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As yoga teachers, we understand the mind/body connection. 

We all probably have personal experience with stress affecting our autonomic nervous system and physical health. 

According to somatic therapy theory, sensations or memories associated with past trauma or other stressful events may become trapped within the body.

Today, we are chatting with John Sander about Somatic Yoga.

👉 What is somatic yoga?

👉 How somatic yoga works.

👉 How is it different than yoga therapy and regular therapy?

👉 Certifications and requirements for somatic yoga?

About John Sander

John became a therapist and a coach to help people navigate the struggles inherent in being human. Given his training and personal experience, he is uniquely qualified to guide and empower you to lead the life that you desire and deserve.

He has been in the business of helping people for 10 years. His training and experience is diverse, with an emphasis on neurobiology, neuroscience, attachment, mindfulness and somatic psychotherapy. He believes in the importance of an integrative approach and supporting you as a whole person. 

In addition to his training as a psychotherapist, he holds two certifications in yoga and one as a personal trainer. He has extensive knowledge of nutrition and understands its importance in emotional and physical wellbeing.

Work with John and invite him to a present as a guest workshop or teacher training presenter:

Key Takeaways

[00:01] Intro to John Sander

[01:21] What is Somatic Yoga?

[03:52] The job of somatic psychotherapy

[06:50] Somatic movements vs. somatic psychotherapy

[07:56] The difference between Yoga Therapy and Somatic Yoga

[09:11] How somatic yoga made John a better yoga teacher

[09:29] Teaching yoga using the guns, the koshas, and becoming more sattvic

[14:25] The subtle body and somatic yoga

[16:28] Music in our yoga classes- distracting or helpful?

[22:58] How to get started working with somatic yoga

[24:10] John’s book recommendations

John’s Book Recommendations:

Yoga & Psyche: Integrating the Paths of Yoga and Psychology for Healing, Transformation, and Joy by Mariana Caplan

Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom by Rick Hanson

The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation by Stephen Porges

Getting Our Bodies Back by Christine Caldwell

Quotes from this episode

Somatic yoga basically emphasizes the practice of internal physical perception or the body as perceived from within. 

The way that we understand ourselves, honestly on a spiritual level, on a personal level, and mostly subconscious level comes out through our bodies.

So the job of somatic psychotherapy is to seek out through the body those pathways that have become either blocked or disconnected, to bring them up, to work with them and to put them back in a more optimal way. 

We’re trying to work to let the body inform the mind instead of the mind inform the body.

We believe that the memories, or the mental state, actually exists in the body first and then it imprints on the mind. 

When we become more embodied, or when we understand how we are from the inside out, we become better teachers. We are more connected to ourselves, more connected to the process, and more compassionate in the way that we put together classes.

The idea in yoga is to become united or free from those things that impede your freedom and walk more freely through the world. 

As a yoga teacher, you have students that encounter the same physical challenges again and again and again. It’s like butting your head up against a wall. And often times it’s not the physical body. There’s so many different layers of emotions and mental states.

As yoga teachers, the words we use, the tones we use, the tone of their voice affects the physical experience of our students and it’s literally processed in the lens of safe or not safe. Right? So we’re actually creating an experience for people that we don’t have a ton of control over, but we can be more conscious of what our impact can be on people simply by opening our mouth. 

I have a vision for what the human race can be and what I would love people to feel in their lives. And I think that in order to get there, it has to start moving beyond the distraction and beyond the outer layers and into the inner stuff. And that takes slowing down and less intensity. 

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