Social justice in somatics

In the world of somatic studies, the SF Bay Area Moving On Center (MOC) stands out for its upfront commitment to social justice. Founded by pioneering somanauts Carol Swann and Martha Eddy, the MOC’s mission is to support, develop, and inspire embodied community leaders, artists, and activists. Bridging the healing and performing arts via somatic approaches and participatory pedagogy, the participants are challenged to consider the body perceived from within and the body perceived within society.

While the nature of the body in society is central to the theoretical foundations of somatics, the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges are more often ignored than considered in many professional practices . . . and in most training programs. What happens if and when we act to make our services available, accessible, and applicable to the diverse members of our community in a fair and just way?

My impression is that there are more examples of individuals being proactive than institutions or organizations. For example, not wanting to preach to the converted while also wanting to make hands-on Feldenkrais® lessons available to folks who otherwise would not know about nor, most likely, be able to afford them, a couple of years after starting my practice in 1983, I began what turned into many years of working in a handful of physical therapy clinics in Marin, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz counties. Offering sliding scale fees, bartering for services, and volunteering for non-profits and social organizations are other ways Feldenkrais teachers, as well as other individual somatic educators and therapists, can do something about inequities. Consider, for instance, the example that comes to mind: actress and Feldenkrais teacher, Corinne Miret offering Awareness Through Movement® lessons to kids practicing parkour in Paris’ urban suburbs.

The International Movement Education and Therapy Association (ISMETA) is asking individual teachers and therapists worldwide, whether they are members of this inclusive professional federation or not, about diversity, inclusion, justice, and equity. The only requirement for participating is giving the time to reflect on and respond to the nine questions the survey asks.

I encourage you to participate in this important ISMETA survey by clicking here. And I’m encouraging you to do so NOW. I know the form says that the deadline was the 10th of May, but I just found out that you have until this Friday, 31 May 2019 to contribute to this historic effort. You can even sign up for the results so that you’ll be informed about what’s been going on and will be happening in our growing international community.

 

NB: The image above of the hands was based on a photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels


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