A 4-Day In-Person Course 

September 26 – 29, 2024

A 4-Day In-Person Course in Petaluma, CA 

September 26 – 29, 2024

This course is now closed for new enrollment. Please join the NOTIFY ME list to be contacted should a space open up.

Visit our Course Calendar for upcoming
Course work and future BIPOC offerings

Gather with others. Practice working through the soma – the living body in its wholeness. Deepen your ability to take new action under pressure consistently. That’s Embodied Transformation.

This Strozzi Institute 4-day, in-person course is held specifically for those who self-identify as Black, Indigenous and peoples of color (BIPOC) by a team of Strozzi Institute BIPOC teachers and provides the foundational introduction to our somatic methodology and practice. 

Whether you are committed to meeting existing challenges in new ways, expanding your leadership capabilities through more aligned actions, or embarking towards Somatic Coaching Certification, Embodied Transformation is the opportunity to fully imagine and declare the futures we want – and the ways of being that will get us there. 

Embodied Transformation happens through the soma — the living body in its wholeness.

Join us to investigate how the answers to the following questions live inside of us:

  • How do I access the intuitive wisdom of my body?
  • How do I deepen connection with my team, my community, my family?
  • What matters most to me? 
  • What is the future I envision?
  • What am I doing each day to move closer to that future?

Over the course of 4-days you’ll create a declaration, or statement of vision, toward the future you long for as you align your vision with your daily actions.

The 4-day Embodied Transformation course is an introduction to somatic awareness and the intentional practices we can be in to expand our capacity for presence, connection, collaboration, and joy.  As we deepen in our awareness and our practice,  we open to possibility, change, and transformation —  to the future we’re creating. 

We transform through embodied learning that involves our whole existence — our way of thinking, our physical bodies, our emotions, how we regulate our nervous systems, and how we relate to others. A kind of experiential learning that is supported through movement, repetition, connection, and relaxation.

We know that profound transformation happens in rooms with bodies of all races, ethnicities, and cultures. We also recognize that the potential for healing and connection is made more possible when we feel safer and more able to relax, trust, and open. 

This course, reserved for our BIPOC students, has been created in response to the longings and requests of our BIPOC community to enter into this work in a space held by each other.

All of our courses at the Strozzi Institute are multi-racial, offering opportunities to learn and practice in spaces that include white-bodied participants and in spaces that are reserved for students that identify as Black, Indigenous, and peoples of color (BIPOC). We are privileged to be able to honor these requests for BIPOC-specific spaces as we move towards our own organizational commitment to embodying racial equity.  

The teaching team for this Embodied Transformation course is made up of two teachers who identify as Black, one who identifies as Asian, and one who identifies as multi-racial Asian American. Together, they bring their many years of practice and training in Strozzi Somatics and a deep commitment to equity.

The content, structure, and agenda of this course is the same as all of our Embodied Transformation courses. The pace, examples, and relevance will be established by the experiences of the BIPOC teachers and participants in the room. 

Each day of the course offers opportunities for embodied learning through depthful teachings, guided exercises, interactive demos, and individual and partner body-based movement practices.

We learn the practices and skills we know to deepen our ability to take new action under pressure consistently, including:

  • Clearly articulating your invitations, needs, wants, and longings  (e.g. “making centered requests.”) 
  • Communicating clear boundaries  (e.g. practicing consent)
  • Being present for ourselves while staying connected to others (e.g. “practicing mutual connection”) 
  • Navigating conflict skillfully as a generative part of life.

These practices and skills also provide new options—shifting us towards more presence, connection, and purpose. 

As we connect with what truly matters to us, we’ll learn to hold, in new ways, how we’ve been shaped. How have we all been influenced by social location, family, community, race, class, gender, privilege, education, religion, spirit, landscape, and more lives in our tissues?

Understanding how those conditions live in our bodies and the bodies of others is integral to our transformation as individuals and how we work together to transform systems. 

Our community of students includes

  • People recognizing the need for more connection and collaboration as we work towards social change (e.g. Social entrepreneurs, nonprofit professionals, organizers, and civic leaders, etc.)
  • People moving themselves and clients towards embodied ways to align action with vision (e.g. Coaches or consultants)
  • People seeking ways to navigate changing landscapes with more skillful coordination and greater impact (e.g. Mission-driven business leaders)
  • People longing to be more centered and on purpose as they support others (e.g. Healers, educators, parents, or other caretakers )
  • Those that are growth-minded and in transition — and ready for more clarity, focus, and alignment in their lives and work.

