Be the change you want to see
Our culture has deep divides that separate people and makes them feel unsafe in their own body. I understand that for some, befriending their bodies is a radical act, and by doing so we are taking the first steps to creating safer spaces for all.
I want to live in a world where every body has value. In order for this to be realized, we must shine a light on the systems that cause us to feel internalized shame for not fitting in.
The ideal body is a concept that is worth dismantling--too often we judge our own body against the body of another and use that as a measurement of value. It shows up in perfectionism, fake-it culture, healthism, racism, ageism, ableism, patriarchy and diet culture.
I aim to be a touch point for those who are ready for a different way to experience the world with their body.
What is somatic self compassion?
The term somatic means: of, relating to, or affecting the body. Somatic self compassion is a practice of developing a non-judgemental and caring relationship with your own body through movement and sensation tracking. My work is influenced by my experience with various somatic practices established before my time.
My Guiding Principles
Integrity • Creativity • Care • Continued Learning
Integrity is my choice to be truthful and authentic, gracious, trustworthy and responsible. Integrity listens and honours all sides and perspectives. Physical integrity asks that instead of of trying to master or control the body, I try working with the body and it's incredible design.
Creativity requires a certain level of trust and bravery as it is the willingness to experiment with the unknown. Creativity is an important part of human nature that enriches society and deserves to be nurtured in all environments--even the serious ones.
Care for ourselves is equally important to the care of others, in fact, by caring for myself, I am caring for the whole ecosystem that I am part of. Care work is essential to thriving culture and yet is undervalued in our patriarchal culture. It assumes that care work is innate, gendered and not worthy of pay. Care work actually requires time, effort, and usually education.
Continued learning ensures that I continue to evolve, which also makes it more likely that I may be better able to meet you where you are in this moment. I am and will always be a student. Sometimes, learning looks like unlearning outdated science or implicit bias that might take time and several tries for me to get better at. Learning happens through experience. Learning happens by experimentation and making mistakes.
"We have to study how to be tender with each other until it becomes habit" ---Audre Lorde
What came before this work?
Authentic movement- A practice done with eyes closed while following your internal motivation for movement. Mary Whitehouse, dancer and psychotherapist was among the first to develop dance therapy with Joan Chodorow and Janet Adler in the 1950's. She was influenced by Jung and buddhism. Authentic movement is recognized as one of the first forms of dance therapy.
Continuum- Emilie Conrad grew up in New York City and studied dance with some of the early pioneers in the 1950s. An opportunity to teach led her to Haiti where she witnessed the undulating movement in their dance and prayer. This “fluid” movement became the central theme of her exploration and creation of what we now call Continuum.
Action theatre- Ruth Zaporah developed this training in improvisational physical theatre in California in the 60s. The exercises isolate the components of action--time, space, shape, and energy, so they can be examined, experienced and altered in order to expand the expressive palette.
Contact improvisation- an evolving system of movement initiated in 1972 by American choreographer Steve Paxton. The improvised dance form is based on the communication between two moving bodies that are in physical contact and their combined relationship to the physical laws that govern their motion—gravity, momentum, inertia. Contact improvisations are spontaneous physical dialogues that range from stillness to highly energetic exchanges.
Pilates- a full-body exercise regime designed by German born Joseph Pilates and originally called 'Contrology'. Pilates was an inventor and developed unique machines that enabled isolated strength building in all parts of the body. The technique was developed in New York City in the late 1920s and and passed on to many teachers who have evolved the work. Pilates has since been embraced by physiotherapists for its adaptability to all bodies and levels of fitness.