This Month in ISC: Somatic Experiencing (SE)

This Month in ISC: Somatic Experiencing (SE)

By Rev. Sally Schwager
Somatic Experiencing® (SE) is a form of alternative therapy that invites transformation. At ISC, we view SE as a spiritually-based modality because it cultivates the capacity for profound and subtle somatic attunement. This teaches us how to be with and experience life exactly as it is. SE techniques are useful and practical for ALL people … especially in a world where individual and collective trauma feels increasingly prevalent.

The Voo Sound
Singing, chanting and ancient “sounding” practices are used in spiritual contexts to open the doors of perception and facilitate healing. When we chant in deep, resonant, lower belly tones, we open up our mouth, throat and torso (heart and lungs), stimulating the vagus nerve, which is the longest nerve in the body and regulates some key physical and emotional functions. The voo sound (rhymes with “you”) opens, expands and recalibrates the vagus nerve in a way that soothes a shut-down or overstimulated nervous system. Leaving us more available for access to Spirit. Try it out!

The practice is simple:
· Find a comfortable (and perhaps private) place to sit.

· Slowly inhale, pause momentarily, and then on the out breath, gently chant “voooo” on a low note, sustaining the sound on the entire exhalation, until it feels complete.

· Allow the next breath to slowly fill your belly and chest.

· When the in breath feels complete, pause and again make the voo sound on the exhalation.

· Let the sound and breath expire fully, then pause and wait for the breath to enter when it is ready.

· Repeat a third time, and then rest quietly.

· Focus your attention internally and notice what you notice.

Think of a foghorn as you do this practice. See if you can feel the vibrations of the sound all the way down to your pelvic floor and lower body. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to make the sound loud. The key is to make the pitch of the sound as low as you can without strain, and feel the vibrations resonate through as much of your body as possible. A foghorn represents the beacon that guides a lost boat (or soul) back to safe harbor, to home in breath and belly. From numbness to the enlivened presence that is our birthright.