Yoga Meeting: Prof. Gail Abrams

Professor Gail Abrams, a yoga/dance teacher and professor for years, made the time to meet with me over this weekend. She taught in a liberal arts college for 30 years and shared her deep knowledge on movement and the importance of movement through culture, history and time. Movement is highly indicative of the way we understand, engage and share. Story-telling is all about movement. The way we hold ourselves at interviews is different from when we watch a movie in our family room. Each movement points towards an intentional sharing. Professor Gail Abrams introduced to me the concept of Somatic Yoga. Somatic Yoga was coined through Thomas Hanna. Somatic Yoga is all about first-person analysis of the body. First-person analysis means that it is based upon the internal experience of oneself, not upon an external experience. Physiology and medical treatments are based upon an external understanding. However, somatics is all about the internal experience. It unifies the internal experience with the future and past understandings of how one experiences matters. Furthermore, Yoga Somatics is a framework that highlights sensory motor amnesia.

Sensory motor amnesia explains the functioning occurring as we analyze our own experience, our own body. It is the conscious awareness of the movement that we are constantly doing. Descartes philosophy is explored in this type of yoga, “I thinktherefore I am.” The basis of this is argued against with, “I am self-aware, therefore I act.” This explains the first-body experience that somatics tries to understand. The body is a part of the system and the way we explore the body is shined through an experience from within. Therefore, self-awareness and cognizance of what the body is doing helps to explain and support the bodily movements. Self-awareness is key in understanding how to act in a more acute way. In this sense, sensory motor amnesia is a philosophy that shares how to heal the body through internal experience and awareness. For example, if one part of the body is no longer in peace with the other part of the body, then awareness has to be brought to the forgotten area. When awareness is brought, then the functioning can be refined to relieve the lack of movement or sensation avail in that area of the body. The unknown becomes known and the forgotten becomes relearned. This creates a functioning conscious system, where each movement is understood and defined through learning.

Yoga is truly powerful. Somatic Yoga can heal deep traumatic pain that rests in areas of our body that we are unaware of. Keep reading, challenging and perceiving new forms of awareness through daily practice. I feel deep appreciation and gratitude towards Prof. Gail Abrams for meeting with me and introducing me to this concept. It is still taking me a while to grapple with it; it’s incredibly restoring!

Here is an article associated with this post:

Sensory Motor Amnesia is a state that occurs universally. It is a result of long-term stress upon the body.

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