Connection through Somatic Awareness

Connection through Somatic Awareness

Have you ever been told that you need to fully feel your emotions?  My therapist told me that for years, but I never quite felt like I understood what she meant.  Feel the feels?  Sure, we talk about the feels… I intellectualize the feels… she reminds me not to judge them… but truly FEEL my emotions?  What does that mean?

It wasn’t until I started thinking about emotions as energy in motion that I began to have somatic awareness around what I was feeling as I experienced an emotion.  Somatic awareness can help you become more present in your body, tune into your body’s needs and signals, and ultimately identify and process your emotions in real time. This can lead to fewer trapped emotions and less negative energy stored in the body.


Simple Ways to Develop Somatic Awareness 


Body Scanning: Start at one end of your body (usually your toes or head) and slowly and mindfully move your attention through each part of your body.  Notice any sensations, tension, or discomfort as you go.  This practice helps you become more aware of your body’s signals.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation: This practice involves tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups in your body.  It helps you become aware of tension and promotes relaxation.  I’ll often notice when I do this that I am holding tension in places that I wasn’t aware of.

Breathe Awareness: Pay attention to your breath.  Observe how it feels as it enters and exits your body. You can use breath awareness as a quick somatic check-in throughout the day.  Especially take note of times when you feel like you are excessively yawning, heavy sighing repeatedly, are taking shallow breaths or “unable to get enough air.”

Yoga: Yoga combines physical movements with deep breathing and mindfulness, encouraging you to be present in your body.  Different styles of yoga, such as Hatha or Yin, emphasize somatic awareness.  When you are practicing yoga, be sure to honor your body and listen to what it is telling you in the moment in regards to limitations or leaning in. 

Mindful Eating: Pay close attention to the sensations and flavors as you eat. Engage all your senses in the experience.  It can help you become more connected to your body’s signals of hunger and fullness.  I like to do this with my morning coffee or with a special treat that I really take pleasure in.

Sensory Exploration: Deliberately engage with your senses by touching different textures, listening to music, or savoring various scents.  This sensory exploration can heighten your overall somatic awareness.  Pay special attention to your hands and feet here as those areas are so used to being stimulated by touch but rarely mindfully. 

Body Awareness Activities: Engage in activities that require close attention to body sensations, such as dance, martial arts, or mindful walking.  Try to direct your focus to child-like movements (moving freely without judgment) and allow your body to take up the physical space it deserves.


Developing somatic awareness is an ongoing practice, and it may take time to become more in tune with your body’s sensations.  Be patient and kind to yourself as you explore these techniques, and choose the ones that resonate most with you as it can be a valuable practice for managing stress, improving well-being, and connecting with your body.

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