During this 4-day in-person course, you’ll:

  • Expand your skill in somatic awareness, somatic practices, and somatic opening, and how they reside within a social context, land and Spirit

  • Align your practices with the embodied skills you need to be and act from your vision and declaration

  • Learn centered boundaries, requests, and the body-based ability to navigate complexity

  • Understand how you have been shaped by personal, community, and social experiences and how to work with this shaping

  • Learn both individual and collective practices that deepen your ability to be centered under pressure, create mutual connection, navigate conflict and increase trust

  • Explore how to more effectively coordinate with others toward your mutual goals

  • Discover how to give and receive somatic assessments that deepen relationship and uplift what you and others care about

  • Utilize a somatic sensibility in your life and work

  • And more…
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Four Days of Live, In-Person Wisdom Teachings, Interactive Demos & Body-Based Practices

September 26 – 29, 2024
Location: to be determined
This course is held: 

10:00 am to 6:30 p.m. Thursday – Saturday
10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday

To give yourself enough time to arrive, check-in and ground, plan on arriving no later than 9:30 a.m. each morning for a 10:00 a.m. start. For the final day, we suggest that you be generous with yourself as you say good-bye and plan to exit by 6:00 p.m.

Day 1

The Body is the Domain for Learning

On this opening day, you’ll delve into the body as the domain of action, mood, coordination, learning, and dignity…
As you meet your fellow participants (and better understand yourself) you’ll redefine somatics, including the change in Self that comes from a profound change in body and practices.
You’ll set your own declaration as you set specific conditions for your investment in yourself over these four days. You’ll learn how to embody your commitment to galvanize others, and yourself…
As you’ll discover, Self is your fundamental source of Power.

In this opening session, you’ll:

  • Reflect on and share your declaration

  • Discover how the Self is indistinguishable from the body

  • Learn to be present with others, open to possibility, connected to Self — and connected to what you care about

  • Declare the Dojo (from a Sanskrit word meaning “place of awakening”)  as a place of learning that will include your teacher, fellow learners, and practices

  • Discover the value of a Kata (a series of moves)

  • Move through guided partner practices including Standing Centering Practice (communal standing Somatic grounding), Walk in Walk Out, Hand on Chest, and more

  • And much more…

Day 2

The 3 Circles — Core Components for Embodied Transformation

You’ll begin your second day centering in action. You’ll discover The Three Circles, a cognitive framework to help you track and understand the many changes and transformations that will take place over the next three days…

You’ll also receive deep attention training as you learn the ancient roots, modern neuroscientific discoveries, and health benefits of sitting, meditation, and more. (If you’re already initiated into your own path with a teacher, you’re free to practice your own form of meditation.)

You’ll also discover how your body holds the sum total of your history — your adaptations, practices, resiliencies, and more.

On this second day, you’ll discover:

  • How to uncover your reactions and and stressors when you’re under pressure

  • Why and how we’re all fundamentally built to adapt so we can seek safety, belonging and love, and dignity

  • How your longings, commitments, and what has been broken lives within the tissues of your body — and how you can observe it all, and take action

  • The three common reactions you might experience in relation to power, pressure, and stress

  • The true meaning of a somatic assessment
  • How to give and receive assessments to help develop others, guiding them in becoming less reactive and more trusting — so you can build powerful purposeful teams and organizations

  • New partner practices (including Arm Extension), plus powerful small group work
  • And more…

Day 3

The Rhythm of Action

Today you’ll discover how to take coordinated, effective action toward a shared vision.

You’ll be guided to ask questions of yourself, including, What is something you want to promise to say yes to? What is an offer that you need to make to fulfill your declaration? What is an even bolder offer? And more…

Your teacher will take you through a cycle of action as you experience practices  to help you stand in your power for what you care about and fight for others in their power.

You’ll receive large-group coaching to help you deepen, learn, and embody transformation towards your goals.

On the third day, you’ll explore:

  • The conditions of satisfaction, including taking actions toward the fulfillment of your declaration

  • How to become a committed listener who incorporates both support and accountability

  • How space represents your world and how to own the space as soon as you walk in a room

  • The competencies you must embody as a leader

  • The true meaning of sustainable business — embodying and acting from your values

  • New guided practices including shoulder massage, deeper partner work, and becoming centered in chaos

  • And more…

Day 4

New Shape, New Actions, New Future

On your final day, you’ll ask yourself, What’s your good news? What’s changing in you?

As you get clear on how to take all you’ve learned out into your daily life, you’ll make plenty of space for gratitude and celebration.

You’ll participate in a practice to appreciate someone in life who’s love, support, or efforts have allowed you to be here — and let them know you appreciate them publicly.

As you become clear on your virtues and values, you’ll also speak about the virtues of someone you can never repay.

