Key concept: Cellular Awareness
What you call body, mind, and “self” is a well functioning community of 70-90 trillion cells, all synergistically working together for the good of the whole. You are mostly healthy and the concerns of one cell are the concerns of all cells.Cellular awareness is the foundation for somatic inquiry. It represents a paradigm whereby we can have direct experience of our cellular consciousness.
To understand this, consider that every cell in the body must have awareness of itself in order to function. Every individual cell must know who it is in order to do it’s job. It has a sense of self. Cells work with neighbours to form tissues, tissues group together to form systems. Systems communicate with other systems. This is all “you.” Each cell eats, digests, rests, has inner and outer movement, has the equivalent of every system in your body; it reproduces, breathes, eliminates, communicates, and can migrate or move around. It has a history and lineage.
Both cells and tissues have clear function, they do their jobs, but they also can both hold and release perceptual and emotional information for the good of the whole community.
Key concept: The Nervous System Records Our Lived Experience
Experience first occurs on the cellular level. Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, founder of Body-Mind Centering, puts it this way:”The nervous system is the recording system of the body. It records our lived experiences and organizes them into patterns. The nervous system has qualities of alertness, quiet presence, deep restfulness, thought, and precision of coordination… It establishes the perceptual base from which we view and interact with our internal and external worlds.”
We do this in great part through sensory and motor integration, where learning is based on sensing and responding to internal and external stimuli. You form your perceptions based on your unique cycle of sensing and responding to those stimuli. Perceptions are patterns of beliefs and expectation about yourself and the world.
A somatic perspective on the organization of the nervous system invites us to notice the ways we habitually hold ourselves together. It allows us the space to notice and to reconsider how we anticipate, track, project, analyze, rest, intend, attend, act, sense and respond to our internal and external world.
Somatic movement therapy, Qigong, yoga, dance, body work and mindfulness practices allow us to re-pattern the nervous system through touch, movement and rest.
Key somatic methods: Somatization, and Experiential Anatomy
Somatization is an experiential learning method, which guides you through an experiential process. You are invited to explore internal and external movement, you can move freely or observe inner movement in stillness. You do not have to watch the teacher, keep your eyes open or stay upright. The teacher will offer a rich tapestry of images and invitations, take what resonates and let the rest wash over you. You are invited to immerse yourselves in an experience and ask questions later during discussion time, which will be provided.
Experiential Anatomy is a learning method based on “cellular awareness” where we explore the form, function, sensation and movement inherent in body cells, tissues and systems. We put attention on specific tissues and thereby foster direct experience and embodiment. Body tissues are understood to have innate consciousness, which we can explore through visualization, hands-on partnering exercises and somatizations.