Foundations of Embodiment CPD Series
Why take CPD?
- Are you looking for fresh perspectives to support and expand your practice and teaching? Integrating somatic yoga and movement opens the door to so many therapeutic and creative possibilities as a practitioner, teacher and a therapist
- Are you interested in how the understanding and attuning to the autonomic nervous system adds a crucial piece of embodied knowledge to your practice and teaching that can really transform stress, pain and suffering from the inside out? These CPD’s are underpinned by Somatic Experiencing principles (Dr. Peter Levine’s body orientated trauma therapy).
- Do you love nature? Are you curious as to how to integrate the universal resource of nature through the elements into your practice and use this understanding to regulate the nervous system and develop new frameworks and pathways to explore the body and new spaces through which to explore movement?
- Are you interested in Mindfulness and how the teachings of Mindfulness can be seamlessly integrated into Yoga and movement? How can a deeper connection with the sensing inner body and breath lead to both deep healing, profound spiritual experiences that can find expression through multiple creative forms?
Elemental Body Somatic CPD Training
Dartmoor, Devon, UK
23rd – 27th May 2024
Who is this CPD for?
This Elemental Movement CPD offers a bridge for yoga and movement teacheres / practitioners, dancers, creatives and therapists to enter the wold of Somatics; a multi-faceted CPD of embodied practices that foreground the connection to and the expression of the inner body in movement. Somatics has therapeutic, creative and performative aspects characterised by a fluid expression of form that can shapeshift to embrace all ages, abilities, shapes, colours, genders, sexualities, disabilities, and neuro diversities.
What is Elemental Body?
It is an empirically based somatic, therapeutic approach to movement that has been developed over many years by Gemma Mallol, that utilizes creative and expressive modalities that are informed by the elements to engage the body, mind, and spirit in order to transform stress and suffering.
The CPD develops the moving, sensate body as a regenerative field of contemplation, emotional intelligence and creative process that can connect us to empathy, compassion and inter-connectedness. This process is cultivated through developing a foundational somatic yoga practice that focuses on stability, grounding, clarity, structure and orientation. This stable foundation provides the bedrock from which the body can now express its inner landscape, where it can flower into its own authentic dance, its own feeling, and its own expression of and relationship to the elements.
The opening and expression of the inner body through improvised dance / movement is supported by coherent somatic therapeutic principles and techniques from Buddhist Meditation (Insight and Zen), Japanese Butoh Dance, Body Orientated Trauma Therapy (Somatic Experiencing), and Somatic Movement.
At its heart, the work contained within the Elemental Body CPD fosters feeling, care, empathy, and soul. It cultivates ways of seeing, being, and moving that supports us to directly experience the inter-connected nature of existence. From this perspective Elemental Body could be defined as an eco-somatic, eco-feminist process. Experiencing the inter-connected nature of existence as an embodied state is fundamentally important right now, it can provide us with a space from which to respond to and tend to the multiple social and ecological crises we face in contemporary culture which can otherwise be overwhelming and plunge us into paralysis and helplessness.
Embodying the elements can become a source of ancestral wisdom, a supportive and resourcing container, that can hold us and allow us to feel and move through some of the deep and often uncomfortable emotions that we may be facing now. Elemental Body can become a source of empathy, agency and community.
Due to my background in Somatic Experiencing therapy (body orientated trauma resolution), I have evolved Elemental Body CPD to specifically work with the physiology, cultivating nervous system regulation, inner and outer resources, internal stability, expanding nervous system capacity and resilience, agency and empowerment and unlocking creative energy.
NB. These processes are long term practices and require continuing commitment.
Where Does Elemental Body Take Place?
This training takes place on Dartmoor, Devon. Dartmoor is “a rugged and captivating region in the Southwest of England, offering a remarkably diverse and utterly magical outdoor experience. Covering 954 square kilometres, this ancient landscape is characterised by rolling hills, vast granite tors, gorgeous green valleys, and pristine rivers”. Dartmoor is a place where the elements, history, and nature converge to facilitate tangible experiences of connection to ancient lands. Embodying the elements on Dartmoor can be a deeply transformational experience that can re-invigorate, re-animate and re-wild our connection to self, nature and other. Elemental Body was born out of my own practice in Dartmoor and it now feels appropriate that students/participants can experience the site specificity of this work.
