Institute for Somatics and Social Justice

a 500 hour certification program beginning in the summer of 2018!

rigorous, joyful, embodied research with an anti-racist/anti-oppression framework

more info and apply now! 

The Institute for Somatics and Social Justice is a container for rigorous, joyful, embodied research with an anti-racist/anti-oppression framework, oriented toward developing knowledge and discourse about the intersections of political movements and the body. Through the study and practice of embodied anatomy, developmental movement, and other methods, faculty and students seek to honor the lineage and further develop the Somatics field so that it may expand and become more inclusive, accessible, and relevant to communities that have not historically been invited to contribute to or participate in the work.

Directed by Nicole Bindler and based at The Whole Shebang in South Philadelphia, the Institute serves as a site for a 500-hour training in Somatic Movement Education that spans two summers (2018/19). Graduates receive a certificate in Somatic Movement Education. The Institute is also a meeting place for practitioners of various embodiment disciplines to share research, build relationships, deepen analysis, and learn from one another.


We are raising scholarship funds for participants who would not otherwise be able to attend. We feel it is essential to have a broad student base, including those who have not previously considered participating in a Somatics training because of lack of resources. Learn more and donate here.



The Somatics field contains methodologies and systems that enable people to learn from their own lived experience and transform their movement patterns, interpersonal relationships, and communities. However, very few Somatics programs* situate their curriculum within an anti-oppression framework. Plus, the Somatics field is populated by predominantly white, financially privileged, able-bodied practitioners. As a result, Somatic practices risk claiming universality of embodied experience. The Institute for Somatics and Social Justice addresses this field-wide limitation by grounding Somatic research in the context of our total society and affirming Somatics as a tool for personal growth AND dismantling racism, misogyny, queerphobia, transphobia, ableism, ageism, and class-based oppression. Social justice movements can make great use of embodiment practices, which support and sustain organizers. Somatic practices have the potential to bring bodily wisdom into the process of political movement building.

This Somatic Movement Education training provides graduates with the skills to teach Somatics in classes or in one-to-one settings with attention to the body and the whole person in their societal context(s). The curriculum expands the field by interrogating unconscious cultural norms that permeate Somatics, and inviting broader diversity of embodiment and communication styles.

In our body-based classes, we examine how our identities inform latent power dynamics and seek to shift unconscious norms and oppressive behaviors that even the most well-intentioned people carry. In pedagogy classes, we explore subjects such as conflict resolution, facilitation skills, and Theatre of the Oppressed, with the body at the center of our theoretical investigations.

The program builds kinesthetic awareness and embodied knowledge through training in experiential anatomy and developmental movement (inspired by Body-Mind Centering®), with an introduction to Bartenieff Fundamentals™, Laban Movement Analysis, the Feldenkrais Method®, and other modalities with an ongoing underpinning of social justice, community engagement, and facilitation skills.

This training program is directed by Nicole Bindler, a Palestine solidarity activist, Body-Mind Centering® Practitioner, Yoga teacher, Muscular Therapist and Registered Movement Therapist through the International Somatic Movement Therapy and Education Association (ISMETA). Additional ISMETA registered faculty (some pending) include Olive Bieringa, Martha Eddy, Miguel Gutierrez, Sharon Mansur, Roxlyn Moret, Mark Rietema, and Maruma Rodriguez. Many other guest teachers will offer workshops and presentations on special topics, which are open to the public. Some of these guests include Fatima Adamu, Kent Alexander, Morgan Andrews, Daniel Bear Davis, Debra Bluth, Jaie Bosse, Meg Foley, Christina Gesualdi, Gregory Holt, Lela Aisha Jones, Hariprasad Kowtha, Rosza Daniel Lang/Levitsky, Sarah Lefkowich, ielle paloumpis, Jumatatu Poe, Raven Sims, and Sara Yassky. The great number and diversity of teachers will allow for cross-pollination of ideas among movers and movement makers in Philadelphia and beyond.

for more information on program objectives, curriculum, and faculty and to apply, click here

*Moving on Center is a west coast sister organization that has existed since 1995.



We are seeking participants, committed to completing the 500-hour program, who come from a broad range of backgrounds and expertise, including but not limited to: movement educators seeking to deepen their skills, dance artists who want to ground their practice in social justice, political organizers and activists who wish to center their work in the body, social workers and school teachers who want to do their work from a more embodied place, medical professionals who are interested in working from a more holistic approach, young people who want to train for their first career, older folks who are searching for a second or third career, and people who are fascinated by Somatics but have never sought education in the subject due to lack of opportunity or accessibility.

Applications are due by November 1st, 2017. Notifications will be sent out by December 1st, 2017. Once accepted, a non-refundable deposit of $500 is required by January 1st, 2018 to reserve your spot. 



Classes will run for eight weeks for two summers, 2018 & 2019, Monday-Friday, 9:30am-12:45pm and 2:15pm-5:30pm with several Saturday outdoor excursions per summer. The first summer will run from June 22-Aug 17, 2018. 

The 500-hour program fee is set at a sliding scale of $4,500 - $14,500 with two full scholarships available. Students are asked to have a conversation with the program director and to consider their income, assets, debt, and dependents in making a decision about where they land on the sliding scale. These conversations are confidential and based on an honor system. Students will not be required to provide documentation of their finances. Half of the tuition is due May 1, 2018 and the second half is due May 1, 2019. Payment plans are available, please inquire.

Applications are due by November 1st, 2017. Notifications will be sent out by December 1st, 2017. Once accepted, a non-refundable deposit of $500 is required by January 1st, 2018 to reserve your spot.