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A Review of Three Somatic Programs to Aid In Your Wellness Journey

By: Reva Schlanger MS, RD, CDN


There are many programs online that claim to help a person’s well-being.  Just doing a quick Google search, millions of links pop up. With all this, it can be difficult to sift through programs to determine which one is right for you. Unfortunately, this is how many people end up losing their money or trying out a program that can be more harmful than helpful. Here at Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services, we have done some of the leg work to help narrow down three programs that may fit your mind, body, and spiritual needs.


All three programs offer unique teachings while having a common thread of somatic work. Somatic therapy practitioners use mind-body exercises and other physical techniques to help release the repressed tension that negatively affects a person’s physical and emotional wellbeing. This work helps people develop resources within themselves to self-regulate emotions and move into a higher functioning mode to think more clearly and rationally. Through developing awareness of the mind-body connection and using specific interventions, somatic therapy helps to release tension, anger, frustration, pain, and other emotions that may remain in a person’s body from past adverse experiences. The main goal is to help free people from what is preventing them from fully engaging in their present lives.



  1. The Embodied Life Programs


The Embodied Life School™ was created by Russell and Linda Delman. They offer an array of seminars, retreats, training programs and consultations dedicated to human transformation by incorporating physical, mental, relational, and spiritual awareness. Russell’s dedication to the study of awareness and human potential started in 1969. The main influences on his current teachings include many years of Zen meditation, close relationship and training with both Moshe Feldenkrais and Eugene Gendlin, and his deep study of somatic psychology.


The Embodied Life™ offers multiple programs which integrate Zen-based meditation, the teachings of Moshe Feldenkrais, and Guided Inquiry. All these practices are based on learning to be present with the reality of our inner experience in an open, authentic, and curious way. Freedom from self-limiting habits/beliefs through awakening our human potential is the intention behind these programs.


These programs place a big emphasis on bodily experience. Our body lives in the present moment, always in a particular time and place, whereas our mind is not always connected to the present. This fact that the body is always present can be a great ally; our physical sensations can draw our minds to the present moment. True satisfaction only exists in our presence, through being consciously alive right here and now. This return to our living reality is the basis for connectedness and meaningfulness in whatever tasks we choose in our lives.


They are taught both as seminars of varying lengths and as residential retreats. The seminars, while including some sitting meditation, are more focused on learning through movement and inquiry. The retreats have numerous meditations each day- chairs are available and encouraged when needed; accommodation is made for people with challenging physical circumstances. As mentioned earlier, the three main components of all seminars are: Embodied MeditationFeldenkrais Movement lessons, and Guided Inquiry. All are based in bringing presence and curiosity to the living moment to help your body and mind stay in a calm and present state.

Click here to learn more about The Embodied Life™: https://theembodiedlife.org/index.html



  1. Irene Lyon


Having experienced her own painful injury, Irene Lyon, was on a path to help find reprieve from the pain. This led her to 20 years of research in somatic work. In that time, she started her Somatic Experiencing (SE) studies and went as far as one can go in this domain (without becoming a trainer of the method). She assisted at the basic SE trainings as well as numerous Master Classes that were exclusively taught by the founder of SE, Dr. Peter Levine. Master Class topics she’s well versed in include working with near-death and anesthesia states; working with anger, depression, healthy aggression, and life force energy; working with syndromal representations (such as autoimmune disorders) in conjunction with the polyvagal theory.


Additionally, she became a certified Feldenkrais ® Practitioner, and has completed a 4-year intensive Professional Feldenkrais Teacher Training Program under the supervision of Jeffrey Haller. Dr. Feldenkrais’ principles around neuroplastic healing and awareness through movement play a massive part in her online teachings, in-person workshops, and personal movement practices.


With all her extensive knowledge, she has created two amazing programs: 21 Day Nervous System Tune Up and SmartBody SmartMindTM. The 21 Day nervous system tune-up is a self-study virtual training program that blends cutting edge neuroscience with crafty neurosensory exercises (she has 9 exercises) – all designed to spark up your nervous system powers by helping you discover the mind-body-environment connection.


SmartBody SmartMindTM is a live program that has a curriculum released over 12 weeks. All educational video trainings, practical neurosensory exercises, live calls, bonuses, and supplemental resources are stored on the SBSM program website that you would have access to as a paid member. SmartBody SmartMindTM weaves together learning and practices from multiple revolutionary approaches including Somatic Practice (the work of Kathy Kain), Somatic Experiencing (the work of Peter Levine), neurosequential healing (as written about by Norman Doidge), The Polyvagal Theory (as presented and discovered by Stephen Porges), and Feldenkraisian Learning (the work of Moshe Feldenkrais). This program is only offered once a year and has already helped thousands make remarkable progress in how they live, heal, parent, work, connect, and love.


Here is the Irene Lyon website to learn more: https://irenelyon.com




  1. Befriending Your Body


As a Somatic Psychotherapist, Dr. Ann Saffi Biasetti’s approach to therapy is unique and informed by multiple trainings she has done throughout her clinical career. All her teachings are based on her research, training, and passion for self-compassion practice and the power it has, to change up your nervous system and your interpersonal relationships.


The Befriending Your Body Program was born from her doctoral research, which explored the role self-compassion played in lasting recovery. This important research turned into her book, Befriending Your Body: A Self-Compassionate Approach to Freeing Yourself From Disordered Eating, which brought about the creation of this program.


The Befriending Your Body Program (BFYB)™® is a unique 8-week somatic self-compassion recovery program aimed at teaching you the skills of embodiment and self-compassion for disordered eating. This is to ultimately help you make peace with your body, food, and self.


It is the first virtual somatic self-compassion program for disordered eating that, with the guidance of Dr. Ann Saffi Biasetti can help attendees discover a new approach to knowing their body and practicing true self-care. Though virtual, it is a program with others who you can bond with and grow together in the next 8 weeks. This program may be right for you if you have been struggling with emotional regulation, the diet-binge cycle, and body shame.

If interested, check it out at: https://www.befriendingyourbodyprogram.com


Please know LCWNS is not associated nor receives any funds from the above three programs. Always consult with your medical doctor and health care team when choosing a program.


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