Somatics is a field of study and practice that has emerged in the last century from movement and bodywork with a focus on the internal experience and perception. I describe it as the art of relating between mind and body.
From its origins with Somatic Yoga and Movement, to it’s influence in Dance, to Peter Levine’s work in Somatic Therapy, to the work on Somatic Sex Education and the newer field of Cultural Somatics, I see this practice as having diverse applications and offering so much to enrich the lives of people who engage with it.
I feel fortunate that Somatics has touched my life in so many ways, and dedicate my further education and studies to enhancing my experience and knowledge of Somatics so that I might better support the people who engage with my work.
I began exploring the mind-body relationship as a teenager, through my studies in the Siddha Yoga tradition, a lineage-based yogic path that focuses on ‘self realization’— or to put it more simply, harmony between actions, thoughts, and words. It was this same tradition that influenced Eleanor Criswell, author of Somatic Yoga.
As a young adult studying theatre, I was introduced to somatic-influenced movement practices in the forms of Laban Dance and Alexander Technique, which gave me more experience of how improving the the mind-body relationship could support both my body and mind to feel present in a space with ease. Years later at massage school, I began to learn how to guide others into a new relationship to their body, with techniques from and influenced by Trager, Rolfing, and Structural Integration. As a bodyworker, I began to observe that releasing tension and holding within the physical body had a direct relationship to the release of tension and holding within the emotional body, and began to grow more curious about the potential that working somaticaly might have.
As a survivor of complex PTSD I was drawn to Somatic Experiencing, an application of somatic principles within a talk therapy setting, and found this incredibly valuable in my journey to integrate the impact adverse life experiences had on me. While I am not a somatic experiencing therapist, I believe that there are tools within somatic experiencing for understanding and healing the nervous system that are accessible to everyone, and I seek to bring this more into my work.
Today, I am exploring with curiosity how to integrate my experience and studies with Somatics into my life, both personal and professional. I study Somatic Yoga with Applied Somatics in Duncan, BC, and am a student with the Institute For The Study of Somatic Sex Education, pursuing my certification as a Somatic Sex Educator. I also explore somatics through my visual art and poetry, and in addition I am a facilitator and DJ with Dance Temple in my home community of the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, where I offer somatic-inspired facilitation and mindfully chosen music to invite dancers into a space of exploration of their own mind-body relationships.
On this page you will find a selection of resources to support moving towards pleasure in your own mind-body relationship.
Somatic Sex Education
Somatic Experiencing Resources
“What if it truly doesn't matter what you do, but how you do whatever you do?”
~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer
Thank you Mel for such an enlightening and helpful workshop! I thoroughly enjoyed all of it and look forward to continued learning from you. So grateful for all these extra resources.
The work you are doing is changing the world in such positive ways, and helping people change their own worlds, both inner and outer.
I've been able to articulate and communicate much better within my relationships and to create safe spaces.
Mel is an incredible listener and her attention to detail was crucial. I walked away with much more than I had anticipated: I came away with a lot of tools to work with, and also a comfortable understanding of who I am and how I present myself to others. Mel is nothing short of awesome at what she does, and I will continue to use her as a resource and recommend her.
"It was so good for me to open up and a relief to see that things don't have to be so black and white but within this there is still the possibility of clarity and a more personal, creative and radical approach to relationships... Love what you are offering Mel. You are awesome at what you are doing! It was great for me to be out of my comfort zone and to hear from folks who appeared to be very much in theirs. Thank you!"
"I desperately knew in my bones there was another script out there for me but when I struggled to find a healthy version of one, I haphazardly began writing it myself. And now?! To come into an entire community of people actively peeling back the veil to reveal their own trauma and vulnerability?? I am over the moon and feel so enthusiastic all the time. It's the first time in the last several years where I have had such sustained joy and direction."
~ Anon Course Student
"Your work has reminded me that perhaps there isn’t anything wrong with me at all. I am amazed at the deep levels of shame we carry as human beings because we don’t fit into the construct that is given to us as a model for our life. It feels exciting because I can now explore what I want for my life rather than be gifted something that just doesn’t feel right for me."
"After the workshop I felt like I could breathe again. I felt like my version of non-monogamy wasn't "wrong" and, even more helpful, my former partners wasn't either. I connected with people thinking of the same things as I was, struggling with the same things, and asking questions like me. I cried. I breathed. And for the first time in my life I didn't feel like a love alien dropped onto this planet."
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