Somatic Experiencing Exercises

I have found that it is highly therapeutic to combine Somatic Experiencing therapy with traditional yoga poses. Here are two examples of exercises combining both practices:

Somatic Experiencing Exercise 1: Shoulder Stretch

This classical yoga pose, Gomulkasana (Cow-Face Pose), can become more than just a physical exercise with the SE theories I have adapted for yoga.  


To get into the pose (asana): Raise your right arm overhead and bend the elbow so the palm comes down to your back.  Place your left hand on the right elbow and draw the elbow towards the center of the head and give a gentle push down.  Reach around with the left hand (up the back) to clasp fingers or hold a strap in both hands.  Hold for 30 seconds to a minute. Then repeat on the other side. 

While you’re in the pose feel free to open or close your eyes, whatever is more comfortable.  Allow your awareness to be as non-judgmental as possible, just allowing your body and sensations to be as they are.  Feel your breath filling you and emptying you.

After doing each side, take time to feel your body and notice anything that feels comfortable, relaxing, pleasing, or positive. Let yourself slow down to take in this experience and notice how it makes you feel.  For example, does your vision feel harder or softer?  Are you happier or sadder?  Do you feel more connected to yourself or less?

In a private session I can guide you in letting in the good more deeply so that your body and mind feel more supported, helping you feel more embodied, happy, content, and settled. We can use this new,  safer place to help you slowly and securely approach issues that make you feel less centered and present.

Somatic Experiencing Exercise 2: Chest Opener

Lie over a roll beneath your chest, as per the picture – you can also use a pillow or blanket instead. Make sure it’s a comfortable size for your body. The edge of the roll lands beneath your armpits; if there’s any discomfort place a pillow under your head and move the roll down another inch towards your hips. You can keep your legs bent, straight, or in a Baddha Konasana pose (see photo).


While you’re in the pose, breathe from your belly up through your rib cage into your broad upper chest. Exhale fully. In this pose you are leading with your heart.  Ask yourself, what are you receiving as you surrender into this chest opener?  Welcome any feelings, sensations, light, or thoughts that appear.  If something feels helpful, see if you can breathe and let experience that in a little more deeply.  

In a private session I can help you move more deeply into what is happening in the moment in your experience.  I might ask you some questions or help you ground yourself into your body in ways you haven’t experienced in a while. It can feel like a great homecoming.

For more information on how can I help you with Somatic Experiencing therapy, contact me.