Twelve Principles for Powerful Somatic Practice

Somatic practice is a practice of awareness that is rooted in experiencing the sensations of your body, both in motion and in stillness. Over my decades of experience, first as a high-level athlete, later as a professional contemporary dancer and since then in a serious and dedicated practice of meditation, I have come to realize several key ingredients that deepen the potency and impact of somatic practice. I share several of them with you below.

Note that all of the below are EXPERIENTIAL in nature, so understanding intellectually is only a very small part of the process. If you want to experience these principles firsthand - which I cannot recommend highly enough - please come to a live or online class or contact me to setup a time to explore individual support.

  1. SETTING INTENTION: Make a conscious connection between the practice you are undertaking and your desires/goals/aims/vision.

  2. CONNECT TO SOMETHING GREATER: Tie your intention into the benefit of others or something greater than yourself.

  3. GROUNDING: Connect to the sensation of the ground underneath you supporting every cell in your body.

  4. IMPERSONAL DANCE OF FORM: Re-frame your experiencing/es not as ‘me, ‘mine’, ‘I’, or evidence of a defined and static 'self', but instead as the miraculous unfolding of each moment through a dance of sensation (like weather through the atmosphere).

  5. HOLOCRATIC BODY: Giving every cell in my body equal attention. Moving away from a 'head-centred' way of being to conceive my body as an intelligent whole at all moments, each cell with ‘equal vote’.

  6. PLACE: Feeling firsthand the context of your experience; which means experiencing your body in the location you find yourself, including feeling gravity/the ground under you, the room you are in, the people, things and space around you, the sky up above. Challenge yourself to feel your existence within the largest context possible. Can you hold awareness of your presence on the planet, within the universe, within infinite space?

  7. BREATH: Feeling the breath intimately and pervasively, not just in the lungs but within the cells of the body. Allowing the breath to breathe you, not the other way around.

  8. IMPULSE: Look for what feels good, fresh, novel, satisfying and investigate how can you make it feel even better? Ask the question 'given that my body knows exactly what it needs to soothe, heal, integrate and enliven, what is it calling for? How specifically can I fulfil these sensation-based directives?' Respond through movement.

  9. EMOTION IS SENSATION: All feelings/emotions are at their core, sensation. Stay connected to this truth, experiencing the sensation of emotion with as little judgement as possible.

  10. PROJECT THE FULLY SUPPORTIVE WITNESS: Imagine one (or many) witness(es) to your practice who are fully present and supportive of your exploration. Try to suspend feelings of judgement.

  11. WHAT IS PRESENT IS THE PATH: In the words of Margie Gillis “let it be there and let change”. Practice the understanding that whatever is present, no matter how uncomfortable, is 'the right experience' and is, in that moment, your practice and path.

  12. DON’T KNOW, DISCOVER: Again, in the words of Margie Gillis “you know what you know, what don’t you know?” Cultivate a mindset of curiosity, discovery and embracing the unknown.

Image Courtesy of Bash Fish on