SomaNews January-February 2020

Soft and Strong

“Being both soft and strong is a combination very few have mastered."
— Yasmin Mogahed

The softer you are, the stronger you are; the more relaxed you are, the more alive you are. 


Our culture engrains in us that being soft is weak, lazy, mushy, easy. Strong is being tough, hard, forceful, hard as nails. We live in a dualistic culture – things are either good or bad, right or wrong, black or white. So how are we to blend the ability to be soft and strong, and oh by the way, relaxed and alive too!

Let’s look at our bodies through the lens of somatics. Strength in the somatic world is not how much you can lift, but how you can flow through an experience. LR. Knost reminds us, “Remember, true strength is not found in the stone, but in the water that shapes the stone.” Her quote becomes even more meaningful when you consider our bodies are about 60% water.

The indigenous culture of Peru has a unique word, yanantin. It means to not look upon the differences between two beings, but on the qualities that brought them together. They complement each other.

To be soft and strong, relaxed and alive, you must bring your presence to the forefront. Being present doesn’t mean raising your hand when your name is called. Being present is living the sensation of the body and quieting the mind talk.

When we live in our bodies, we can quiet the talk that has been lying in our minds and hearts and let it flow through so another possibility can arise, another way of seeing the world. This is a talent that can be developed. You can bring those seemingly conflicting qualities – soft and strong – into a blend without altering either of them.

Try this practice:  

Sit in a comfortable place where you can look out onto nature. Center yourself and take a couple of nice deep breaths and let them go. Tense your body and notice how much energy it takes to hold that tension, and then let it go.

We are all born open, receptive, soft. Then as we develop, depending on our upbringing, we begin to create a shell or contractions in our body that tells us we are protected.

Letting go does not mean unprotected; it means opening to your sensations, internal and external. It means blending the strength of your skeleton (which holds you erect) and the softness of your organs, skin and muscles (which keep you together). This is the physical sensation of the blend of soft and strong.

How can we use this blend to take a stand for our lives? Choosing the path of self-love, self-compassion and self-forgiveness helps to make us soft and strong.

Remembering this blend can bring great support during the times we listen to the part of our history that stops us on our path. The ability to open to self-love and self-forgiveness (soft), blended with resilience and standing up (strong) allows us to change.

“I want to be like water fluid enough to slip through fingers yet strong enough to hold up ships.”
– Muses from the Mystic

If this blending is a challenge for you...

I invite you to connect with me to explore working together.

Contact me for a free introductory session.

Phone: 707-480-3846