Why SOMA is different:

Founded by an Yale trained physician, SOMA Movement Studio is a cooperative of fitness and wellness professionals whose goal is to teach their clients how to move efficiently, effortlessly, and gracefully. Our instructors come from a variety of backgrounds including fitness, academics, rehabilitation, dance, athletics, and medicine. 

We consider ourselves a movement education center rather than a fitness studio. Our primary goal is to help our clients understand their own bodies, their body's movement patterns, and how to reverse inefficient and pathologic movement patterns that can lead to stress, discomfort and injury. To do this, we employ several movement disciplines in the studio that we've organized into a pyramid of movement regimens.

These are the main movement methodologies that are taught at SOMA Movement Studio. This is figure is not meant to imply that one movement discipline is "better" than another, on the contrary, each system of movement is complementary to the other. Hanna Somatic Movement has the most focus on creating the mind body connection necessary for fluid movement. Pilates' graduated approach to strength and conditioning builds on the mind body connection developed in Somatics. Gyrotonic, Ballet, and Yoga push the limits of human kinetics and kinesiology through flexibility, coordination, and choreography. 

These are the main movement methodologies that are taught at SOMA Movement Studio. This is figure is not meant to imply that one movement discipline is "better" than another, on the contrary, each system of movement is complementary to the other. Hanna Somatic Movement has the most focus on creating the mind body connection necessary for fluid movement. Pilates' graduated approach to strength and conditioning builds on the mind body connection developed in Somatics. Gyrotonic, Ballet, and Yoga push the limits of human kinetics and kinesiology through flexibility, coordination, and choreography. 

Phase One: Coordination, Body Awareness, and Mind-Body Connection

Phase one is focused on reducing muscle tension to improve the fluidity of movement. Click below for further explanation 

At the base of the pyramid is Hanna Somatic Movement, also known as Hanna Somatic Neuro-Reeducation. Hanna Somatic Movement forms the foundation of our approach to movement and take full advantage of current neurobiological principles of learning and coordination. These micromovement exercises, are designed to recapture control of muscles tightened by reflexes triggered by injury or nervous tension. The theory is that chronically tight muscles are caused by mis-calibration of signals sent from the brain. Essentially, your brain "forgets" to turn off muscles and they continuously contract leading to abnormal muscle movement patterns and potentially pain and injury. By performing Hanna Somatic movements, either one-on-one with a Hanna Somatic Educator or in a group class format, you are then able to regain control of those tight muscle and voluntarily relax them. As the muscle tension eases, pain fades, and you feel immediate changes in your ease of movement. In a sense, you create a tableau rasa, or "blank slate" state in your body, where you have unlearned all the tension you accumulated over years, even decades. 

Phase Two: Strength and conditioning

Only after you have control of and relaxed your muscles, especially the muscles of the lower back, shoulders, and hips, then we recommend initiating strength and conditioning training. Clients who attempt to begin strength training before having control of their muscles run the risk of performing the exercises with poor form and incorrect/inefficient muscle activation patterns which only reinforces poor posture and habits, and in some cases lead to injury.

At SOMA, we teach Pilates as an exercise methodology to begin strengthening and conditioning your body. Pilates is a low impact system of exercise that is performed on either the mat or on specially designed equipment with springs that can either assist you or challenge you, depending on how the springs are arranged. Clients often transition from Hanna Somatic Movement Classes to Pre-Pilates which teaches the principles of Pilates movement and how to create a stable base (core strength) from which the extremities (arms/legs) can then move, all the while coordinating movement with breathing. SOMA Movement Studio has a complete line of specialized Pilates equipment available for private, group and independent training.

Phase Three: Flexibility, Functional Training, and Cardiovascular Fitness

Those clients who seek further movement training, especially as to improve flexibility and endurance, so you can do the movements you learned in phases one and two for a longer period of time and over a larger range of motiion. This is done through sport specific training, Yoga, adult dance classes like Barre, Zumba and Ballet, as well as the GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM®. Ballet teaches clients posture, endurance and grace while coordinating movement to music. The Gyrotonic Expansion System is a movement methodology with three dimensional, circular, exercises performed on specialized equipment that focuses on creating length, flexibility and a mobile spine. GYROTONIC® movements have characteristic undulating, wave like movements that teach the body to move as a coordinated unit, rather than isolated, repetitive linear exercises characteristic of traditional strength training. SOMA Movement Studio also offers private, sport specific training for athletes and weekend warriors in such disciplines like tennis, golf, swimming, and more.