Making the Unconscious Conscious
Somatic Movement is, in essence, "Neuromuscular Re-education".
It is a safe, gentle and accessible mat based practice which addresses chronic muscle pain, free and efficient movement and body awareness. It involves simple movements, mostly lying quietly on the floor but also seated, standing and walking. In a Somatics class we learn to relax the muscles which have become chronically contracted over time e.g. due to stress, injury and repetitive activity. We focus not on the movements themselves but on the internal feelings of the movements and over time gain greater self-awareness, control and mastery.
I came to Somatic Movement in 2018 via yoga & movement teacher, Jahna Clarke, and her course "The Full Body Yawn". Always drawn to practices that are mindful and allow me to listen to my own body, I found her teachings to be profound and really effective at releasing deeply held physical & emotional tension. In fact, they reached parts that my yoga practice had never reached and I have been hooked ever since! For me, Somatics is the missing link; the need to more actively engage the brain and nervous system in our movement practice. It controls our movement after all. By slowing down and sensing within we can relearn how to move freely and find a joy of movement that we may have thought forever lost.
In October 2021, after 18 months of intense and inspiring training, I qualified as a Certified Essential Somatics Movement Teacher with much happiness. Essential Somatics was developed by Martha Peterson and informed by the pioneering work of Thomas Hanna PhD.
I run 6 week beginners courses a couple of times a year but you are welcome to begin outwith these times - please just get in touch for more details!
"In the past year or so I have become an avid believer in Somatic Movement, thanks to the talented Orla of Yoga by Nature. I have had some serious back issues in recent years, usually caused by tightness in my shoulders and psoas, and which have been debilitating to the point of laying me up for up to a week on end. This has required a lot of attention and discipline to manage and maintain my optimum mobility, which I have done through a combination of kinesthetic, chiropractics, yoga, myofascial release, and massage therapy. But Orla’s Essential Somatics classes by zoom, which really are life teachings, have changed my life.
One case in point: After a recent intensive day of gardening, my back was screaming at me the next morning - it was hard to get out of bed and I had an important day of physical activity ahead for my husband’s birthday. So I went back to some great YouTube classes that Orla shared as part of her lessons and spent about 40 minutes on various movements such as the “wash rag” and the "flower", in addition to bringing attention to my tight psoas and shoulders. It was like oiling an old rusty machine ... and my husband subsequently listened to me singing the praises of Somatics all day because I felt so remarkably well and strong!
I highly recommend Orla for her gentle and compassionate way of coaching and teaching, and also for the links and other follow-up she provides to impart self-sufficiency in her students of Somatic Movement beyond the class setting. I strongly believe that everyone should be equipped with this invaluable insight and toolkit!" Lisa Wolff
"That was truly wonderful - thank you for the fantastic intro to Somatics - so informative and restorative. I couldn't believe how differently my body and mind felt after just those few exercises. The approach is lovely and so self focused." Val Oswald
"Loved it today and I am sure it is the right thing for me right now - even though it is so different to the other classes I have been doing. Just amazing and love the idea that you are the best person to understand yourself and work with your body to heal. Look forward to practicing and see you next week. May I just say that I could listen to your voice all day long. So enjoyed our first session today." June Karinsson
"As we grow older, our bodies - and our lives - should continue to improve right up to the very end."
Thomas Hanna PhD