Seónagh Kummer, Ph.D.
The link between stress and burnout is prominent in society. Many of us turn inward to find deeper meaning amidst the inhumanity of war and other crises. While most of us suffer, there is a way out—and it begins through skillful movement inquiry. While the trauma industry booms with training and new books, our bodies already know and remember the importance of attuning to the earth’s deeper rhythms.
Communities that gather around shared values help us, but a community that gathers to practice movement mindfully is extremely valuable as a portal to our spiritual growth. I am building a movement with movement. I teach mindful movement classes for every body, integrating a somatic awareness of fascia, fascia focused movement, organs, bones, fluids, and the nervous system. As we limber up, groove, and pivot, we learn how to intentionally move with different qualities such as fascia glide and plasticity, which can change our nervous system responses, aiding feelings of peace. This practice helps us connect to one another as we cultivate the courage to share our authentic selves and gifts with the world, and we can learn both to know what we stand for and how to express it in our own way.
The classes are designed for both experienced and inexperienced movers, and might help reset physical/emotional patterns. The flight, fight, freeze or collapse responses show up as physical/emotional holding patterns, which can be exacerbated further by stresses affecting our environments. I carefully design movement sequences to release common holding patterns, ground us in our senses, and this helps to alleviate our inner chaos when we feel threats to our survival and emotions run high. Through this practice we also learn to connect to earth rhythms.
Many cultures have long held dance and music as central to spiritual and wellness and live in a way deeply connected to the rhythms of the earth, attunement with the seasons, and cultivate highly developed leaders to benefit shared collective wellness and growth. What I found most touching about my time studying my ancestral culture, doing my PhD research about African (Kenya Luo) dance, or when I had special opportunities to grow in deep ceremony, was how central movement and music are as communal and individual wellness practices. People move their bodies to release bound or frenetic energies, regulate their nervous systems, and heal together as a community.
I have watched negative energies rooted in the body be released through skilled touch and movement, and this deep understanding of the body and skilled somatic touch centered healing is where my field of dance somatics finds resonance. Consumerism, the momentum of technology, and the violence of prevailing values have caused many of us to live in a way that takes us away from our ancestral awareness of how to attune to these rhythms. My coaching practices draw from this ancestral wisdom, using movement and dance to connect to earth rhythms, and I explore body-centered inquiry and bodywork. In this way I help us move away from tightness, shallow breathing, restriction of motion, or the feelings of being lost, numb and disassociated.