In this article, I will share a complete tutorial on Somatic meditation, and a guided meditation you can use to get started right away.
Somatic meditation is basically meditation via the body, rather than via the mind. When we practice Somatic meditation we listen to sensations and energy around the body, allowing the body to control the meditation rather than the mind. This can be very helpful for people who struggle to meditate properly via their thinking mind (via the left brain).
Indeed, as a private meditation teacher, I often teach Somatic meditation to my students who struggle with the more forced, left-brain styles of meditation. Not only does this provide a great alternative technique, but it also produces unique benefits, which I will discuss in just a moment.
First, let me share with you my guided Somatic meditation practice. You can find both the audio and the text below. After that, I’ll discuss in-depth exactly what Somatic meditation is and the benefits you can expect to get from it.
Guided Somatic Meditation
- Sit or lie down comfortably with good posture and close your eyes. Make sure your spine is straight but relaxed.
- Bring your awareness to your body. Notice your entire physical form. Try to be aware of your complete body as one unified form, as though it were one shape that you are viewing in its entirety. Hold your focus here for a moment. From time to time your mind will wander, and that is natural and normal, simply guide your mind back to your body.
- Become aware of the points where your body is coming into contact with the ground and the chair (or bed). If sitting, this will be your feet and your sitting muscles. If lying down, it will be the area around your sitting muscles and lower back. Allow your weight to sink into the chair / ground / bed. Be aware of the contact here between your body and the ground / chair / bed. Notice how your body is being supported.
- Now bring your awareness inside your body. Notice how your body is alive with myriad sensations and with a current of energy. It is as though you are listening to your body from the inside.
- As you continue to tune-in to your body, your body will become more relaxed and will sink into the ground more. Allow this to happen, allowing your muscles to let go and relax, letting your mind sink deeper into the body.
- You may allow your mind to come into closer contact with parts of your body, perhaps listening to your heart pumping for a moment, and then tuning in to the breath as it flows through your body.
- As you continue to go deeper into the meditation, you will notice your mind and body becoming one, enhancing that mind-body connection. Allow yourself to stay here for as long as you like, simply letting your mind rest inside your body.
- When you are ready, slowly open your eyes and take a moment to return to normal.
- If you would like to try other body-focused meditations, I recommend these Integrated Body Mind Trainings.
What is Somatic Meditation?
Somatic Meditation is a practice in which we listen to the signals of the body, allowing the body to lead our mindfulness rather than the mind. In this way, it is similar to other Somatic healing methods such as Hakomi Meditation, Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, and sensorimotor psychotherapy. These forms of therapy help patients release trauma through the mind-body.
What makes Somatic meditation different to other forms of meditation is that it is body-led. Almost all other forms of meditation (such as Anapansati and Vipassana) and led by the mind, usually using the left-brain and its analytical processing. But in somatic meditation we allow the body to dictate our meditation session, similar to the meditations of Osho. This can be beneficial for those who struggle with other forms of meditation. Sometimes when we allow the mind to lead we get lost in thoughts and emotions, and we can often be judgmental. The body-focused somatic meditation moves us beyond these delusional mind-states to a purer experience of the present moment, and for this reason it can potentially lead to deeper meditation sessions.
Benefits of Somatic Meditation
Somatic meditation and other forms of somatic therapy are beneficial for numerous physical and psychological issues. Often, traumatic events such as a car accident are stored in the body and it can be hard to overcome such trauma from a mind-based approach. Somatic therapy helps release trauma from the body, and this in turn helps with psychological and physical healing, such as by helping the nervous system to recover.
Emotions are also stored in the body, and once we learn to tune in to the sensations in the body through somatic therapy, we can start to heal these emotions. This in turn can help with issues such as grief, recovery from abuse, depression, addiction, anxiety and more. One lady I taught somatic meditation to had been struggling with the loss of a loved one, and this was manifesting in bodily signals. By learning to tune-in to those signals, my student was able to face her loss and move forward in a positive way.
As well as helping us to overcome negative problems, somatic therapy can make us more positive. A strong mind-body connection is a core component of psychological wellness, and this is something that somatic therapy can provide.
We can also access deeper states of mind via somatic meditation. Many of our psychic abilities such as insight and intuition, are based on the communication between body and mind. For instance, intuition usually begins as a bodily signal. By learning to tune-in to these body signals we strengthen our psychic abilities.
Finally, somatic meditation is a wonderful alternative for those who struggle to meditate in more traditional ways.
Somatic meditation is a wonderful alternative to conventional meditation. It is all about allowing the body to dictate our mindfulness and tuning-in to bodily signals and sensations. Not only can this be a wonderful addition to your existing meditation practice, but it can also yield unique benefits, especially through the release of trauma.
If you would like my help learning somatic meditation and other somatic therapies, book a private meditation session with me today.
Paul Harrison is a passionate meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University.
“My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation” – Paul Harrison