The Embodied Teen: A Somatic Curriculum for Teaching Body-Mind Awareness, Kinesthetic Intelligence, and Social and Emotional Skills--50 Activities in Somatic Movement Education

The Embodied Teen: A Somatic Curriculum for Teaching Body-Mind Awareness, Kinesthetic Intelligence, and Social and Emotional Skills--50 Activities in Somatic Movement Education

by Susan Bauer
The Embodied Teen: A Somatic Curriculum for Teaching Body-Mind Awareness, Kinesthetic Intelligence, and Social and Emotional Skills--50 Activities in Somatic Movement Education

The Embodied Teen: A Somatic Curriculum for Teaching Body-Mind Awareness, Kinesthetic Intelligence, and Social and Emotional Skills--50 Activities in Somatic Movement Education

by Susan Bauer


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The first book to offer a somatic movement education curriculum adapted to the unique needs of adolescents

Susan Bauer presents a groundbreaking curriculum for teaching teens how to integrate body and mind, enhance kinesthetic intelligence, and develop the inner resilience they need to thrive, now and into adulthood. Designed for educators, therapists, counselors, and movement practitioners, The Embodied Teen presents a pioneering introductory, student-centered program in somatic movement education. Using the student's own body as the lab through which to learn self-care, injury prevention, body awareness, and emotional resilience, Bauer teaches basic embodiment practices that establish the foundation for further skill development in sports, dance, and leisure activities. Students learn the basics of anatomy and physiology, and unlearn self-defeating habits that impact body image and self-esteem. By examining their cultural perceptions, they discover their body prejudices, helping them to both respect diversity and gain compassion for themselves and others. Concise and accessible, the lessons presented in this book will empower teens as they navigate the volatile physical and emotional challenges they face during this vibrant, powerful stage of life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781623171889
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
Publication date: 07/17/2018
Pages: 376
Sales rank: 372,395
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

SUSAN BAUER (MFA, RSME/T) is a teacher, dancer, author, Fulbright Scholar, and somatic educator and practitioner. In her thirty-year career she has taught in middle school and high school, college, and community contexts, and has led teacher trainings and given conference presentations both in the United States and abroad. Her pioneering teacher training program, Embodiment in Education, is now in its tenth year and has included guest faculty Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Deane Juhan, and Caryn McHose. Bauer served on the board of directors of the International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association (ISMETA) from 2012 to 2015. She is also a Registered Somatic Movement Educator and Therapist with a private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bauer holds an MFA in dance from the Department of World Arts and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles and an MALS in Dance and Movement Studies from Wesleyan University. She is a contributor to the anthologies Embodied Lives and Dance, Somatics, and Spiritualities. For more information please visit

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction 1

A Case Study of Embodiment: My Own Path in Somatic Practices 3

Developing a Curriculum for Teens and a Training for Educators 6

An Overview of This Book 9

A Note on Origins and Crediting 11

Who Can Use This Book? 11

Part I A Case for Somatic Movement Education for Teens

Chapter 1 Why Teach Teens about Their Bodies? 15

The Body in Education 18

Using a Somatic Education Approach to Support Adolescent Development 21

Adapting Somatic Movement Education Specifically for Teens 28

Chapter 2 Somatic Education and Other Influences: 31

Somatic Movement Education 32

Experiential Anatomy 35

Related Fields and Movement Practices 37

Part II Getting Started: A Guide for Facilitators

Chapter 3 Basics about the Curriculum 43

Curriculum Design and Structure of the Book 44

Pathways to Teaching Somatic Movement Education (SME) 48

Introducing the Curriculum to Students 53

Chapter 4 Eight Key Pedagogy Principles for Teaching SME with Teens 59

Include Subjective Experience 60

Use a Student-Driven Curriculum 61

Balance Sensory and Motor Learning 62

Teach about Proprioception 64

Use a Layered Learning Approach 66

Create a Safe Container and Sense of Community 68

Provide Time for Integration 73

Teach from Embodied Knowledge 74

Chapter 5 The Language of Embodiment 77

Inviting Student Participation 78

Using Embodied Language 80

Specialized Terminology 82

Chapter 6 Touch and Other Touchy Subjects 89

Working with Intentional Touch in Education 91

Four Basic Guidelines for Teaching Intentional Touch 92

Other Touchy Subjects: Teen Stress, Trauma, and Sexuality 95

Part III A Curriculum in SME: Embodied Anatomy for Teens Embodiment Basics-Level I

