Updated: Sep 3
Although mindfulness and meditation have become very popular in the last years, very often the meditation that most people practice takes them away from their bodies into a dreamy mind. Some people use meditation as a way to avoid unpleasant emotions and feelings held in their bodies, thinking that by avoiding uncomfortable emotions, they will be transcended and transformed. This can be a mistake and instead of meditation serving healing processes, what it is doing is suppressing emotions and accumulating more shadow in the mental and emotional systems.
It is common to see yoga teachers and masters who suppose to have good level of awareness, -because they meditate and practice yoga-, with immense unresolved emotional baggage that becomes they pain body.
In somatic meditation by contrast, we use the body to access the here and now. This brings us more into alignment with our true self, the greatness of our soul. As we explore our body, we find that it is vast, open and connected to all there is. The somatic meditation is done with the body in stillness, it is important to start with the basic and simplest practices that allow us to become familiar with the body and become easy with the practice.
HOW DOES THIS PRACTICE WORKS?
Beginning with the position lying on our back with our knees raised, feet on the floor. In this posture we focus on breathing with our diaphragm gently drawing in air to our lungs and allowing it to be expelled, slowing down the process and bringing awareness to the breath. After the breathing process is as relaxed and easy as possible, we start focusing our attention on our big toes: What can we find, what sensations are there in our toes? Is there any discomfort?, can we release any felt tension? While we conduct this exploration we let go of any tension thorugh breathing and releasing it from the body down into the ground. This exploration continues up through the different parts of our body, bringing increasing relaxation
Timing: The suggestion is not to rush the process and spending as long as is needed in any part of the body. The time spent in the meditation is as long as we choose, making sure that we can keep the focus. As a rule, it is good to set oneself a time in the day to meditate and a length of time as it sets a steady and habitual rhythm.
While we are exploring the body it often happens that we become distracted by the mind and find ourselves thinking about all sorts of things, At the beginning it is normal that we get easily distracted, we just need to train the mind by gently bringing it back to the body exploration, In this way the mind learn to remain quiet and we develop the ability to keep focused.
As with the Yin Yoga, doing Somatic Meditation we may find areas of our body that are difficult to enter into, we encounter resistance (our body keeps memories and traumas). As we continue to focus our attention and become aware of held emotions in the body, we can choose to release our resistance and to consciously release unwanted baggage that is in the way of our freedom.
Body Awareness: As we welcome the resistance and felt sense, into our awareness, we usually notice that an emotion emerges. The question that we need to ask is: Can we accept this feeling? As we decide to accept it, the feeling often intensifies. This is the opportunity to enfold the feeling offering it up to our greater self. It is the greater self the one who knows what to do with these feelings, the ego does not know.
The feeling will then gradually resolve. We can also choose not to release at this time and wait until we feel more able. There is no right or wrong choice just the most appropriate choice given our current state of being and readiness to surrender.
The process of Somatic Meditation may bring insights and a greater understanding of the past events of our life. It also brings a deeper sense of peace and ease in our body, which can then be a portal towards our greater self. The somatic modality is a good way to start a meditation practice, as it develops a solid base from which we can advance to sitting practices. Starting with the Body which is our more tangible and accessibly resource, we can facilitate some glimpses of light that can help our journey towards emotional freedom and a deeper exploration of our inner self.