wtf is a somatic reflection?
January 30, 2015 6:20 PM   Subscribe

I thought a somatic reflection was something like when you looked at an image of someone working out and your heart rate accelerated as you thought about doing what the person was doing.

I tried looking it up on Scholar Google, because I wanted to know if the same physiological response happened when you looked at images of "thinspo" or "fitspo," and what the implications were for teaching and learning dance. For instance, my dance teacher encourages you to look at clips and gifs of moves you are struggling with, because it's a way of encouraging your muscle memory. Is that even a thing?

Anyways, I got stuck in a mire of soma aesthetics, which is interesting but kinda tangential to what I'm trying to figure out. Am I using the wrong word? I tried using "somatic memory" instead, but that appears to be more trauma studies than dance or fitness related.
posted by spunweb to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Are you thinking about mirror neurons?
posted by Bardolph at 6:26 PM on January 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I wasn't before but now I am. This is super interesting!
posted by spunweb at 6:32 PM on January 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

Observational learning (e.g.)?
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:49 PM on January 30, 2015

I don't really know about your subject, but I do know some Sanskrit and Hindu Mythology.

In hinduism Soma is another name for the moon. And in Vedic Mythology, The moon god is always insecure because it does not have any light of it's own, but instead reflects the light of other gods- like the Sun. The language of Sanskrit has many common words in English because it is also linked with Latin.

So when I hear Somatic, it seems to me the concept is referring to reflecting an image in the mind from the outside. Just like the moon can only reflect light that comes from outside itself as it has no real light of it's own. You see an image and the brain reflects this image by perhaps engaging the neurons involved in the movement, but the person itself is not really doing the movement... only watching it. The brain however reacts as though it was doing it itself. They've done studies with athletes where they hooked them up to some machine and required that they closed their eyes and visualize themselves running. What they found is that while watching themselves run in their minds the same parts of the brain lit up that did with the subjects who were actually running.
posted by rancher at 8:56 PM on January 30, 2015

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