Fascia Science and Embodied Anatomies | The Mindful Strength Podcast

About Kevin O’Connor

Kevin O’Connor is a multidisciplinary artist working as a choreographer, dancer, improviser, circus artist, and installation artist from Ontario, Canada and now based in the Bay area. He is involved in a decade-long artistic collective exploring participatory de-colonizing performances within polluted watersheds in Ontario. Over the last few years, he has worked with NAKA dance in Oakland, Shakiri, and Skywatchers in the Bay Area, Oncogrrrls feminist art collective in Spain, and collaborated with Inuit hunter and designer Paulette Metuq on a project in Nunavut in the Canadian Arctic. He has been learning with the Axis Syllabus community for over a decade and is a biodynamic CranioSacral practitioner. He completed an MFA in choreography and is currently finishing a Ph.D. in performance studies at UC Davis. He is working at the intersection of arts, sciences, practice-as-research, and improvisation theory and practice. His research examines anatomies, body performance capacities, interventions, and imaginations in relation to science studies, including the material-bio-cultural tissue called fascia.

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Show Notes

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About This Episode

Kevin O’Connor visits the podcast to talk about his multifaceted work in fascia and anatomy studies.  Kathryn and Kevin examine what is known about fascia and how much is still unknown (and in disagreement) within the scientific community.

Kevin shares unique insights from his doctoral research and movement studies within his Dance Lab at the University of California, including how anatomy knowledge is shaped by the tools used to research or dissect a body.  He goes on to show how different anatomies can impact how we feel our body moves.

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Podcast Transcription

Kathryn: Hey, Everyone. Welcome back. Today on the podcast I am speaking with Kevin O’Connor. Those of you who are in the Mindful Strength Membership might recognize Kevin’s name. He has a class up right now in the membership. We filmed it this past summer when we were hanging out together and he taught me the class, which was really fun.

It’s about an hour-long and it’s a blend of somatic movement. It’s done on a mat. It’s super accessible to follow. He brings in some of his own ideas from his background which you’re going to hear more about today.

Kevin and I talked all about fascia, fascia research, somatic movement, and anatomy. I think they are super interesting topics. We haven’t talked a lot about fascia research and anatomy on the podcast. I was really blown away by what Kevin had to say. I think everyone is going to get a lot out of this.

Kevin and I are planning a little bit of a collaboration. If you listen to this podcast and you have any questions for us or other things that you’d like to hear answered, feel free to send us an email. Or you can leave comments wherever you’re listening to the podcast.
Before we get into it: I want to remind everyone about Building Resilience, our 30 Day practice progression. You can sign up whenever you want, Whenever you sign up, that will be your day one.

Basically, you get access to 30 on-demand classes. All the classes are between 20 and 30 minutes. They range from resistance band work to a little bit of weighted work with a medium weight or dumbbell; restorative classes; bodyweight classes; and a couple of crawling classes. It’s a really nice mix.

Every day is a little bit different. The whole idea is to do a little bit of movement every day, or almost every day, and really build some consistency. If you want to get signed up, go over to mindfulstrength.ca and there is a link to sign up right on the home page. You can’t miss it.
All right everyone here is my conversation with Kevin O’Connor.

Kathryn: All right. Kevin welcome to the podcast.

Kevin O’Connor: Thank you, it’s good to be here.

Kathryn: Yeah, I’m looking forward to this. We got to spend a little bit of time together this past summer which was really nice. I got to take a couple of your classes. We actually have one of your classes in our membership right now. It’s been up for a little while.

A lot of the listeners might have been able to take that class. I think it’s great that they get to hear from you about your work and other topics as well. Do you want to take a few minutes and tell the listeners a little bit about who you are and the type of work that you do?

Kevin O’Connor: Sure. Yeah. I’m a dancer, somatic worker, and choreographer. I just finished my doctorate. What I did for my doctorate was I set up a fascia research dance laboratory as a way of coming to know this emerging biology.

