Integrating the Practice of Yoga and Somatics
First face to face workshop of the year.
Venue: Grenoside Community Centre, Main St, Grenoside, S35 8PR.
Date: Saturday 3rd July 10am – 4pm
‘Somatics’ refers to a practice of movement education that enhances internal awareness of the body, whilst improving mobility and coordination in our movements. The Greek word ‘soma’ from which ‘somatics’ derives, refers to the body as it is perceived internally by the individual. It is the ‘living body’ experienced from the first person perspective. When our attention is brought to this inner, somatic experience, we begin to reveal what we know and what we do not know about ourselves.
Through the practice of somatic movement we begin to get in touch with what we are actually, physically feeling, and learn to respond to that. We bring awareness to how we move, and notice what, at the level of the nervous system, may hinder our ability to move with ease and be pain free. The nervous system’s reflexive response to patterns of fear, apprehension and anxiety show up in our bodies. These are natural responses to everyday life, but if habituated, they begin to affect movements that we make in daily life, such as walking, running and even our Yoga practice. This can lead to structural imbalances which can affect the way we breathe, our moods and even the way we think!
In this workshop we will use simple somatic movements to gradually improve the sensorimotor control of our brain. The morning session will involve exploring the Soma, and learning how to control the basic muscle groups in the body, using a technique known as ‘pandiculation’. This allows our muscles to release tension and reset to their natural resting length, whilst improving conscious control of these muscles.
The afternoon will involve bringing somatic awareness into our Asana practice, noticing how the reflexes may appear in the postures. As we improve our sensorimotor control, the movements in Asana become more natural and functional. Rather than trying to fit our body into a certain shape, we learn to adapt the shape of the posture to find steadiness and comfort. We learn to use the postures to enable us to function better in everyday lives, and through practise, begin to find more freedom and less pain in our bodies.
Eric was been practising Yoga since 1996, and has been teaching since 2006. After some years of teaching he became interested in the therapeutic benefits of Yoga, and in 2012 undertook training in Yoga Therapy. He qualified in 2013 as a professional Yoga therapist, and has since been teaching Therapeutic Yoga to individuals and small groups. Eric’s interest in the human body and movement led him to discover Somatics in 2017, and after attending Somatic workshops and classes, and through practising the somatic movements, Eric found that some niggling aches and pains that could not seem to be relieved by Yoga stretches, would soon disappear after just a few Somatic sessions. This led him to undertake Somatic teacher training in 2018 with Martha Peterson of Essential Somatics. He has now been teaching somatics to small groups and individuals for over 2 years, and has incorporated some of the techniques into his Yoga classes. Eric continues to practise and develop his knowledge in this field of movement.