“You didn’t come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here.”
— Alan Watts

Ecosomatics has been emerging out of the somatic field as a named body since around 2007. This natural expansion of somatics has found form through the work of many people, bridging the fields of ecology, dance/movement and activism into work that revives and reconnects.

However, this is the work that has always been there, as a way to guide us back home, through our bodies onto the earth. It is there in the indigenous wisdom, in their rituals and practices. It is in the re-cognition that our health and well-being is not separate from the well-being of our environment. What happens to the Tasmanian Tigers, Tecopa Pupfish, Hoverflies, bats, bees and earthworms, has an impact on all of us. And that impact is psychological as well as physical.

Ulla's hands on the layers of granite ©2014

Ulla's hands on the layers of granite ©2014

In my two decades of learning, teaching and living somatic work, the step into ecosomatics has developed organically. The prefix is a reminder of the continuum within which our sentience evolved, and without which we would not exist. The shared aspects of ecology and somatics are awareness of relationships, patterns and change. The small shift from somatics to ecosomatics is to extend our perspective from human life to all life, from human movement to all that moves, breathes, lives. These small shifts are perceptual. My breathing is a dialogue with the trees and the plants. That breath is a living exchange at the cellular level, where the notion of "me" both evaporates and unfolds. This inner/outer exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide is an on-going act of balance between me and the other, a movement through which I live into the interdependencies of complex systems. And at the same time, in all of its complexity, I can still rest into the breath, allowing it to take place, unhindered by my thoughts.

A lot of our pain, depression, sense of isolation comes from a loss of contact with the natural forces. Our nervous systems and hormonal systems are on overload, creating further chaos, stress and lack of resilience. Sustainability is a somatic theme as much as an ecological principle.

In my work ecosomatics seeps in through the desire to keep re-contextualizing our somatic practices with the larger issues we face in the world. Ecosomatics for me is about engaging with complex questions and challenging conversations with an embodied self. And these times require the participation of many. With diversity of experience around a given subject, we may glimpse more than just our own images reflected back. A practice of ecosomatics is an act of rewilding, protecting and restoring our natural resources for introspection, communication and action.

I have been teaching ecosomatics for the MA students in the Theatre Academy of Helsinki within various programs since 2012. I focus on developing depth perception through embodied explorations in evolution, embryology, immunology and subcellular aspects, research which is greatly influenced by my studies in Body-Mind Centering®. I wish to evoke the innate agency of our cells/selves, recognize our deep interconnectedness with our environment and stretching our perceptual abilities, our choice making abilities, returning to a deeply felt connection with our tissues and the world.

The ecosomatic perspective also provides the basis for my artistic inquiry. My latest performative work based on ecosomatics was the Bewilderment Project (2015) created together with poet/healer Laressa Dickey and artist/activist Julia Metzger-Traber. It was a creative response to the sense of urgency that we collectively share, prompting us to provide a space for grief and loss around the extinction of diversity; be it species, plants, languages, spaces or places of origin.

In short - Ecosomatics is my prayer and my practice. There are no set answers, no knowns.

But there are the tissue of the body, the intelligence of the cells and the molecules of water, flowing through all forms of life. Tracking these aspects sensorially within myself and others can lead us to places of deeper connectivity.

There we can begin to heal.