We sit quietly in the lecture room – the hustle and bustle of the world left behind. Our facilitator, Noa Belling, asks us to focus on our breathing, hearts beating, the pulsing of a natural rhythm. I listen to her voice, an imperceptible shift takes place in my attention. I begin to include all sounds as valid – my breath, the sound of cars, the distant hum of the ocean. As I scan my body, I breathe into sore and uncomfortable parts. Some how this pain is diminished. The listening exercise ends, I open my eyes and look around the room, at the people in it. Our group is quiet – our immediate attention on what is being said. This is the starting point for somatic work – to move beyond the machinations of mind and to become fully present in the now. As Eckhart Tolle (2001:31) says in, ‘Practising the Power of Now’, “Presence is the key to freedom, so you can only be free now.” My first lecture in somatic coaching was at SACAP (South African College of Applied Psychology) and with this learning came a new understanding of somatic coaching and somatic bodywork. I’ve been asked to write this piece on somatic coaching, to explain what it is and how it relates to bodywork. This has evolved out of my experiences studying towards being a life coach. I have taken what I have learned and started applying it in appropriate ways into my massage practise. Understanding somatic work has helped answer why some clients seem to be ‘locked in’ to certain postures that are repeated over and over again. TOWARDS AN UNDERSTANDING First, let me briefly define coaching and then how somatic coaching fits into this definition. “Coaching is a solution-focused, results orientated systematic process in which the coach facilitates the enhancement of performance, self-directed learning and personal growth of other individuals.” (Grant & Cavanagh 2002 in SACAP Somatic Counseling & coaching Study Guide, 2002: 6) If we were to see ourselves on a timeline, counselling would be couched in the past, while coaching would be focused on what is currently happening in our lives and moving forward to a different future, based on understanding and changing our present situation. Somatic work integrates the body-mind duality. We are more than just our minds, we have a body that is constantly moving and shaping reality. “In all the wonderful work being done in the field of medicine and healing, there is one basic concept that is often dismissed as irrelevant. That is the relationship between the mind and the body, and the possibility that this relationship might have a direct effect on either our state of health...
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MTASA was founded in 1989 and is a non-profit organisation.
It is the only professional association that represents the interests of Therapeutic Massage Therapists in South Africa and aims to uphold and further the interests of registered Therapeutic Massage Therapists.
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