Somatic or embodiment practices involve using our own body, posture, and movement as a uniquely personal laboratory.
When we situate our learning in our first-person experience rather than in the perspective of an external gaze or an internalised objective viewpoint, we enhance our understanding not only of our body, but of the many layers of our being.
The term “somatics” is derived from the Greek word somatikos meaning bodily, or belonging to the body, and since the body is the way in which we come into relationship with all perceptual objects, including emotions, events, and encounters, it is a terrain we can map with the curiosity of new horizons.
At a practical level, somatic enquiries allow us to notice and evaluate habitual patterns of posture and movement that may no longer be serving us well. We find our way into direct relationship with our bodily and emotional motifs of experiences like stress, illness and injury and allow ourselves time to evaluate and experiment with new ways of moving through our tissues - repatterning. By consciously and consensuously repatterning our body, we create a process of profound self-enquiry and self-care.
Located at the confluence of anatomy and physiology, developmental movement, embryology, somatic psychology, the movement arts, and philosophy, somatic practices allow us to expand our self-understanding in ways that fully and fruitfully enhance our understanding of yoga.
We invite ourselves to traverse our body stories beyond prescribed forms of asana and vinyasa, and refresh our connections to ourselves, others, and the collective imagination, even passing through the realm of dreams, myths and cosmologies. As a result, we are empowered to make our own meaning of what it is to be a unique human being in a complex world.