How do you see your body?

How do you perceive your body

Not that long ago many yoga classes were very focused on achieving and holding a posture; nowadays they may very well concentrate more on developing our somatic awareness as we are encouraged to unfold, unfurl and unspiral our limbs, and to be aware of the effect on the whole body of one small movement. This change in approach is spreading across many disciplines as we start to understand our bodies differently.

We have tended to perceive the body, in the past, according to traditional biomechanical principles, with a sense of separation of one limb from another, the torso from the legs, etc., a view reinforced by surgical specialisations, even though many of us have found this counterintuitive. Our body’s intelligence relays back to us a sense of its full continuity, if we listen to it. When we work on our clients or encourage our movement students in their practice, just watching or feeling their bodies reinforces that sense of one, whole, organism that moves and flows in a fully connected way, that connectivity perhaps only disrupted by scarring or injury.

More and more, our increased understanding of the body as a whole, constantly adapting organism where body and mind inter-relate, rather than as the Cartesian ‘body as machine’, is not only making more sense but is being backed by research. As John Sharkey says, “Modern science may now be catching up with the natural and ancient wisdom of our unbroken, unified, ubiquitous fascial fabric that research is demonstrating may be the bridge between mind and body”. In this very accessible paper  John takes us from “…dissection room to yoga practice”, looking at how this new awareness of our biotensegral nature can only affect how we teach our students or practice in our clinics. If biotensegrity is new to you, this paper also serves as a good overall introduction to the concept and how it is applied to our living form.

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Jan Trewartha

Jan is the founder and director of the British Fascia Symposium and The Fascia Hub. She has been in healthcare since 1979, originally training as a State Registered Nurse in the Queen Alexandra Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC), working with patients on the wards and in the operating theatre; a superb if non-deliberate foundation for her future career as a specialist in scars and adhesions.

In 1988 she was taught by a blind massage therapist to really ‘feel’ the body, leading to a lifetime passion for body work. Jan was a massage volunteer at the Auckland Commonwealth Games where she learned from professionals from all modalities. Her work now is the culmination of many years of training and experience in different disciplines. Through her school, Body in Harmony Training, Jan runs a variety of light touch therapy courses, including Sharon Wheeler’s ScarWork, for which she was the first accredited tutor in the UK.

To learn more about Jan please visit her website:

Jan is also the co-editor and lead author of the book Scars, Adhesions and the Biotensegral Body, published by Handspring Publishing in May 2020.

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