The idea of a concise, compelling description of ‘Somatics’ that can be communicated in the short span of an elevator ride makes good sense.
It makes good sense because, as a Somatics educator, I am often asked: “What exactly do you do?” or, “What is Somatics?” and “How does it work?”
So often, I am met by that bewildered gaze whenever I dare mention the “word”.
As a longtime yoga instructor, the elevator pitch has been much easier, if even necessary. Most people have at least some general understanding of what’s involved in the practice of yoga. Somatics, however, is different.
Many of us are terrified of embodiment. We can’t face our broken hearts, the chaos in our minds or the pain in our bodies. We yearn instead for transcendental bliss. Every chance we get, we go off into the beautiful light instead of choosing to face the continually unnerving yet miraculous experience of living that light in our bodies. In this way we continue to separate the realm of the soul from the body.
As far back as I remember, I had two great passions—one for the Divine and one for dance. My whole life has been a search in how to bring these two into direct sacred marriage. The road to this marriage has been long, fierce and difficult yet very rewarding – a road in which I immersed myself in different styles of dance and mystical teachings in my search for this unity of soul and body, spirit and matter, through which I have come to create the style that I perform and teach today, called Dance of Oneness. Continue reading Alchemy of the Dance →
Our bodies – are they objects to be trained and taught from the outside, as most of our exercise, movement and dance programs do for us? Or can the body be seen as a 4 billion year biological process that contains an inner movement of expression that is unique and important to be listened to for the sake of our health and wellness?
Most of our exercise programs come from an external model that “teach” the body how to move and what to do next. A movement vocabulary is being overlaid upon the natural flow and movement of the inner body’s expression. It is much like the founder of Continuum, Emilie Conrad, said, “We treat our body like an object – it is to be “trained” and decorated with clothes, makeup, and jewelry”. She felt we should consider seeing the body as a profound biological process with deep, inherent wisdom of truth and health for us individually.
One evening, after I had spent an evening in a small bookstore in Massachusetts, giving a reading from my book about travels with the Koryak people of the Kamchatka Peninsula in Eastern Siberia, a woman came up to me and introduced herself as Jody. She told me that she was the artistic director for a dance company called Weber Dance and that she had liked my reading, adding that she was interested in knowing if I might consider working with them to integrate the Koryak message into the ecstasy of dance. Jody told me that she had been making dances for over twenty years, and had immediately recognised the power of my story and the importance of the Koryak people’s message. She told me that she felt she had nothing to lose by asking me, and as it turned out, I had nothing to lose by saying yes. It seemed we were destined to create together, and so we constructed a dance called ‘Synchronicity and the Sacred Space,’ where the magic of the Koryak worldview was expressed as the joyous movement of swirling bodies. Our artistic collaboration continues to generate an ongoing dialogue about the message of ‘Tundra, Hunter and Shaman.’