I am in Italy, and what I’m seeing here is knocking my socks off. It’s not the fabulous Italian sandals (which by the way no Italian would ever wear socks with) or the lovely espresso I’m drinking. What’s blowing my mind is seeing the Somat in action with so many people. Here, where the Somat was born, I’ve seen some amazing things:
A wife/mother brought a Somat home full of excitement and spent some time on it with great results. Her not so excited teenager with scoliosis laid on it one day and the mother watched as the daughter relaxed into a calm, rare state. The really uninterested husband, witness to all this, gets on the Somat himself and reports immediate relief from neck tension.
An elderly woman with a curved back lays on the Somat and slowly, bit by bit, with breath & gentle movements, uncurls.
A chiropractor who has become a Somat instructor, gives Somats to her clients to they can have more access to self-care (at home, when travelling), to take better charge of their spine & well being.
What is Somat?
Before I rant further, I should give a little background for those of you who haven’t heard about Somat before. Here’s the short description:
The Somat system is a self-care method in which people slow down their thinking and establish a more vivid connection with their body and breath. Lying on a Somat, the neck is cradled and both sides of the spine are supported, leaving the spine completely suspended, allowing it to elongate and decompress. This benefits people with physical challenges (especially to the back, neck, shoulder & hip), those seeking increased relaxation in both mind and body, and those wanting to easily access a meditative state.
You can find more information and images here.
Somat in Italy
Somat Instructors in Italy start off as professionals in a wide-range of bodymind modalities – from physical therapists to movement teachers to psychotherapists. After learning the Somat methodology, each present a thesis on how working with the Somat has affected their particular population. The results are universally positive: greater range of movement, access to the roots of pain, palpable decrease of stress.
Last weekend I helped run a Somat booth at a health fair on the Italian Riviera. The family of the former Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi was one of many who came through. (Yes, I’m name dropping.) People of all sizes, shapes, types and abilities came by; the levels of body awareness ranged from zero to enlightened.
Each person who tried the Somat got something out of it and could go home with a Somat and shift their stress level, physical experience and outlook in a quick 10 minutes a day – no need to go to a studio, pay a teacher, be in a group. Whether you use the Somat by yourself at home or with a teacher in a class, the results are visible, felt profound.
What I’m getting more and more clearly is that everyone has a spine and most everyone has more stress than they like. This makes EVERYONE a candidate for the Somat.
So I’m coming back to Seattle with my spine longer, more wind under my wings, and more determination than ever to bring the roots of Somat to Seattle and the whole US as a new and immediate way to practice self-care.
Get on the Somat Train!
If you’re a vertebrate, wish for more ease, and are curious about Somat, come to my ongoing weekly class that starts October 13.
Somat Weekly Class: Ongoing, drop-in
Tuesdays | 6:15 – 7:30pm | 8Limbs Yoga: Phinney Ridge | info
If you’re a practicing professional who wants to promote self-reliance and empower your clients, BECOME A PIONEER in this new adventure. Come to the first-ever U.S. Somat Teacher Training:
Somat Teacher Training: Two weekend modules
November 10-13 + December 5-7 | Ballard location | info
I think I’ll stop ranting now :). Be in touch, let me know what you think. I’ll write back from my next adventure: knocking off some items from my mom’s bucket list by heading to the beach in Greece with my family.