What's in the pause?

You will have noticed that in somatic movement classes there is a lot of pausing and noticing, commonly called a body scan. Far from having a little sleep, the body scan in somatic movement classes allows for a number of things to occur in the practice:


Firstly, bringing attention to the body is a way of beginning a practice to take you out of your mind and daily business and helps you transition into the space of awareness and observation of yourself.


Secondly, slowing down and coming to stillness brings a change in brain state, so that you are relaxed and not beginning your practice from a state of excess tension. It takes time to go from one state to another as you will observe when you come to sit or lie on your mat. Not something to be forced, but giving yourself time to settle into stillness.

Thirdly, observing the body and just noticing how it is begins to prepare you to move through the class without judgement, so that you can see yourself clearly and make discoveries and movement choices from where you are.

Finally, a body scan before and after movements helps the brain and body notice contrasts. This is the learning that takes place. A body scan allows you to contrast each side of the body and the differences found between them. Or, it can allow you to contrast your muscular holding and patterning before and after each movement flow.


Allowing space to notice differences, no matter how small, allows the brain to learn and re-educate itself in how to function. If we just flowed from one to the next without taking pause then we would miss all of this great information that's coming to us.


So there you have it, the reasons why we do so much pausing and noticing in somatic movement. I hope it gives you more depth to your practice.