The term “Somatics” was coined in the 1970’s by Thomas Hanna, who defines it as, “the field of study dealing with the human being experiencing himself (or herself) from the inside.” It is a term used to represent the body, mind, spirit connection and the environment around us for a more unified and more efficient way of living. The main objectives of somatics include whole body integration (body, mind, spirit connection), the release of unneeded stress or tension, increase of muscle efficiency, balance, and tuning into proprioceptive sensations in the process. Also, to become more informed of your being, and allowing your subconscious to tap into the innate wisdom your body tends to ignore due to the mechanics we have been taught in other aspects of life.
The different techniques of somatics have been divided up into three sub categories, which are Active Techniques, Passive Techniques, and Active and Passive which require both from the participant. Active Techniques include Ideokinesis, Feldenkrais (group work), Yoga, Meditation, and Pilates. Passive Techniques include Rolfing and Massage Therapy. Active and Passive Techniques are Alexander, Feldenkrais (solo work), Body-Mind Centering, and Bartenieff Fundamentals. While there are many somatic techniques emerging all over the world, these are the most practiced in today’s society. Not every technique will work for everyone and it is important to not let yourself harbor frustration if you haven’t found a technique that works for you. It is important to remember that each individual is unique, and that everyone’s path to finding equilibrium, efficiency, and an integration of the mind-body-spirit connection must be as personalized.
When you consistently participate in somatic practices it not only informs your body, but your creativity as well. This allows for greater movement expressivity and an awareness of your mind and body that will carry you throughout your daily life. Somatic practices provide us with a larger pallet and vocabulary to explore our internal and external worlds. It affords us the freedom to allow inspiration and creativity to generate and flow from.
Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, a leader in developing Body-Mind Centering said, “Creativity, like breath, is a life force alive in all people.” If we dedicate time everyday to to getting in touch with our bodies, the benefits are not only infinite.
Come check out our Somatics workshops this weekend with master teachers Michelle Cohen-Coté and Shelley Senter (Alexander Technique). For more information, click here.
Image by Alex Grey