Somatic Wisdom through Embodiment

Philosophical and Somatic Principles

The program encourages students to realize their originality and potential through self-discovery and engagement with others. The work recognises we are relational beings in a relational world. As understanding and insight develop through the refinement of sensing and feeling, students expand their perception, range of expression and empathic capacity to work with others.

Practice of care
For the duration of each module, students will be living together and we share meals and convivial evenings of poetry readings. It is important to cultivate a practice of care both between us and for the place. Creating a safe place for the work to be experienced is essential for everyone to participate equally. The ground of respect for our differences begins here and constitutes an important aspect of the learning process. This extends to creating future inter-collegial relationships based on respect, integrity and diversity.

Somatic Practices: Body-Mind Centering® and Authentic Movement
Body-Mind Centering and Authentic Movement are practices based on a philosophy and understanding of mindful embodiment – the integration of kinaesthetic, conceptual and cellular knowing which understands and allows for intelligence to emerge from multiple sources in the bodymind and is not reliant or insistent upon a dominant rational knowing. That knowing is emergent and may be slippery or difficult to ‘hear’ when first practiced. It is a listening to the whole body that does not exclude intuition and feeling but employs them to deepen and enrich understanding. The foundation is the intelligent bodymind from cellular organisation to the integration of the whole organism.

Body-Mind Centering (BMC) is a study of the experienced body in contrast to the objectified body. It is an embodied approach to learning, living and knowledge making. BMC engages the bodymind through the poetics of moving, touch and experiential anatomy, inviting change that is an integration of our physical, psychological, intellectual and imaginative life.

Authentic Movement is a powerful resource for integrating diverse aspects of the material. As a practice it encourages the student to listen without judgement and to witness without trying to find rational logic. It opens the student’s perception to other ways of being present with themselves, with a partner and later with clients. It is a practice of presence.

Improvisation is built in to the exploratory nature and principles of these somatic practices. They inherently encourage a process of self-discovery and realization whilst inviting the student to contemplate their place in the world – from inner-life to outer engagement.

Participating in these practices also develops a poetic sensibility … the minutiae of the everyday holds fascination and intrigue; form is perceived in the seemingly random organisation of the natural environment and composition within the formal structures of our lived environments. We learn from responding, listening, waiting/pausing and initiating in the differing configurations of duet, trio or group work. Improvising with others in duet, trio and group work, engages us in relationships of social space.

Techniques & Practices

The following practices convey the program’s implementation and pedogogy:

The twelve modules include somatizations (guided movement); experiential anatomy (structures, systems and tissue); images & objects; videos; touch & repatterning; and integration (moving, writing, drawing, walking, dreaming and/or conversation). Studies are supported through private sessions and supervised practice.

Cellular Consciousness
Cellular consciousness is an underlying awareness cultivated from an individual’s cells and extending to the inter-subjective space present in the field of learning. It influences the tone of the room and informs receptivity and expression. This will be practiced in a continuum within all modules offered.

Embodiment, Transmission, Learning & Practice
The program develops an understanding and awareness of embodiment as a dynamic process. It is the integration of different ways of learning that support students becoming embodied. The material and refinement of this approach is absorbed through kinaesthetic transmission. Learning to live in our bodies is a radical action and requires courage, resilience, patience and compassion for oneself. All these attributes contribute to the intelligence generated in the practice of somatic studies.

Hands-on Practice
Touch and repatterning is part of each module and students learn to meet clients through the different tissues and structures of the body. Clear guidelines enable students to learn in a safe and empathic environment as well as understanding the responsibilities of learning to work with touch in ways that are supportive, healing and safe for clients. Students are supported through supervision and one on one sessions.

Conversations, Reflection and Learning Together
During the course of each module an afternoon is allocated for conversation and learning together. This gives each student the opportunity to bring their current research enquiries to the group. The enquiry can be related to their personal or professional life as well as questions they have in regard to how they are experiencing the work. The invitation is broad and inclusive. It is a rich time for reflection and exchange for everyone and offers the witnessing of transformative moments of integration.

Professional Development Sessions
During each module two hours are given to discussing professional concerns and interests. Students will be encouraged to join ISMETA through student membership, and once graduated to become professional members. The benefits of being part of a global community of somatic practitioners to maintain ongoing professional development and support will be outlined.

These sessions are also used to discuss business models, specific interests and client case studies. Students bring diverse skills to this program, and the small group allows a rich learning and exchange of knowledge around business and professional concerns. We learn together.