Chapter 7 Body Listening 103

What Is Body Listening? 104

Exploration: Body Scanning 108

Exploration: Body Listening and the Constructive Rest Position 110

Orienting to Both Weight and Space 118

Exploration: Shifting Perceptions-Imagery 120

Exploration: Counterbalance 125

Using Body Scanning, the Constructive Rest Position, and Visualizations 127

Using a Movement Matrix 127

Chapter 8 Body Systems 131

Inside the Body 131

Exploration: The Mind's Eye and the Body Systems 134

The Cultural Body 136

Exploration: Body Systems and Perception 138

Movement Integration and Dedications 144

Exploration: Integration-Sun Salutation 145

Chapter 9 The Skeletal System 151

Perceptions of the Skeleton 151

Exploration: Visualizing and Drawing the Skeleton 155

The Nature of Bone 158

Exploration: Bone Touch 159

Exploration: Bone Tracing 162

Bone Tracing and Movement 165

Exploration: Bone Tracing-The Feet 166

Exploration: Bone Tracing-The Shoulder Girdle 170

Exploration: Bone Tracing-The Scapulae, Our Wings 171

Chapter 10 Joints, Proprioception, and the Kinesthetic Sense 175

Body Awareness 175

Exploration: Movement of Joints 180

Exploration: Shapes 182

Muscles and Movement 184

Exploration: Muscle Tension vs. Muscle Tone 186

Exploration: Circles-Arms and Shoulders 188

Exploration: Circles-Legs and Hips 191

Chapter 11 Organs 195

Vitality and Rest 196

Exploration: Resting the Organs 198

Exploration: Rolling from the Organs 201

Moving with Three-Dimensional Support 203

Exploration: Moving from the Bones, Moving from the Organs 204

Exploration: Organs and Emotions (Journal Entry) 208

Chapter 12 Fascia and Movement Qualities 211

Layers of Tissue 211

Exploration: Variations in the Use of Touch 212

Types of Tissue, Movement Qualities, and Emotions 214

Exploration: Moving from the Bones, Joints, Muscles, and Fascia 215

Part IV A Curriculum in SME: Embodied Anatomy for Teens Embodiment Fundamentals-Level II

Chapter 13 Structure and Posture 223

Perceptions of Posture 223

Exploration: What Is Structure? What Is Posture? 226

Exploration: Identifying Postural Tendencies 226

Exploration: What's My Line? 228

Chapter 14 The Dynamics of Balance 233

Perceptions of Alignment 233

Exploration: What is Balance? The Small Dance 234

Anatomy of the Spine 235

Exploration: Spine and Pelvis-Sitting 238

Exploration: Curves of the Spine 240

Exploration: Alignment of the Three Body Weights 242

Exploration: Care of the Spine-Using Technology 244

Movement of the Spine 246

Exploration: Movement of the Spine-Forward Curl 247

Exploration: Dance of the Spine-Back to Back 253

Exploration: Movement of the Spine-Side to Side 256

Chapter 15 Breathing Basics 259

Perceptions of Breathing 260

Exploration: Breathing and Sound 262

Exploration: Breathing and Movement 263

Exploration: Breathing and Emotion (Journal Entry) 264

The Anatomy of Breathing 266

Exploration: How Do We Breathe? 267

Breathing and Movement 269

Exploration: Contents and Container 271

Exploration: Hug of the Lungs and Heart 273

Exploration: Awakening the Back 275

Exploration: Rib Cage, Lungs, and Diaphragm 277

Exploration: Full Breathing 280

Breathing Our Earth Body 282

Exploration: The Breath of Life 283

Chapter 16 A Somatic "Warm-Up": A New Approach to an Everyday Practice 287

Perceptions of Warm-Up 288

Exploration: What Is a Warm-Up? 288

A Somatic Warm-Up for Health and Vitality 291

Exploration: Responsive Moving 295

Exploration: Walking 300

Exploration: Shaping 302

Full Body Integration: Structured Movement Sequences 304

Exploration: Starfish Cross-Stretch 304

Practice with Using the Warm-Up Formula 307

Using Additional Warm-Up Activities 308

Chapter 17 Coming Full Circle 311

Afterword: Envisioning the Future of Somatic Education 315

Appendix A Summary Sheet of the Eight Pedagogy Principles 323

Appendix B Summary Sheet of Four Guidelines for Teaching Intentional Touch 327

Illustrations 329

Photo Credits 331

Notes 333

Bibliography 341

Index 347

About the Author 355

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