Somatic Release

Sometimes I love how ~easy~ it is to float. I'm insulated from the outside world, and from the filters I have on my senses. My body/brain and everything gets to relax for awhile, and in this time I may suspend all issues I could have with being a human being. As a cherry on top, sometimes after I get in I like to think of an effort from the day before, or of something I need to do later, and I'll get warm fuzzies from knowing that I do not have to do anything right now.

Other times I meet a stiff challenge in my float. And it is no ordinary challenge, in that rising to it is neither a physical nor mental effort. It is almost the opposite of effort as I normally experience it, and it reminds me of a private yoga session I once received in Sioux Falls from Jacqueline Wilber. In addition to "normal" yoga classes she also offers a gentle and effective approach called Somatics, which I was instantly intrigued with and booked a session.

In a Somatics session the practitioner may take your leg, for example, and guide it through simple fluid movements while you are lying on your back. The challenge on your end is surrendering. "Give me your leg," the practitioner may say, while you lie there thinking that you already were letting it go. But you notice that they're right, you are trying to control the movement. In my session, Jacqueline had to tell me more than twice to give her my leg.

Physically, what is happening here is that muscle groups work together in coordination matrixes, which are essential teamwork for precise movement. Sometimes the big muscles take over the jobs of the little muscles, belittling the little ones and overworking the big ones. Or another way to look at it is the little ones catch a case of "sensory motor amnesia," a Somatics term for when muscles check out, and the big ones have to compensate. Either way it happens it's just not right, and it can lead to chronic imbalances, which can set the stage for major injuries.

The high art of the Somatics practitioner is to bring awareness to these areas, which can simultaneously release the large muscle groups and bring consciousness back to the little ones, creating a more balanced you. When I'm floating, I feel like all of me is supported in a way similar to Somatics, without the practitioner. In the float tank my whole being held in a supremely supportive medium that seems to say "Give me your body." Naked in the void, I imagine that I experience the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual... levels of my tensions, and their releases. I find these experiences to be supremely valuable. The fact that I am alone in there puts all of the responsibility on me, where it belongs anyway, and therefore all of the power.

I compare these two therapies in an effort to communicate an aspect of my float experience, and to recommend that you give them both a try. Somatics is one approach that I was lucky to experience, and there are other yoga-based therapies that offer this timeless wisdom, in different flavors. Ask your favorite yoga instructor about it and I'm sure they'll be able to help you.


Peace, Love, and Release ~
Luke