As Associates and Certified Somatic Coaches of the Strozzi Institute, we adhere to the following rationale/philosophy:
Embodied Learning: We begin with the claim that learning is the ability to take actions that were previously unavailable to us. Secondly, we offer a new interpretation of the body that is fundamental to learning. This interpretation challenges the rationalistic tradition, the dualism of mind and body that our educational system has maintained over the past three hundred years. In contrast to this tradition, we say that learning is the result of new practices to which we commit our whole body, not merely in gathering and understanding information with the mind.
Humans Live in Bodies: Whatever we do as human beings we do in our bodies. The sum total of our history lives in our body. We are predisposed to act out of the conditioning of this history. Wherever we are, our bodies and our history are present. This is so obvious and simple we overlook it. The human mind is an integral part of the body, but it is only one part: a part of the nervous system housed in our bodies. Learning can then be seen as changing our body’s capacity for taking new actions. When we take new actions, perform in new ways, or behave differently, we are demonstrating that we have learned something new. The converse is true: if we don’t act in a new way we will be assessed as not learning.
The Somatic Arc of Transformation: Embodied Learning starts from heightening our Somatic Awareness, which is the process of understanding the automatic responses (Conditioned Tendencies or "CTs") that we generate under pressure. CTs live at a cellular level, are part of our nervous system and can become transparent to us in time. Becoming aware of the habitual responses (which can manifest in terms of thinking, moods, posture, behavior, etc), will allow us to move to Somatic Openings, which is the process of expanding our capacity for new actions, behaviors and possibilities that will create a shift from our old shape to our new one.
The final phase of the Arc is generated through Somatic Practices. Learning is embodied through practice and recurrence and under pressure we revert to what we practice most. As long as we’re prepared to connect, listen and pay attention to our body, it can become our primary source of information in the revealing process, accelerating our transformation. New supporting practices will impact the way we breathe, stand, sit, walk, look, brace, speak, hold our shoulders, distribute our weight downwards or upwards, touch, face, extend, balance. Ultimately it will allow us to generate new behaviors and actions, letting go of the habitual responses, beliefs and paradigms that can get in the way of expressing our full potential.
Visit www.strozziintitute.com for more details on Somatic Coaching.