In a few sentences, explain Hanna’s distinction between “body” and “soma.” What is the “soma,” according to Hanna? Then, choose one of the following to practice and write about:
- Recall an experience where you sang, danced, and/or played music with others. This may be in an ensemble, at a concert, or in one of the workshops for this class (West African drumming, mbira, capoeira). What was it like in your body? Did you feel constriction? Space? If so, where? What sensations did you experience? How did you relate to other bodies around you?
- Spend one minute looking at yourself in the mirror (a full-length mirror, if possible), noticing visual details like your hair, your skin, your height, your shape, how you have clothed your body. Then, turn away from the mirror and find a place where you can sit or lie down comfortably. Close your eyes and let your attention drift over and through your body, starting at your toes and moving slowly up to the top of your head. What is it like in your feet, your legs, your arms, your torso, your neck, your head? Describe your experience looking at yourself in the mirror, and your experience sensing your body using your internal awareness. Do you experience your body differently when you use your visual sense (looking in the mirror) versus your internal awareness, your proprioception (during the body scan)?
- Choose one of the body and breathing practices at the end of the chapter from Resmaa Menakem’s book. After completing the practice, reflect on your experience. What was it like in your body? What sensations arose? Did you feel comfortable, uncomfortable? Spacious? Restricted? What is it like in your body after you complete the practice, compared to before?