We graduated!

…and the first part of our training is behind us – learning techniques, listening to lectures, reading and writing and practicing.

All of this will continue, but for now we celebrate this milestone of receiving our certificate after 3 years of clinical training.



December at SOMAdublin

The end of the year is fast approaching so a few head ups (or heads up?) what is happening this December at SOMAdublin!

First of all, I will be finishing (the official part of) my professional training at the very beginning of December in York! 3, well 4 years of training, ups and downs, practice, chats, writing, practice and oh did I say practice! I feel ready to take this journey to the next step and am excited to start 2018 as a fully certified practitioner!

December 4th-8th I will teach the ever popular Dance Ireland professional morning class: dancers and choreographers can use it as an intricate warm up for the day workshops with Algerian / French choreographer Nacera Belaza (check further info here)  everyone else can use this intensive week of daily 1.5h workshop classes as a sinking deeper into your Somatic Movement practice! Don’t be shy and do come to class – although it is geared towards professional performers, the class really is enriched by a mix of people coming! You should be comfortably able to work lying on the floor in different positions – bring a mat if you like some padding, a blanket is a great idea too! These classes are heavily subsidized by the Arts Council of Ireland as part of the provision of daily professional classes for dancers, and I am grateful to be able to share Somatic Movement in the tradition of Thomas Hanna with the Irish dance community.

Then on to a new adventure: Somatics for Knitters and Crocheters! This idea is in my head since a bit over a year (it will bloom into more in 2018!), bringing Somatic Movement to knitters who frequently complain about repetitive stress discomfort, tendonitis, tense shoulders and achy necks. Who would have thunk that our passion for creating something beautiful sometimes comes with an unexpected price tag!
We? Yes, I’m an avid knitter myself since my Oma Kaetha ripped out my first scarf (still in use!) for ‘untidy stitches’ and decided I’m better off with her finishing it 😀 A woman who knit her way through tough and cold times (I heard of knitted undergarments for her children…), being born in 1912 and died in the year she would have turned 100.  s my work ‘lives in other people’ I really enjoy creating something that lasts, something I have put down and pick back up and it’s still the way I left it (unless my son tried to ‘help me’).
So long story short – there will be 2 short FREE taster classes at the fantastic This is Knit in Powerscourt House on December 10th! The first one at 2-2.30pm only has 1 spot left, but fear not, there’s another one at 2.45-3.15pm. Suitable for knitters, crocheters, handsewists, embroiderers, beaders etc. You can book your chair here
A wee preview of my goofy face and some movement is in the Bea and Rose podcast on youtube who asked me to contribute a while ago! Go and have a gander, besides the Somatics bit I’m a super fan of the podcast!

There’s a break around Christmas, and I will end the year with 2 free online classes – one on December 27th at 5pm, and the other one on December 30th at 5pm. You can sign up on the Schedule/Workshop page. It’s my gift to all of you who supported me on this journey and anyone who feels they’re broke but need a bit of a break after all the dinners and family gatherings!

And finally, bookings are open for my next 8 week course from January 8th, hop over to the class page to reserve your spot!

New class sign ups and a special visit

I have created a new class sign up for everyone who would like to take my Monday morning Restorative Somatic Education class, but can’t make it! You can now book your spot for receiving the audio recording of the class straight into your inbox. That way, you can take the full class at your convenience (everyone who signs up as a participant is receiving the recording too as usual). The price is of course reduced and as a special offer, I added on a 121 45min video lesson with me, which we can use to do an assessment, I can give you pointers for your practice and you can ask questions. The video lesson will be recorded for you to keep too.

You can sign up for the audio only version of the 8 week course over on my class page!
I am also exploring the possibility to teach a 4 week video based course on a Thursday night – conference call style, I teach and can see you for corrections in class. My aim is to provide more cost effective ways of providing more people with the opportunity to practice Somatic Education. While the personal contact is part of a class, the next best thing is to be able to actually be in a class when usually time and money restricts you from going. We take out travel time, bus fares, getting child care sorted etc and start creating a habit of practicing at home at the same time.
I would love to explore if this format of teaching is suitable and useful for people living with social anxiety and other conditions that make it hard to leave the house, and if we can carve out enough self-care time for people who are full time carers of relatives and loved ones (maybe 60min class would be doable, when ~120min of leaving the house is not even to be considered).

My idea is to offer different 4 week mini courses on a theme like improve your breathing, how to include movement snacks throughout your day without lying down on the floor, establishing a kind and non-judgemental self-care practice, get back to dance by freeing your waist muscles and whatever else I can come up with!

2018 will be filled with Somatic Education classes and I am committed to share my knowledge and passion with everyone who would like to know more about it.

