Somatic therapy is gaining wide-spread popularity and accreditation and becoming increasingly mainstream around the globe. If you aren’t yet familiar with somatic therapy – it is the term used to describe any body-centered therapy that honors and works with the mind-body connection and uses mind-body-energy exercises and other physical techniques to help release pent-up tension and stress responses that negatively affects wellbeing. Breathwork is a form of somatic therapy; deep breathing, relaxation exercises, and meditation can be as well. Another popular form of somatic therapy, particularly among talk therapists, is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).
Somatic therapy helps to rebalance the nervous system and can produce systemic mental, physical, and emotional benefits and help in healing and trauma release where other therapies have failed. It is an empowering practice, because it allows the person practicing it to be their own healer, and we are overjoyed to see somatic therapies becoming more widely respected and accessible.
At Alchemy of Breath we have developed our own form of somatic therapy called the Alchemy Meditation, and below we will share the story of it’s incarnation and evolution. We will also share ways you can use this meditation to renew your mental-emotional-spiritual health, increase self awareness, enhance your relationships, improve emotional intelligence, and change your life for the better!
The Birth of the Alchemy Meditation
The seeds for Alchemy Meditation came in the form of a story that a mentor of AoB founder Anthony Abbagnano shared with him several years ago. Anthony’s mentor was on a bus one day and when he came to his stop he tried to stand up to get off. At this moment a very big man got up and blocked his way, staring him down with an implicit invitation to fight. Instead of reacting or responding or getting angry, he stayed with his body experience. Energy rose and it dissipated, and the shift in energy somehow dissolved the instigator’s aggression, and he just stepped out of the way and allowed the mentor to pass.
The recognition of just how powerful tapping into body sensations can be led to Anthony and his mentor practicing doing so together. They would close their eyes, breathe, and then tap into their body and their Felt Sense, and share what they were feeling/experiencing in that moment (for more information on the Felt Sense, click here).
The effects of this simple practice were profound – Anthony noticed a heightened sensitivity and the development of a deep inner knowing. It also allowed for access to the body archive, and the creative channel — the wisdom spring of the universe that exists in each of us. The benefits branched out to all parts of Anthony’s life, enhancing his emotional and relational intelligence; and improving his relationships, his Facilitator and teaching practice, and his ability to be fully present. The Alchemy Meditation has since evolved into a free weekly global offering to our community, and an integral part of our Breathwork Facilitator Training.
What is the Alchemy Meditation and What Are its Benefits?
The Alchemy meditation is a somatic therapy where we practice remaining alert, open, and receptive to any sensation that comes across our field. We give it our full focus, attention, and awareness, without trying to analyze or judge it. Bodily sensations are ever-changing and during the meditation, we watch them as they shift and transform. This is an invitation to move away from the mind and into the body and to connect with our ever-changing sensory, energetic, and emotional landscape. It can allow for the gentle release of trauma, and when practiced regularly, it can be an empowering tool for systemic transformation.
As we become more aware of our breath, our bodies, and ourselves, the way in which we experience the world shifts. Eventually we become so connected and present, that we can fully partake in the dance of life, alchemize moment-to-moment struggles into opportunities, and cross the threshold into pure potential.
How the Alchemy Meditation Can Strengthen & Even Save Your Relationships
A regular Alchemy Meditation practice allows you to notice differently, it leads to emotional intelligence, enhanced communication skills, and allows you to better see and understand what the other might be going through. Master facilitator trainer and Alchemy Meditation extraordinaire – Pablo Castro explains this beautifully with this simple quote: “I can best understand where someone else is at through exploring myself.” Continued practice will allow you to connect with strangers, loved ones, coworkers and everyone who crosses your path in a whole new way.
The Alchemy Meditation may even hold the key for saving relationships. In fact one of our friends credits the Alchemy Meditation for saving his marriage. He and his partner were on the brink of divorce, when he first began practicing this meditation. When talking to his wife, if the conversation began to escalate or he felt triggered he would ask for a moment to take a couple of breaths. He would then tune into the sensations in his body and speak to subtle shifts that were happening. Instead of reacting or being triggered, he allowed his Felt Sense to guide how he would respond, and this new level of emotional intelligence and greater awareness completely transformed their whole dynamic and restored their relationship.
How to Use the Alchemy Meditation In Your Daily Life
Unfortunately in today’s overstimulating world, many of us disconnect from our felt sense – or bodily awareness – very early on. Rediscovering it doesn’t come naturally to most adults. Like any skill, it takes practice. With regular Alchemy Meditation practice, operating from your Felt Sense will become your go-to in all that you do and the benefits will be noticed in all parts of your life. Below are two simple practices that you can do daily to cultivate your Felt Sense and step into Felt Presence.
Alchemy Meditation Practice #1: Set aside 5-10 minutes every day for this practice. Begin by setting a timer, closing your eyes and spending some time just with your breath. Then expand your awareness from your breath and notice if you gravitate towards any sensation in your body, or if your awareness is aware of anything. Notice where your attention goes. For example if you notice warmth or tingling in your hands, stay there…work with your ability to connect fully to your body sensations on a moment-to-moment basis and follow the sensations as they move and evolve.
Alchemy Meditation Practice #2: Set a timer on your phone to go off every hour. When it goes off, close your eyes, take a few breaths, and explore your inner landscape. If you’re in a conversation with someone let them know what you are doing and invite them to join. You might be pleasantly surprised by their reaction and willingness. If they are unwilling, no problem you only need but a few moments to get in touch with your sensations; and because you are doing it so frequently, the muscle of awareness will naturally strengthen.
Want to Take A Deep Dive with The Alchemy Meditation & Cultivate Systemic, Lasting Changes?
The Alchemy Meditation transformed Pablos personal and professional life, allowing him to tap into pure presence, and taking his ability to Facilitate Breathwork, teach, and hold space to a whole new level. Because of his first-hand experience of just how powerful a tool this meditation is, Pablo is extremely passionate about sharing it with the world and has created a 10-day Alchemy Meditation course so that everyone can benefit from this somatic therapy. In this course, you’ll learn how to recognise and understand body sensations that may have previously gone unnoticed, caused confusion, or even discomfort. Through daily lessons and meditations, you’ll develop invaluable skills to use in your daily life.
Here’s a message from Pablo:
Alchemy Meditation empowers you to reconnect with your felt sense through somatic meditation. This meditation is like saying, “Alright life, I’m here and I’m ready!” I believe it’s one of the strongest therapies around – and only we can do the work!
If you’re inspired and would like to learn more about somatic therapies, here are some resources to get started:
- Books: “Waking the Tiger,” by Peter Levine and “Felt Sense,” by Eugene Ginlin
- YouTube: Irene Lion, Gabor Mate, and Lala Martin