The program began in January 2012 for those people who wanted to deepen their understanding of Somatic work and its application in their professional and personal lives. This professional development program offers practitioners from differing fields of health, arts and yoga, the opportunity to study, deepen and refine their engagement with the somatic based work of Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen (Body-Mind Centering®). You will gain confidence in assessing and discerning somatic integration problems and working ‘hands-on’ with clients in your work as health practitioners, artists, yoga practitioners, educators and therapists.
January & March 2018
January 22 – 26: Embryology
March 12 – 16: Basic Neurocellular Patterns – Pre-Vertebral
March 20 – 24: Basic Neurocellular Patterns – Vertebral
To embody and understand this work, many hours of self-study and research will be needed to explore these principles and techniques on your own and over the coming years. Your studies will be supported by private sessions and supervised practice.
Embodying bones offers us an experience of our inner structure and architecture. We discover the skeletal system’s capacity to stabilize and mobilize. How as a basic framework it gives form and structure to our body; contains our organs; offers qualities of clarity and effortlessness; provides stability, leverage and mobility through space; and supports our articulation of form in space. Embodying the skeletal system supports the mind-body becoming structurally organized. Through anatomical and somatic exploration we discover both the specificity of our articulating bones and their global organization in locomotion through space. The study will engage with anatomical understandings of the axial and appendicular skeleton; layers of bone; and joint action.
Embodying organs connect us with our emotions, aspirations, memories and sense of personal history. Organs are the contents of our musculo-skeletal container. They are about process, fullness and emotional expression. Their activity underlies our movement through space. They provide inner support for our movement, breath and voice. Organ tone underlies ‘presence’ and our sense of vitality. As the contents of our bodies, our organs provide us with a sense of volume and weight. They are multi-dimensional in their expression and support. Our voice emanates from our organs as new-borns and it is this rich source of expression that we will engage with in our study of the organs individually and in the systems they contribute to, including: respiration; circulation; digestion; elimination; sexuality and reproduction. Through guided explorations you will feel and sense the contribution of the organ system in the expression of self and engagement with others. Their global organization in locomotion provides buoyant resiliency and ease.
Senses & Perceptions and the Vestibular System
Through an embodiment of our sense organs we feel and sense the role they contribute to our expression of self and engagement with others: The action of perceiving and the perceiving in action. Our senses begin as potential and develop in response to stimulation and experience. The senses of touch and movement are located throughout the body – in every cell. The senses of vision, hearing, taste and smell are located in the head. It is through our senses that we receive information from our internal environment (ourselves) and the external environment (others and the world). How we filter, modify, distort, accept, reject, and use that information is part of the act of perceiving. Perception is a global experience. It is the psychophysical process of interpreting information based on past experience, present circumstances and future expectations. When we choose to absorb information, we bond to that aspect of our environment. When we block out information, we defend against that aspect. Learning is the process by which we vary our responses to information based on the context of each situation. From the recognition that, the moving body is perceiving, we can begin to realize an embodied kinaesthetic knowing through our organs of perception and their relationship to the planes of existence, gravity and space.
Embodying fluids underlies the experience of presence and transformation. Fluids support our feeling life and our capacity for empathic response. We are essentially a fluid dynamic body, changing from breath to breath and moment to moment. Our fluids flow in the rivers and streams of our arteries, veins, lymphatic and CSF channels, changing properties and characteristics as it passes through different membranes, channels and interacts with different substances. As we bring awareness to the potential of these changing states of being, we become more flexible and responsive as we develop the capacity to bring our inner and outer environments into dynamic relationship. All our cells rely on the exchange of fluids for continuing life … interruption causes weakness, disorder and disease. Through our fluids we are in an inter-dependent relationship with the lived world of the planet.
Embodying the nervous system underlies the experience of alertness, thought and precision of movement and establishes the perceptual base for interaction with our internal and external worlds. Underlying nervous system learning is cellular learning. The cells initiate an experience that the nervous system then registers and lays down the organization of the pattern of the experience. The nervous system can then repeat or call forth the pattern of the experience and modify the pattern by integrating it with the patterns of other experiences. The nervous system is the last to know, but once knowing, it becomes a primary controlling centre of the body’s processes. In this module we will explore the Central/Peripheral, Autonomic/Somatic and Enteric nervous systems. As we gain insight into our personal style we learn to recognize and reflect on our responses to differing stimuli, widening the field of our awareness and through this our capacity for relationship.
Embodying the muscular system gives us a sense of our power and vitality and allows us to engage in dialogues between resistance and resolution. In concert with our bones, our skeletal muscles allow us to move through space, skilfully achieve specific tasks and provides the flesh covering of our bodies, offering comfort and ease in our moving lives. As we explore from a generic muscle mind to a more specific awareness we discover the many different roles our muscles play in our moving lives. Learning to respond to their sensitivity as well as their power creates breadth and depth in ourselves and adds dimension to the expression of who we are. When we engage with our muscles with awareness, we also invite more flexibility and responsiveness. They contribute generously to our active participation in expressing who we are and we can then bring these qualities into relationship in the world and with others.
