Theory: Why Practice?
Practice is the fundamental element of transformation. If we are going to practice towards transforming how we are, then we should strive for mastery at the level of change we seek. We may not get there and we may not even ultimately wish for mastery, but the intention of mastery can compel us to put our best effort forward in our practice, to be fully present and committed to what we are doing. – from The Transformative Power of Practice (read entire paper here)
Somatic practices help you build new skills and competencies that are relevant to what you care about. Particularly after trauma and oppression, fundamental skills such as-- boundaries that take care of yourself and others, mutual contact and intimacy, moving toward what is important to you and being present amidst conflict-- are not learned. Other survival skills become embodied like hyper vigilance and distrust. Trauma and oppression can leave people with a deep sense of powerlessness, isolation, and shame that you can’t “talk” someone out of.
New skills are developed somatically so that they become more than good ideas, they become natural actions and habits. We want to not only know about boundaries, but be able to actively practice boundaries in the course of our days, work lives and relationships. Somatic practices allow us to learn through an integrated approach, letting new ideas become embodied actions and behaviors.