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Movement as Medicine: Exploring Somatic Methods To Heal Body, Mind & Spirit




We all need healing. And there is no one right way to do this. One approach that has gained increasing recognition and popularity is somatic healing, a time-tested and powerful practice which emphasizes the mind-body connection and the role of movement in promoting healing and self-awareness.


In this blog, we'll explore the principles of somatic healing, its benefits, and some examples of how the tools of movement can serve as medicine for the body and soul.




"I am learning this more and more. Each book I wrote, each piece of art I make, each dance I do.... move the body, put pen to paper. brush to canvas, crochet hook to wool...engage the bodymind and soul creatively, authentically, put the psyche in motion and the rest takes care of itself."

.

Lucy Pearce


Understanding Somatic Healing

Our emotions and experiences sit within the body Our bodies hold onto stress, and tension, which can manifest as physical discomfort or illness. Our patterns and beliefs register on a cellular level, and somatic practices help us heal at the foundation.


Regardless of who you are, what you do or what you have you'll encounter moments of low energy, feelings of insecurity, self-doubt, stagnation, imposter syndrome, or powerlessness.


We might be energetically blocked in certain areas of our spiritual body- our chakras and meridians. We may feel stuck, but we're not. We can MOVE.


By tuning into physical sensations and engaging in mindful movement practices, we can release stored emotions and cultivate a deeper sense of self-awareness and well-being.


Through somatic healing, individuals can become their own empathetic witnesses, allowing for the gentle unraveling of tension, the restoration of balance and the cultivation of a sense of calm.



 "The body keeps the score, and it always wins. If you don't pay attention to what's going on in your body, it will let you know in the form of physical symptoms or emotional distress."

Bessel van der Kolk


Benefits of Somatic Healing

The gentle flowing movement of a regular somatic practice can reap amazing benefits for one's physical , mental and emotional health.


MIND

  • develops a greater awareness of their physical selves, fostering a deeper connection between mind and body, thoughts and emotions, leading to greater self-understanding and self-compassion

  • encourages mental clarity

  • creates new neuropathways for confidence and



BODY

  • promotes relaxation

  • helps release tension and stress held in the body

  • helps improve posture, flexibility, circulation and mobility,

  • reduces the risk of illness or injury,

  • alleviates chronic pain

  • enhancing overall physical health

  • stimulating the body's natural healing mechanisms

  • improves cardiovascular health by lowering or increasing heart rate


SPIRIT

  • promotes inner peace

  • supports in the processing and releasing of trapped emotions

  • increases emotional resilience and well-being.

  • balances the masculine/feminine energy,

  • balances the hemispheres of the brain

  • grounds us into our truth and authenticity



"I have found that moving the body and releasing emotional holdings is what brought me into a more naturally meditative and connected state. Not sitting on the cushion, passive like a sloth. The patriarchal spiritualists have been telling us that 'meditation' and 'contemplation' and 'witnessing’ are THE path to calm mind for centuries, and many of them are still unwell in their personal lives. Nothing changed. They dance in the witness- essentially a mind function- and addict to meditative practice, like a drug. And the moment they have to really deal with the world, their unresolved material re-emerges, always present. If you have to participate in a practice hours every day to calm yourself, that suggests that something is not working.


We are built for presence, so long as we activate our natural abilities to clear and re-open. And that's often a body alive path. It's been my experience that the monkey mind is transformed within the heart itself- not from within the mind. And that the heart is cleared through somatic activation and energized release. A great many people are walking around feeling 'inadequate' and 'unenlightened' because they don't like to meditate. Let that go. Meditation is a tool, but it is not the only path home. There are trillions of ways to touch the moment."

Jeff Brown




Examples of Somatic Healing Practices


Body Awareness

Body scans are somatic healing practices that involve bringing focused attention to different parts of the body, often from head to toe or vice versa. During a body scan, individuals systematically tune into sensations, tension, and areas of comfort or discomfort in each body part, without judgment or the need to change anything. This practice cultivates mindfulness and self-awareness, allowing individuals to develop a deeper connection with their bodies and better understand their physical and emotional needs.


Start by settling into a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down, with your spine tall and your body relaxed. Take a few deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth, allowing any tension to release with each exhale.


Now, bring your awareness to your eyes, gently closing them if they're open, allowing them to relax completely. Notice any sensations around your eyes and let them soften.


Next, bring your attention to your jaw. Release any clenching or tension by allowing your jaw to hang loose and your teeth to unclench. Feel the muscles in your face relax as you let go of any tightness.


Now, shift your focus to your shoulders. With each breath, imagine any tension melting away, allowing your shoulders to drop down and away from your ears. Feel a sense of heaviness and relaxation spreading through your shoulders and down your arms.


Moving down to your hands and fingers, notice any sensations in these areas. With each breath, imagine any tightness or tension dissolving, allowing your hands to become warm, heavy, and completely relaxed.