Leusdon Memorial Hall on Widdecombe on the Moor will provide us with a beautiful simple indoor space with kitchen and tea making facilities where morning practice will take place. In the afternoons, weather permitting, we will explore working outside by the river and up at one of the Tors as we develop our Elemental Body practice with nature where there is an abundance of the elements (rushing rivers, beautiful woods, huge granite boulders, and the spacious skies and expanses of moorland), returning to the Hall for a final closing process daily.
Somatics, Inclusivity and a Non-Hierarchical Approach:
Somatics has therapeutic, creative and performative aspects characterised by a fluid expression of form that can shape shift to embrace all ages, abilities, shapes, races, colours, genders, sexualities, disabilities, and neuro-diversities.
I specifically facilitate a non hierarchical way of exploring together, which involves invitations and suggestions of movement along with improvisation to deconstruct power dynamics and to encourage experiences of a ‘collective body’ that may be inseparable from the ‘earth body’ and that aims to generate tacit knowledge by feeling and moving in supportive community.
The CPD is a space of open enquiry, dialogue and creative process, the material is explored within community using an experiential pedagogy.
These spaces are queer spaces meaning that they are open and inclusive to people who may find themselves somehow different, marginalised or underrepresented on the grounds of sexuality, age, gender, colour, race, neurodiversity or disability. They are both safe and inclusive.
Gemma Mallol is a Dance and Movement Researcher (Master’s) at The University of Plymouth, currently researching Butoh Dance and Somatics. She is a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (body orientated trauma therapy) and a Senior Yoga and Mindfulness Teacher Trainer (23 years teaching). She now works with diverse groups integrating Somatics, Butoh dance and creative processes with nature as an eco somatic response to the current multiple social and ecological crises that we collectively face. She sees her work as as a form of regenerative activism and aims to cultivate feminist, creative and embodied community spaces and networks. She identifies as queer, neuro-diverse and mixed race.
Emily Katsuno has a background in contemporary dance, she has been teaching yoga for thirteen years and has worked as a yoga therapist since 2015. She runs her own center The Soma Shala in South Devon, which is focused on hosting work from therapeutic embodiment traditions and fostering a connection to the land and nature. Being a Mum to three small kids has led Emily towards exploring somatic movement practices that regulate the nervous system and create resource. She is interested in how the field of somatics and yoga compliment each other to facilitate therapeutic, fulfilling, nourishing, self-regulating connections with ourselves and the world around.
Daily Schedule: Morning Session 9.30am – 12.30pm, Lunch 12.30pm – 2.00pm, Afternoon Session 2.00 – 5.00pm
Locations: Leusdon Memorial Hall, Widdecombe on the Moor, Dartmoor, Devon, UK.
Cost: 550 GBP (3 low cost spots available at 450 GBP, please apply)
Accommodation: This is a non-residential training. Please choose from a range of local Air B n B’s in Ashburton, or camping, glamping and B&Bs in and around Widdecombe on the Moor, please request details if you need.
Food: Participants are asked to eat breakfast before morning session. There are tea making facilities and kitchen at the the Hall. Please bring packed lunch or there are a few good cafes and pubs in Widdecombe that cater for lunch. A few optional group dinners will be arranged locally so we can gather socially.
Bookings & Info: Places are limited to 12 so please book in advance to ensure your access to accommodation
Please email Gemma on email@example.com or Whats App 00 44 7745300237 for further info and bookings
Student Testimonial – Caitlin Prince
I’ve not found anything like Still Flowing Yoga’s teacher training and practice community anywhere else in the world, and I’ve roamed the globe looking. It feels like the practice offered by Still Flowing has been developed from the inside out; learned in the body, from the body, taught whilst embodied. Still Flowing brings together knowledge from yoga, mindfulness and somatic therapy, but it is the way this understanding has been metabolised through practice and then transmitted to students from a nervous system embodying these practices that creates a uniquely safe, and powerful, container. The practice space offered by Still Flowing has allowed me to experience profound safety and resource in my body, that facilitates not only dropping into the depths of my psyche but also helps me inhabit my every day life with more ease, confidence and flexibility. I’ve used what I’ve learned in class in my work as a therapist and yoga teacher, but also in my relationships—able to reach for resources in the body and be more present and resilient, whatever the moment throws at me.(Testimonial from Caitlin Prince ongoing Still Flowing student, practitioner since 2009, teacher & therapist – firstname.lastname@example.org
What Does Somatic Yoga & Movement Look Like?
