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Let’s Talk Book Recs
In my work as a somatic practitioner and educator, I often share how I’ve used the somatic (body-based) healing modalities I practice and teach to heal from incapacitating migraines, multiple autoimmune conditions and a maladaptive neuromuscular pattern. Beyond the life-changing physical healing I’ve experienced, learning how to connect deeply with my innate body intelligence has supported me in feeling in touch with my inner knowings, navigating challenges with confidence + clarity, building more fulfilling relationships, accessing a greater sense of joy and feeling more alive in my day-to-day life.
One of the most common questions I get asked when I share how impactful somatic healing work has been in my life and the lives of my clients is “How do I get started?”
It would be great if we grew up learning how to connect with our body intelligence in school or if being in collaborative relationship with our bodies was a popular concept in mainstream culture. Unfortunately, severe disconnection from body is the prevailing norm which means we all have remembering and re-learning to do when it comes to fully inhabiting ourselves and accessing the universe of resources that live inside us.
In this post I’ll share my vetted book recommendations along with links to favorite podcast episodes with the author of each book (in case you don’t have the bandwidth for a full book and want to explore the ideas in a different way).
If you’d like to get started with somatic healing work via self-education, check out these books and podcast episodes to spark or deepen an understanding of your body and what it’s made to do:
The Body Keeps The Score
This book is known far beyond the somatic trauma healing bubble for good reason; it’s a masterpiece. The simple and easy to understand information is presented through heartwarming stories and fascinating, well-researched historical context. I love this book for the insight it offers into why we find ourselves in an era of such disconnection and enthusiastically recommend it because it has inspired an interest to learn more in everyone I know who’s read it. This On Being Podcast Interview with Bessel van der Kulk is a sweet introduction to some of the concepts.
Waking The Tiger
This is a great overview of Somatic Experiencing (the primary modality I utilize in my work), which is the lifework of Peter Levine. Waking The Tiger covers the intriguing concept that while animals in the wild have objectively stressful lives, they have virtually zero incidence of stress related illness like humans do (even though our nervous systems are very similar). Dr. Levine used this insight to study the ways animals naturally resolve traumatic stress and developed Somatic Experiencing to help humans remember how to do the same. Check out this Goop Podcast Interview with Peter Levine to learn more and get a sense of what happens in a Somatic Experiencing session.
Call Of The Wild
This book is a feminine version of The Body Keeps The Score. Kimberly Ann Johnson is a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner who is especially skilled at democratizing healing education and making nervous system concepts easy to understand and applicable in the real world. Call Of The Wild provides a dynamic overview of somatic healing along with Kimberly’s (less linear personal intuitions and insights. Get a bite sized taste by listening to this Goop Podcast Interview with Kimberly Ann Johnson.
My Grandmother’s Hands
This book was the most impactful book I read during the pandemic, no contest. Resmaa Menekam is a Black Somatic Experiencing Practitioner whose brilliant insights on racialized trauma offer guidance for how we can use body based strategies to heal the inherited elements of racism stored in our bodies. His exploration into the history of the trauma that lead to white body supremacy basically makes the whole world make sense. Resmaa’s compassionate yet powerful teaching style inspires the motivation we need to move forward towards an equitable world where everyone feels safe. Explore this side of somatic healing through this On Being Podcast Interview with Resmaa Menekam.
I hope this list points you in a healing direction.
If you check out any of these books or podcast episodes, let me know how they land with you!
Cheering you on,