Psoma with a P

Soma means body and ps (as in psychology) means mind/spirit...

There are two applications of psoma: one is psoma yoga therapy (which I originally called Remembering Wholeness Yoga Therapy). This can be offered in group, individual, or couples sessions.

The other version is a way of understanding healing as remembering wholeness. It can be practised for yourself or as a way to accompany another on their healing journey. The focus is on cultivating wakefulness through embodied experiences that involve attention to what’s happening in the body along with feelings and insight. Healing and transformation are integrated as as a body/mind/spirit experience. This approach is also offered in group, couples, or individual sessions.

The principles of psoma yoga therapy™ are described as: mindfulness, organicity, oneness, relationship, loving presence, discovery, and experience.

Mindfulness is the foundation of the approach. Not just moments of mindfulness for the experiences but the cultivation of a habit of mindful awareness as the most important basis of positive change and healing. The practitioners' presence and skills depend on their capacity for mindful relationship more than on anything else. The main benefit for clients from psoma therapy is the development and integration of habits of mindful awareness.

In the psoma approach to healing as remembering wholeness, we use what we call Insight Practice to cultivate the kind of wakefulness that allows us to recognize and transcend habits and automatic reactions that may be causing unnecessary suffering. We use an invitational approach with others to offer them ways to become aware of themselves – with kindness and clarity – to empower them to see new possibilities for ways to experience life and perhaps to make choices that are not habitual and could be more nourishing. 

Organicity is the understanding that healing is an inside job and that the practitioner – the psoma partner - merely creates the context for healing. Learning how to create this context is vital to the healing relationship and journey. This involves developing a supreme faith in what is happening as offering perfect conditions for what wants to happen. Helping people learn to trust the organic unfolding of life gives them a solid foundation for learning to enjoy life as it is. The spiritual teacher Krishnamurti once told his students what his “secret” was. He said: “I don’t mind what happens.”

Oneness, sometimes called unity (yoga) or the interconnectedness of everything, including body, mind, and spirit, including human beings in relation to each other, including the person and his or her environment, including the time space conditions, including the past, present, and future of experiencing, including matter and energy, including "all my relations". The psoma therapist has an unshakable faith in the organicity of healing as "wholeness happening".

Relationship is the ground for healing and the quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives. The healing experience is a relational one just as the wounding and pain happened in relationship situations. The prime ingredient that psoma offers as a healing approach is a relational experience that helps people remember their own intrinsic wholeness and innate wisdom, their inner beauty, their sense of belonging, their creative capacity for learning and becoming, and especially their lovability.

Loving presence is the state of mind of the psoma partner – it is the fundamental attitude and way of being present in any relationship. Cultivating this state of mind along with the practice of mindful awareness is the first priority for anyone practising psoma and psoma yoga therapy. It grounds the healing in humanity, compassion and love.

Discovery is the point of this collaborative healing journey of bringing unconscious material into consciousness in mindful awareness, whether through a practice of yoga asanas, pranayama, movement, or the simple assisted self-study of habits that are limiting someone's freedom or causing unnecessary suffering. The healing journey also involves the discovery of the kind of positive and nourishing experiences that become possible with wakefulness, when old habits come clearly into awareness and new possibilities are available.

Experience is essential for learning and for healing. What has been created by experience can only be changed by new experiences. Neuroscience has shown us that insight must be accompanied by embodied experience to produce real healing and transformation. Psoma is an experiential approach to healing as an inside job. It is grounded on the understanding that real learning, let alone mastery, must be embodied. Psoma respects the inner wisdom of the body and the natural way healing unfolds when the conditions are right.

Watch for a new book about Psoma (with a “p”) – Healing as Remembering Wholeness… coming soon as an e-book.