Body as Self
A person’s psychological history is alive and present in everything he does and the style in which he does it. It’s in how people use their bodies, how they move, where the tension is, what the posture is like, and the structure. So, you can look at the body for psychological information.”
— Ron Kurtz, founder of Hakomi body-centered psychotherapy
Somatics defines the body as an expression of one’s entire being. More than just a collection of anatomical parts, the body is a dynamic vessel that holds our life experience and shapes our thinking, language, posture, actions, emotions, moods, energy level, health, and relationships.
Our body is coherent with how we have literally “shaped” ourselves — managed to fit in, to be loved, to be safe in our surroundings. For example, if a child is told whatever she says is stupid, she may constrict her neck, throat, and jaw in order to quell her natural voice. Later in life, when in a leadership position, words get stuck in her throat, and it’s painful when she tries to speak. Or her jaw begins hurting, and the dentist says she’s been grinding her teeth in her sleep.
Embodied learning can take place over time or in one eventful experience—good or bad. It affects us down to the level of our cells and how they function. As an educational and transformational approach to living, somatics provides many ways to return our awareness to the places in our body and life that we’ve ignored or hidden.
Each day, each moment, the world provides challenges that can be joyful or painful, that may ground us or throw us off balance. Our bodies contain much more than the physical components necessary for survival. The living body is a resource we can tap into to create a whole new range of possibilities for health, creativity, communication, and connection—personally, in communities, and globally.