I was looking at the ways fascia was emerging in the scientific community and then also looking at how it was changing the way dancers think and move; and what kind of bodily relations were emerging as dancers thought with this emerging science called fascia.

Kathryn: What were some of the things you noticed about how fascia research was emerging? How that was affecting the dance community?

Kevin O’Connor: Great. Great question.

The first thing: the reason I got interested in it was I heard this word fascia floating around the dance community. Different teachers were using it in completely different ways: “move from your fascia or feel into your fascia”.

I was curious. What is this thing? I started to study the scientific literature on the fascia. I would go to every two and four years there is a Fascia Research Congress. I went to two of those. One in Washington and one in Berlin. I just kind of did research or listened to the conversations that were emerging in the fascia science world.

The first thing I noticed is fascia is not one thing; it’s in what’s called a pre-paradigm state, which means there are many different ways of thinking about it. The scientific community has not come to a consensus on what it is. Right now there’s kind of two definitions.

One is the fascia system and that’s this viscous goo that surrounds, interweaves, and interpenetrates all the organs, muscle bones, and nerves. It creates a functional gooey structure that allows all of the systems to operate in an integrated manner. That’s one way to think about it.

Yeah. In the dance community, often if you talk to dancers in the west you can say “OK, move from your muscles”. Most dancers know how to do; that they can contract or release their muscles; push and pull.

Then if you ask dancers: “OK move from your fascia”; I would say when I started dancing within the fascia lab, many dancers didn’t know how to do that. They just hadn’t cultivated a way of moving or sensing into their fascia.

Kathryn: What does it mean to move from your fascia?

Kevin O’Connor: Right. That is for different people, a different feeling.

I did an interview with Ray Chung who is a contact improv dancer. He thinks about fascia as something that’s listening; a distributed mind that’s able to distribute any pressure coming into the body.

If you’re listening right now sitting or standing, you can feel your sit bones or your feet in relation to the floor. Slightly shift side to side and then notice the way the pressure coming into your body is distributed throughout the whole body.

This could be one way of feeling into it. Feel that the way the goo distributes the pressure. If you’re injured it might feel like it concentrates the pressure into one place in your body. That might be a way of sensing your fascial sensibility.

Another way might be extending and bending your arm in front of you. From your muscles, you could feel extension and then pull it back in and there’s contraction. Now if I say “do it from your bicep’s goo or your fascia”, you might feel something like you’re throwing your arms and then there’s recoil. Right? The arm is like an elastic band that comes back into your body and it might feel a different kind of effort. That might be another kind of sensibility. You could sense into.

Kathryn: I think that people have different ideas and maybe sometimes misguided ideas about what fascia is. You’re saying “viscous goo”, but I think a lot of people think that – and maybe this is just the other side of it – fascia is tough and strong. There’s a lot of messaging especially in yoga and fitness about rolling it out or breaking it up or unsticking it like it’s this tough thing stuck together. Not good. Right?

Kevin O’Connor: In that language, we can then think about the metaphors we use to describe what fascia does. Right? If it’s stuck together, it’s not good. If it’s moving freely, it is good. Then we could ask what is stuck together right. So is it through fashion layers? Is its fibers?

When you go to the Fascia Congress, depending on what you think it is we’ll put you in a little camp. Each camp then fights with the other camps to find a better way of describing what it does. We could think about rolling it out; that might be rolling out the layers. In the fascia world or in the science world, some scientists think about fascia layers. Others say that’s the wrong metaphor to use because layers only allow us to think about it as doing certain things.

Then the other thing you’re pointing out is this idea of there is a pain when there’s not enough slide and more friction. Right? Then we can think about how fascia supports or harms, and sometimes friction can be considered painful. At the same time, if you think about a rock climber using their hands over and over, the fascia in the hands (if it’s responding to the environment) it might actually thicken in the hands to create more of a claw-like grip.

