SOΜΑ Awareness ® is a method that teaches us through a series of high-quality movements, accurate posture and precise breathing techniques. It teaches us to change physical disharmonies, ill patterns and wrong habits. It helps us transform all our physical difficulties in the most gentle and natural way and it brings us back to our true selves. With SOΜΑ Awareness ® you improve yourself through exploring the relationship between being, feeling, thinking and doing. It is a safe, self-exploratory and fascinating journey within our physical being and can be practised by anyone, regardless of age or gender. Every session is unique and carefully structured and even when you repeat a session, I reassure you that you will always have a unique experience.
This method was born as a result of everything I have been taught, studied and experienced for the last 20 years. «ΣΩΜΑ/SOMA», is the Greek word for the «BODY». SOMA, in ancient Greek by definition, refers to any type of body. The approach itself focuses on the human body, the mind, the soul and the spirit, as all four are always intertwined and cannot be separated. The awareness in this method focuses on these four functions as one. This approach introduces participants how to use movement and breathing beyond the realm of survival. Unconsciously, throughout our lives we fall into a narrow, restricted way of existing. This rigid monotony is the beginning of the demise of our health.
We are not just a body, we are a living body! This is a unique method which enables us to (re)claim ownership of our own bodies. It also provides us with a strong sense of wellness and a positive attitude towards ourselves. Every movement and breathing technique suggested is slow and subtle, precise and exact; it takes into account thoughts and emotions while strengthening the body s structural integrity and respecting the laws of biomechanics and bioenergetics.
We enter this world and begin our life with a single breath. We leave this world also with a single breath and we do everything in between with countless of breaths. Breathing is everything! Every cell in our body has memory. During these sessions it is very likely that this cell memory will resurface; you will probably remember how throughout your life your body quietly reorganized, adapted and protected itself from various difficult experiences.
Your experiences are also related to your senses and sensations so, session by session you will learn to rid yourself of muscle contractions, stiffness or pain in your joints that may have exhaust, shrink or restrict your physical freedom. This method will allow your body’s structural integrity to find space from within so it can breathe better, strengthen more and have greater agility due to fascia release. It is not so much of what you know about your body; it is rather more of what you feel during this process.
It took humanity 200,000 generations to stand upright! Since then, our nose became less important, our eyes moved forward and our sensitive parts (genitals, groin, belly, heart, throat) are all exposed as we move into this world with those first. As a result, we often shorten the front of our bodies in order to protect those sensitive parts and because of that we create unbelievable tension to the back of our bodies. This is a major issue for the modern human being. On top of that, over the past two decades, our lifestyle has changed our physical posture, dramatically (phones, laptops etc). We are not using our bodies as we were meant to. We spent most of our day sitting in an incorrect sitting position, therefore our breath is not supporting our bodies, our ribcage is not supporting our shoulders, blood and lymph flow are not optimal, back and neck suffer chronically and our physical health begins to weaken.
SOΜΑ Awareness ® reverses all of that and realigns the body to its unique and natural way. Initially, some of the muscles that you will try to engage will seem foreign to you. You will feel that you have no idea how to reach them. Little by little, however, a new connection will develop between these forgotten or poorly known muscles and your brain.
Our brain is a creature of habit; it builds habits that our nervous system perceives as important in order to survive. By the time we reach adulthood, we have already developed deep patterns that determine how we exist and behave in our everyday life. These patterns also produce the pain we experience. The brain has also the ability to change in form and function. This is the so-called brain plasticity. However, even though it has the ability to change, its tendency is to drive itself into a habit like behavior and stay there in the name of false efficiency.
Scientific studies support that it takes approximately 3,000 times for our brain to form a habit and 30,000 times to overcome it. That means that our brain loves its existing habits and it won’t let go easy. It resists, panics or triggers thoughts to escape from the present moment. The way we overcome our brain barriers is of course through the magic of efficient breathing. In this way, we access the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), so we can feel safe, calm, relaxed and get ourselves into the “rest or digest” mode. Furthermore, through our toes, belly, tongue, eye, ears etc we can access the vagus nerve which is responsible for orchestrating responses in our body to keep us safe or warn us about danger before we even realize it.
Without us realizing it, the vagus nerve scans the environment for cues of danger, putting us into high alert so that we move into a “fight or flight or freeze” mode. This nerve also scans for cues of safety which allows us to be calm and open so that we may socially engage with others. The vagus nerve is the key in the autonomic nervous system (ANS) which controls our internal organs. Information flows both to and from the brain via vagal pathways. The vagus nerve can be thought of as a highway between mind and body.
Neuroscientist, Stephen Porges has developed the polyvagal theory which explains the interconnectedness of body reactivity, cognitive and emotional function and social behavior. Through the vagus nerve, you react to signals in your environment in ways that calm, alarm, or dysregulate the body. These states in turn create emotional experience and play out in behavior. When the body is in states of danger or even in complete shutdown, it is possible to restore calmness and regain behavioral flexibility by redirecting vagal activity, which can be accomplished through a deceptively simple manoeuvre involving breathing.
Some of the benefits of this method are the improvement of mobility and muscle tone, the decrease of stress and muscle tension (back, neck, shoulders etc), the improvement and ease of movement through fascia release and return to physical coordination. Your senses and sensations will become alive and unlimited, your movements and your breathing will regain their natural volume. With SOΜΑ Awareness ® you will discover the power of breathing and the pleasure of living in a free body.