Somatics is a field within bodywork and movement studies that emphasizes internal physical perception and experience.
Somatics is a field within bodywork and movement studies that emphasizes internal physical perception and experience. Somatics approaches people as a holistic living organism, working with all these aspects of who we are: thinking beings, but also emotional and spiritual.
Interestingly enough, the first somatic practitioners in the West were dancers who under the ideas of existentialism and experiential learning started to shift the focus traditionally given to the experience of the public – the spectators – to their own inner experience they were living through on stage… Building on their ideas, the „somatic pioneers“ Frederick Matthias Alexander, Moshe Feldenkrais, Mabel Elsworth Todd, Gerda Alexander, Ida Rolf, Milton Trager, Irmgard Bartenieff, and Charlotte Selver were active, primarily in Europe, throughout the early twentieth century.
In the 1970s, American philosopher and movement therapist Thomas Hanna introduced the term „Somatics“ to describe these related practices collectively.
What all these different methods and techniques have in common is that they study the life of the body as perceived from within. They involve the human being – as experienced by himself from the inside – in the process of change, learning, and transformation, by asking a question:
„What have you just noticed happening in your body?“
This is the main difference between the somatic approach and traditional clinical medicine and psychology, adopting a third-person viewpoint and seeing a patient, or a body, displaying various symptoms.
I strongly believe that this approach is directly relevant to the rope bottoming practice. If we choose to attend to what is happening in our bodies, this internal awareness offers a profound potential for growth, learning, and transformation we want to make for ourselves, leaving behind our inhibitions, and trusting ourselves to accommodate the pleasure and intensity of the experience with our whole being.