Somatic mindfulness and the breath

Resized Christine Wushke

Have you ever watched a baby move and play, content and exploring their world? If you observe their fingers and toes curl and reach, the look of fascination on their faces, it’s clear that being inside a body is meant to be pleasurable.

So, where does that embodied pleasure go as we grow up? As someone who has struggled with ongoing pain, I’ve developed theories on the loss of embodied pleasure. Where do we lose touch with it? Why? And most importantly, how do we get back to it?

Over the years, I’ve devised many maps to navigate our way back to enjoyable embodiment in simple and achievable ways. One map that holds a special place in my heart is rooted in yogic philosophy—the integration of the Koshas through somatic breathwork. It’s amazing how an ordinary act like breathing can profoundly impact our body awareness and presence. Mindful somatic breathwork goes beyond the yoga mat, infusing our lives with calmness and connection.

What are the Koshas? If you are new to yoga philosophy, the Koshas offer a profound framework for describing the intricate layers or dimensions of our being. These Koshas, often referred to as sheaths or bodies, intricately intertwine and encompass the entirety of our human experience. By understanding the different layers of our being, we can begin to understand the connections between mind, emotions, and our physical body in new and empowering ways. These explorations offer a pathway to rediscover the profound pleasure of embodiment.

To do this we use somatic mindfulness. “Soma” refers to the physical body, and “mindfulness” means being fully present. With somatic mindfulness, we intentionally direct our attention to the breath, nurturing a profound connection with our bodies. It’s a practice of meeting and embracing the range of sensations that arise, becoming curious about the subtle dance of breath through the layers of self.

To integrate the Koshas through somatic breathwork, we embark on a journey of mindful attunement to the breath’s impact on our physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. Just as a baby curls its fingers and toes in delight, our breath becomes a pathway to reclaiming pleasure. Exploring the sensations and experiences that arise with each breath, we gain insight into the interconnectedness of our physicality, emotions, and spiritual essence. Mindful somatic breathwork aligns and integrates these aspects, fostering wholeness and well-being.

See Christine’s bio below for her website and social media links.

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Christine Wushke

Christine is known internationally as a leading myofascial yoga teacher trainer and for her work at the intersection of mindful movement, biotensegrity, and myofascial release. Her approach to helping people live in balance with their body, mind, spirit and the world around them is informed by the Eight Limbs of classical yoga, biotensegrity, her background in myofascial release and Hakomi, the latest neurodevelopmental research coming out of the scientific community, and her compassion for her fellow humans. She is also passionate about making the profound benefits of mindful movement practice accessible across the diversity of human experience, including those with chronic pain, limited mobility and those who are not financially or culturally privileged.

Christine shares her approach to mindful movement with yogis, yoga instructors and other movement practitioners through the Myofascial Yoga Institute of Canada, of which she is the founder and lead instructor. She encourages all her students to build on her teachings with their personal experience and knowledge, and in turn pass their teachings on to their own students.

As a myofascial release therapist trained in the John F. Barnes Approach and a Certified Hakomi Practitioner, Christine works directly with clients out of her Journey to Light Wellness studio in Okotoks, Alberta. She is also the author of the book Freedom Is Your Nature and teaches a wide range of mindful movement courses through Ekhart Yoga, Yoga U and other leading yoga schools. When she’s not teaching, working with clients or expanding her knowledge in all things movement, biotensegrity and neuroscience related, you can find Christine exploring the peaks and valleys of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

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