The foundation of somatic movement therapy is the premise that your body and mind both store the events of your life. The memory of every encounter we’ve ever had is stored in our bodies. We also have internal scars, small imprints on our neurological system, similar to the physical scars we carry from life’s accidents or surgeries. These internal scars can affect how sensitive we are on a physical and psychologically level, as well as how emotionally resilient we are.

They can also make us lose touch with our bodies as a coping mechanism for suffering. You can deepen your relaxation by integrating your breath with somatic movement therapy (SMT), releasing persistent muscle tension patterns, and reconnecting with your body’s senses. In the end, it facilitates an encounter for deep movement-based physical and mental healing. When a somatic movement is made intentionally, the attention is on the internal experience of the movement rather than the movement’s look or outcome on the outside.

Different somatic therapies have been used for ages. Fundamentally, somatic therapies like yoga and meditation are used to heal our Mind, Body, and Spirit.

Trauma or stress that remains “locked” in our bodies can cause physical difficulties like stomachaches or even persistent back pain in addition to emotional and psychological effects, including anger, sadness, and anxiety.

This type of stress has physical side effects, including effects on our immune system from high blood pressure and high blood sugar, physical consequences from long-term muscle tension, and effects on our respiratory and cardiovascular systems from quick or shallow breathing.

Yoga Nidra

Trauma and Stress are only two of the many health issues that society deals with on a daily basis. What if, however, we were to inform you that there is a relaxing, soothing, and revitalizing solution to all of these issues and many more?

Yoga Nidra, sometimes referred to as yogic sleep, is a form of meditation that has been practiced since the seventh and sixth centuries, far before the common era and Buddhism. The body, mind, and soul are all profoundly healed by this special meditation technique.

As our mind begins to calm, our brain moves from thoughtful beta waves, passing through deeply relaxing alpha waves, then to light sleep (meditative state) with theta waves, and finally enter the slowest frequency of sleep – delta waves. Yoga Nidra guides practitioners into a state of relaxation between the alpha and theta states. This allows us to lie in deep healing relaxation between waking and sleeping.

Alpha and theta brain waves help to calm the autonomic nervous system, which regulates the body’s processes that take place without conscious effort. In addition, the parasympathetic nervous system, known as the ‘Rest and Digest’ system, puts the body into a deeper resting state. Through calming the nervous system, guided meditation deeply benefits the Mind, Body, and Soul.

Pranayama

The exercise of controlling the movement of the breath is known as pranayama. Pranayama is a crucial part of yoga, promoting both physical and emotional wellness. In Sanskrit, Prana and Yama are terms for life energy and control respectively in Sanskrit. Pranayama is the ideal tool for deleting negative conditioning and reconditioning the subconscious mind in such a way that it supports spiritual freedom.

Exercises and breathing patterns are a part of pranayama. You deliberately breathe in, breathe out, and hold your breath in that order. Caution: Breath holds should not be performed unless working with a trained breathing coach.

In yoga, pranayama is used with physical poses (asanas), or physical poses and meditation (dhyana). The numerous advantages of yoga are the result of these practices together. The practice of pranayama makes the flow of the breath smooth and even, which correlates with a calm and collected mind.

10 Steps of a Yoga Nidra Practice

  • Connect to your heart’s deepest desire

Concentrate on a long-term objective or an issue related to your well-being. Imagine achieving this objective and experiencing the delight that follows.

  • Set an intention

Keep your motivation for practicing at the forefront of your yoga Nidra sessions, whether it’s to center yourself or schedule some self-care.

  • Find your inner resource

To feel safe and at ease when practicing, includes tapping into a safe area within the body is very helpful. This is also a great tool to focus and calm your mind.

  • Scan your body

You’ll be instructed to concentrate on specific areas of the body or sensations while undergoing a body scan. This is intended to aid in easing tension so that you may unwind.

  • Become aware of your breath

Pay attention to the feeling of the breath as it enters and exits your body. Notice the temperature of the air as it enters and leaves your nostrils. Feel your abdomen as it rises on the inhale and falls on the exhale. Your breathing will become more balanced as a result of this awareness.

  • Welcome your feelings

If today was difficult, accept it. Although you don’t have to think or dwell on the difficult things that may have happened, by acknowledging them you may then bring the opposite emotion to the one you are experiencing, Ultimately bringing the mind and emotions back into balance. If you are sad because you lost something, you can cultivate the feeling of being grateful for all that you do have.

  • Witness your thoughts

Similar to step six, simply be aware of your thoughts as they arise without trying to suppress or judge them. If you find yourself thinking anything bad about yourself, return your awareness to the feeling of the breath.

  • Experience joy

When you begin to experience bliss, embrace it and allow it to fill your entire being.

  • Observe your “Self.”

Be conscious of your personality and any potential emotions. Consider yourself a watching witness, or, to put it another way, your sense of “I-ness.” You’ll become more awake and in touch with your emotions as a result.