Here are a few clips for you to see with Marcela and Gemma. This work is often difficult to capture or fix in a particular form as it expresses in different ways at different times but follows clear somatic principles that we develop on the trainings. The movement blossoms and expresses from the inside out and is born from our inner landscape dancing into and playing with form rather than imposing an outer fixed systemised form on the body.
Below you can see four videos from our Playlist. Please select videos to watch from the top right corner.
Hey! To the Earth
Creative Collaboration with Gemma Singing and Marcela Dancing (Created 1st Year of Lockdown)
Still Flowing KaleidoSymmetry
Creative Collaboration Video from Still Flowing Yoga Training (Dartington) and Taran Burns Videographer
Soundtracks by Transmitstatim and Kroke (Usual Happiness)
The Teacher Training in Ibiza was comprehensive, professional and structured. Considered timetabling enables the student to cope with each day without being physically overwhelmed which is no small feat given the 200 hours in four weeks. No shortage of food and water/tea/coffee ect and comfortable sleeping arrangements also augment the experience in this idyllic Villa setting overlooking the Mediterranean. The practice is varied and challenging and the approach is one that will definitely make you think and possibly challenge previously held assumptions about all things yoga, so there is variation and stimulation coming at you from all angles.The combination of Yoga practice and Meditation complement each other perfectly and for myself this was a great benefit, however, for those with no experience of meditation this new concept might prove a challenge so I recommend that this aspect should be considered/investigated before committing to the course, however, the teachers can help to approach this new form of consciousness if you find it a struggle. Simply put; the teaching staff is excellent, considerate, perceptive and adaptable so that they can cope with and relate to every kind of student, which of course helps to harmonize what is realistically a group of people who have probably never met before and find themselves living together for a month. The experience for me was transformative and I feel that it has changed me very much for the better
Philip Martin – Graduate, Ibiza, May 2014 (email@example.com)
“I have found that the teachings that I have been introduced over the month are so pertinent and so valid; I am amazed that more people are not practicing in this way. It is so organic, and intuitive. The nature of the somatic approach seems to just make sense on every level.
It has been so wonderful to be in my body, properly connected and dialoguing with it. I feel it in every cell, its saying thank you!!
To take time, and to not rush past the subtleties of movements is allowing me deeper access to the most fascinating thing on earth, my own self.”
Katherine Gibb – Graduate, Ibiza, May 2014 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My understanding of yoga now is that it is all about getting into your body, not getting into poses! At times during the course, I wondered if I was good enough or if my self-practice was at a high enough level. This was great to work with and really challenged my thoughts on what yoga is about.
Previously I saw my yoga practice and meditation practices as quite separate, whereas now I am bringing mindfulness into my Hatha Yoga. I am more aware of my body while practicing yoga and feel more freedom to respond to my body. I think I have learnt to be more flexible in my Hatha practice and don’t feel the need to just follow sequences from a book or video. By listening to my body I am able to flow freely from one asana to another in a more fluid way. I see now that through Hatha Yoga I am able to enquire into my body, mind and emotions.
Laura Jane Porter – Graduate, Ibiza, May 2014 (email@example.com)
A really exceptional course. The range of teachers — each with their own perspective, areas of expertise and unique individuality — made for a very well-rounded teacher training. I found the Buddhist Insight aspects invaluable, providing a useful complimentary perspective on the Yoga philosophy, provoking insights into one’s own personality and motivations, as well as developing calm, patience and persistence with the meditations.
The morning Asana class was inspiring, stimulating, challenging and fun; I really learnt a lot. Just the right amount of anatomy, and excellent insights into Yoga technique that I use daily when teaching. In general, a considered curriculum, that was broad enough to be comprehensive whilst still remaining manageable. The schedule, while intense, also provided enough free time to integrate, regroup and do self-study. Oh, and the setting was beautiful.
I’d highly recommend the course to any aspiring yoga teachers who not only want a technically solid course, but also one with real spiritual depth.
Simon Bekker – Graduate, Koh Phangan, April 2011 (firstname.lastname@example.org)