There the thickening and hardening are not negative. It’s actually supporting what the rock climber wants to do, which is to be able to hang from his fingers. In this way of thinking about fascia, we think of fascia, as I think of it, as an alien that’s always listening to what you do. If you sit on a computer all day, it’s listening to the environment or what fascia researchers call the womb mirror.

This is thinking through the science of embryology. You never stop being an embryo. If the fascia is an alien that’s always listening and always responding to the womb you’re in, it all harden in some places and soften in others to help support you do what you’re doing.

If you’re sitting at your computer all day and hunch, it might harden into a bone-like structure in your upper back (some people call it the iHunch from all these people on their iPhones) to support you being long hours on your computer.

That’s not good or bad. It’s just fascia thinking you want to be there a long time and then it wants to help you do what you’re already doing.

Kathryn: Right. It’s a pretty different narrative then: “Oh your I.T. band is so tight. That’s something for us to go in there or fix. T his part of your body is so hard or tight. That’s something bad for us to fix”. It sounds like you are coming at this from more of “this is human adaptation”. How can we work with that and notice that?

Kevin O’Connor: Right. That gets to the question of there is no good or bad or right or wrong or neutral or not neutral. I actually learn this from a Canadian National Track Coach who is at the Fascia Congress and he said: when I send my hurdlers to a Rolfer or a massage therapist, I don’t want them to make my hurdler balanced on both sides. The fact that they might have a tight IT band on one side and loose on the other is actually the very adaptation they need to be a good hurdler”.

You need to straighten one leg and bend the other as you hurdling. If you try to make their legs even, you actually might turn them into a bad hurdler. Right? You always ask what is the womb the person is in? What are their practices and how is the body always adapting to support those practices?

It’s a very different way of thinking about neutral. There’s no universal neutral. The neutral for a hurdler might actually be to be tight on one side and loose on the other.

Kathryn: We’re getting into like the tissue mechanics of fascia and the very adaptive nature of it. I really get it. I think a lot of the listeners will. I get that that makes sense. The body kind of adapts to the stimulus that it’s exposed to.

One thing that I’m less clear about and I would love to ask you about is the nervous system, fascia, and connective tissue. I think that it’s been made much more clear how like the nervous system is affecting muscles and muscles’ ability to lengthen and contract and all of that stuff.

I feel that it’s less clear about is the nervous system affecting our fascia. Is stress affecting our fascia? All of that stuff.

Kevin O’Connor: Right. All of these kinds of questions are foregrounded at the in the scientific fascia congresses. They all come with assumptions. To already ask “does the nervous system affect the fascia?” assumes a couple of things: that the nervous system is separate from fascia and that fascia is one thing.

Again we have to slow down because of that question. How does a nervous system affect fascia? We don’t know what fascia it is yet. We actually can’t even make that jump yet.

There are theories that when there’s is an increase in stress that it can increase slide and glide in collagen fiber. The slide and glide can create both friction or freedom that can then lead to pain in the fascia.

There definitely are theories around that. Those theories come with their own biases. That theory comes with the idea: fascia are these layers and they slide and glide over each other or create friction. We can start to play with those theories and see the relations. I just want to come back to this idea that because there are different enactments of fascia, there are different fascias.

I always say to my students: “you can’t separate, for instance, muscle from the knife. The knife is the tool, the dissection tool, that cut out the muscle”. If you look at a muscle, it’s infinitely connected everywhere else. The fact that we have a bicep it comes from a cultural practice which is using knives to dissect.

The knife couldn’t see fascia; it cut right through it. That’s why for hundreds of years in the West fascia was a thing that was thrown out in dissections; it wasn’t thought of as meaningful or doing anything.

When you look at fascia, the fighting over what facia is it comes down to the tool each scientist uses to get to know it. If you use a microscope or a right now some of them are using different electronic machines or live cameras during live surgery, it produces different kinds of fascia.