A special visit is coming up: my teacher Martha Peterson is visiting Dublin to teach a sold out Essential Somatics Fundamentals immersion weekend in 9 days! If you would like to take the opportunity to book a private lesson with her on either Friday 17th or Monday 20th during the day, please get in touch with her or Steph from Live&Breathe Pilates:
http://www.essentialsomatics.com   http://www.liveandbreathepilates.com
The workshop itself will be supported by my colleague Colm McDonnell of Clinical Somatics Ireland, who is practicing just outside Dublin in Portmarnock, while I’ll be celebrating at a family wedding.

Your next opportunity to take care of yourself (and others)

You really want to take better care of yourself, but you still feel the guilt? Come to myfeelgreatindublin ‘Feel great in Dublin 8’ class at Live and Breathe Pilates next Saturday at 2pm!

simonI will teach a class in aid of Dublin Simon Community who are pouring all their energy into helping people who are homeless. As anyone in Ireland knows, there is a big crisis around loosing your accommodation and not a lot that is done to lessen this. Charities like Dublin Simon Community are vital for people who have nowhere to turn to.

So if you would like to spend an hour learning about Somatic Education and how you can breathe easier, lessen tension and tightness in your muscles while donating some money to Dublin Simon, please come along. We don’t have a suggested donation amount, so even if you’re a bit strapped for cash, you might need a relaxing hour to soothe aches and pains. If you have any woolen jumpers you might feel are still good to donate, you are welcome to bring them along too.

So, take some time feeling good while helping others along the way.
Reserve your mat here!

rambling about the hows and the whys

We had a great discussion in class yesterday after one of the participants told me she didn’t quite get the movements we did the previous week – ‘sometimes it clicks and you understand it, but this movement I couldn’t get my head around it’ (we were doing shoulder and hip circles). I explained why it is important so be patient and how persistent practice (failing and failing better as Beckett noted) will bring improvement and confidence. Trying to stay aware and involved in every part of a movement, zooming in on the sensation of moving. Full attention to our selves. And this is where it gets tricky – have we learned that it’s ok to focus on ourselves?

Every time I lie down on the floor and do the movements, I feel so much better. Then I ask myself – WHY DON’T I DO IT MORE OFTEN?

This is where Somatic Education is opening a space to go deeper and dig for more knowledge about ourselves – do we think we deserve to care for ourselves? If not, why is that? Where does the idea that taking care of ourselves is somehow selfish or shameful come from? Why do we have to deserve it anyways and not simply take it for granted?!
Thomas Hanna was a philosopher first and foremost and the question of how much freedom is possible for human beings at the core of his work. This is what Somatic Education in his tradition is about: How can we be free? Can we create more choices for ourselves? We start with more awareness, knowing and tracing back where our restrictions are coming from, more movement choices, and how this affects how we think, how we handle environmental and emotional stress and how we can ‘have our cake and eat it’.
If we don’t acknowledge our ‘cultural reflexes’ and how they shape and manifest how we think about our bodies and our relation to ourselves, it is hard to understand why someone might be really motivated to ‘get out of pain’, has learned movement strategies and has time and some space to do it and still is reluctant.
And letting the cat out of the box – one of the comments was ‘we’ve never learned that, this is a catholic country’. If you have heard over and over again, especially as a woman, that your body is the seat of sin, that pleasure is something to feel guilty about (heck, they even advertise eating chocolate as a ‘guilty pleasure’…), if you were reminded to cover up, not to take up that much space, if your genitals are called ‘down there or private parts’ and even that is only whispered, if you have learned to only leave the house dressed in a way that doesn’t ‘lure the male gaze in’, if you are in a class and the instruction is ‘ put your hands on your hip bones’ and you feel shyness, guilt or shame and don’t know where your hip bones are because the body is not something to be studied in school, if you were subjected to more judgemental comments about your body being too big, too small, to exposed, to frigid than hearing respectful, invited opinions, you definitely are not alone. I saw a group of women yesterday nodding in agreement, that they have not learned they deserve to take care of themselves, that their pleasure should be to see the fruit of their hard work of pouring their care and love into other people and that giving themselves 10 minutes a day is something that needs to be scheduled to be justified (and not forgotten). I hear it all the time. ‘I have never given myself permission to feel that way’, ‘I’m always just managing getting through’. It’s usually when a big sigh is heard and the first tears of relief are rolling. Giving yourself space to breathe when you have learned to hold your breath can do that. Don’t fear it, it’s a powerful reminder of what to change.

Ignoring what is so deeply ingrained stands in the way of engaging curiously and freely with sensations. I see over and over again clients who almost need a spoken out ‘permission to feel’, not analyze, just be and be with sensations and emotions (which is the same, really), appreciate them and cultivate making choices about how useful it is to keep doing the same thing, to react the same way, to take an idea you’ve learned for the absolute unchangeable truth. Being aware if what we are doing is still serving us, not in a self-absorbed, but in a self-knowing kind of way. I don’t mean instagramable hyping yourself up to self-love and compassion kind of memes to keep your followers and make them think you have your shit together, I mean the quiet and loud decisions to determine how we want to move forward and what we can leave behind.

