They belong to the field of Somatics all those disciplines which emphasize the human ability to perceive internal physical sensations and experience the body from within, thus becoming aware of it. In the 70’s, philosopher, later a somatic practitioner, Thomas Hanna, in his book Bodies in Revolt: A Primer in Somatic Thinking (1970), defines the soma as “the body observed from the first-person viewpoint”: the body as subject which is capable to know itself “from within”. In 1976, in the US, Thomas Hanna founded “The Somatics Magazine Journal of Bodily Arts and Sciences”, which became a central reference point for many practitioners, therapists, bodyworkers and students of a variety of somatic disciplines. These all dig their roots in the pioneering studies and discoveries of many researchers who, since the beginning of the XX century, had started to open the path to a new perspective of the body and mind relationship.
Stemming from the field of Somatic Education, the Body-Mind Centering approach explores qualitative and relational aspects of movement and expression, bringing forth the singularity of each individual’s sensorimotor and perceptual experience and intelligence.
One of the most striking characteristics of the Body-Mind Centering approach is its way of exploring and processing the complexity of the relationships between the different levels of body internal activity, even at the subtlest levels (cellular activity, movement of tissues, fluids, organs, systems), and the larger movements expressed in space. Therefore, Somatic Movement can be thought of as a way of:
“.. identifying, articulating, differentiating and integrating the various tissues within the body, discovering the qualities they contribute to one’s movement, how they have evolved in one’s developmental process, and the role they play in the expression of mind.”
(Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Sensing, Feeling, and Action)
This post is also available in: Italian