Frequently Asked Questions
"Soma" is a Greek word for “living body”. Thomas Hanna, founder of the Somatics Society*, re-defined soma as the body experienced from within. At SOMA, our internal experience is a central theme, and our offerings are structured to connect us with our bodies: with the living, moving, breathing being that is our home.
Come explore your creativity through moving, sounding, and rhythm play. Connect to the feeling of freedom, spontaneity and aliveness that is our birthright. At SOMA, we create a safe place to explore different ways of being with an attitude of curiosity and ease. As we let our guard down, we connect with ourselves and each other with a sense of humor, creativity and play.
Photo by Mieke
I'd love to try it, but I'm intimidated by doing music or movement with others.
Yes, that ubiquitous inner critic. We all seem to have some variation of this inner voice that berates us or warns us not to embarrass ourselves in front of others. Often these habits of self-censoring have their roots in childhood: “The teacher made me mouth the words in chorus, because I was off key”. “They told me to draw a frog in first grade and I just couldn’t do it” (frogs are not easy to draw!). “My music teacher said I have no rhythm." “I don’t like my body so I’m not comfortable dancing in a room with others”.
Well, you’ve come to the right place because this is really why SOMA was created, to help loosen these inner restrictions so that we can let out more of ourselves to shine. We don’t emphasize technique or how something looks; instead we focus on having fun and/or looking within.
The inner critic can be recognized as a voice within, as a part of us that is honestly trying to help us avoid shame or humiliation. That’s a good thing, right? No doubt the intention is good. And we can also remind ourselves that we are adults now, who can seek out “judgement free” spaces where we can have fun and try new things. People can always kindly ask the inner critic to wait in the lobby while they are dancing, vocalizing, or drumming, and tell it that it can be be picked up on the way out. The critic can keep its job for us outside of SOMA (for example, it could help us avoid singing out loud in the grocery store). But it can be reminded that SOMA was expressly created for you to experience more freedom in a safe space.
All participants are invited to be curious about this part if they wish, to befriend it with kindness, and then to remind it that here, it can relax and let go a little, as much or as little as it feels comfortable with. I’m always happy to speak more with anyone about this topic, as it is near and dear to my heart and a huge part of the reason I created this studio.
Why no mirrors at SOMA?
Mirrors can be really useful if one is practicing a specific form of dance or movement, such as Indian Classical dance, Belly dance, Jazz, Ballet, or Yoga. At SOMA we do value all forms of dance and movement, but SOMA wasn not created to teach culturally specific dance forms. We designed this studio intentionally as a mirror-free space, to encourage an inward focus, such as what your movement feels like, rather than what it looks like from the outside. Here the emphasis is more on creativity and connection to self and others.
With this said, we are not purists….so here is the “secret”: nside the closet door is one large mirror that people enjoy using on occasion to get silly or to check out what certain movements looks like. It’s just not to be the main focus of our play/work here.
Do you see people for individual movement, vocalizing, or drumming sessions?
Yes, I welcome this for people who feel like this would be best for them. Sometimes people need more focused attention, or they’d like a little more one on one support in overcoming emotional blocks to their creativity. Or they just feel safer with fewer people in the room. Authentic Movement, for example, can bring people very deeply inside. When I first tried this form, I knew I needed it to be just with one person, and with someone who had a lot of training in this practice. Some people would feel safer in the presence of a group where they may feel like they blend in more; that is just personal preference.
Do you offer groups for children?
I don’t offer groups specifically for young ones at this time, although I adore children and they can certainly benefit from this type of loosely structured play. I feel strongly that even more than children, adults need places where they can play more. Children of all ages do come along with their caregivers to the dance parties, or the drum circles, and are most welcome as long as they don’t interfere too much with the flow of the group. They can certainly add a lot to the group energy, as they tend to be less self-conscious and laugh more, and this can be delightfully infectious.
*SOMA is not affiliated with the Somatics Society or the Novato Institute for Somatic Research and Training. For more information see www.somaticsed.com