Breath, Movement, and Somatic Healing in Africa

by | Mar 18, 2014 | About Trauma, SE Stories

We are honored to share a new blog in seven parts by Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner Suzanne Levy who has been working in slums and post-genocide communities of war-torn Africa. Suzanne wrote this series of entries on her fifth trip to Rwanda and her first visit to the slum settlement of Kibera, Nairobi. To view all seven entries, please visit:


Part 1 includes a video montage which highlights an earlier trip and explains why Suzanne feels that learning SE® was crucial in developing her work for genocide survivors and marginalized communities. She then brings us up to date with her most recent trip in December, 2013 to work with a new group of genocide orphans.

In Part 2 Suzanne details her experience with these orphans over a three-day training. Weaving Somatic Experiencing into her breath-based movement program, Suzanne highlights students expressing a shift in their nervous systems within hours of working together. In addition she shares photos detailing two other groups she has been working with recently: genocide widows and young educated professionals who are both Tutsi and Hutu.

Part 3 and Part 4 highlight her arrival in the second largest slum in Africa and the odds she faced in trying to teach during days of endless torrential rain.

Part 5, aptly named “A Sense of Hope,” speaks about what can happen when the sun begins to shine (both literally and figuratively). As students applied the tools they were learning for grounding and resourcing, there was now space for light. They became more open, more curious, and more regulated.

Part 6 highlights the final day of training where Suzanne and her students had an opportunity to work outside, adding more breath-based movement to enrich the work from the bottom up.

Part 7 includes feedback from the two facilitators as well as a brief video detailing how this SE-based training supported participants' ability to feel more at ease in their own minds and bodies. Please watch the video at the end to see how this work has really changed the lives of many!

All of us at the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute applaud Suzanne for her work. We hope you enjoy the insights she has shared in all seven entries linked above.

Suzanne Levy, LMT, RYT is a teacher and practitioner of integrative somatic healing arts in private practice since 1993. She weaves Somatic Experiencing, movement education, yoga therapy, body work, mindfulness, and eastern breath-work practices into her sessions to help her clients awaken and cultivate the natural healing process within. Suzanne is the founder of an emerging non-profit called Paths of Peace, offering somatic trauma healing and personal transformation practices which in turn supports conscious social change. Suzanne has conducted stress reduction and trauma resiliency workshops in post-genocide Rwanda and more recently has begun working with teachers and mental health workers in the slum settlement of Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya.