What is Somatics?
‘Soma’ is a term attributed to philosopher Thomas Hanna, who says
“A ‘soma’ isn’t a body and it isn’t a mind; it’s the living process…The soma indicates both mental and physiological events, all functions of the body – as a single process, a process that is called soma.” (read more)
Somatic movement practices use movement as a means of experiencing our own soma, heightening body awareness and providing tools to listen to the wisdom of the body. Most somatic practices believe that YOU are the expert of your own body and mind, and that your experience of yourself is most important in your life. Somatic movement practices facilitate your ability to listen to your own body and teach you tools for ‘tuning in’ as well as engaging with the world from an embodied perspective.
What is Body-Mind Centering®?
Body-Mind Centering® (BMC) is a Somatic practice begun in the 1970s by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, and developed over subsequent decades by her work with many students. BMC grounds its work in the understanding of cellular intelligence, that is, a knowing of truth that exists on a cellular level, an intelligence that exists in the cells. In BMC, we work with the cells and the community of cells that we call tissues — these have familiar names such as bone, muscle, organ, gland — and communities of these tissues we call systems — the skeletal system, the muscular system, the endocrine system, the organ systems, etc.
Often in our culture, we talk about intelligence as if it lives solely in the brain. We imagine our brain as a big boss telling the rest of our body what to do. When we have pain in our bodies, often we use our brains to help us figure out how to ‘fix’ the problem. We encounter, as well, a common difficulty in our brain also acting as a dictator, running us over as we over-think. You may be familiar with meditation or other mindfulness practices that support a calming of the mind and bringing awareness and attention to the present moment.
Body-Mind Centering® brings the attention of a mindfulness practice to focus on our own bodies, and offers methods and tools to help us sense our bodies and perceive their inherent intelligence. BMC offers ‘ways in’ to the body, inviting an ever-deepening sense of embodiment.
When we are fully-embodied, we are aware of our sensations and perceptions in the moment, and meet the challenges and joys of the present. When we are able to listen to the wisdom of the body, we can adapt and adjust our movements and behaviors to bring more ease and less pain. Adjusting our movements and behaviors for long-term ease is a process we call ‘re-patterning’. As a certified Somatic Movement Educator, I can offer support for your re-patterning, in group classes and in private sessions.
75-minute sessions tailored to your needs. Sessions include the following elements: check-in, grounding practice, experiential anatomy, and time for integration. I work with you at your pace. I highly recommend taking time after the session to journal, move or otherwise create expression.
$40-$85 sliding scale.
(Monthly, Third Fridays, 12:00-12:45 pm)
Somatic Sangha* is a monthly gathering where we practice body-based mindfulness and meditation. This is an opportunity to “tune in” to the body and hear what the body has to say. Noticing and observing what is happening within us, we can open up space to breathe, to notice, to bring awareness and to change.
This is a new offering and will develop over time in accordance with the needs of the participants. We may, at times, incorporate some movement practices. Sessions will always end with an integration/reflection period that will include writing/drawing/resting and a brief, optional, sharing.
This event is always free. Donations are accepted but not necessary or required. Sessions begin and end promptly.
*”Sangha” comes from the Buddhist tradition, meaning a community of practitioners at all levels – monks, nuns, novices and laity. We use this term for two reasons: to encourage folks of all skill levels to attend, and to point to the integration of Buddhist principles into the work. In Buddhism, the sangha is an essential part of practice – we must practice in community. Body-Mind Centering® also has this principle. My background in Buddhism consists of a B.A. in Eastern Religion, having studied with Dr. Victor Hori, which brought a good understanding of philosophy and principles of many sects of Buddhism. However, Buddhism is a practice, too. I have training in First Level Shambhala Meditation with Jim Dresher, and led weekly, community-based, body-based meditation classes for a year preceding COVID.