Blog Mental Health Therapy Somatic Exercises Somatic Exercises for Beginners: Revitalize Your Mind and Body

Somatic Exercises for Beginners: Revitalize Your Mind and Body

Are you new to the world of somatics? Have you heard about somatic exercises, but aren’t quite sure what they really are? Let’s clear this up!

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, it’s easy to become disconnected from our bodies. We often prioritise productivity over our physical well-being, which can lead to tension, stress, and decreased vitality. However, there’s a simple yet profound way to reconnect with our bodies and unlock vitality: somatic exercises.

“Somatic” refers to the body, as opposed to emotional dimensions such as thoughts and feelings (5). So, what are somatic exercises, you may ask? Somatic exercises focus on increasing body awareness, releasing muscular tension, and improving movement patterns through mindful and intentional movement. 

Unlike traditional workouts that emphasize external performance metrics, somatic exercises are focused on a more bottom-up approach where you prioritize your internal sensations and proprioception, otherwise known as kinesthesia, your body’s ability to sense movement, action, and location (10). 

Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or someone who spends most of their day sitting at a desk, somatic exercises offer a gateway to enhanced vitality and overall mental and physical well-being. This article aims to guide you on why incorporating somatic exercises into your daily routine can be beneficial, alongside offering somatic exercises for beginners at home to kickstart your journey.

Benefits of Somatic Exercises for Beginners

Before we dive into the somatic exercises you can try at home, let’s take a moment to explore the benefits of somatic exercises for beginners:

1. Improved Body Awareness

Somatic exercises are like having an internal chat between your mind and body. They help you tune into the subtle cues your body sends, such as tension building up in your shoulders from hours of typing on your computer or moving in ways that don’t feel quite right. By tuning into these internal sensations, you start to notice those tension patterns and movement habits, giving you the opportunity to address these issues.  

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Somatic Stretching - Build Your Body Awareness Through a Soothing Motion

2. Stress Reduction

Stress (7) is the ultimate body tension-maker. But fear not, somatic exercises for beginners can gently coax out all that built-up tension and leave you feeling as cool as a cucumber. So, say goodbye to stress knots and say hello to a sense of zen.

3. Enhanced Mobility and Flexibility

Imagine your muscles giving a stretch and sigh of relief. That’s what somatic exercises do – they encourage your muscles to loosen up and relax through gentle mindful and intentional movements. Over time, you’ll notice improvements in flexibility and balance through the regular practice of somatic exercises.

5. Mind-Body Connection

Somatic exercises will help with better communication between your mind and body. By regularly practicing somatic exercises, you’ll start to become more aware of how your thoughts and emotions can affect your physical well-being. You’ll find yourself more attuned to the subtle signals your body sends, which will pave the way for improved overall physical and mental health and vitality.

So there you have it – the benefits of why you should try somatic exercises for beginners!

somatic exercises for beginners  

How Do I Start Somatic Exercise?

So you’re interested in diving into somatic exercises? Let’s kick things off on this exciting journey to better body awareness and overall mental and physical well-being.

Somatic exercises are all about tuning in to your body’s signals and moving with ease and intention, so you should start by exploring different somatic exercises. Think about what you’re hoping to get out of your somatic exercises. Perhaps it’s reducing stress, improving your posture, or simply feeling more connected to your body. Whatever it is, keep it in mind as you start on your journey.

When you’re ready to dive in, take it slow and easy. Pay attention to how your body feels with every movement, and if something doesn’t feel quite right, don’t hesitate to take a break or try a different somatic exercise.

Allocate a certain time of the day, whether it’s during the calm morning hours or after work, to fully immerse yourself in your somatic practice. Find a comfortable space that is free from noise and distractions where you can focus solely on your body and its sensations.

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Avoid judgment and maintain an open mind as you explore different exercises. If distracting thoughts arise, take a few deep breaths and relax before you start your session.

Consistency is key, so try to make somatic exercises a regular part of your routine. Even just a few minutes a day can make a big difference over time. If you ever feel as if you need a little extra guidance or support, don’t hesitate to reach out to a certified somatic practitioner.

Above all, have fun with it! Somatic exercises are all about exploring and connecting with your body in a way that feels good for you. So relax, enjoy the process, and trust that you’re on the right path to a happier, healthier you. You’ve got this!

