I recently posted on instagram about where the word somatics originates from, and whilst I was putting the little carousel together with some of the information I realised that there was a little more to it then what I could get a cross in a short post that really only captures our attention for 7 seconds max.
So I felt inspired to talk more about what the word means. I waffle on all the time about the benefits of somatics , but where was the word derived from? and why does it even matter?
It comes from the Greek word soma which essetially means 'internal awareness'. This internal awareness allows us to sense how we feel from the inside whether it be good, happy, energised or sad, in pain, or unwell.
It is easy to lose the concept of checking in with ourselves to this level, we become busy and focused on so many outward tasks that we over look taking a moment to focus on us, as a person from an inward perspective.
Because our attention is more often elsewhere, we can over look small signs to alert us to something that we may need to address, for instance we shrug off tiredenss and power through exhaustingly long hours at work, pushing ourselves in to stress. You may not notice that your breathing has become shallow and your energy levels have dropped. Perhaps this has led to sleep quality becoming poor and so your diet is affected by this aswell. Until one day you have a panic attack or anxiety attack. You have had all the warning signs, but you stopped checking in with yourselve to make sense of what you are feeling so you didn't notice when the stress prevented a decent rest and sleep. The shallow breathing didn't oxygenise you, energise you and had even been heightening the stress felt in your nervous system. So BAM, the attack occurs without warning.....or so you think.
All the signs were there...it was the insight and awareness that wasn't. I would like to point out, this is very normal and very very common... we are all guilty of over looking our own wants and needs while we try survive this thing we call life.
However, the beauty of connecting back to your soma and taking a few minutes a day to really check in and notice, just how you are feeling, is that it allows you to nip issues like this in the bud. It can help prevent illness before it escalates, it can help prevent painful muscles caused by tension before they scream under the tightness. It can help to regulate you, your mind and body, allowing you to just be inside your own shell instead of outside of it, and allow you to honestly assess what you may need.
Having this level of control and awareness over yourself is liberating. You can understand you better, and improve and evolve at a different pace.
In order to begin to connect back with your soma just try the following;
Lie down on the floor or sit if you prefer.
Begin to notice how you connect to all the surfaces your touching. If you lying down, see of you can feel how you meet the floor. If your sat, notice how any part of you connects to the chair or surface your on.
Start to notice how you feel? what is your mood like? Are there any emotions that are present?
Place your hands on your staomach and notice your breathing. does your tummy move up and down with your breathe? is it inhale belly rise and exhale belly fall or is it the reverse? is it easy or laboured? is it deep or shallow.
Then place your hands back along side your body and begin to move your neck, turning your head side to side and feeling how it moves. is it easy or is it stiff?
Can you sense your shoulders? are they rested or are they squeezing up, or back or forward, or do they both feel differently to each other?
Are you able to notice your back? can you sense your spine? Is this area rested? If your lying down, how much of your spine can you feel against the floor? where does it arch or pull away from the floor?
If yor seated, how is yor spine resting here? are you slouching or do you feel straight, like yor at neutral. Are you leaning backwards or to the side. Can you feel both sit bones in each butt cheek?
How is your pelvis ? can you sense it? do you tip all your weight over to one side? how does that make the weight of the legs roll? do you rest on the back of the calves or more to the outer edges?
can you sense your feet? can you circle each foot separatly and see how they ankles move and feel? is the left different to the right?
Now can you place your hands back on your stomach and sense your breathing again. Has it changed to earlier? what do you notice?
Check back in with how you are feeling? are those same emotions present or has something changed? is there anything you feel like you need to notice more intently so that you can improve the feeling or sensation that your experiencing? If so, what is it? is it something you can work on?
Once you have done all of the above, give yourself a moment before you begin to move around again and notice that too as it may make you move differently.
Try this every day. The more you do, the quicker it will be to notice and when there is a chnage to your equalibrium, for instance you become more stressed or you feel a pain or sensation that you have not had before, then you can look at this before that it grows or escalates.
Bringing this simple practise in to your every day routine can not only be very calming but also be a tool to maintaining our phyical health.
Hope enjoy this if you try it.