This course will include elements of the ligament system - Embodying the ligamentous system helps us to perceive and articulate clarity of focus and concentration to detail.
Endocrine system, Breath & Voice
Embodying the endocrine system allows us to experience both internal stillness and surges of chaos/balance as we shift the crystallization of our energy. The endocrine glands underlie intuition, spontaneity, impulse, resonance and perceiving Universal Mind. A primary and ancient network of communication, it is the first system to mature indicating its primacy in our survival through relationship and attachment. The endocrine glands are the major chemical governing system of the body and are closely aligned with the nervous system.
Breath & Voice
We manifest our state of being through our breath and we communicate with the world through the expressive qualities of our voice. Our voice reflects the functioning of all of our body systems and the process of our developmental integration. Bringing kinaesthetic and auditory consciousness to our vocal structures opens pathways of expression between our unconscious and our conscious mind and between ourselves and others. Breathing and vocalization are a continuum of the same process. The breath powers the voice and the voice strengthens and reflects how we breathe. Both reflect our state of being and health.
Embodying embryological consciousness we gain insight into our personal evolutionary story – our sense of space, time and orientation. We discover potentiality within ourselves. This is the study of human development during the first eight weeks following conception/fertilization. Through embodied anatomy and somatic guidance we explore the origin of ourselves from 2 cells to the complexity of embryonic life. Conception involves the joining of the ovum of the mother and the sperm of the father – two diverse cells create a unique individual. New life pauses on the threshold of becoming. By exploring early embryological development, we discover the primal roots of our structure, perception, respondability and presence. From cellular breathing to the embodiment of all our tissues– we sense and feel our way towards the embryological consciousness that is still present in us.
Basic Neurocellular Patterns
Embodying developmental movement brings all our movement history into the present moment. During the course of this study you will be mentored through the different stages of human evolution from pre-vertebral to vertebral, from pre-birth to locomotion. We will embody these patterns and learn how they establish the foundation for attachment, language and communication. At a later stage, as we add the study of the Skeletal, Organ, Fluid and Endocrine systems we will integrate how these systems support and contribute to the integration of the Developmental Movement Patterns and contribute to building the brain through neurological pathways and connections. The integration of these patterns brings fluidity, openness, power and clarity to all of our actions.
The developmental stages of our ontogenetic evolution from conception to readiness for birth, mirror the phylogenetic life of different animal species – from the single celled animal to the pre-spinal amphioxus. You will learn how to support re-patterning and integration of these neurological pathways through skilful observation and hands-on practice.
The developmental stages of our ontogenetic evolution from the readiness for birth, to standing and walking, mirror the phylogenetic life of different animal species – from the spinal fish to contralateral mammals. You will learn how to support re-patterning and integration of these neurological pathways through skilful observation and hands-on practice.
Primitive Reflexes, Righting Reactions and Equilibrium Responses (RRR’s)
Embodying and integrating the RRR’s supports all successful, effortless movement. If the Basic Neurocellular Patterns are the words, the Primitive Reflexes, Righting Reactions and Equilibrium Responses are the alphabet of our movement. The reflexes are the most primitive patterns that occur in response to specific stimuli, and they establish basic survival patterns of function, co-ordination of eye-hand and hand-foot. The righting reactions are important in establishing a vertical or upright posture against gravity and a continuous head-torso axis. The equilibrium responses are patterns, which maintain balance of the whole body in the dynamic relationship between the shifting of one's centre of gravity through space and one's base of support. Re-stimulating and uncovering the alphabet of our movement patterns can be illuminating.
Through somatic practice we access ways to transform habitual psychophysical habits to more fully embody potential and a range of possibilities present in relationship. This requires playing an active role in the direction of transformation through continuous presence, mindfulness and relationship with self, other, community and the environment. Guided somatizations will encourage and enable embodiment of the different systems and neurocellular patterns that lay the ground for deeper emotional, psychological and physical integration. As we attend to moving as research we attune our whole self to being present in each moment with as much awareness as possible. This provides insight and the potential to support clients in their integration and transformation of experience.
Within these courses the following will be integrated and included in related studies:
Over the course of these studies opportunity is given for each student to bring their current research enquiries to the group. This can be regarding their personal or professional life as well as questions they have in regard to how they are experiencing the work. It is a time for reflexive exchange for everyone.
Embodying cellular consciousness helps us transition between receptivity and expression, listening and speaking and helps us perceive the needs of community in the present moment.