Gentle Somatic Yoga
What is somatic movement?
The soma is you body or your being. To have somatic awareness is to become aware of yourself and your movements from an internal perspective. Somatic movements are gentle and are designed to help you cultivate awareness of those places in your body you have become unaware. We become unaware of places in our body all the time, either through injury or through habituated patterns of unconscious movement. Based on the principles of Hanna Somatic Education, these gentle movements use 'pandiculations' to help the brain to muscle pathway remember and re-pattern itself. Pandiculation is a controlled and gentle contraction and release of a muscle to help re--set and re-activate optimum muscular function.
Using pandicultaion in somatic awareness was developed by Thomas Hanna and Gentle Somatic Yoga was developed by James Knight. Along with Hanna's pandiculations it also integrates the practices of yoga to bring the body into calm, alignment and union with itself.
What to expect from Gentle Somatic Yoga
The sessions are run in a calming environment with blankets and cushions to keep you comfortable. Sessions start by guiding you into mindful awareness of your body and any places you are holding on to tension. When you become aware of these areas you can release and gently unwind unhelpful patterns of tightness and holding on. From this relaxed beginning, gentle movements help you further to unwind and release muscular tension. This is a deeply relaxing process and you are invited at every stage to feel into the space, ease and comfort you are creating within yourself.
We work to address specific patterns of tension held within the body as identified by Thomas Hanna as somatic reflexes. Classes help you to feel these patterns in your body and gently move into and out of them so you can re-set your neuro-muscular awareness and function.
As with all movement practices, the benefits are cumulative, so your body awareness and muscular patterns will change over time.
Can anyone practice?
Yes, of course. The most important thing is to feel comfortable. Feeling at ease helps you bring more relaxation to the body, therefore your comfort is of the utmost importance in this practice. You are invited to sit/lie/move in a way that 'feels good' for you. So pillows, cushions, bolsters or even a chair can be used to help you stay comfortable and get the most out of the movements.