A SOMATIC APPROACH FOR MODERN TIMES
By inviting somatics into Tantsu and Watsu, our bodywork becomes an ongoing open inquiry into body, feeling, emotion, organic movement and nature as a creative entity. We have developed specific inquiries that relate to TANTSU exploring contact, containment, freedom and witnessing. The human has evolved to its present manifestation due to his/her inherent drive to explore the environment that surrounds him or her. Deep within, we are all pioneers, all explorers that seek the new. Hundreds of years ago, the “new” was considered to be undiscovered continents, mountains never climbed or oceans never crossed. Now that human has discovered much of the "outer" world, our curiosity has begun to turn inward again. As somatic explorers, we reverently explore new, uncharted internal landscapes that are in constant change. Our very nature is to move, to breathe, to fold in, to expand out, to be in a joyous inter-play with our environment. We do not “do” movement; essentially we “are” movement. How we orient and exchange with our environment shapes who we are. When life has left the body for some time the tissues remain, but almost immediately movement ceases. The heart no longer pulses, lungs collapse like sails in a doldrum, the body’s fluids stop flowing and grow stagnant. Life IS movement and movement informs.
Tantsu with a somatic approach draws upon the primordial callings of pulsing, spiraling, expanding, enfolding organic gestures to re-ignite the inherent wisdom of the body and its inherent urge to regenerate and self-heal. The contact and breath meditation of Tantsu invites us to become increasingly sensitive to our own “bio-system” and in touch with our internal movement and its manifestations. We learn to trust in our sensations, the bio-intelligence of our body as a systemic whole and the resonance of all of its collaborative parts. These internal inquiries enrich us physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.
Vitality infinite lives in the flux of action and stillness. Wisdom from the Tao Te Ching reminds us, “The Tao abides in non-action, yet nothing is left undone.”
The intentional touch, or movement, or sound, or breath . . . whatever the moment’s practice/inquiry may be, has its own very unique function . . . to initiate waves of vibration, to gently, lovingly gain access through the habitual, hardened patterned responses, to learn how to FEEL again. We shift from believing to sensing. The body and its senses are given back their role as the primary sense organ. In this feeling, arises the opportunity to navigate between void and fullness, movement and stillness, action and non-action. As we ride these waves, either by ourselves or with a partner, we are set free from the redundancy of day to day rational activities and enter a nourishing dimension of trans-rational flow. With complete awareness, we explore a time of “being” free of functionality and open for intuition. We experientially learn that as consciousness pulses and flows through our body, our tissues become saturated with fluid. Movement becomes less and less about survival or performance and more and more about trust, intercommunication and pleasure. A flourishing system is in a bath of pleasure. Pleasure is a vital nutrient for the body-mind. Its benefits have been subdued, repressed, distorted and even demonized by our Western culture. Western education and upbringing has placed unbalanced emphasis on rational thought processes and the dissociative, mechanical movement that comes from that place. Pleasure is not about “excess”, it is instead a deep intimate acceptance of joy and its ecstatic kinesthetic experience in our systems.
Etymological roots of the word “pleasure” are from the Latin, placare, which means, “to soothe, quiet, smooth and make even.” In old Norwegian language, the word for pleasure was flag, which literally meant “an open sea.” This “somatic joy” of pleasure returns us to the ocean that flows though our bodies and deepens our connection with our inner and outer environment. As we dive into a movement meditation or relax into a Tantsu exchange, we can be permeated with waves of pleasure between the two of us, throughout our entire bodies. True pleasure brings us to a place of deep acceptance and rest into who we are. It is not necessarily an “excitement” but instead a wide sensation of wellness that increases coherence, connection and communication. With an attitude of willingness to let go of all our ideas about what movement is . . . and simply become aware of our infinite potential, exchanging Tantsu with a somatic approach invites us to become goalless explorers of pulsing awareness. This awareness lingers softly and forever in the space of nondoing. It is here, in this “no-place” that we are healed.
SOMATIC AWARENESS INSTITUTE is an official Training Institute of the Worldwide Aquatic Bodyworkers Association (WABA) and accredited on the WABA Registry. It offers a multi-dimensional interactive terrestrial and aquatic bodywork instruction dedicated to the training of future Tantsu Professional Practitioners with a focus on Somatic Education. The institute’s curriculum offers an in-depth experiential training in which participants learn to apply movement, contact, breath and sound to deepen their somatic presence and apply it directly to the innovative bodywork approach of TANTSU.
SOMATIC AWARENESS INSTITUTE Tantsu training is based in the awareness that bodies heal themselves and we as educators have the role of supporting and helping our clients and students realize their most adaptable and creative possibilities for integrated health. Our perspective is one of “unity first” and bringing to light that which is ALREADY healthy and educating our clients how to liberate repetitive movement, breath, thought and behavioral patterns giving way to more fluid, adaptable and regenerative responses. As the body opens to new somatic experiences and responses, we become available to new experiences and possibilities how we interact with the world around us.
The investigative, exploratory process of the SOMATIC AWARENESS INSTITUTE training emphasizes experiencing the practice for it’s intrinsic pleasure, feeling-sense, non-verbal communcation and deep listening in movement and stillness. A great emphasis is placed on awareness following and exploring movement of the flow between doing and non-doing. WATSU and TANTSU was born from Harold Dull’s intensive study of Zen Shiatsu with Masunaga and continues to emphasize the importance of “BEING with a person, rather than doing something to a person” during a session.