The scientists who do look at fascia during live surgery will say “those who study cadavers are working with a different kind of fascia because the properties of the material have already changed”. The tools you use to make that material enact different kinds of bodies. Different practices enact different versions of fascia.

When you ask does a nervous system out affect fascia, we have to ask: what kind of fascia are we talking about? That’s where your question is kind of on the cutting edge because we still don’t know what fascia is. Yet we do know the nervous system, which in the West picks up stress, somehow is entangled in it. Yet the boundary between the entanglement is so unclear right now.

Kathryn: Yeah. That’s very interesting. I was going to ask you is there a definition of fascia or is there a debate about the definition?

Kevin O’Connor: At the last Congress, they came up with two definitions. What they decided to do was distinguish a fascia from the fascia system. The term a fascia indicates a sheath or sheet or any number of other dissectable aggregates; or connective tissues that form beneath the skin that attach enclose separate muscles and other internal organs.

Notice that and then go to the side of the recent or the 2018 Scientific American Journal that just came out with the finding: “Meet Your Interstitium: the new-found organ”. The interstitium is the fascia and yet in the first definition the fascia the thing that surrounds the organ. In the interstitium definition, it becomes an organ.

Right? That’s so confusing. How can the thing that surrounds the organ all of a sudden be an organ? That’s where you constantly see, the more you research the more you see the friction between the definitions. The other definition is the fascia system; it’s the system that surrounds, interweaves, and interpenetrates muscle, bone, nerves, organs, and creates a functional structure.

The thing that interpenetrates and interweaves the nerves then connects it to the nervous system that you asked. That relation is still unclear of how the nervous system and the fascia are entangled.

Kathryn: OK. How do you approach anatomy?

Earlier you mentioned the bicep is only a bicep if we kind of like cut it out in that specific shape with a knife. I imagine a lot of people are learning anatomy and learning about these different muscles; where they are and what they do in this isolated way. Maybe even learning about fascia or the different types of fascia in kind of an isolated way.

I’m wondering how you would approach anatomy and learning about anatomy. What’s important to know?

Kevin O’Connor: Great. That is awesome. I love that question. What we did in the Fascia Dance Lab is we took scientific articles on fascia and tried them on. What I mean by trying them on is I think of anatomies as costumes that you try on.

For me, the question then shifts from not “is it true”, it shifts to what can this costume do? What kind of new ways of thinking about my body emerge? How does it create new imaginaries? Then how did those imaginaries shift how I move?

A lot of good anatomists will tell you this: every time they do a dissection what it teaches them about bodies is they’re completely different. Not the same. Then we can think about “wow all the hard work, deliberation, and communication that had to go into making something that’s so different appear the same”. The way it happens in an anatomy book.

First of all, I think of anatomies. There are many kinds of anatomies, depending on the tools used to look at the body. Then anatomies aren’t true. They’re made. They’re not made up. They’re made through particular scientific practices. My practice is to try on those made anatomies and see what they do.

In the fascia world you can, for instance, try on Tom Meyer’s Anatomy Trains. Instead of thinking of individual muscles, he thinks about muscle chains or what he calls trains/train tracks. You can try on this different way of thinking about muscles in sequence and see what that does for your sensibility.

All of this links to in dance studies we call it ideokinesis through Mabel Todd. What you imagine the body becomes. Mabel Todd set up a posture lab and treated things like scoliosis all through imagination.

We can think of anatomy as a kind of imagination and we all have anatomies as we live by. We’re all taught particular ways of thinking about our body and that literally shapes what your body can do.

One way to think about anatomies is a costume you try on and then you get curious about what it does for your body. How does it make you move in this particular situation? Then you don’t so much go into “oh your way of thinking about it is wrong and mine is right”. All anatomies might offer a different sensibility and a different way of moving.

Kathryn: I want to take a moment in the middle of this episode to tell you about Building Resilience, our 30-day practice progression. If you want to get started with strengthening in a mindful way and you’re not quite sure where to begin or there are just so many options out there: go over to mindfulstrength.ca and get started.

