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The Felt Sense: The Differentiator in Somatic Movement

Updated: Mar 27

Let's explore felt sense and its pivotal role in emotional well-being. The significance of the felt sense within somatic practices increases strength in relationship to self, helps us to connect to our emotions, and allows us to tap into the wisdom our incredible bodies hold. It's through committing to a regular practice that one can receive the benefit for those seeking to cultivate emotional resilience and self-awareness.

Understanding the Felt Sense

Coined by psychologist Eugene Gendlin, the felt sense refers to the subtle, nonverbal bodily sensations that accompany our emotions and experiences. This intuitive form of awareness holds profound insights into our innermost feelings, facilitating emotional processing beyond explicit thoughts or expressions. It's through connecting to our interoceptive awareness, can we harness the information that exists within.

Have you ever noticed how you feel before having a difficult conversation? Perhaps a tightening in the chest and a fluttering sensation in the stomach? This felt sense could signify apprehension or anxiety.

What about revisiting a past experience? Bringing yourself back into the moment of heavy emotions? Perhaps you have felt a heaviness in the shoulders and a lump in the throat, which may indicate sadness or grief associated with a memory.

In the present moment making a decision? You may feel a sense of lightness and ease which accompanies a favourable option. Or you may notice a feeling of heaviness or constriction which may signal hesitation or doubt.

All of these feelings (felt senses) indicate something deeper at an emotional or biological level. It takes some practice staying present with these feelings to start to understand what they mean. In present society, we often push these feelings down, robbing our self of fully experiencing the informaiton that is present. This can lend itself to a whole host of dis-eases, but the biggest teaching moment is when you avoid these emotions, you're withholding trust from yourself.

Somatic Practices: The Role of the Felt Sense in Emotional Processing

The ability to tune into the felt sense is essential for effective emotional processing, enabling individuals to discern and articulate underlying emotions with clarity. Somatic practices, which emphasize embodied awareness, play a crucial role in honing this skill, leading to enhanced emotional regulation and psychological resilience.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of somatic practices in promoting emotional well-being and physiological health. For example:

  • A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research found that mindfulness-based interventions significantly reduced symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress across various populations (Hofmann et al., 2010).

  • Research on body-oriented therapies (bottom up instead of top down) has shown promising results in treating trauma and enhancing emotional resilience (Levine, 2010; Ogden et al., 2006).

Participating in group somatic classes provides a supportive environment for deepening one's connection to the felt sense. Our studio offers a range of class types designed to cultivate heightened somatic awareness. By committing to regular practice in a group setting, individuals benefit from collective energy and shared experiences, accelerating the journey towards emotional well-being.

At The Practice, we are committed to providing a nurturing environment for individuals to explore and develop somatic awareness. Our instructors' guidance through specific classes supports emotional well-being. By investing in regular practice at our studio, individuals can harness the transformative power of the felt sense to cultivate resilience and foster self-understanding.

The felt sense serves as a gateway to emotional well-being, offering profound insights into our inner landscape. Through regular somatic practice at The Practice, working with the felt sense can lead to enhanced emotional resilience and self-awareness.


  • Hofmann, S. G., Sawyer, A. T., Witt, A. A., & Oh, D. (2010). The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78(2), 169–183.

  • Levine, P. A. (2010). In an unspoken voice: How the body releases trauma and restores goodness. North Atlantic Books.

  • Ogden, P., Minton, K., & Pain, C. (2006). Trauma and the body: A sensorimotor approach to psychotherapy. WW Norton & Company.

202 views2 comments


What a insightful article. Thanks.

Replying to

Thanks for reading, Michelle!

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