Your body is a profoundly intelligent, biologically programmed miracle of nature that comes equipped with the instinct to bond and the ability to love. It has the innate wisdom and power to respond brilliantly when you are in danger, to tell you when you need nourishment, to let you know when it is time to rest.

Somatics refers to this condition as natural instinctive embodiment. You are naturally embodied when you can experience sensate pleasure on a regular basis, when you can deeply relax into yourself, when you can both give freely and defend yourself appropriately, when you know the differences between natural instinctive responsiveness and enforced inhibition.

Unfortunately, the fixation process often pits mind against matter, teaching us at an early age to suppress the call of instinct. When a person spends a lifetime manipulating expression, holding back anger, grief, and joy, the body literally gets tied up in knots and forced off balance.

This presentation combines the theory and practice of Somatics with the wisdom of the Enneagram. An overview of somatic theory will be presented and highlighted through simple exercises that engage the body’s wordless language, introduce the posture of natural design, and provide participants the direct experience of how each Enneagram type shapes primary instinct, body posture, and emotional climate.

Knowing how to bring the body back into balance, mentally, emotionally, and physically, makes it easier to sustain an open quality of neutrality. The contrast, then, between embodied versus fixated perception and function becomes alarmingly real, nurturing the process of exposing and then disengaging from the fixations and passions the Enneagram system so brilliantly describes.

Johanna Putnoi is the author of Senses Wide Open: The Art and Practice of Living in Your Body, Somatics Through the Lens of the Enneagram (Enneagram Monthly Aug/Sept’96), and numerous other published articles. Certified in the Narrative Tradition since 1989 and Lomi Somatics since 1979, Johanna was one of the first to teach the Enneagram in combination with Somatics.

She has studied directly with seminal figures in all her fields of interest: modern dance pioneer Martha Graham; educator Ivan Illich; mind/body trail-blazers Moshe Feldenkrais, Robert K. Hall, and Emilie Conrad; and psychological/spiritual thinkers Helen Palmer, David Daniels, Claudio Naranjo, and Carl Whitaker.

For more than twenty years Johanna has worked to help people develop a new awareness and respect for the body’s natural intelligence. Her work has given her the opportunity to teach topics such as Touch and the Art of Healing for the UCSF Medical Program, The Somatic Approach to Dance at Stanford University, and Somatics Through the Lens of the Enneagram for actors and screenwriters in Los Angeles. She has taught at Esalen Institute, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and San Francisco State. She holds degrees from New York University and the American University in Paris.

Presently Johanna has an on-going private practice in Menlo Park, California, leads professional trainings and workshops in the somatic approach to the Enneagram, and is developing a multimedia presentation illustrating how the body language and fundamental nature of the Enneagram types is brilliantly visible in the paintings of the Old Masters.

Johanna Putnoi


2005 IEA Global Conference

San Francisco, California, USA

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