For starters, somatic therapy exercises are exercises that should be done with the assistance of a qualified therapist. This might help you tailor your treatment to the particular experiences, emotions, and symptoms that you have experienced. It is also possible to experience a sense of safety in the event that unexpected feelings arise.
According to Peter Levine, a therapist is someone who has received training and is focused on providing you with a secure environment. However, when you practice somatic exercises with a therapist for an extended period of time, it is easy to form an attachment to them, and you may feel as though the therapy room is the only place where you may feel completely safe.
Because of this, according to Levine, it is essential for therapists to instruct their patients in the use of tools and exercises that can also help them feel comfortable when they are on their own.
The ensuing paragraphs will cover several forms of somatic therapy exercises, techniques and basically all you’d need.
Somatic Therapy Exercises from Home
Keeping the aforementioned information in mind, the following are some somatic therapy exercises that you might want to consider doing at home:
Exercises that ground you help you regain your center and bring you more firmly into the here and now. This might help you keep your mind off of the occurrences in the past that are making you feel uncomfortable.
If you’re having trouble dealing with anxiety, flashbacks, or dissociative symptoms, grounding might be a good technique to try.
At home, you might try your hand at the following grounding techniques:
Wash your hands with water to clean them.
To begin, thoroughly wash your hands with ice-cold water. Pay attention to how the temperature feels on each individual portion of your hand, from the wrist all the way down to the tips of your fingers and toenails. Make the switch to warm water, and pay attention to how the new temperature affects the way your hands feel. Carry out this activity for a few minutes until you feel more at ease.
You should move your body in the manner that seems most natural to you.
This can involve activities such as dancing, jogging in place, stretching, and leaping up and down. Pay attention to how your body is feeling as you move. A body scan will allow you to accomplish this: one body part at a time, beginning with your toes and working your way all the way up to your face,
Keep your attention on your breathing while you work on mastering both the in and out breaths.
You can begin by taking an inhalation to the count of 4, holding it for 3 seconds, and then following it with an exhalation to the count of 4. You might also try to think of a word that makes you joyful and repeat it after each breath. For instance, secure, tranquil, uncomplicated, or absent.
Alternate between tensing and relaxing various regions of your body.
For instance, push the soles of your feet as firmly as you can against the ground for a few seconds. Let go of the pressure, and concentrate on how your feet currently feel. You might also grasp the arms of your chair as tightly as you can and then slowly release your grip as you loosen your grip and let go.
Have a game of “categories” with only you and yourself.
Consider a variety of groups of items, such as canines, states, or cities, whose names start with a particular letter of the alphabet. You shouldn’t move on to the next letter until you’ve found at least five things that begin with the letter that you’re currently on.
#2. Resourcing and Visualization
Tuning into specific bodily sensations that may be the exact opposite of what you are experiencing at this now is an important part of the resourcing process. Although this is often a lengthy procedure that requires the assistance of a therapist, beginning the process on your own at home by performing certain exercises could be beneficial.
You will want to begin these procedures with the assistance of a somatic therapist who is certified, but after that, you will be able to practice these exercises at home as a supplement to your treatment.
You can also utilize both resourcing and visualization techniques any time you are experiencing thoughts, feelings, or sensations in your body that are upsetting to you. Furthermore, you can alleviate some of your discomfort if you focus your attention on producing a feeling of “safety” in both your mind and body.
It could take some time to get used to these activities. It is recommended that you perform these actions while you are not in the throes of emotional turmoil, to begin with. If you do this, it will be much simpler to re-create the feelings whenever they are required.
The following are some possible approaches to take:
Make a refuge for yourself in your own head
You can accomplish this by thinking back to a moment or place in your life when you were free from worry and filled with joy. There is also the possibility of imagining a new secure location that you have not visited before. Think about the different odors, colors, and sensations it has. Focus on how comfortable you feel in that space by feeling your body there.
Think about the people who are important to you and who help you feel at ease
You might want to begin by looking at images of them or concentrating on certain memories that the two of you share.
Emotional self-regulation, in its broadest sense, refers to the process of directing oneself through one’s feelings in order to be able to change course when those feelings cause one to feel uncomfortable. The concept of self-regulation is central to somatic therapy, which focuses on the neurological system.
