What is Somatic Yoga?

What is Somatic Yoga?

Somatic yoga combines principles of body awareness with gentle yoga movements to help you connect with your body, reduce tension, and improve overall well-being. It's all about feeling and sensing what's happening inside your body as you move.

Basic Principles

  1. Mindful Awareness: Pay attention to your body's sensations and movements. Notice how your body feels without trying to change anything.
  2. Gentle Movements: Move slowly and gently. The goal is not to push your limits but to explore your range of motion and discover where tension might be hiding.
  3. Breath Awareness: Breathe naturally and notice how your breath interacts with your movements. Use your breath to enhance relaxation and focus.
  4. Personal Comfort: Do what feels good for your body. There's no need to achieve perfect poses; focus on comfort and ease.

Is Somatic Therapy same as Somatic Yoga?

Somatic therapy and somatic yoga are related but distinct practices. Here's a breakdown of their similarities and differences:

Somatic Therapy

  1. Definition: Somatic therapy is a type of body-centered therapy that aims to integrate the mind and body to address physical, emotional, and psychological issues.
  2. Approach: It focuses on the body's sensations and movements to release trauma and stress stored in the body. It often involves techniques such as body awareness, breathing exercises, movement, and sometimes touch.
  3. Modalities: Somatic therapy can include various modalities such as Somatic Experiencing, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and the Hakomi Method.
  4. Goal: The goal is to help individuals process and release trauma and stress, improve emotional regulation, and promote overall well-being.
  5. Practitioners: Typically, somatic therapy is conducted by licensed therapists or practitioners trained in somatic methods.

Somatic Yoga

  1. Definition: Somatic yoga is a therapeutic and mindful approach to yoga that combines principles of somatic practices with traditional yoga postures and movements.
  2. Approach: It emphasizes internal awareness and the sensory experience of the body. Movements are gentle, slow, and mindful, focusing on releasing tension and improving neuromuscular patterns.
  3. Techniques: Somatic yoga incorporates elements such as breath awareness, gentle stretching, mindful movement, and sometimes guided meditation.
  4. Goal: The goal is to enhance body awareness, improve physical and mental health, release tension, and promote relaxation and well-being.
  5. Practitioners: Somatic yoga can be taught by yoga instructors who have training in somatic principles or practices.

Key Differences

  • Focus: Somatic therapy is a broader field that addresses emotional and psychological healing through body awareness and movement, often used to treat trauma and chronic stress. Somatic yoga focuses more specifically on integrating somatic principles into a yoga practice for overall well-being.
  • Practitioners: Somatic therapy is typically provided by licensed therapists with specialized training in somatic methods. Somatic yoga can be taught by yoga instructors with knowledge of somatic techniques.
  • Techniques: Somatic therapy may include a wider range of techniques, including talk therapy, guided imagery, and specific therapeutic movements. Somatic yoga primarily involves yoga postures, breath work, and mindful movements.


  • Mind-Body Integration: Both practices emphasize the connection between the mind and body and the importance of internal awareness.
  • Gentle and Mindful: Both approaches prioritize gentle, mindful movements and the release of tension.
  • Therapeutic Benefits: Both aim to improve overall well-being and can help reduce stress, tension, and emotional distress.

Getting Started With Somatic Yoga

  1. Find a Quiet Space: Choose a quiet, comfortable space where you won't be disturbed.
  2. Wear Comfortable Clothing: Wear loose, comfortable clothing that allows for easy movement.
  3. Use a Yoga Mat or Soft Surface: A yoga mat or a soft surface like a carpet will make your practice more comfortable.

Basic Somatic Yoga Routine

1. Body Scan

  • Lie down comfortably on your back.
  • Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
  • Slowly scan your body from head to toe, noticing any areas of tension or discomfort.
  • Take a few moments to simply observe your body's sensations.

2. Pelvic Tilts

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Gently tilt your pelvis towards your face, flattening your lower back against the floor.
  • Slowly tilt your pelvis in the opposite direction, creating a small arch in your lower back.
  • Repeat 5-10 times, moving slowly and noticing the sensations in your lower back and hips.

3. Cat-Cow Pose

  • Come to a tabletop position on your hands and knees.
  • On an inhale, arch your back (cow pose), lifting your head and tailbone towards the ceiling.
  • On an exhale, round your back (cat pose), tucking your chin to your chest and tailbone under.
  • Move slowly between these two poses for 5-10 breaths, feeling the movement along your spine.

4. Seated Forward Fold

  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight in front of you.
  • Inhale, lengthen your spine.
  • Exhale, hinge at your hips and fold forward, reaching towards your toes.
  • Go only as far as feels comfortable, keeping a gentle bend in your knees if needed.
  • Hold for a few breaths, feeling the stretch along your back and legs.

5. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

  • Lie down on your back with your arms by your sides, palms facing up.
  • Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
  • Allow your body to fully relax into the floor.
  • Stay here for 5-10 minutes, focusing on your breath and the sensations in your body.

Tips for Practicing Somatic Yoga

  • Move Slowly: The slower you move, the more you can feel and the more effective the practice will be.
  • Stay Present: Keep your mind focused on your body and breath. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the present moment.
  • Be Gentle: Avoid pushing yourself into uncomfortable positions. The goal is to feel good and relaxed.
  • Consistency: Regular practice, even for a few minutes a day, can bring significant benefits over time.

Somatic yoga is about exploring and enjoying the journey of movement and awareness. Take your time, listen to your body, and enjoy the process of connecting with yourself.

Need more support? Check out our instant downloadable resources on Somatic Therapy.

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