From the time of our birth, we are continually experiencing the world through our body. We hold ourselves in certain ways. We are rocked, sung to and squeal with joy. We hear our heart beat loudly when scared and feel overwhelming fullness when in love. We are told we are too emotional and suppression is valued. We then have angry outburst which scare ourselves and others. We learn a variety of possibilities of embodiment and disembodiment in our journey with the world, and from these experiences we create structured ways of feeling, holding and carrying our body, and expressing ourselves.
Your brain and body, closely linked by the nervous system, are partners in a constant stream of two-way communication. For every thought, emotion, impulse, action or perception there is a corresponding response in the body. Such as clenching your fists when you are stressed, your chest may expand when seeing a beautiful sunset, or you may feel a tightening in the throat and chest when feeling an immense urge. Body sensations influence thoughts and feelings in your brain and vis versa.
When influence from your brain (thoughts) to your body predominate, this is called "top-down" influence. When the influence goes the other way, with the body states affecting brain processes, this is "bottom-up" influence.
Traditional talk therapies, such as psychodynamic and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) work from top down. You rely on your thinking processes, logical brain to be the agent for change and create a system to rely on to order chaotic internal processes. This is helpful for developing insight and awareness in regards to how your thoughts affect feelings and other bodily sensations.
Bottom up approaches, body-centered or somatic therapy, is about developing body awareness to change the way you think, feel and act by modifying internal processes, such as "gut" sensations, impulses or "felt" sense. Through deeper bodily listening, you develop a knowing of yourself more accurately and it becomes a long term resource for change. Body awareness also enables you to rewire the internal communication loop of brain, nervous system, and body so that it stops recycling unneeded, harmful, self limiting messages about you, about your possibilities and potential.
Our body does not lie. It holds our past, present and potential. Working with the body therapeutically can reveal many other options for gaining understanding, relief and insight. Body-centered therapy is helpful for people who struggle with post traumatic stress symptoms, eating disorders, addictions, depression, and anxiety.
I works with the unique facets of each person to draw on their inner strengths, creativity and self expression to help develop a more balanced, integrated and content life. I believe the world needs people who are more awake to their sensations and bodily systems. When we are all more present to our direct experiences in the here and now, we are more present to others; listen more attentively; and connect more deeply.
With a background in dance, somatic practices, and mindfulness meditation, I brings a wealth of knowledge, insight, sensitivity and experience.
When engaging in body oriented inquiry we engage in a process:
relaxation, release of tension and increased presence.
Come into the body: physical body, sensation, feelings, breath and imagery.
Engage in a release movement to allow for a new movement to emerge.
Increased awareness and integration through image making, free associative writing and coming back into movement.
For more information about retreats and workshops go to: www.beyondmovement.org
When we build compassion for others so do we find compassion for ourselves.