By Jeroen Robbe
Body Scanning & Cultivating Somatic Awareness is a wellbeing tool which can strengthen the capacity for holistic and regenerative leaderful organizing.
Body scanning is a meditative practice to support the process of becoming more aware of sensations and feelings in our body. This tool also includes basic posture principles.
Our bodies are the foundation for everything in our lives. All of our experience is mediated and processed in and through the body. Our capacity to sense, feel, and intuit resides there. Even our ‘thinking’ faculty, which we might conceive of as ‘other’ than the body, depends on our brain tissue, nervous system, capacity to metabolize, and so on – there is no such thing as unembodied thinking (yet!).
Our bodies provide us with the information we need to live, relate and understand. They act as our primary interface with the world. Our race, gender, sexuality, ability and other identities are all bound to the relationship between the body and how it is perceived by culture and society. Also our commitment to and expression of values, meaning and purpose, happen by physical action – they too are ‘embodied’.
As our body is at the center of our lives, it is worthwhile to restore a conscious connection with it. The practice of body scanning supports us to do just that.
How this tool supports leaderful movements
Given how fundamental our bodies are to living, relating and working, a holistic approach to leaderful organizing needs to involve tools that help us resource our wellbeing, embody our values, and access the information we need to be as informed and responsive as we can.
Unfortunately, we are working against a lot in this area. Dominant western culture has, in many ways, prioritized rationality over the feeling, intuiting and sensing faculties. The result of this is a form of socialization which can disconnect us from our bodies and the felt sense of what is going on. Consequently, we often don’t know how to read signals from our bodies or how to process the information they offer us.
Our bodies are a source of information about our own and other peoples’ states. This practice can help us reclaim and restore connection with our bodies. By doing so we don’t only feel more anchored, but we are equally better equipped to deal with some of the challenges that we will face in doing movement work.
This way the body scanning practice supports growth in different leaderful organizing competency areas, such as “resilience and regeneration” and “ongoing learning”.
How to run a Body Scanning Session
Psychosocial Resilience and Regenerative Activism Training Manual – See pgs 128 – 130. You can find a session plan for “body scanning / cultivating somatic awareness”. This session plan is intended to support you to facilitate the activity for a group.
It may seem small, but resilience is a practice and it has to start somewhere.. A small routine like this can easily move from being a chore to becoming something precious/ nourishing. – Psychosocial Resilience and Regenerative Activism Training Manual, pg. 130
- The radical embrace has different somatic practices to work with body awareness.
- Insight Timer – Free app
- Sustaining Ourselves as Activists
- 10 Great Resources on Activist Wellbeing
- Well being resources in the Commons Library