europe, Australia, Canada and right here in Maplewood. Last week, I helped her welcome a new class of Clinical Somatic Educators as they began their three-year course of study.

Martha is moving west to Colorado to be closer to her new grandson, while I stay firmly planted here in Maplewood to carry on what she started, offering Clinical sessions, classes and workshops for those wanting to learn to relieve chronic pain and restore freedom of movement.

Our office at The Somatics Loft at Wellspring Health Collective in Maplewood will remain the same. A studio committed to education, awareness and pain relief through movement. I’m selfishly happy to say that while Martha is moving west, she will be back at least four times a year to run her teacher trainings and Clinical trainings held locally in Maplewood and South Orange.

Gena Rho-Smith
clinical somatic educator
somatic yoga
The Somatics Loft at Wellspring Health Collective, 697 Valley Street, Maplewood, NJ

Gena will be teaching a Somatic Movement class at Shakti Yoga on Thursdays in July. Shakti Yoga, 1861 Springfield Avenue, (973) 763-2288, www.shaktinj.com.

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