What it is...

Two full days of in-person, experience-based learning lead by Embodiment Stewards, Rachel Blackman and Mairtin McNamara, in a beautiful studio in Brighton, UK.

Working with principles drawn from Qigong, Feldenkrais, Western Anatomy and Physiology Cartographies, Actor Training, Martial Arts, Improvisation and over 35 years combined clinical, hands-on experience.

Bespoke attention on your own embodiment story, hands-on experiments, take home practices, study buddies and sharing time.

Your course fee also includes:
  • A 90-minute, post-workshop, live group study session with Mairtin and Rachel via Zoom to further embed your learning, to be held on Saturday 22nd October 10.00am - 11.30am UK time.
  • A one-to-one coaching session via Zoom, with either Rachel or Mairtin, to support you to apply and further embed your learning.

Image by Javardh on Unsplash
a feather floats down into an upturned palm

Click to see Rachel & Mairtin discuss what it's about

Why a Workshop on Touch?

This workshop emerges from some territory we experience as an absence in much of modern human culture and education.

For most of us, touch is one of the most mis-understood and least intelligently explored of all our sensory relationships, and yet it is literally PRIMARY to growing self regulation and health.

Touch is one of our core languages of connection and is essential to a well regulated nervous system. How do we find our way back to an experience of touch that includes the ability to listen in, be with and honour wholeness?

This workshop seeks to redress this imbalance through centring touch as a primary language via experience-based, embodied learning. And doing so in a way that prioritises self responsibility, sensitivity and a respect for the integrity of our own and another's nervous system.

Even those of us who have experienced trainings as body workers, therapists and coaches, we have learned techniques that are at best about moving matter around skillfully and at worst about conflating notions of professionalism with a risk-aversion to any physical contact.

How can we be more sustainable and nourishing in how we approach it?

The idea for this workshop emerged from a conversation Mairtin & Rachel had a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, before we started doing everything online. Now, finally, we are able to bring the enquiries we've made through our various trainings and clinical experience to an in-person audience.

"and I said to my body, softly
'I want to be your friend'
and it took a long breath
and replied
'I have been waiting my whole life for this''

- Nayyirah Waheed

What to Expect

Timings & What We Will be Exploring

In Person Workshop:
Saturday 15th October - 9.30am - 5.00pm
Sunday 16th October - 9.30am - 5.00pm

Follow up 90 minutes group Zoom call:
Saturday 22nd October 2022 - 10am - 11.30am UK time

Days will consist of:
  • learning the difference between relational and transactional touch.
  • PolyVagal Theory - healthy self-regulation and good 'self-organisation' and how it might influence the Giving and Receiving of contact.
  • Using stillness to notice what we can learn to let go of.
  • Identifying our own tension habits - hypo / hyper / indifferent / not sure
  • Listening through and from the nervous system via contact to identify permission, withdrawal, hesitancy etc in ourselves and another.
  • Self kindness and sovereignty.
  • Pre-contact - Sensing into the field of another.
  • Boundaries - between you and me - where to I stop and you begin?
  • Self as microcosm of Bio-sphere - feeling in to feel out.
  • Contracting and getting clearer on wants
  • Seeing with the hands
  • Touch as a form of literacy.

photo by Priscilla Du Preez

The Studio Brighton

39 Whippingham Road Brighton, BN2 3PF

A luxurious space in Brighton with a immaculate sprung dance floor, lots of natural light, break out room and fully equipped kitchen and dining space.

accessible via public transport, car or a short taxi ride from Brighton station. Plenty of accommodation options locally.

Wings - by Nico Frey

Pricing options

Prices are a sliding scale. Please choose the regular price if you are ok for money. If money is a little tight for you, please select one of the other options.

Sounds good...

How Do I Know If This Is For Me... ?

This workshop is for you if you are curious to grow more confidence with using touch in a way that respects your nervous system and the nervous system of another.

This may be relevant for your work as a coach or therapist, or may simply be relevant for you as someone who is wanting to grow more literacy in this particular way of relating.

We believe touch is one of the forms of communication we are culturally least educated in. Even sometimes the way we are educated to work with touch as professionals. How can we un-learn somatic dominance?

This workshop is about growing more deftness and nuance of perception. It is about 'listening' 'seeing' and 'being with' via touch in a way that is deeply respectful to your own and another's ecology.

If you are wanting to learn touching 'techniques' this may not be the workshop for you.

photo by Lard Galloway (EFC 2019)

Meet Your Facilitators


Rachel Blackman

Rachel Blackman is the founder of Vibrant Being - Maps of Creation and Vibrant Body. Rachel is an artist, somatic educator, theatre maker, trainer and mentor. She trains coaches and trainers to work with the body at The Somatic School and is passionate about nurturing biological intelligence. She and has over 18 years of hands on clinical experience as a body worker and Feldenkrais Practitioner. She also works as a Somatic Coach and Creative facilitator. She has been facilitating people to come into their embodied intelligence and creative agency for over 20 years. She believes art can be a site of secular, sacred, collective dreaming and that creativity is the birthright of all living beings. Rachel's theatre latest piece is a celebration of the creative potential of failure called, "You Aren't Doing It Wrong If No One Knows What You Are Doing", and is a Brighton Festival Commission. You may remember her best when she had a lot less hair, as Charra in Matrix Revolutions. She lives in Brighton UK with her husband Shad and bonus son Akash. Image by Shad


Máirtín McNamara

Mairtin started martial arts 30 years ago, and has been teaching martial arts, qigong and meditation for the last 15 years. Most of his work has been in-person classes, workshops and one-on-one sessions; when the lockdown began in 2020 he included online sessions in his offerings. 8 years ago he was qualified from the The Embodied Facilitator Course, and since then has been re-shaping his teaching approach to support us re-discovering our intuition and building internal strength. His main focuses over the last few years have been stillness, touch and a gentle quality in movement. He is committed to aiding us in finding internal support for a richer and more wholesome experience of our day-to-day lives. He is certified in Paul Linden's Being-In-Movement method, a Toastmasters Competent Communicator, Barefoot Strong Level 1 Instructor, a Six Sigma Greenbelt, and has a PhD in Chemical Engineering. Mairtin grew up in rural Ireland and has been living in Antwerp, Belgium for the last 11 years. He speaks English, Dutch, Gaelic Irish, Basic Russian, and internet memes.

Sponsorship places

If none of these options are possible, you may wish to apply for a sponsorship place

If money is a challenge for you, but you are passionate about participating, you may wish to apply for one of our 2 sponsorship places. These places are mostly subsidised by us and are offered on a basis of need. Priority will be given to people for whom access or opportunity is limited due to economic, cultural or systemic discrimination or hardship.