Gabriella Espinosa is the founder of Women’s Body Wisdom, a yoga teacher, and a female embodiment coach.
She is also an instructor of The Non-Linear Movement Method®, a powerful somatic modality that promotes greater awareness of your internal body world. She talks to us about somatic movement, embodiment, and her method of teaching.
Can you explain to us what is Somatic Movement?
Gabriella Espinosa: The term “somatic” comes from the Latin word SOMA, meaning “the living body.” Somatic Movement was developed in the 1970s by educator and movement therapist, Thomas Hanna. It is a body-based approach of movement which emphasises the internal perception and experience of the body.
When we are better able to feel within our bodies we can access the body’s innate wisdom and subtle cues to support deep healing, wellbeing, and living our fullest potential.
From this place, we can return to a sense of wholeness and welcome the full spectrum of our human experience – the comfortable and the not so comfortable – with greater compassion, acceptance, and self-love.
What are the benefits of Somatic Movement?
Gabriella Espinosa: Connecting to our internal body world through somatic movement facilitates: self-awareness, clear boundaries, self-esteem, emotional regulation, empathy, enhanced cognitive processing, better decision making, body positivity, greater self-control, enhanced intuition, and a feeling of being both authentic and connected with oneself and others.
How do you practice Somatic Movement?
Gabriella Espinosa: Practicing somatic movement is different than doing yoga or dancing which have a directive or stylised quality to them. In order to experience its benefits, somatic movement should be performed as slowly as possible, preferably with the eyes closed to tune in more deeply to your experience.
It is exploratory in nature, always focused on the internal experience of the movement, your physical sensations, emotions, and feelings rather than on the end result or what the movement looks like. This felt sense of self leads to embodiment, an experience of being comfortable in one’s own skin and therefore being able to engage with life more fully.
We hear the word “Embodiment” used often – what does it mean to you?
Gabriella Espinosa: Embodiment means having a felt sense of the layers that make up my unique experience of being human (physical, mental, emotional, energetic, and spiritual). It is a deeply intimate and personal journey that requires constant practice of tracking and distinguishing “what’s what” to give you greater access to the parts of yourself that long to be acknowledged or expressed.
It is an invitation to befriend your body and attend to cues for resourcing and regulating through nourishment, relaxation, sensory awareness, movement, and pleasure.
The stress, anxiety, and overwhelm we face daily in a culture that prioritises productivity leads to discomfort, numbing, and disconnecting from your body. Engaging in somatic movement provides a doorway to experiencing a greater sense of embodiment. This journey opens up a compassionate dialogue with your inner world of sensations, emotions, and feelings, bringing your whole body online and present.
Can you tell us about the style of somatic movement you teach?
Gabriella Espinosa: I teach The Non-Linear Movement Method® a powerful somatic modality that allows you to: identify, release and process stress and emotional tension; smoothes your entire nervous system; releases trauma patterns into flow; opens access to your bodily wisdom; makes space for creative expression; connects you with your heart and its expression in the world.
The subtle, continual, and non-force movements are guided by your own bodily intelligence. This allows you to process emotions by letting them rise and release. As tension, contraction, and emotions are being let go the body becomes better able to feel more deeply. The result is a systematic, self-guided unburdening of your nervous system.
One of the marked results of sensitising the body in this way is the ability to experience increased aliveness, pleasure, and wellbeing.
Participants report a greater sense of connection with their body, with themselves, and the world around them.
What brought you to this fascinating work?
Gabriella Espinosa: I discovered The Non-Linear Movement Method® at a time in my life when I was experiencing hormonal shifts that were causing me to disconnect from the feeling of vibrancy and pleasure I once knew. I felt an increased sense of anxiety and overwhelm, my energy was lacklustre and my libido was non-existent.
I felt quite confused for some time but as soon as realised I was entering menopause I sought the guidance of women’s embodiment teacher Michaela Boehm. She developed The Non-Linear Movement Method® over the past two decades of personal practice and expertise in working with trauma, emotional closures, and physical contractions with clients and students.
With consistent practice, I was able to strip away the layers of stress, patterns of coping, limiting beliefs and approach my body from a place of abundance instead of a place of lack or needing to be fixed or changed.
I started appreciating my body for its wisdom and ability to move in the world with greater ease and confidence. I felt I got my life back and this had a positive ripple effect on my relationships and the way I showed up in the world. I certified as a The Non-Linear Movement Method® instructor and integrate this modality in my 1-1 coaching, workshops, and retreats.
Who does this feel right for?
Gabriella Espinosa: Embodiment is accessible to everybody – as long as you are alive and have a body you are embodied! It is for anyone who feels they are disconnected from their body by constantly doing, thinking, and striving, or if they’re feeling stress, anxiety, and overwhelm.
It is for anyone wanting to experience greater joy, pleasure, and meaningful connection with themselves and in their relationships.
Can you tell us how we can practice with you?
Gabriella Espinosa: Find out more about how I guide women to connect with the wisdom of their bodies in the journey to perimenopause, menopause and beyond at www.gabriellaespinosa.com There you can also register your interest for my six-week embodiment coaching experience, The Embodied Woman: Pleasure, Power, and Purpose starting in mid-September.