Each day you get a new class. Every class is 30 minutes or less, so it’s super manageable. Classes range from strengthening with weights and bands and your bodyweight all the way to self-massage and restorative practices.

You get a little bit of everything which will help you build your resilience. To sign up go to mindfulstrength.ca. All right everyone. Now back to the show.

Kathryn: I would imagine people at home are starting to be like “Hmm. OK. There’s a lot here”. Even in just this conversation about anatomy and anatomy being a costume that we can try on and see how that shapes us and shapes our movement.

I think that anatomy is usually not taught from that perspective. It’s usually taught from the perspective of like “here is what is. “This part and this part” and there are pictures and it’s just “this is what is”. If people at home are starting to think “well how do I even like figure out what costume I’m wearing right now?”.

Kevin O’Connor: Right. The first thing you’re talking about “this is what is” refers to this idea that often in the West we’re trained to think about anatomy describing in “the Body”. It’s like anatomy describes predetermined matter; something that’s inside. By attending to how the body is made through practice, then we can see how there is no “the Body” nature. Nature is always nature-culture.

The culture part is the tools used to look; the tools used to examine the body. Then we can see if you go look at different ethnographic studies on comparisons between different ways of thinking about the body. We can see how different bodies have a history so they’re entangled with tools and measuring ways of measuring that then produce what we call anatomy.

We in the West might have been trained to think the anatomy is true and not actually in nature-culture entanglement. The beauty of fascia is because it’s just emerging right now in the scientific world, you actually can pay attention to how the cultural practices dictate what kind of fascia emerges – even within the Western world.

A scientist who uses tools particular tools will talk about fascia in completely different ways. For instance, a Rolfer who uses their hands to get to know fascia. Right. It’s a good medium to study. It teaches us, even in the West and all the ways we’ve been taught about anatomy as predetermined matter, went through this process of coming to be known.

You can think about and feel into anatomy as a cultural practice. When I learned about for instance meridians in Chinese medicine, how certain practices are regulated to belief. Whereas certain scientific practices get regulated to knowledge. Knowledge always has power over belief. Right.?

I get my students to shift your way of thinking through “all practices create different enactments of the body”. Science and anatomist aren’t looking in the body and eventually going to tell us everything there is there. They’re making or enacting bodies as they look. That’s kind of a u-turn away from thinking about science discovering more and more about the body and then we’re going to figure it all out. Is that clear?

Kathryn: Yeah. I’m like yes and no. I’ve made so many notes in the last twenty-five minutes. It’s amazing. You should see my piece of paper.

OK. I want to try to bring all of these incredible ideas and then bring it into some type of embodied thing or embodied practice, or embodied exercise. How can people start to become more familiar with their own anatomy? Do you think in doing that we need to separate from these ideas we’ve been taught as if they are fact?

Kevin O’Connor: Right. So what you’re getting at is a variation in the West. They have this practice of what’s called ‘experiential anatomy’. What that means is: you first notice how every notion of anatomy is always a theory. It’s not true. Then we can start to notice how there are these theories of anatomies that we live in that shape our bodies. Then we can start if we want to investigate how we came to have one particular anatomy and not another. Right?

When we read new theories on fascia because we all are curious about movement and want to find new ways of thinking about movement. Whatever moving better is, we want to find ways of moving better so our movement perhaps can feel less pain or help us if we’re repeating a task.

We can think about if I’m looking with fascia, a particular article on the fascia, if I try it on how does it help me move.? Can it help me move better? Whatever that means. Can it help you as a bodyworker or a trainer or a dancer? One simple thing is I might notice if I’m working with someone: “Okay try doing this repetitive exercise from your muscle. Imagine your body as these parts and do a squat and just notice how that feels”.

