Yoga as a Somatic Practice

The session will be a mix of practical ideas and explorations and theory.
How can somatic practices help us to have a yoga practice that is more in tune with our individual anatomy and way of moving?

Julienne Schembri Somatics2

Student in photograph: Julienne Schembri

Workshop Content

The session will be a mix of practical ideas and explorations and theory.

How can somatic practices help us to have a yoga practice that is more in tune with our individual anatomy and way of moving?

Somatic practices give equal value to internal experience and external observation and guidance. Examples are Feldenkrais, the Alexander Technique, Hanna Somatics and Body Mind Centring.

Integration of these and other techniques into yoga classes is becoming more popular. Traditionally, yoga classes give very clear instructions as to what is the correct way to perform an asana. Modifications are permitted as long as they can be seen as either a stepping stone towards an ideal form of an asana, or as a substitute e.g. in case of injury. In any case, they are usually regarded as less advanced and somewhat inferior.

Recent research in fascia and neuroscience has led to doubts about the usefulness of always going into a movement the same way with the same dynamics and from the same angle. Habitual patterns, no matter how helpful they might have been initially, might no longer contribute to healthy fascia and functional and enjoyable movement.

Much of this research has led to a much greater support of somatic approaches in yoga teaching. The challenge is to find an experiential, somatically-influenced approach, whilst not being too open ended to fit into a conventional yoga class structure.

You will receive hand-outs of the power point presentation and links to further reading after the session

What Will I Learn?

  • Practical somatic exercises that can give us more movement choices
  • Techniques to become aware of habits and holding patterns
  • Breathing practices that can be integrated into everyday life as well as yoga practice
  • Theoretical knowledge about the history of somatics, its key proponents, ideas and practices
  • Examples of recent myofascial and neuroscientific research that support somatic theories, and how these findings can change the way we move, exercise and practice yoga
  • Practical ideas of how we can integrate somatic work into a yoga class without losing structure, clarity and flow whilst encouraging experiential approaches and playfulness

Meet the Teacher

Susanne has been teaching yoga since the early 1990s. Her own practice started with Ashtanga, Iyengar and Scaravelli yoga. She gradually began to evolve her unique style of teaching vinyasa flow classes based on somatic principles as well as addressing current research in anatomy and biomechanics.

Susanne holds a Yogacampus level 2 teaching qualification accredited by the British Wheel of Yoga. She also has a BSc in Movement Studies and Sports Science, an MA in Dance, and advanced certification in Pilates, fitness, gyrotonic, and The Alexander Technique. In addition, she has attended many courses on movement improvisation, Feldenkrais, Body Mind Centring, breath work and myofascial techniques. Susanne previously ran a Pilates Foundation teacher training course, and, for many years, has taught at London Contemporary Dance School, and previously at the Circus Space and Trinity Laban.

She is a teacher for experiential anatomy and sequencing on the Yogacampus Teacher Training and Yoga Therapy Diploma courses, as well as giving classes at The Life Centre. In recent years, she has run many workshops: on yoga as a somatic practice, on hypermobility, and how to include more dynamic stability into yoga, as well as on the art of sequencing.

Her teaching philosophy is to respect individual variations and solutions, whilst encouraging personal challenges and continuous growth and learning.

http://www.susannelahusen.com