Somatic Approaches to Integration: A Polyvagal Inspired Lens
Durango, Colorado, USA
From 150$ USD/session
Areas of expertise
About Asa Dean
Asa came of age around the turn of the millennium as the psychedelic culture was re-emerging across the US. After encountering many different experiences with these powerful plants and substances, both healing and traumatic, Asa realized he needed more support to wield these medicines responsibly. After sifting through ‘love and light’ approaches and ‘feel it to heal it’ approaches, he found teachers and guides, as well as dance, vipassana meditation, and other somatic practices, that offered a more integrated way of living within the rhythms of expansion and contraction that these experiences inevitably bring. Asa now walks the middle road; a path that deeply values the cultivation of resources, stability and regulation, while also confronting and befriending the challenges that live in the shadows.
Asa has over ten years of experience as a bodyworker, somatic educator, wilderness therapy guide, rites-of-passage facilitator, and somatic practitioner. He has extensive experience supporting individuals and groups in the liminal spaces of mind and wilderness. Throughout all of these contexts, Asa has come to understand that our deepest wounds and greatest gifts often live hand in hand. One of his greatest joys is helping people transform experiences of suffering into those of possibility and belonging. Getting to witness the vulnerability, magic, and even humour that occurs along the way is the icing on the cake. When not working, you can find him adventuring in the snowy mountains or curled up with a novel.
Asa Dean's approach to integration
‘”We are always in touch with our wholeness and goodness or with that which is in the way” – Lee Joseph
“The main task in [healing] is to learn to tolerate pleasure” – Alexander Lowen
Life comes with an equal measure of expansion and contraction, both of which have gifts and challenges to offer us. If this seems off just take a moment to pay attention to your heartbeat. Contraction and expansion are the fundamental rhythms of life, showing up everywhere around us and in everything we do: day and night, summer and winter, high tide and low tide, inhale and exhale, the heart expanding to take blood in and contracting to distribute it to the rest of your body. Psychedelics, entheogens, heightened sexual experiences, and trauma all generate intense experiences of expansion and contraction.
When we have the capacity and support needed for these intense openings and closings and shifts then things tend to go well, even if they feel rocky at times. If we don’t have the capacity and support needed, then these same experiences can end up overwhelming us and causing lasting effects of dysregulation (fight/flight/freeze) that live in our bodies and express in our relationships with self, others, and the world. With proper guidance and awareness, both movements can be embodied and navigated with grace and curiosity, leading to more balanced, compassionate, creative ways of being.
I approach integration, as well as healing/wholing work in general, from the “‘bottom up”. By first supporting your physiology to establish rhythms of regulation & coherence, there are then ripple effects into cognition, perception, and relations. I employ the work of Somatic Experiencing and other body-oriented methodologies for helping you to a) learn how to gently release the activation/overwhelm that you may be living with and b) grow the “‘capacity”‘ of your nervous system so that you can have more space with which to relate to and explore whatever may be lingering for you. This process is born out of learning to “‘go at the pace of your nervous system”‘ which will help you to reconnect with the innate wisdom of your body, grow your availability for more of life – both the pleasurable, expansive parts and the painful contractions, and to forge deeper and more stable relationships with yourself, others, and the natural world.
“One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning” – James Russel Lowell
- Somatic Experiencing Practitioner from Dr Peter Levine’s SE Institute
- 3 years as a Rites of Passage & Therapeutic Wilderness Guide with Open Sky & Journeys Rites of Passage
- Structural Integration & Trauma-informed Bodywork from Pacific Center for Awareness and Bodywork
- Neuro Affective Touch 1 with Dr Aline LaPierr
Asa Dean's offerings
- 150$ per hour