Bringing your awareness to your belly, allow it to rise and fall naturally with each breath, feeling the gentle rhythm of your breath calming your body and mind. Notice any sensations in your belly and simply observe them without judgment. Exhale deeply and let it hang out.


Now, direct your attention to your pelvic floor. Relax any tension in this area, letting go of any holding or tightness. Feel a sense of grounding and stability as you release and relax the muscles in your pelvic floor.


Moving down to your toes and feet, notice any sensations in these areas. With each breath, imagine any tightness or tension dissolving, allowing all your limbs to become heavy, and completely relaxed.


Take a few moments to scan your body from head to toe, noticing any areas of remaining tension and allowing them to soften with each breath. As you continue to breathe deeply and slowly, feel a sense of calm and relaxation spreading throughout your entire body, bringing you into a state of deep peace and presence.


When you feel ready, gently open your eyes and take a moment to reconnect with your surroundings before slowly returning to your day, carrying this sense of relaxation and ease with you.



Yoga

The ancient practice of Yoga combines breathwork, meditation, and physical postures to cultivate inner peace and balance


  • Sun Salutation Flow

  • Asanas and Poses to activate each Chakra

    • Root: grounding Mountain Pose, Sufi Ground, Bridge, Chair, Warrior

    • Sacral: hip-opening Bound Angle Pose, Butterfly Wings, Triangle, Goddess

    • Solar Plexus: core-strengthening Boat Pose, Spine Rotations/Twists, Circling the torso with arms up, Crescent, Plank, Bow Pose, Downward Dog

    • Heart: heart-opening Camel Pose, Upright Cat-Cow, Camel,

    • Throat: communication/expression opening Fish Pose, Neck Rolls, Cat Cow, Plow Pose, Shoulderstand

    • Third Eye: resting Child's Pose, Gyan Mudra Meditation, Downward Dog,

    • Crown: inversion Headstand or Legs Up, Lotus Pose, Tree Pose, Standing Backbend




Ecstatic Dance

Dance therapy utilizes movement and expression as a means of self-exploration and healing. By moving intuitively, freely and authentically, individuals can tap into their emotions, access states of flow and ecstasy, and connect with themselves and others on a deep, soulful level.


Ecstatic dance is a somatic healing practice that combines free-form movement, music, and self-expression to facilitate emotional release, catharsis, and connection with the body and spirit. Unlike traditional dance forms, ecstatic dance emphasizes spontaneity, authenticity, and non-judgmental movement, allowing individuals to express themselves freely without the constraints of choreography or technique. Participants are encouraged to follow the rhythm of the music and allow their bodies to respond organically to the present moment.


"Movement is life. Life is a process. Improve the quality of the process and you improve the quality of life itself."

Moshe Feldenkrais


Meditative Martial Arts

Qi Gong and Tai Chi are effective somatic healing practices because they combine gentle movements, controlled breathing, and mindfulness to promote the flow of qi (life energy) throughout the body. By practicing mediitative martial arts individuals can cultivate a sense of balance, harmony, and inner peace



Bouncing

Heel bounces are a somatic healing method that involves gently bouncing on the heels while standing or sitting. This rhythmic movement helps release tension in the lower body and promotes relaxation by stimulating circulation and lymphatic flow. Heel bounces can be particularly beneficial for relieving stiffness in the legs and feet, improving mobility, and grounding the body.


Breathwork

Breathwork is a somatic practices that involve regulating and pacing the breath to promote relaxation and reduce stress.


  • 4 count breath

  • 8 count breath

  • Breath of Fire


Self-Massage

Self-massage is a somatic healing practice that involves applying gentle pressure and circular motions to parts of the body to boost circulation and release tension. These self-massage techniques can be easily incorporated into daily self-care routines and are effective for promoting overall well-being and relaxation.

  • Massaging the ears

  • Massaging the hands

  • Massaging the scalp


"The body is the gateway to healing. Through somatic awareness and mindful movement practices, we can release tension, restore balance, and reconnect with our innate vitality."

Stanley Keleman



Wrapping It Up


Remember when we feel stuck it usually means we're on the edge of a MASSIVE LEAP!


Somatic healing offers a holistic approach to healing and self-discovery, emphasizing the importance of movement as medicine for the body and soul. Through mindful movement practices, individuals can release tension, promote relaxation, and cultivate a deeper connection between mind and body.


So, let us embrace the healing power of movement and embark on a journey of self-discovery and transformation.


I look forward to hearing what these practices can unlock for you.



Overwhelmed?

Depressed?

Stressed?

Stagnant?

Agitated?

Anxious?

Angry?


Then Move Your Body: the simple solution to it all.


 




Erin is a certified feng shui consultant, energy healer, wellness coach, and holistic growth strategist.


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