Somatic Expression

Embodied Mindfulness with Jamie McHugh (LBP 037)

Today we're kicking off season 2 of the podcast with a conversation with Jamie McHugh of Somatic Expression about embodied mindfulness. Somatic Expression helps people to research and resource their own bodies through the 5 essential somatic technologies: breath, vocalization, contact, movement, and stillness. In our conversation today we hone in on what embodied mindfulness means. Jamie says his work is really about changing people's perception of what it means to be a body. He asks, "How can we invest ourselves in curiousity? How can our bodies be places of inquiry and exploration?".



Conversation highlights

  • What are the 5 essential somatic technologies and why does Jamie use the word "technology" to describe them?
  • We spend plenty of time talking about teaching critical thinking skills to children,  but where are we teaching critical sensing skills to both children and adults?
  • What is physical education really?
  • How can working with the body in an educational setting be subversive?
  • Are classical meditation forms such as vipassana incompatible with the modern mind and with modern life?
  • Can sitting in this way (classical meditation forms) cause a person to go into  more of a fight-or-flight pattern?
  • Because of that does it pose some risk to those who aren't connected to the body?
  • Why sit in meditation at all?
  • What is a somatic mantra and how can we use one?
  • How technology is changing our perception of time and removing our fallow time where we aren't stimulated by input.
  • How do we re-calibrate this constant input to the neocortex?
  • The indigenous practices- especially Jamie's experience with the Pomo Indians- of using the expressive capacity of the body to connect the whole community.
  • Reviving the tradition of community dance and song in a non-stylized way (and how not to give your authority over to Beyonce).

Home play!

In the spirit of reviving spontaneous dance we're having a home dance party today! So turn on your favorite music and dance like no one's watching. What do you discover when it's just for you?


Emilie Conrad, founder of Continuum Movement

Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen Body Mind Centering

Marjorie Barstow, one of Alexander's first students

Fritz Smith and Zero Balancing

Richard Davidson University of Wisconsin Center for Investigating Healthy Minds

Daniel Siegel UCLA Center for Culture, Brain, and Development

Jon Kabat-Zinn Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

If you liked this episode, you might also like

Judith Aston: Our Relationship to Our Bodies and Their Relationship to the World

Bo Forbes: Mindfulness Expressed in the Body

Steve Haines: Body Maps and Interoception

If you're inspired to leave a review on iTunes or Stitcher I would be oh so grateful! It helps more body nerds to find their way to the show and connects us more as a community. Body nerds unite!