To start your somatic exercise journey, here are 4 free somatic exercises you can try at home.

Read more: Somatic Healing Techniques: A Holistic Approach to Physical and Emotional Recovery

Somatic Breathwork

Here’s a simple breath awareness exercise you can try at home. Start by lying on your back in a comfortable position or in a comfortable seated position. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. Notice the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves your body. As you inhale, feel your abdomen rise, and as you exhale, feel it fall. Practice deepening and lengthening your breath, allowing each inhale to fill your lungs completely and each exhale to release any tension.

Somatic Bodywork

Progressive Muscle Relaxation 

Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) involves systematically tensing and then relaxing specific muscle groups in the body, which leads to a deep sense of relaxation and heightened body awareness. Start by finding a comfortable seated or lying position and keep your eyes closed or at a soft gaze. Take a few deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, allowing yourself to relax with each exhale. Now, let’s focus on your muscles. Start tensing your feet by curling your toes and the arch of your foot, feeling the tension and noticing the sensation. Hold for a few seconds, then release, letting go of all tension as you feel your muscles relax completely. Notice this sensation. Next, bring your attention to your lower legs. Tighten your calves, holding for a moment, noticing the sensation, and then releasing, allowing them to soften and relax. Slowly keep tensing and releasing each body part, noticing the tension and release of each until you reach your forehead. Remember to breathe deeply and evenly throughout the exercise, using your breath to help you relax even further. As you come to the end of the exercise, take a moment to notice how your body feels. You may feel lighter, more relaxed, and at ease. Whenever you’re ready, slowly bring your awareness back to the present moment, gently wiggle your fingers and toes, and open your eyes

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Relax Your Tense Muscles Using Pandiculation

Pandiculation is a natural reflexive movement that involves the contraction and subsequent stretching of muscles (9). It’s something we do instinctively when we wake up in the morning or after a period of inactivity to release tension and reset our muscles. Now, find a comfortable seated or standing position, and let’s start the practice. Bring your awareness to any areas of tension or tightness in your body, perhaps focusing on your shoulders, neck, or back. Now, gently contract the muscles in the area you’re focused on. You can do this by tensing the muscles without straining them too much. Hold this contraction for a few seconds, allowing yourself to feel the tension in your muscles. Next, slowly and consciously release the contraction as you lengthen and stretch the muscles. Imagine creating space and elongation in the muscles as you do so. As you stretch, take a deep breath in, and as you release, exhale fully, allowing any remaining tension to melt away. Repeat this process several times, alternating between contracting and stretching the muscles while focusing on your breath. With each repetition, notice how the muscles become more relaxed and how the sensation of tension diminishes. Continue this practice for as long as feels comfortable, allowing yourself to fully surrender to the process of releasing tension and promoting relaxation in your body. When you’re ready to conclude the practice, take a moment to appreciate the sense of ease and relaxation you’ve cultivated in your muscles. Remember, pandiculation is a simple yet powerful technique you can use any time and anywhere to release tension and promote relaxation in your body. So, whenever you feel tense or stressed, return to this practice to help you find relief and restore balance.

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Somatic Movement: A Journey to Mind-Body Connection

somatic exercises for beginners  

Washcloth Exercise

Another somatic exercise you can try at home is the washcloth exercise. This is a gentle somatic exercise that is designed to release muscle tension and promote relaxation throughout the body. Named for its resemblance to wringing out a washcloth, this exercise can help you unwind and find peace in your body. Find a quiet and comfortable space where you can focus on your somatic routine without distractions. Lie down on your back, using a yoga mat or a soft surface such as a rug for added comfort. Extend your legs and allow your arms to rest by your sides. Take a moment to relax your entire body, feeling the support of the ground beneath you. Start by directing your attention to your feet. Slowly and gently wiggle your toes, and then flex and point your feet a few times. Notice any areas of tension or tightness in your feet, and allow them to soften with each movement. Gradually move your awareness up through your body, imagining yourself as a washcloth that is being gently wrung out. With each movement, visualize tension releasing from each part of your body. As you continue, gently wring out your shoulders, arms, and head. Move slowly and mindfully, focusing on the sensation of tension melting away with each gentle twist. Make sure you wring out each body part with care and gentleness. You can rotate your ankles or wrists slowly, or softly roll your shoulders to release tension. Continue this practice until you feel a sense of relaxation spreading throughout your entire body, from your head to your toes. Once you’ve completed the exercise, take a moment to lie still and allow the relaxation to settle in. Take a few deep breaths, savoring the feeling of peace and ease in your body. When you’re ready, slowly and mindfully sit up, returning to a seated position with a renewed sense of calm and relaxation.

