How does somatic therapy work?

How does somatic therapy work?

One Breath at a Time

Yoga is methodology with many tools. One such “tool” is using breath to balance the nervous system. In yoga, this is called pranayama, or breath work. Slowing down our breath positively impacts the autonomic nervous system (ANS), our brain’s survival system. The ANS is divided into two branches.

The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for adrenaline to fuel the body and brain. This kicks in when we get scared. It drives primal responses: fight, flight, and freeze.

The parasympathetic nervous system regulates functions like digestion, healing, sleep, and relaxation. Where there is unbalance and disruption, mental health issues occur, like trauma, anxiety, depression, and grief. Over time and with practice, yoga helps us find balance, ease and grace.

Using breath to lower anxiety puts you in charge of your reactions. Viktor Frankl has a quote that beautiful captures the essence of breath on therapy: “Freedom is the ability to choose between stimulus and response.”

Aside from breath work, mantras and visualization are additional tools for healing and transformation. Non-yogis may think of these as positive self-talk and imagery. Both address the mind’s constant chatter and shift negative thinking.

Healing Affect

We all carry tension in our body. From daily low-grade stressors, to severe trauma – the body remembers. As we get older, tension robs us of our range of motion. Loss of range, brings pain. Releasing this tension is part of the magic of this therapy. Plus, the edge is where our aliveness gives birth to possibility.

When we avoid our pain we shrink, physically and metaphorically. I’ll help you release the tension. In doing so, you have a new experience of self. As a result, it’s common to experience “Aha!” moments that bring forth new energy and information.

Mindful Embodied Therapy works for absolutely all bodies. You will not be forced into a pretzel. Nor does it require a quiet mind or peaceful spirit—it welcomes you just as you are. It’s about releasing what no longer serves you to make room for what does. Sometimes the release is physical, other times psychological – most of the time somewhere in between!

Learning to apply self-love, compassion and care — giving ourselves what we need, like rest, good food, relaxation, space, fun, etc. — are all crucial to health and healing. The cumulative impact sets into motion a cascade of healing affect.

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