On this closing day, you’ll:

  • Explore the Arc of Transformation as a framework for understanding the changes you’re experiencing — and how to deepen and continue after the course

  • Become equipped to continue on toward your declaration after you head back home — including the predictable hopes and challenges to look out for

  • Move through practices with a new partner, including an exercise to decipher your virtues — and appreciate each other’s virtues, too

  • Write a card to send yourself six weeks from now — what do you want to remind yourself of?

  • Choose an accountability practice partner to text daily for the next month

  • And much more…

Course Tuition — $2175

2-Pay Plan

Two payments of

3-Pay Plan

Three payments of

What students are saying about this course...

“I have tools that have already transformed my life…”

“I have tried SO SO SO many things for healing from intergenerational, childhood, adolescent, and adulthood trauma and CPTSD the last almost-decade and this is the most practical, transformational process I have been through.”

Crystal N.

“This was one the best courses I’ve joined in my 40 year corporate career.”

“As a retired HR executive I wish I would have been exposed to this early in my career.”

— Dreary D.

“A powerful and transformative experience.”

“I wish every BIPOC had this opportunity to experience this taste of personal and collective freedom.”

— Susan M.

“10 years of talk therapy could not crack me open like these 4 days have.”

“Being trained to tap in, being witnessed by BIPOC, and the tenderness in which the facilitation team held the entire containers, touched me deeply. I’ll forever be changed by this course and I feel transformed in my body.”

— Rebecca K.


Tuition for Embodied Transformation is $2175, which includes four (4) full days of instruction, course materials, and lunch on each course day. Tuition does not include lodging or transportation to and from the venue.

Payment plans are available.

Strozzi Institute promises that you will be able to:

  • Deepen your ability to work with the foundations of embodied transformation: somatic awareness, somatic practices, and somatic opening, and how they reside within a social context
  • Discover and articulate what you care about and your declaration for the future
  • Align your practices with the embodied skills you need to take action toward your declaration
  • Understand how you have been shaped by personal, community, and social conditions and how to work with this shaping
  • Learn practices that deepen your ability to be centered under pressure, create mutual connection, navigate conflict, and increase trust
  • Discover how to give and receive somatic assessments that deepen relationship and uplift what you and others care about

Location is to be determined

10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday – Saturday
10:00 a.m. to 5:30  p.m. on Sunday

To give yourself enough time to arrive, check-in and ground, plan an arriving no later than 9:30 a.m. each morning for a 10:00 a.m. start time. For the final day, we suggest that you be generous with yourself as you say good-bye and plan to exit by 5:00 p.m.

Healthy meals (with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options), sourced and prepared locally, are provided for lunches during all training days.

Transportation and lodging are not included.

Connect with other course mates in the SOMA Community to coordinate around ride and housing share opportunities.

The Strozzi Institute scholarship program is a tuition reduction program with the highest amount awarded being a 40- 50% discount.

It is highly competitive, needs-based, and is focused on being the most effective. Therefore, it is prioritized to support traditionally marginalized communities with regard to race, sexual identity, and socioeconomics.

Scholarship applications can be submitted up until 8 weeks before the course date so please apply early. Applications are reviewed and awarded with the intention to make the biggest impact. Scholarship awards will be communicated via email 1 week after the close of the application process. Awards can not be used in conjunction with other discount offers or transferred to other coursework.

Click here to apply for a Scholarship.

Chat with Denise M. Maes, Director of Enrollment, to receive guidance about enrollment into Strozzi Institute’s courses.

Schedule a Time to Talk

Meet Your Teachers

Erika Lyla (she/her) is a Somatic Coach and Bodyworker with a practice in Oakland, CA (unceded Ohlone territory), and also teaches with generative somatics and Strozzi Institute. Erika works with people to reveal their power, potential, and purpose. She guides with love and laughter towards life grounded in authenticity and shaped by dream. She has been training groups and individuals in social and emotional development as well as creating and launching social emotional programs for over 15 years. Erika holds a Master’s Degree in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley and specializes in working with people facing psychiatric crises, survivors of sexual violence, and individuals healing from complex trauma. She has also worked with school age children as an afterschool teacher and program director. She continues to offer healing for individuals and communities as we collectively move towards liberation. In her free time, Erika loves family time, camping, snowboarding, hiking, paddle boarding, and delicious food.

Tesfaye Tekelu (Tes) (he/him) is co-founder of two non-profit organizations: Aikido Ethiopia and Awassa Youth Campus (which works with youth empowerment, conflict-resolution, gender equality and HIV awareness in Ethiopia) and Institute for Social Advancement (which works in education, in the US and Southern Africa).

Tesfaye is responsible for introducing Aikido in East Africa, and currently holds a second degree black belt. Prior to moving to the US in 2010, Tesfaye served as Executive Director for AYC and as head instructor for Aikido Ethiopia (AE) for six years. He is still actively engaged in both organizations as a Board member and program coordinator. He also served as a circus and theater leader and Finance head from 2002-2005 at the Hawassa Children’s Center in Hawassa, Ethiopia, where he organized, performed and lead the circus and theater group tours throughout Ethiopia.

