As a Somatic Educator I love observing the growth of Somatics in the world. As I write these words I’m currently in the midst of preparing a day of teaching for the British Wheel of Yoga – All Wales Gathering where one of the sessions we are presenting is A Somatic Approach to Asana Practise with an overall focus of Motion, Stillness and The Spine through the whole day.
As I focus in on the topic of Asanas and Asana Practise I remember in Leeds a time when Amanda and I were leading an Aerial Yoga workshop with the overall intention being a more restorative/yin yoga focus to it. At one point I remember one of the participants not quite getting a movement and my instinctive response was to suggest that she forget about ‘doing’ the movement and instead focus her awareness on how the movement presented itself in her body, encouraging her to allow her body to express that movement for her. I didn’t put it into words at the time, but I was wanting to suggest a letting go of overly setting the focus on doing (sending motor signals from her brain to her body) and instead, to sit into a space of neutrality where she could allow her body to become the intended shape.
In this space of neutrality we can focus our awareness, as the observer of the doing, and allow our subconscious processes to create the actions for us. If, as the observer we are able to experience the activity being created for us by our body, then as the embodier of the movement we can become aware of what is happening and can make adjustments. If we become too focused on the ‘doing’, we miss the opportunity to sense the quality or the ‘how’ of a movement.
For me this is about shifting the balance inside myself within my neurology so that I am in the space where I am receiving sensory information coming into me, and aware of movement information going out. For me I’m in the stillness between sensing and moving. I’m not overly focused on making things happen because I equally focus on sensing what’s occurring and choosing the actions to take in response. I’m in the space between sensing and moving where I can choose to change how I move, and what I sense, enabling me to change my moves to create a different sense of me being me.
A physical expression of this can be experienced when I focus on the spine.
I’m aware of a central area within myself that connects my skull with my sacrum and is present in both, and yet also exists between them. My spine is connected to my sacrum and connected to my skull and yet I have the ability to register areas of myself in the spaces in between. I can sense my sacrum, and I can sense my skull; I can move my sacrum and I can move my skull. I can also sense into my spine and ask it to move my skull or/and I can ask my spine to move my sacrum. I can even focus into the centre of my spine and ask my spine to move both my skull and my sacrum simultaneously.
Where and how I place my awareness and where and how I choose to move are intimately connected.