  • Reflect on your practice

Consider your feelings and the resources you were able to use during your session after you’ve finished. Then, consider how you may incorporate any serenity or joy you may be experiencing into your regular life, regardless of how things are going. Don’t leave your practice right away. Returning to the waking stage of existence will take a few minutes.

10 Somatic Interventions

1. Developing Somatic Awareness

In somatic therapy, we instruct patients on what body awareness is and how to develop it both inside and outside the body. To bring about cellular transformation, this is a must. First, we bring to conscious awareness any regions of tension or constriction as well as any thoughts, attitudes, or actions that support a sense of safety and calm.

2. Resourcing

Resourcing is the process through which we increase our sense of security and stability in the world around us. Before diving deeper into the session, we determine the resources we might already have. We frequently consider significant individuals, connections, ego strengths, events, moments, and locations that bolster a sense of safety and freedom.

3. Grounding in the Here-And-Now

The foundation of mind-body-oriented therapies is the idea of grounding. Bioenergetics pioneer Alexander Lowen introduced the idea of grounding as a way for us to fully experience life while remaining rooted in our surroundings.

4. Using Descriptive Language

The key components of the modern somatic-focused therapeutic method include being curious, being descriptive, and maintaining intimate proximity to the experience taking place in and around your body. As long as you can track, contact, describe, and allow the experience to travel through you, tension, anxiety, and trauma memories are processed.

5. Movement

The body naturally uses movement to work through challenging situations, insecurities, prior traumas, and strong emotions. Movement is a natural approach to bolster your capacity to be present, connect with others, and feel more self-assured.

6. Co-Regulation & Self Regulation

Co-regulation describes how we control our emotions when we are interacting with another person. In attachment-focused therapies, the therapist uses mirror neurons to assist the anxious or disengaged client in calming down. Our ability to control our emotions is improved when we feel connected to another person’s sense of warmth, compassion, and stability.

7. Titration & Pendulation

Sensations in the body are a common way for trauma, panic, anxiety, terror, anger, frustration, and depression to be expressed. We might experience extreme heat, confinement, freezing, disconnection, or total loss. When you go into those kinds of experiences and feelings head-first, they won’t move you because you face the risk of drowning and re-traumatizing your body and mind. ‘

8. Act of Triumph

Pierre Janet popularized the phrase “an act of triumph,” and later, Peter Levine and Pat Ogden frequently used this idea in their work with somatic experience and sensorimotor learning. This phrase refers to a traumatic incident or an instance where the body needed to defend itself but was unable to do so.

9. Sequencing

It usually starts with an initial movement, a sensation that moves up or down a section of the body, or an emotion that develops and then gradually starts to lessen. This process is known as sequencing. It works like a chain reaction where a few dominoes fall into place and, once that happens, the rest of the body follows suit. For example, abdominal tension may start by spreading to your upper body and feeling tight in your chest before feeling like your arms are heavy.

10. Boundary Setting

When it comes to healing, boundaries are a fundamental aspect of the task. You will become aware of the boundaries you are inadvertently establishing, both verbally and nonverbally, when you approach boundaries from a somatic perspective. In our session, we may practice utilizing verbal cues like “YES,” “NO,” “STOP,” and “OK,” as well as feeling what it’s like to convey limitations through movement and nonverbal indicators. One of the best ways to feel safe and secure in your skin and in everyday encounters is to set limits.

Treatment at Lakewood Ranch Family Counseling will place special emphasis on the integration of gently guided movement therapies AS WELL AS somatic psychotherapy techniques. We support our patients in body-focused healing so they can lead healthier lives. What results is the beautiful healing of the mind, body, and spirit.                                     

The Benefits of Somatic Therapy for treating Trauma Patients

Somatic Therapy is a form of body-centered Therapy and it explores the connection between Body and Mind to address mental health problems.

Bring attention to your physical and emotional experiences through the use of mindfulness

Discover more ease with yourself as you deepen relaxation to release persistent muscle tension and stress from your nervous system

Identify, regulate, and neutralize emotions as you work through challenging situations, insecurities, prior traumas

 

Feel more self-assured, and
bolster your capacity to be present and connect more deeply with Self and others in loving ways

What to Expect in a Somatic Movement Therapy Session

Somatic Movements are done gently and slowly with a focus on the internal sensation of movement. You’ll discover ways to release stress from your nervous system that will leave you feeling more relaxed, supple, and at ease within yourself.
In a safe, non-judgmental atmosphere with encouragement and guidance, you will bring attention to your physical and emotional experience through the use of mindfulness. Using body sensation, breath and movement/posture and awareness/visualization techniques, you will actively explore your present experience, allowing you to witness what the body desires to do when the conscious mind stops trying to make things happen.
Please remove your shoes upon entering the yoga room.
Silence cell phones/electronic devices.
No food or drinks are allowed except for water.
Wear clothing that is comfortable and you can move in.
No prior experience is necessary! Even if you feel nothing or numbness in your body or don’t feel in touch with your emotions or creativity, we can start where you are. This type of awareness takes practice, and all you need is the willingness to try. You can’t do it wrong!

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