Mindfulness & somatics

A person standing with his feet in the water by the rocks
Welcome spending time with your heart and body. With gentle guidance we'll explore compassionate, mindful and somatic resources for:
- Integrate the ability to be with life as it is, moment by moment.
- Resilience under stress and resources for recovery.
- Be friend with yourself regardless of the circumstances.
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I loved the way that ElinMaria seamlessly combines themes around consent, self-compassion and somatics by grounding them in nature and our environment. The beauty of it is that these can be really big and complex theories and ideas, but she makes it so simple and easy to understand and

Mindfulness and somatics

I loved your metaphors and compassionate language and attention while guiding. It really helped me remember to stay self-compassionate and not judge myself or try harder. I think I cried every time at some point!

Aino H
Mindfulness and Somatics

But most of all I have noticed a shift in me, I am more calm and understanding toward myself. In these times when I am all by myself and restless feelings come up (mostly also thoughts of beeing not enough, doing wrongly and so on) I seem to connect on a deeper level with me and these strong thoughts and old beliefs calms down. So grateful for these experience together with you all and so grateful for experiencing my connection to the nature and animals even stronger than before. Thank you so much for your silence, your words and inviting to listening to my body.

Sylvia Backström
Home in my body

I am still really thankful for our weekend, I really liked the pace we were having and you showing trust in the time and pace so I didn’t need to become unpatient about it. I am very thankful for the guidance of ElinMaria during this workshop – remembering me of my own supporting qualities of breath and heartbeat, finding the strength for clarity.

Frauke Beiersdorf
Home in my body

Thank you so much for what was for me an amazingly unusual beautiful visit to nötö.
I love the way you guide meditation. So gentle and smooth and natural. Gave such a beautiful safe comforting feeling in my body and whole being.

Mindful Kayaking and Yoga retreat

I take with me all the nice exercises of landing in the body in different ways, and I want to integrate them more into my everyday life. I got reminded it doesn’t take much to ground myself in my body; to make it easy and that it doesn’t require lots of time. You have an ability to create such safe spaces, and make everyone feel included. It’s great how you remind us to constantly listen to what one’s body needs! It is a unique course in that way, and at the same time easy to learn the skills.

Karolina Nyström
Home in my Body

I take with me something that lets me be present, to value life as it appears, with sense that there’s always lightness and nice funny things to observe, and just be really kind in all circumstances.
The body is a friend, always supporting me, and it has wonderful ways to adapt. My special moment of this class was to embrace my body by the presence of conscious compassionate thought and sensing. ElinMaria you bring sych a nice atmosphere to your classes, I enjoy every time. Thank you. Life is short and sharing these together is like a most precious jewel in the darkest of times

Pasi Liimatainen
Home in my body

For me, the experience was like cotton to the heart. We listened to all the sounds in nature and took careful steps forward on the path that led us to the sea. On the way, we chose a tree and hugged it, listening and feeling the bark. At the beach everyone sat on a rock and just listened to all the sounds and felt the sea breeze. Afterwards we got together and told each other how we experienced nature and what impressions we got. For me it was to stop and become one with nature. We really got to use all our senses. We should do that more often, to stop and just enjoy and gather strength from our wonderful nature.

Inga – Britt Sjöström
Mindful walk in nature

Mindfulness and compassion

Welcome to just being and resting into conscious presence and traditional and contemporary exercises from mindfulness and practices oriented around compassion. We explore an approach to life based on presence and compassion, providing resilience under stress and resources for recovery and balance. When we practice mindfulness, we cultivate an ability to be with what is and step out of our automatic reactions and instead respond to life’s various events with greater compassion.

Mindfulness originally comes from the Hindu and Buddhist tradition where conscious presence is practiced as an approach to life and for meditation. In west the mindfulness-techniques has come to be widely researched and evidence-based methods to increase well-being, health and quality of life.

Some benefits of Mindfulness are used in:
– Stress reduction and recovery.
– Step out of your autopilot and increase our ability to consciously act instead of reacting.
– Understanding of your behaviors and their connection to thought, feeling, body and action.
– To face life and be with yourself from a conscious, compassionate and embodied approach.
– Breathing and body awareness.
– Mindfulness in everyday tasks.

Compassion is a radical way of acknowledging suffering as part of being human and an understanding that when we are our ally rather than our enemy, we create more constructive and sustainable ways of dealing with life. We practice being our own friend, even when we need it most. Compassion is the key to responding to stress with care and to creating community in relationships instead of separation. We are all in the same boat.

With compassion, we can build a foundation for inner support in all moments of life and a sense of belonging – with the ability for our nervous system to create security in contrast to the survival mechanisms our bodies use when we experience stress. A fundamental approach in Eastern philosophy is to understand how we all, both humans, animals and nature, interact and influence each other and therefore it is ethically valuable to take care of each other, to cultivate a concern for others. In Buddhist tradition, compassion is a guideline, something that leads to happiness and is a large part of the meaning of life. Compassion is today a proven and research-based method in the West as a way to increase well-being and resilience in the midst of life’s challenges.

Somatic practices

As we recognize ourselves with our breathing sensing bodies, the perceived world itself begins to shift and transform. Our understanding of life rises up from our living bodies. We can experience things – we can touch, hear and taste things – only because we ourselves are part of the sensible world we perceive! The Latin word soma means “the living body.” Somatic Movement is a field within bodywork and movement studies aimed at experiencing and feeling movement from within the body.

