Somatic Spiritual Practices CHM596E

Instructor: Leah R. Thomas, PhD

As we continue to journey through a world marked by the COVID-19 global pandemic, we have experienced many embodied realities — separation, illness, grief, and displacement, alongside political and social action and resilience. This reality invites increased reflection on the importance of bodies in the church and the world. This class seeks to explore the link between spirituality and our material bodies, towards being more attentive to the ways in which Christian spirituality is practiced in and through embodiment. Readings will invite engagement on the relationship between embodiment and spirituality, particularly as this relates to dynamics of gender, race, and sexuality. The class will include a commitment to engage in (and reflect upon) personal and communal embodied spiritual practices such as ritual, breathing, singing, contemplation, movement (such as walking and yoga), and Restitutio Divina (a combination of Lectio Divina, Visio Divina, and techniques from a psychological theory known as somatic experiencing).