An autonomous nervous system that is not properly regulated may be the result of unresolved trauma. It’s possible that this will require you to remain on high alert at all times. In turn, you may react to the stress and events of ordinary life in a way that is tied to the trauma you experienced in the past.
According to the somatic experience approach, talk therapy might not always be able to access this intricate bodily process. Working with your physical senses, on the other hand, can help you break free of these patterns and move on to new ones.
You might try some of these simple tactics that you can do at home to help you better regulate yourself:
Give yourself a hug.
To accomplish this, you should place your hand close to your heart and cross your right arm over your left chest. After that, bring your left hand over to your right shoulder and cross your left arm over it. According to Levine, this can provide the impression that you are confined, which may result in a sense of security. Keep the hug going for as long as you feel it’s necessary.
Tap your entire body with your palm cupped around it, working your way up from your feet all the way to your head.
Instead of tapping the various regions of your body, you may alternatively try applying pressure to them with your hands. This will not only assist you in grounding yourself, but it will also assist your body in recognizing your boundaries, which can also provide you with a sense of being confined and safe.
Candela Brower calls body scans an “active meditation” that can assist with relaxation if used regularly.
The following is a guide for practicing body scanning:
- To begin, find a position that allows you to be comfortable, perhaps sitting down. Close your eyes.
- Pay attention to your lower body. Take note of how the floor feels under your feet. Proceed with caution as you shift your focus to your ankles, knees, thighs, and finally your pelvis. As you progress through your body, pay attention to the changes in warmth, pressure, and tension, as well as any additional sensations.
- Take a few slow, deep breaths whenever you feel yourself beginning to become tense, and as you let go of the tension, exhale. When you feel that the portion of the body you are working on has relaxed, you can move on to the next one.
- When you have finished working out your lower body, move on to your upper body and repeat the process. Include some of the organs that are located inside of you, such as your stomach, heart, and lungs.
- Last but not least, bring your attention to your face, neck, and skull.
A 6-Step Somatic Exercise:
- Take Note.
Take a deep breath in and out. Take note of the sensations that arise in, within, and all around your body. The rate of breathing, the rate of the heart, and the temperature of the body.
- Recall that you are in a safe place.
Think back to a recent time when you felt the most at ease, the safest, and the most like “you” at that moment.
Determine the exact moment when you first felt uneasy or stressed out, as well as the specific area of your body that was affected.
Recreate the event in slow motion, starting from a relaxed state and ending in a tense one (as if watching a slow movie). Determine whether it was certain individuals, discussions, things, or actions that caused you to feel stressed or uncomfortable at the recent event, or whether these things stick out to you when you think back on it (s).
- Tune in.
As you think back on the event or events, pay attention to the sensations that are occurring in your body. As you slow down, pay attention to whether or not there is a change in your body, such as tingling, tensing, warming, numbing, or cooling in your chest, arms, legs, face, or an overall change in your body temperature.
- Healing hands.
While you take a few deep breaths, place your hand on the part of your body that has undergone a shift or change. If it’s an overarching sensation, all you need to do is place your hands on your chest over your heart.
By doing so, the body is given the opportunity to process the somatic experience, which in turn opens up a channel via which the tension can be released.
Take note if anything comes to mind, such as a picture, a sensation, an awareness, or an insight that sheds light on the predicament. If there isn’t anything new, that’s fine with me. Simply slowing down, regulating your breathing, and boosting your consciousness is a step in the right direction and will benefit you in its own right.
I strongly suggest that you engage in this activity following a distressing experience in order to give your body time to digest the feelings and communications being sent by your body. It’s also a good idea to get in the habit of doing this before you face a stressful scenario so that you can get a head start on figuring out what can set off your stress response and how you can best support yourself.
Somatic Exercises FAQs
What are somatic exercises?
Movement for the sake of movement is at the heart of the somatic practice known as somatic therapy exercises. As you progress through the practice, you are instructed to maintain concentration on your inner experience and to expand your sense of self-awareness. There are many different kinds of somatic exercises.
What are examples of somatic therapy?
The following are examples of somatic therapy;
- Breathing exercises.
- Sensation awareness.
- Physical exercise.
- Dance therapy.
- Grounding exercises.
Can I do somatic therapy on myself?
Although there are some somatic experience activities that may be done on your own, it is advised that you engage with a competent therapist in order to get the full benefits of this technique.