Start a revolution and befriend your whole self, change what you don’t like, keep what you love. Know that once you made the first decision, the process is started, no matter how long it will take you (I’m currently in year 10 and it’s not a linear process with yearly steady improvements – we’re after all not a spreadsheet where only the balance counts). Being fed up with and questioning the notion of not deserving to care about yourself is a good start. And next time you hear somebody trying to persuade you to stay in the cage they built for you, turn around and walk away. The door was left open.

Plans for 2018

It’s already mid October, the leaves are falling, my son goes crazy about Halloween and I can’t believe my 3 years of study are coming to an end!

My last module is coming up end of November – out of 14 students who started this journey, 9 will be graduating as new Clinical Somatic Educators. I am so grateful to have started the training when I started it, it felt just right.

I am beyond excited that my Tuesday morning class at the Education and Research Centre is full with curious minds and so I am planning to add some more classes to my schedule for 2018. I am planning to offer a class in Rathfarnham – if you are interested, let me know by using the contact form here! Restorative Somatic Education is suitable for everyone, even if you dislike fitness classes and just know you need to keep your movement up. It is gentle enough and suitable for condition where a lot of movements are contraindicated. We can even practice the movements in sitting, if lying on the floor is not available to you.

I am also delighted to be back teaching Ballet for adults – everyone who always wanted to try it is welcome! So I am researching suitable spaces in Dublin South to start a weekly evening class from next year again.
As always, I can only offer classes if people are signing up, so if you are interested, let me know. I will have a minimum sign up policy for the next courses – I will send a newsletter once spaces are confirmed. You can sign up to it when you visit my website – a pop-up window should appear where you can fill in your details.

New classes from October

Lots of exciting things are happening – first off I am guest lecturing again in UL next Monday, this time I will work with the new MA Contemporary Dance Performance students as well as the MA Traditional Dance Performance students to introduce them to Somatic Movement Education in the tradition of Thomas Hanna.

I am delighted to be back at the beautiful Irish World Academy, the performing arts faculty at University of Limerick. This is where I completed my MA in Contemporary Dance Performance in 2010, an important year for me on my journey of somatic education.

When I’m back, I have a bit of time to recollect myself before traveling to beautiful York once again for my fifth Clinical Somatic Education module under Martha Peterson from Essential Somatics. I’m so happy to see my class mates again after a year of practice at home, it’s good to dive in again in a super concentrated format! Looking forward to having a public clinic again this time, where we can receive feedback from both teachers and mentors as well as class mates. While I used to be really nervous on such occasions, I am now looking forward to being ‘assessed’ and get more info from the outside about what I am doing.

Back in Dublin, a whole host of new classes are starting up – Monday will (hopefully) see a new Ballet for Beginners class at Yoga Dublin in Ranelagh! I’m so looking forward to have some dance back in my life after a long hiatus and boogie in the living room with my son. I love teaching ballet, it’s challenging but very rewarding for everyone involved. I think I like that it has a reliable structure for both teacher and students and progressions are very clear. Even working at the most basic level, we can feel how beautifully we can move our bodies, no matter how old, large, small, young or whatever we are (or feel – it’s just numbers anyways..). The class is on at 10am and you can sign up via http://www.yogadublin.com/courses
On Tuesdays I will offer a Restorative Somatic Movement class in Harold’s Cross – there are still spaces available! I’m looking forward to teach 8 solid weeks of Somatics again, as clients can make sense of how they move when there is a regular class and things ‘stick’ better. Over the summer, creche is closed so morning classes were not doable – I’m happy to be back teaching! This class is open to ALL ages (so far I have a good few over 60s booked in!), so even if you think a regular exercise class isn’t for you, try it out! If you read this and think your parents might benefit, let them know! You can hop over to the Classes section and book your mat there. This class also starts at 10am.

The finally on Friday I’m back at Live and Breathe Pilates with another Restorative Movement class at 10am. This class will be perfect for anyone who likes to just come to a class – mats and cushions etc are all there already and all you need to do is book in and show up!

In November, you have the opportunity to take a whole weekend of learning with my teacher Martha Peterson in a Fundamentals Immersion weekend, held at Live&Breathe Pilates. I can’t recommend this highly enough – you will feel refreshed, your mind will be blown and safely put back together again and you will learn so much about yourself! Get booking, this is a rare opportunity to learn Somatic Movement in the tradition of Thomas Hanna in a pure form. The workshop is taking place on November 18th and 19th. Please book here: http://www.essentialsomatics.com
To raise more awareness for the workshop, I will teach an intro class in aid of the Dublin Simon Community on November 4th – 75min for 20€ will all money going to Simon.

You can sign up for all of the classes online, either at http://www.yogadublin.com/courses or www,liveandbreathepilates.com, or drop me a line for the Tuesday class!