Let’s talk about Somatic Grounding, what it is. and why, along with an awareness or tuning in process, it is fundamental. I will also share how it helps us reduce learned bias and the effects of how we adapted in the past or as a result of traumas.
Tuning in and Grounding are the building blocks or foundation from which we can be open to new experiences. These practices help us to be present to what is happening in the moment. It clears our lens so we can perceive what is there rather than something colored by our history.
Tuning in should be done before and after a grounding process. (See previous post for a detailed description & audio for tuning in.)
Somatic Grounding is a way to discharge excess energy; It is also a way to gather up energy when we are feeling depleted. Grounding can help us stabilize when there are big emotions present whether they be our own or someone we are interacting with. It is a tool that helps us stand our ground.
Grounding helps us to stay in touch with ourselves while we are in contact with others. When we are grounded, we can empathize and fully listen without losing our own sense of self.
In somatic therapy, tuning in and grounding will typically precede an expressive and analytic component. This prepares the person to be able to expand their aliveness as well as self-regulation and possession.
Grounding can include a variety of simple or complex exercises, but the basic elements are:
- Warming up to gently prepare the body for movement.
- Opening the joints of the body. (Gentle stretches of the toes, ankles, knees, hip flexors, diaphragm, shoulders, elbows, fingers, and neck. These areas are sometimes referred to as the narrows of the body. Feelings and spontaneous expression are often held or blocked in these areas. We want to open the flow of energy so that the emotions can flow and resolve.
- Grounding Exercises starting with contacting and activating the feet and moving up the body. Allowing vibration to occur and staying mindful of feelings throughout.
In a somatic therapy, grounding practices will be tailored to your personality, body, and goals. You will leave with a practice that you can do on your own, but it will also be preparation for expressive and analytic work.
You may discover areas of your body that are contracted, frozen, or limp. You may be aware that certain emotions are difficult for you to express. If you are not aware, a therapist can help you discover these things through a variety of experiential exercises and observing you.
If you are in a somatic therapy and with your therapist have determined that certain expressive exercises are helpful for you at this time, you will do the expressive work after grounding and then follow it up with a brief grounding.
The post-expressive grounding can be as simple as pumping your knees as you stand, lifting your leg as you are seated in a chair or even lying on your back with your feet pushing into a wall. Once grounded, there should be a brief tuning in before moving on to your next activity for the day.