Somatic Yoga - Our Body is our Brain

Somatic Yoga - Our Body is our Brain
Guest post
Apr 2019

Our Body is Our Brain:
The Basis of Somatic Yoga
by Daphne Chua
What is Somatic Yoga?
The notion of practising yoga might in itself present itself as a scary concept for some.
I've heard many utter...
"I'm not flexible enough!"
" Are you kidding? I can't bring my legs behind my head,"
" It's a practice for women"
" It's too boring"
" I will break before I start"
Contemporary yoga presents a svelte, slim, flexible, bikini-toned, model-like poster image of what a modern yogi (yogini) should look like.
The power of glossy marketing have certainly encouraged many to take up this form of fitness modality as it is now a modality practiced by over 36 million people*. However, it has also turned away many others who might have the notion that Yoga is an exclusive club for social media savants.

The accessibility of Yoga has often been mistakenly positioned as a practice for:
1. those who are hyper-mobile enough to pick up the practice easily,
2. those we are determined enough to put themselves through the ordeal of contortionism, or
3. those who thick-skinned enough to suffer through the humiliation of being "stiff".

The yoga landscape is really diverse now with a gazillion choices on styles and lineages.
It can be overwhelming to even get started! There is Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Power Yoga, Hot Yoga, HIIT Yoga, Yin Yoga, Barre Yoga, even Beer Yoga, Dog Yoga... and the list goes on...

But what if, just what if, Yoga isn't about touching your toes or forcing your body into odd shapes or being able to look good in Lululemon gear, to get a glimpse into enlightenment?
What if it is actually a practice centred around cultivating awareness, using different toolkits, to better connect body and mind? What if it can be fun, accessible, engaging? What if it can offer you insight into how you carry your beliefs through your body so you have more choices? What if it helps you to understand more about your relationships with self and others so you have more confidence, clarity and empathy in your interactions?

For me personally, Yoga is first and foremost, a somatic practice to arrive into the present moment.
What does that mean?
Soma comes from a Greek word connoting "The Living Body" - pertaining to the consciousness of our living body, experienced and regulated from within. It is an exploration into waking up our innate senses to uncover our mind-body mapping. The practice shines a light on our habitual but mostly unconscious neurological patterning that will show up in how we breath, how we move, how we react to circumstances. These are manifested through pre-dispositions, deep seated patterning, and years of conditioning.

The practice of Somatic Yoga is thus a process of inquiry into how consciousness inhabits the living body.
Somatic Yoga brings together mindfulness through movement, meditation, breath work, touch, visualisations, sounds, creative expressions etc, to dive deep into our consciousness and our embodied biological processes. Through sensory-motor education we can also improve motor control, coordination, and change learned muscular patterns. This approach to yoga is highly effective in relieving chronic pain, improving bodily function, and recovering from common musculoskeletal conditions.

What are Somatic Principles?

A Body-Sensing Approach

So how are we shaped?

The Benefits of Somatic Yoga

"The mind is like the wind & the body is like the sand. If you want to know how the wind is blowing, you can look at the sand."
~ Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Founder of Body Mind Centering

* Figures quoted from ~ http://media.yogajournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016YIAS-Release-Final.pdf

Daphne will be offering Somatic Yoga & Movement Therapy at Pure Flow Yoga Retreats in gorgeous Koh Phangan from May 27 to June 28, 2019.
Join her on this journey of self-exploration into uncovering your very own healing through movement, breath-work, hands-on techniques, and creative expressions to unravel our innate intelligence to nurture our body, mind and spirit.
Certified Yoga Therapist | Teacher Trainer | Bodyworker | Movement Educator | E-RYT 500 & YACEP Yoga Alliance | GCYT - Yoga Australia & AAYT
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