The Somat system is a self-care method in which people slow down their thinking and establish a more vivid connection with their body and breath. Lying on a Somat, the neck is cradled and both sides of the spine are supported, leaving the spine completely suspended, allowing it to elongate and decompress. This benefits people with physical challenges (especially to the back, neck, shoulder & hip), those seeking increased relaxation in both mind and body, and those wanting to easily access a meditative state.
Both a tool and a technique, working on a Somat activates the parasympathetic nervous system in a simple and quick fashion, much like advanced meditation techniques. The mat itself is the hardware in the system: a soft, specially designed mat that follows the shape of the spine and connects spinal alignment with the rhythm of the breath. The software is the Aloha method, a set of principles and movements that integrates the body with thoughts and emotions by focusing awareness on sensory experiences in the present moment.
The Aloha method and Somat tool were created in Italy and are finding a new home in the U.S. Classes and workshops are recommended for learning to use the Somat, although it is possible to self-train with a DVD. Teachers with a Somat Teaching Certificate have completed in depth training and teaching apprenticeships, and offer instruction in private sessions or group classes at yoga studios, fitness centers or body work offices.
Who Should Become a Somat Teacher?
The training is aimed primarily at all those professionals working in fields involving bodywork, movement or meditation, including but not limited to:
- Yoga, dance, pilates, Feldenkrais, Gryotonics teachers
- Meditation, tai-chi or qigong instructors
- Somatic or mindfulness therapists
- Osteopaths, chiropractors, physical therapists & other practitioners
- Personal & fitness trainers, coaches, etc.