Somatic Awakening Workshop in Cook Islands


Aitutaki, Cook Islands, January, 2019


 Maybe you find one of these reducing your quality of life:

  • Stiffness, Tightness. Can't get into the day without that first cup of coffee? You haven't really woken up. What if there were a different way to greet each day? 

  • A 'Cranky Shoulder'? Or any part of the body that complains. No matter what you are doing, it complains, hijacking your ability to enjoy your life, clouding your experience.
  • Unrestful Sleep.  Even though sleep is supposed to be the time to recuperate, sometimes we cannot fall asleep easily, or wake and not return to sleep. Pain and discomfort exaggerate this. This can change.
  • Lack of Flexibility. Whether you want to put on socks more easily, do a shoulder-check with confidence, touch your toes, ease your tight hamstrings, or open your hips, you can learn to increase the ease in flexing and open your joints.
  • Balance Challenges. Do you have balance challenges, whether on uneven surfaces like winter snow and ice or hiking in the mountains? Or on even surfaces walking down stairs, putting on socks, or in playing sports? 
  • Coordination Challenges. Whether it is enhancing your Tai Chi form or your down-hill skiing, coordination is the key. 
  • Loss of Strength. Downward dogs got you down? Lost the joy of cooking because the pans are too heavy, or the grocery bags to heavy to lift?

There is another way to experience yourself.  

The Somatic Awakening classes focus on how you can learn to move in new ways so that pain and stiffness are reduced. A student recently wrote to me about her changes: "So much less aching. Bending over.  Putting on boots.  Shoulder check when driving.    Standing and cooking without pain and no pain after cooking.  Shovelling snow. Getting in and out of the tub.  So much less pain from flute playing--hurrah! "  She added, "This little list tells the story of a life that is so much easier to live and a life that can contain joy and pleasure." Her limitations in all the above areas have reduced significantly and her sense of fulfilment in her life is  profound.



Robert Black, Calgary


ATM SidelyingHow did this happen? I provided her a series of movement lessons that drew into use her  whole mind and body; the lessons built upon previous ones and included ideas on how to improve the quality of all movements. She learned the essential movements that supported her. As she awakening to her somatic self, she learned to take the time and attention to open her awareness. She began to discover how she could integrate the new patterns into her daily life.

The somatic approach enhances the quality of living, as the student wrote, "a life that is so much easier to live and a life that can contain joy and pleasure". Another student commented, "this lead to confidence not just in large body movements but also a calming internal approach to life. " Some of these aspects are: Your body, your self.  So often we have been taught not to trust the body. We also have learned not to trust our senses, and hence our 'sense' of ourself becomes distorted. We have repressed our emotions so that we do not know who we are, sometimes feeling more like a shadow, or an empty vessel that a living being. Experiencing the wisdom that is a deep part of your body-mind; learning to trust and to use this ability. Trust the support provided by the skeleton. This frees the musculature from excessive tightness and habitual holding, leading to increased ease and freedom of joints and increased strength. Grace, Ease. Elegance. Choice: maybe these words are unfamiliar to you; they can be helpful developing a richer, deeper sense of yourself. You need a safe environment to explore yourself moving in these new ways.

A student wrote, "...I enjoy  that there is time to really sink into the body awareness and to experience the senses..."

  During the classes you will have time to apply these ideas and you will discover changes in 
  • Rushing. It seems we have so little time to pause and simply sense. When we do this, we change, our world becomes fuller, richer. It helps to have a structured time that allows the freedom to pause to breathe. 
  • Old Habits. Those knee-jerk reactions that happen before we have had time to think. It could be a  thoughtless word, a stiff back, achy neck or grinding teeth. These change.  
  • Fear. Anxiety. Lack of Trust. Sometimes it seems that our life is controlled by them. One way to ease their strangle-hold on life is to learn to sense the support within the body, to trust it, contradicting the fearful thoughts.
  • Moving with Confidence. Sometimes the difference is discovering how you can move with confidence. 

Go beyond the limitations. Experience the exhilaration of a kind and straight spine. The joy or realization when the body lets go of pain and habits no longer needed, The sense of self deepens, the possibility of connecting more deeply with the self, with others, with the spirit.


This sounds a lot like the Feldenkrais Method. "Somatic Awakening" is based on  the teachings of Dr. Feldenkrais. The phrase describes the beginning steps of a process that help us move towards a more mature approach to thinking about ourselves, and ourselves in relation to the world. When we apply these beginning steps we find that the day-to-day aches and pains, long-term anxieties, frustrations with lack of ability ease, and instead people feel more cheerful and hopeful, they have more curiosity about their world, and experience more appreciation. 

What students say:

 ... As a participant at a week long Feldenkrais class series, I loved how current brain research guides the instructions in  each session.  Through a series of gentle movements I became increasing able to move with greater ease and confidence.  To my surprise, this lead to confidence not just in large body movements but also a calming internal approach to life.    It was an amazing experience and I look forward to my next opportunity to join a Feldenkrais session.  -- Judy M, Edmonton

... I wholeheartedly urge anyone who would like to improve their ease of movement and/or self expression to experience Rob Black's teaching of the Feldenkrais Method.  Rob is an incredibly kind, sensitive, attentive and highly knowledgable teacher who has helped me to find ease in the movements which give my life meaning, and to find strategies to become my own teacher. -- Alex C, Calgary

... What I enjoy ... is that there is more time to really sink into the body awareness and to experience the senses.... It is really amazing what patterns and emotions can surface when time is taken to attend a workshop. Not to mention how much better the physical body feels when it has been pampered, recognized and respected over an extended period of time.  -- Lucy N, Calgary

... A series of classes is a way of going one step further and getting a lot of gain with no pain in a very short time. In a workshop I attended, I experienced an additive effect in each successive session because new patterns of moving were reinforced in a timely way, and so in three days I was moving in ways I never thought possible for my inflexible body. I highly recommend Feldenkrais and Rob to anyone yearning for a happier, stronger and more comfortable body and self. -- Christine W, Calgary

Watch a short video, below, about a past Somatic Awakening workshop - and a participant's experience:

-- Rob