Then thinking with ideokenesis “what you imagine your body becomes”. Now imagine your body as this viscous goo that totally interconnected and that’s able to distribute any force coming in and do the same squat. Then you start to try to articulate any differences you feel like. Does it change the way you feel in that squat? Does it feel like more or less effort? Does one feel more powerful but one feels like you can do it over and over?

You start to create what we get in our Fascia Lab a way of becoming articulate to the different imaginaries.

Kathryn: When people start trying on these different cues and ideas and do the same movement: what do you think changes? I get that the sensation might change and different people have a different experience of that, but yeah.

Kevin O’Connor: Yeah. What you’re getting at are our senses. How are our senses fixed or are they plastic? Again, what I’ve learned from my studying fascia is our senses, like our sensorium sight, touch, taste, and all of those are also cultural. Right?

They’re a folk model just like our anatomies. They’re situated and they can always be made different. Fascia shows that. Our anatomies, our way of thinking about our bodies, creates felt sense in the body. If you’ve been trained to think through your body is having muscles, then you might also be trained to have the feeling of a sore muscle.

But if you grew up and we’re taught to have different anatomy that doesn’t think with muscles, then you don’t even have the felt sense of soreness. You might have other ways of describing that kind of feeling in your body that’s maybe completely different.

The same thing with fascia. Many dancers when “I say do a squat from your fascia”, they literally don’t have a feeling of it. It just highlights how the ways you think about your body also change the ways you feel. The anatomy you try on pulls along a sense of your sensorium or a feeling body.

It’s interesting to just think about both our anatomies as something in the body but also made through practices and then how those change the felt sense of the body.

Kathryn: If someone goes to do the squat and you say “squat from your fascia” and they have these ideas; maybe they even have ideas about what their fashion is or is like. That can also change their experience of that squat.

Kevin O’Connor: Exactly exactly. It might even change where it’s located. You might feel the squat distributed throughout the matrix. You might even feel it in your fingertips, in your head, and in your toes rather than maybe just in the quads or the buttocks. You might be able to just start to try it on and be like “oh it shifts where I locate the force, where I locate the effort”. It might shift all of that.

We can then use that to think about all the daily tasks we do. If I have to lift something all day and I shift where I do it from, it might shift the constraints and shift the feeling of it. This is where it’s really like what you imagine the body it literally becomes it literally shifts the feeling, what it does.

Kathryn: How do you work with people who have a hard time sensing and feeling? Or do you work with people who have a hard time sensing and feeling?

Yeah. So what I would say is and I’ve worked with people across the neurodiverse spectrum, and we’re all on the neurodiverse spectrum. I would say having a hard time feeling is a particular way of feeling that’s on a kind of spectrum that all of us are on.
I’m always curious, and this is what I always ask, what kind of feeling are you feeling? There’s still a feeling when you’re having a so-called hard time feeling. What kind of feeling are you feeling? Where is it located? For some people having a hard time might mean it’s located outside of the physical body. There’s a kind of disassociation from the body.

I’m always curious when I do work with people is getting them to articulate what kind of having a hard time feeling it is for them. Where is it located? What is the felt sense of it? I get my students to describe.

What I mean by articulate comes from Bruno Latour, a science scholar who studied perfume artists who are becoming what’s called the “nose” or an expert perfume artist. When he studied them he said, “They didn’t start off being experts”. Through training, you’re able to articulate differences that before you thought were all the same. For perfume artists, when they started, everything smelled the same. Then through training, you’re able to articulate the subtlest differences.

That’s how I work with people who what I might call “don’t sense” but really might be they’re sensing in completely different ways than I know. I try to get them to articulate if I say “try on the fascia, try on this concept in your body; try to articulate one little difference. That starts to open up all kinds of ways of enacting bodies.

Kathryn: I guess when I say “someone might be having a hard time feeling”, really what that means is like having a hard time feeling what I think they should be feeling.

