A Beginner's Guide to Somatics

Somatics is a buzzy word in the wellness world. But what exactly does it mean and what’s it for?

Well, first it might be helpful to know that “soma” is the Greek word for the living body. Certified breathwork facilitator and somatic life coach, Kiesha Yokers of Lindywell, tells SheKnows she describes it to people this way: “Our soma is our first-person experience and intelligence of our body. It’s what we experience from within, from sensations to emotions; your soma holds your thoughts, emotions, and expression.”

Somatics, then, is the study and practice of soma through a growing internal awareness. Used in dance, movement, body rehabilitation, therapy, and more, somatics is “a mind-body practice encompassing bodywork, movement, and mindful strategies that call you into experiencing what it’s like to be in your body,” Yokers explained. “Somatics is also awareness. One crucial key to somatics is awareness of the internal body (interoception) and awareness of how the body moves in space (proprioception).”

Why is this important? Yokers refers to “embodiment,” which is another term you hear a lot these days.

“Embodiment is about living in your own skin and letting that aliveness be fully expressed in how you talk, move, act, respond, and take up space,” she says. “To embody something means that your entire self takes on that shape. Your thoughts, actions, and feelings are expressed through your body and, thus, display a certain quality (like confidence or power).”

So why would we need to practice somatics?

For many people, dissociation is a natural response to trauma that they can’t control. Yokers calls it “antithetical” to embodiment since dissociation is an involuntary detachment from reality, one of the ways your brain protects you from chronic stress or reliving a traumatic event.

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