Namiko Uno (she/they) is a a politicized somatic coach and somatic bodyworker. They are passionate about healing trauma through the body, building more equitable and just futures, and living a joyful life in service to Spirit. Namiko identifies as a bi-racial, cis gender, queer woman of color, with white-passing and currently able-bodied privileges living on unceded Ohlone land (Oakland, California). Namiko’s personal and professional lineages hold many contradictions, she seeks to hold these complexities with skill and compassion.

Namiko is a certified somatic coach through Strozzi Institute and the International Coaching Federation. She is on the teaching team at Strozzi Institute, and holds a MA in Global Development & Gender Studies, a BS in Communication, Ethnic Studies, and Psychology, and is a 300-hr RYT in hatha, restorative yoga, yin yoga, and yoga nidra traditions. Prior to walking an intentional path of somatics, Namiko worked at the intersection of the arts & social justice organizing, produced international leadership conferences, and led coaching initiatives at mental health startups.

In addition to coaching and teaching somatics, you can find Namiko practicing qigong, studying reiki, communing with the trees, swimming in a body of water, dancing with loved ones, organizing a community healing event, befriending a random dog, and doing absolutely nothing.

Maura Bairley, MA, (she/they) is a founding partner of co-LAB, a women of color consulting collective. Her approach to transformative leadership and organizational development is rooted in her 30-year commitment to racial and gender justice. She supports and challenges leaders to clarify purpose and vision, align values and practice, and create organizations that are liberatory, sustainable and adaptive.

Maura is a Core Faculty member with Move to End Violence, a project of the NoVo Foundation, where she leads a team of transformational coaches and consultants to support leadership and organizational development. Maura is a strategic partner and advisor with numerous philanthropic capacity-building and organizational strengthening projects; her work focuses on change, complexity and collaboration across differences.

Maura holds a Masters Degree in Social-Organizational Psychology from Teachers College at Columbia University, where she completed doctoral coursework and served as an adjunct faculty member. Her research interests as a scholar-practitioner include social identity and leadership development, group dynamics, and organization change.

A San Francisco native, Maura recently returned to the Bay after 30 years in New York City. She is delighted to be back in The Mission with three generations of her multiracial family under one roof. Look for her in the backyard tending her pollinator garden, on her yoga mat, scuba diving, or curled up in a hammock re-reading a favorite book.

Viveka Chen (she/they) has worked for social, racial, gender, economic, environmental and healing justice for over 25 years, across a spectrum of movements, cultures, communities, and sectors. Viveka is a certified somatic coach and a teacher with Strozzi Institute, as well as a leadership coach and trainer, organizational development consultant, and facilitator.

Viveka co-founded a women of color consulting group, co-LAB Collective, with Maura Bairley and Monica Dennis. We specialize in guiding transformational processes: deep race equity and liberation work, team building, vision and strategy, alliance building, working through conflict, change and transition.

co-LAB partners with organizations to design and facilitate cohort leadership programs grounded in race and gender justice and centering BIPOC leaders (for example, for women of color community organizing leaders, philanthropic CEOs, new women of color social justice executive directors, reproductive justice and environmental justice innovation cohorts). Viveka is also a Rockwood Leadership Institute trainer.

Viveka brings a commitment to liberation and joy. She is also a Buddhist dharma and meditation teacher, ordained in 1997 whose teaching is grounded in an embodied approach.

The proud child of Chinese immigrants, Viveka lives with beloved partner Rene Perez on Ohlone land.

Still have questions?

Chat with Denise M. Maes, Director of Enrollment, to receive guidance through
Strozzi Institute for Somatics’ course offerings.

About Strozzi Institute for Somatics

Strozzi Institute for Somatics

Strozzi Institute for Somatics is committed to developing transformative leaders, coaches, and organizations that can meet the challenges of our times — changing systems and shifting conditions towards a future where people and the planet thrive.

Our transformational methodology, Strozzi Somatics, draws on the latest in neuroscience, psychobiology, holistic practice, action-oriented communication, and mindfulness. We mobilize our methodology to help coaches, leaders, and organizations learn to create trusting relationships and take new actions aligned with their vision and our values of sustainability, interconnectedness, and social equity.

Over 50 Years of Experience

Our unique and powerful embodied leadership methodology positions us as the leading institution shaping executives, teams, and leaders toward mastery in their business. We have over 50 years of experience in delivering innovative programs to a diversity of organizations around the globe that include Fortune 500, large governmental agencies, small businesses, B-corps, NGOs, sustainable business visionaries, multinational companies, and budding entrepreneurs.