Kevin O’Connor: Exactly. That is a great observation. That highlights in all of our teachings there’s always a mistranslation. You have all this knowledge and ways of situating yourself within a particular way of understanding your body that most of our students have completely other ways. Even if they think with muscles and tendons and bones the way they imagine it might be completely different.

Where you locate a particular feeling might not even be there for them because they don’t imagine their connections in the particular matrix that you imagine it.

Kathryn: I oftentimes will be teaching an exercise or maybe we’re doing like a pulling exercise with the resistance band and I might say something like “can you do this in a way where you feel like the movement is coming from your upper back?”. “Can you visualize that your upper back is helping you pull this resistance band?” and trying to get into that part of the body.

Sometimes I might have someone who says “I just can’t feel that”. I think that it’s like the idea is like I just can’t feel that, so it must not be happening. That part of my body must not be engaging or working or doing the thing.

I tend to think that we’re doing the thing; we’re doing the pulling exercise. You know those the lats or whatever muscles, they are they’re doing the thing. The arm is moving. The band is moving. I think the more and more I learn about this type of stuff and I think about movement in different ways the more I’m like: “I don’t know if it actually matters if you can feel your upper back pulling this band”. I try to shift a little bit more to like well what are you feeling.

Kevin O’Connor: Great. That’s a great practice because then they can describe it. In asking that, you’ll get them to describe the way they imagine their body. Then you can say “OK you can either play with your imaginary” or say “now I want you to try a completely different imaginary”.

You could say “imagine your arm is like a wing and the base of it connects to the base of your cranium on the top part of your wing, and around t9 in your spine so just above your lumbar spine. Those are the two bases of your wing. Now stretch out your arm and feel your fingertips connecting to the base of your cranium and just above your lumbar curve between t9 and t12”.

That gives a different imaginary. They might just have to flap their arms and feel their fingertips connected to that part of their spine. Then get them to do the exercise and see if it changes the felt sense in their body. That connection I’m naming fingertips basic cranium comes from Tom Meyer’s anatomy trains and his arm lines.

That’s something you could just literally give them a different imaginary and see if it shifts their feeling that they describe as not feeling. As a teacher, I try to just keep playing with imaginaries, and then for the student, they try it on and see what it does.

Kathryn: Do you think this type of relating to the body has a name? Would you call this like somatic work or do you think it has a name?

Kevin O’Connor: I mean it could. Somatic work I always think of as doing your own research, where you’re both the one looking like the scientist but also your body is the one being looked at; like the cell of the scientist is looking at. Somatic work is feeling into all the ways you’re looking and noticing how it shifts what you see or feel or sense.

In some ways, yes, it can be. I think of it as somatic. If I articulate somatic as a kind of research where you’re both the researcher and the thing being researched on. Then also it’s all somatic work is a kind of way of thinking about body-mind and the way imaginary and distributed mind and the bodily material are all entangled.

Kathryn: This has been so wonderful. I’m so glad that we found the time to do this. You have your class up in our membership. Where else can people find more about your work? Do you teach to the public? If people want to get in touch with you, how can they do that?

Kevin O’Connor: A lot of my writing is up on my blog and it’s w w w dot ecological bodying dot com. I have been teaching at the University of California Davis and I’m also teaching in Ontario Canada quite a bit where I’m from.

I’ve also part of the axis syllabus community and part of a big study group on improvisation with Anita Litta. I do different projects. Soon I’ll have a blog up called somaticgym.com. Thinking through ways of practicing with different emerging science studies on the body.

Kathryn: Cool. So we’ll get all those links from you and we’ll put them in the show notes for people listening. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

Kevin O’Connor: Yes. Thanks for having me.

Kathryn: That’s our show. Thank you everyone so much for listening. If you are listening on Apple podcasts and you are loving the Mindful Strength Podcast, please consider leaving us a review. All of the reviews really really help.

If you want to learn more about my work, my membership, my teachers’ course, or my new free course called Mindful Strength Foundations, you can head over to mindfulstrength.ca.