Mindfulness is what complements and makes Somatics truly effective. Without mindfulness and developing a deeper understanding and feeling for what our internal environment is telling us, somatic movement becomes purely a mechanical exercise. We could be performing movements thinking about the washing we have to put on, what we need to add to the shopping list and whether we paid the power bill! This creates a mindless practice. Before we know it, we are no longer noticing the sensory feedback from our movements, where our natural end range is before we turn it into a stretch. When we are truly mindful with our practise, we feel the difference before and after a somatic movement sequence, allowing our soma (mind and body) to integrate the changes.

Repressed or stored emotion causes many illnesses such as inflammatory bowel disorders, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, insomnia, musculoskeletal issues and many more. These illnesses create an altered awareness to how we feel internally, creating something known as disembodiment. People who suffer with chronic pain or have had an traumatic period of time which involved pain and limitations, can often hold on to the mindset of predicting a possible outcome by performing a certain action. They can allow the expressions from health care professionals such as “you have a frail back” or “avoid that movement” to become like a broken record and terrified to move freely again. Their internal speech and repressed emotion or fear becomes a self fulfilling prophecy and rest assured 9 times out of ten, their symptoms will become intense because they have allowed their nervous system and stress levels to become highly sensitive.

However considering this, we know that if we can sensitise our nervous system, we can also de-sensitise it by working with the opposite approach to how we created pain and limitations. We know that by developing mindfulness or interoception with our somatic movement practice, we can start to increase a healthy functioning immune system, develop a growth mindset, create luscious movement back into what has been a very tight body and improve our emotional and mental health. Mindfulness or interoception increases activity within the prefrontal cortex, so the more we thicken this area of our brain, the more responsive we become to life and challenges, rather than reactive and sensitive. We increase our focus, awareness, concentration, decision making and emotional intelligence, just to name a few.