In somatic dance practice we learn embodied approaches to movement, the body and consciousness. With an experimental approach we learn body agency and anatomy and as well connection and integration of our being as a whole. ElinMaria and Gabriel draw inspiration from Contact Improvisation, dance improvisation, mindful movement, developmental movement-patterns, Body Mind Centering, experimental anatomy, authentic movement and eco-somatics.
“Are you comfortable? That can be missunderstood. Are you comfortable? Even in great stress and pain, it can be comfortable in being ourselves. It’s not just not having any pain – comfort doesnt mean not having pain. It’s that we are here in our body. Maybe we are totally misserable but we are here, with all the feelings and frustration and joy. It’s I’m still here. And I’m grateful” /Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen.

Eco Somatics is an emerging interdisciplinary field that connects body-shaping practices such as dance and healing art with ecological consciousness. Somatic movement practices has the possibility to break the dichotomy between man and nature and make visible that we are mutually welded together. We aim to bring awareness how body and nature are intertwined and that the body is nature; in it’s ongoing exchange of air with the plants and trees, food we eat, footprint that we make in our interaction to the ecosystem.

“We are not seprate from the Earth; we are as much a part of the planet Earth as each cell in our body is part of us.” /Mike Samuels, M.D and Hal Zina Bennet, Well Body Well Earth

Welcome to nourish connection and belonging to yourself and this beautiful planet Earth!

Trauma informed approach

When ElinMaria facilitate mindfulness and Somatics;

– I set up exercises and group processes with room for choice. I encourage and support participants to listen in, take a break and be with their boundaries.

– I integrate compassion in my teaching as a recurring approach to ourselves and each other, both through attitudes and specific exercises. With compassion we can build a ground for inner support inour learning-processes and a sense of belonging – with the possibility for our nervous system to create safety in opposition to those surviving mechanisms our bodies use when we’re having stressors.

– When we practice methods where we get more in touch with ourselves, our bodies and each other, I deliberately prevent participants from becoming overwhelmed. In my facilitation, I intend to honor breaks, work slowly, with space to step out of an exercise, to frontload with grounding resources and root us in this present moment so that it can be as safe exploration as possible.

– These courses are not group therapy, but education to support skills for tending to yourself on your day-to-day basis. If you need deep work to heal your past, the invitation is that you reach out for a therapist, teacher, healer, or shaman who specializes in trauma integration work, to help you on your journey.


ElinMaria Sydänvirta has more than 20 years of daily experience with somatics and meditation. I am graduated at the Nordic Yoga Institute Virya yoga, Mindfulness Instructor at Mindfulness Center Sweden (MfC), ISLO Dance and Somatics (1 year fulltime education) and I am educated in Somatic Selfcompassion® (SSC) and further training SSC trauma Informed Approach. My background in somatics and mindfulness started as 14 years when I dived deep into the world’s of meditation and yoga, 5 rhythms, somatic practices and breathwork. Since then different movement- and meditation disciplines has been part of my daily life. In meditation I’ve been mainly practicing mindfulness-meditation and Transcendental Meditation (TM). My special interest is in compassion-based techniques and interconnectedness to nature.


For Gabriel, mindfulness and meditation have been part of life for a long time. After discovering meditation in 2004, he has meditated daily and participated in many Vipassana meditation retreats. While traveling the world, Gabriel has lived in ashrams, monasteries and temples, e.g. in Tibet, Nepal and India and spent long periods of time in nature in silence, fasting and meditating.
Aguahara, water treatments, water dance and being in the water has been a big part of this path. Mindfulness and staying present is important for Gabriel in his everyday life.

Mindfulness and somatics for social change

“Without inner change there can be no other change”
/Civil rights activist Kyodo Williams

We live in a world with multi-layers of crises. Awareness of the world’s crises or an indirect or direct exposure to them causes anxiety and stress for many. In compassion for what we are facing mindfulness and somatic’s can offer resources to heal, to be with, and experience embodied strategies for dealing with the suffering of our time.

The time which we live in is formed by the capitalist mentality, binary and gendered hierarchy, hetero- and white-normativity. These structures are not only working from outside, but actively creating the world as we feel it from inside. The world we live in is embodied in us. How can embodiment be a healing force while integrating social conditions, structural inequities and systematic forces of oppression? How does body-awareness bring radical possibilities for healing and empowerment for collective change?

We claim that coming aware of these structures with an embodied approach there is a possibility for sustainable transformation in both individual and collective levels. Embodiment in this context means to bring ourselves to body-oriented practices that engage other parts of our experiencing than only the intellectual understanding can. We will feel, sense, connect with and through our bodies. From this embodied space we will digest and harvest our new discoveries. Through individual awakening to one’s own patterns, we may also create awareness and change in collective structures.

Structural trauma, like individual trauma, breaks down the feeling of safety, connection and dignity in the minds, bodies and spirits of individuals and communities. It creates collective survival strategies which become embodied in cultural norms and practices. (Heines, 2020; 80).

It’s natural and many times needed coping mechanisms to go numb with the overwhelming suffering of this world. What happens as we open up and find possible coping strategies to face and embrace this pain? We wish to create a space where we can honor the pain, both individually and collectively, connect to the beauty of compassion and care for yourself and the planet, embrace it and transform our survival mechanism to be aligned with what we deeply value.

Often there are no common, shared spaces to deal with the pain. We may have individual therapy and collective activism, and there lies a powerful force for deep(er) change when these two fields are united. There is a need to have a discussion about current phenomenons in an embodied and trustworthy way. Embodied practices give us a wider way to experience and release the huge and intense information by which we are daily surrounded by. Sharing together the pain of the world’s distress and structural harm may give a space for deep healing and empowerment. We aim for empowerment as well as action.This may inspire us to create change where individuals’ own wellbeing is in the shared center with collective transformation.

This text was created together with Julia Silvero.

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