Aleš Ernst, teacher of AEQ method level 5
I was born on 3 October 1971. I live in Brežice with my partner and two children. I am a sole trader and have owned a bicycle shop since 1993. I am also a clinical somatics therapist. In my youth, I had considerable difficulties with stability and flexibility during physical education. I only learned to drive a bicycle when I turned 15 but soon started to cycle more and more. During all this time, I also fixed bicycles. I developed what started as a bicycle repair shop into one of the most recognizable bicycle shops in my region and also in Croatia. I cycled, ran, swam and lifted weights. Then, pain started occurring in my left hip and became unbearable. It is worth mentioning here that I had shorter right leg. As a result, the right side of my body was not as developed as the left. Due to increasing pain, I stopped cycling and focused on lifting weights and kettlebells. I acquired all the relevant certificates and taught my clients how to move their bodies under physical strain.
The stretching exercises did not change my flexibility. Not only that, my pain worsened and the time invested in them failed to achieve desired results. I sought medical advice but the explanation of causes of unbearable pain and the solutions to them did not convince me. Physical therapy, muscle strengthening, exercises with elastics, massages, chiropractic did not help me. I got used to life with pain.
It was only later, when I started to research possible causes in depth, that I discovered Hanna Somatics. After reading Martha Peterson’s book and corresponding with her, I find out what was the real cause of my shorter right leg. Even only after a few days of carrying out the basic exercises, I noticed an unbelievable improvement. So, I wanted more. I started learning Clinical Somatics from Martha Peterson.
My wife, Vesna Cijan, holds a special place in my life and has played a big part in my development into a clinical somatics therapist. The works of Martin Kojc, Napoleon Hill, Louise Hay, Susan Jeffers, Gabriele Stöger and others that she revealed to me. Our conversations about what she read when we went for long walks or observed nature from our patio. All that opened a window into our own inner worlds. Because of all this, I was able to understand clinical somatics better. I teach my clients with therapy and exercises, I could also help them with conversation and advice. Without these insights my work would not be as successful. Especially because the world changed since Thomas Hanna first developed this method 50 years ago. People have a more difficult task at hand now as it is not easy to maintain conscious control over ourselves in modern times.
Through practice and conversations with Vesna, I keep improving my approach to somatics. And my work as a somatics teacher and adapt it to modern times. Without her, I would not be who I am and would not have the courage to work with people. My self-image was full of fears, self-disapproval and wrong convictions. She helped me realize that it’s all in our head: the control over our body as well as our mind. The only thing that prevented me from living my dream was fear. I understood that the meaning of life is to find out what I want, how I can achieve it and then, hold on to it.
Thank you, Vesna!
From Clinical Somatics to the AEQ method
I had an opportunity to observe the effects of the clinical somatic movements on the neuro-muscular system at my years-long work with my clients.
Active therapies with somatic movements resulted in significant changes and improvement of life for many of my clients, but unfortunately, the beneficial effects to often lasted only few months. They eventually returned to the previous condition and they performed the exercises only occasionally, when the pain became too disturbing.
I've been studying various fields of physics and human motion and I was progressively realizing that life significantly changed in the past few decades; it has become much faster and hence a person's ability to concentrate and adapt decreased too due to the technology. We need a lot of energy for that kind of life and help of devices and appliances that do the work instead of us save us time.
While we need to assess our use of time rationally if we want to survive in modern word, we don’t do the same when it comes to the use of our energy. Our body was developing throughout the evolution and the struggle for survival in the conditions of the food shortage and fight for the energy. Time was not essential, however, today we live like we’ve always driven on the fast highways, which enables us to save time, but at the same time also greater consumption of the fuels (energy) and deterioration. Also, the adaptability as the field of manipulation decreases when something unpredictable happens. When a person has to exit the highway and drive steadily and slowly on a dirt road he is confused and insecure. Almost stressed out, even though we’ve survived millions of years and have even developed in maladjusted hostile environment.
I'm realizing the speed, pace of life is killing us – literally or indirectly - it makes us tense, stiff and inflexible. So the pain occurs, which warns us about the inefficacy and the entropy.
I have also realized that the standard somatic movements usually do not have enough influence on my clients’ pace of life as they don’t slow down enough and still don’t think about how they should move, how to do things and how to do an exercise with more energy efficency.
Primary intent of the AEQ method is to take time and observe what we do and seek for a better solution. A better solution means to do more, or at least the same amount with less effort (energy). In other words: think twice, do once. Like turning from the highway to the driving skills polygon.
The more we know what we do the more we can enhance our sense of awareness that enables us more control. This allows us more coordination and hence better efficacy, which always feels good as it enables restoration, preservation and improvement of the easy movement and that is a precondition for beautiful, painless and independent life and mature age.
Photo: Primož Korošec for Goodlife