These somatic exercises can be incorporated into your daily routine to help you release tension and stress. Whether it’s the washcloth exercise, progressive muscle relaxation, or simple somatic breathwork exercises, dedicating just a few minutes each day to these practices can make a significant difference to how you feel. So why not give them a try and see how they can help you find peace and ease in your daily life?

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How Long Does It Take for Somatics to Work?

The timeline for experiencing the benefits of somatic exercises can vary from person to person, depending on factors such as individual needs, consistency of somatic exercise, and the specific goals you’re aiming to achieve.

For some people, the effects of somatic exercises can be felt quite quickly, even after just a few sessions. You may notice immediate improvements in relaxation, reduced tension, or increased mobility. Others may take longer to notice significant changes, particularly if working on more complex issues or chronic conditions.

Research has shown the benefits of somatic exercise such as somatic breathwork in improving mood and reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress (2).

Consistency is the key here – the more regularly you practice, the more you’ll start to notice subtle shifts in your body awareness, movement patterns, and overall well-being. 

It’s important to recognize that somatic exercises aren’t a quick fix or a one-size-fits-all solution – they’re about creating a deeper connection between your body and mind. If you find you’re struggling to release tension or stress on your own, or if you’re seeking more personalised guidance, consider consulting a trained somatic therapist or practitioner. They can offer specialised techniques that are tailored to your individual needs and help you navigate practices such as rolfing, body-mind centering, Alexander technique, Feldenkrais method, and Laban movement analysis (1). With their expertise, you can further enhance your somatic journey and unlock even greater levels of well-being and vitality.

Can You Teach Yourself Somatic Therapy?

Somatic therapy, such as somatic experiencing (SE) therapy (6), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) (3), and neurosomatic therapy (4), should be undertaken under the guidance of a trained therapist. However, somatic exercises encompass a broad range of practices, including mindful movement, breathwork, and body awareness exercises, and many of these techniques can be self-taught and practiced independently. Engaging in daily exercises such as body scans, gentle stretches, or grounding practices can enhance body awareness, reduce stress, and promote emotional regulation. 

somatic exercises for beginners  


  • What are examples of somatic workouts?

Somatic workouts offer a holistic approach to improving your physical and mental health. They include a variety of exercises and practices such as breathwork, body scans, grounding techniques, somatic yoga, and dance movement therapy. 

  • What exercises release trauma?

Let’s dive into trauma, which is the emotional response to a distressing event such as an accident or natural disaster (8). While many manage recovery through coping mechanisms or support, unaddressed trauma can lead to psychological disorders. Releasing pent-up emotions that are linked to these events is essential for healing. Somatic exercises and therapies, such as somatic experiencing (SE) therapy, sensorimotor psychotherapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), are effective tools for treating deeply rooted negative emotions stored in the body. With guidance from a trained therapist, these techniques help manage symptoms of psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression, chronic stress, and PTSD. Somatic exercises such as grounding and breathwork are particularly beneficial for managing symptoms of trauma, providing individuals with the necessary tools to regulate their nervous system, increase body awareness, and promote relaxation and resilience in the face of challenging experiences.

  • How long does it take for somatics to work?

As previously mentioned e, the timeframe for experiencing the benefits of somatic practices varies from person to person. While some may notice improvements after just a few sessions, others may require more time and consistency. Regular practice and working with a trained somatic therapist can help accelerate progress. Patience and an open mind are essential as the process unfolds gradually, leading to enhanced body awareness and overall physical and mental well-being over time.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. A Somatic Movement Approach to Fostering Emotional Resiliency through Laban Movement Analysis (2017,
  2. Effect of breathwork on stress and mental health: A meta-analysis of randomised-controlled trials (2023,
  3. EMDR and the Treatment of Complex PTSD: A Review (2009,
  5. Somatic (2018,
  6. Somatic Experiencing for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Outcome Study (2017,
  7. Stress effects on the body (2018,
  8. Trauma (n.d.,
  9. What is pandiculation? (2022,
  10. What Is Proprioception? (2024,
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