(with a little taster at the end)
What does somatic mean? In the Feldenkrais somatic movement education community, we are asking ourselves this question: Do people understand what we mean by this word?
Soma means the body as experienced from within. The felt sense of ourselves. So somatic refers to the study of experiencing ourselves from within the body. An embodied experience of ourselves. Somatic movement adds movement as a way to experience our body through sensations.
Just as the mind gives us a felt thought of ourselves and a visual image of our body, our body gives us a sense of ourselves through the way we move and hold ourselves together. Sensing brings our attention to the space that exists beyond words and feelings, to our sensations and emotions. Gene Gendlin, a somatic educator, has written beautifully eloquently about the body as our compass for thinking, feeling, and acting. I feel he describes soma, the felt sense of ourselves very poetic and magical through his words.
He writes -and I quote loosely- that our body is part of a huge system that is both here and in other places and embodies the now as well as other times. It is in constant curious interaction with its environment, the energy of others, the earth, the universe, our ancestors, past times, and other dimensions.
Energies flow in, out, and through, evoking emotions and sensations. We touch, see, smell, taste, and hear our environment every little fraction of time. Millions of cells sensate with now-information, emote with past experience, are moved by energy, and inform and co-create our brain’s magic network of connections and relationships.
Being consciously in connection with what is alive inside, feeling from the body, and being present in the body is feeling bodily alive in this vast universal system of relationships, interactions, and movement. Our conscious mind only can just comprehend a fraction of this. For me, somatics is about this conscious embodiment and self-awareness that connects us in a sensory way to that bigger meaning of life where words and mental constructions fall short.
Wikipedia shares another definition of somatic that brings in psychology as well:
…the study of the mind/body interface, the relationship between our physical matter and our energy, and the interaction of our body structures with our thoughts and actions.
It brings me to a statement Moshe Feldenkrais made that there is a unity of body and mind. One does not function without the other. They are an inseparable whole while functioning. A brain without a body could not think, a body without a brain could not function. So when we experience the body from within, we experience our mind from within as well.
Through aware movement, we experience our brain’s way of thinking and organizing from within. The way our self-image and movement develop through emotions, feelings, and thoughts.
What are the benefits of the somatic movement practices I share?
- Experiencing ourselves from within makes us feel our depths, our wonders, and the magic of life. Well isn’t that a spark for our vitality?
- Experiencing our body from within helps us understand our thoughts and feelings. It creates a co-creation between body and mind. It teaches us about the relationship dynamics that are all possible between our mind and body. What would it be like to tap into your full potential of strengths, gifts, and abilities?
- Experiencing our body from within teaches us about the relationships between our muscles, organs, connective tissue, emotions, thoughts, and feelings. All motor movement starts here and can be improved by improving these relationships. What would you do if you would feel free and able in your daily life movements and actions? How would it change your life if you can consciously choose movement that feels free and pleasurable, that navigates you effortlessly through life’s challenges?
- Experiencing the body from within teaches us about relationships. Our body guides us in getting to know our habits in relationship dynamics. Having this understanding helps us re-pattern habits that create struggles in relationships. How would be if you feel confident and open in relationships? How would it be if you could feel true, intimate, deep, and joyful in the relationships that are important to you?
In the somatic movement practices of Feldenkrais and dance movement creativity, I offer self-awareness and self-growth. Not because you have to be a better version of yourself but to guide you in getting to know, feel, and express more of yourself with joy, love, and innate playfulness. And experience relationships with more intimacy, ease, and being you
I call it somatic dance play and movement exploration. In playing we find all the tools to experience ourselves from a non-judgmental and curious place. Being playful brings us to a place where we can be open, exploring, and joyful. It is the most important state for organic, experiential learning.
My offer is an invitation to rediscover playful, spontaneous Being and consciously choose the path of pleasure and ease to navigate through life. I believe it all starts with coming home in our bodies and building a caring, joyful relationship with ourselves.
Are we loving enough to ourselves to receive our gifts ourselves first?
In this link, you’ll find a somatic dance play audio to start your own somatic journey. Dance through it with your eyes closed or open and have fun exploring relationships through your joints.