The Non-Linear Movement Method®

Move. Release. Feel. Respond.

The Non-Linear Movement Method® (NLMM) is a powerful somatic modality developed by Michaela Boehm over the past 2 decades of instruction and practice and now offered internationally.

The method is rooted in her early somatic training and has been developed and refined within her extensive clinical experience, both while working within a demographic with severe trauma, addiction and personality disorders, as well as in her private counseling practice.

NLMM® was further refined and adapted for a broader use in her experiential workshops, as a means of connecting students with their inner landscape, exploring and releasing physical contractions, withholds and emotional closures. New modalities were added to train interoception, responsiveness, as well as locate pleasure and aliveness within the body. 

The method is specifically designed as a “no force/no imposition “ somatic modality and can be practiced by anyone, regardless of physical health, ability, fitness level or age. 

In recent years Steve James defined and clarified the method, added original material, formatted for educational delivery and created our international facilitator training.

If you are new to the method, Michaela offers regular 1-hour live online classes for all time zones. You can find our next sessions here.

Benefits of the method:

Regulates the Nervous System
The demands of modern life create stress and tension in the body and an overactive mind. NLMM encourages the identifying and unwinding of patterns of contraction. Through gentle, non-force movements bodily tension and underlying mental loops are relieved. The result is a systematic, self-guided unburdening of the nervous system.

Processes and Identifies Emotions
As the body unwinds and the mind relaxes its pressured pace, the emotions associated with these contractive patterns become apparent and can be dissolved through the movement. You can note recurring emotional loops for further processing and at the same time allow emotions to simply arise and let go.

Releases Trauma Patterns into Flow
One of the common results of traumatic experience (fresh and old alike) is “freeze”, a state in which body, mind and emotions are stuck in a state of numbness. Often “freeze” is falsely perceived as a feeling of “calm/nothing”, which results in an inability to release the experience and ease the bodily patterns of hold. NLMM facilitates a continued movement, which gently opens the freeze pattern and allows for recognition and release of the underlying bodily and emotional patterns.

Unites Mind and Body in Intimacy with Physical Sensation
Through continued engagement with release of contraction and facilitation of emotional awareness, the ingrained patterns become both more apparent and less pronounced. Over time, physical sensation can be more fully engaged with, and the acceptance as well as tolerance of all sensation increases. Intimacy with whatever is present is possible. Body, Emotion and Mind can align to support an integrated approach to feeling and understanding existing behavioral patterning.

Creates High Bodily Responsiveness
NLMM educates the body how to release and process contractions, stress and emotional tension while at the same time sensitizing you to your internal landscape. This is called “Interoception”, the ability to feel what is “inside”. Via the body we become highly attuned to all sensations and can note, react or release fluidly and without having to attend to traumatic or suppressed backlog.

Opens Access to Bodily Wisdom
By putting emphasis on movement and circumventing the analytical mind and loops of tense thinking the natural intelligence of our bodies is accessed. Through gentle guidance the mechanisms of “freeze” and refusal to feel are being loosened and our innate bodily wisdom can create the necessary actions and releases.

Awakens Vital Energy and Sensual Sensation
As tension, contraction, and emotion are being released, the body becomes sensitized and we are able to feel deeper. One of the marked results of this sensitization is an ability to feel increased pleasure and well being. Participants report an increased ability to connect through their body, both with themselves and others.

NLMM is facilitated on a mat or blanket. Participants dress similar to a Yoga or Dance Class, in comfortable, non-restrictive clothing.

The method can be practiced at any age, fitness level and mobility. The movements are designed to be self regulating and can be done in any position, including laying down.

Online classes are currently offered 4 times per month. Click here for upcoming sessions.

If you are interested in becoming a facilitator of the method, our new live online training now offers additional in-depth experiential engagement and enables you to teach a The Non-Linear Movement Method® class, either freestanding – like a yoga class – or as an adjunct to another modality.

While this program is designed as a facilitator training, this course is also suitable for those who wish to to deepen their personal practice and understanding without the desire to facilitate for others.

You can find detailed information here.

In this video Michaela gives an overview on how the method was developed and discusses some of the underlying principles.

In addition, here is an excerpt from her book “The Wild Woman’s Way”, where the method is described as part of the practice section:

Over the years of seeing private clients, I often struggled with leaving my clients’ problems, traumas, and emotions behind once the workday was over. This is a challenge well known to many care professionals.
While sitting across from eight clients a day, I would accumulate a fair share of heavy information and emotions. I often would lie in bed at night feeling numb or heavy with sadness and upset.
In the early days of my tantric training, I had learned to use motion instead of intellectual reasoning to let go of stuck energies.
Instead of processing mentally what I felt in any given situation, I trained to be physically responsive. For example, when I had an upsetting conversation, I would allow myself to feel the anger or upset all throughout my body, instead of clenching down on the unpleasant sensation.
This did not mean I would show the upset, necessarily; rather it meant that I allowed my body to feel and move with those sensations. It’s an internal turning toward, rather than turning away from.
Then, when I was able to work with my body, I would move my body and shake out any stuck feelings. Sometimes this would take a few minutes and result in some emotional release; sometimes it would take a few times until it felt like there was no more residue. A good way to tell if it was done was the absence of a mental loop about the event.
Over the years, I would use those practices as a way to get my body to release the aftereffects of acute stress situations that arose during sessions.
I began to experiment with the movement practices before I went to bed. Often, I was so tired that I would just get on my hands and knees right there on my bed. As I moved, I gained access to the emotions underneath the numbness, and my body and emotions would let go of the stressful events of the day.
Eventually I started using this modality with my clients as a way to get them unstuck and connected to their feelings during difficult sessions. Once I started teaching, this method became part of every work- shop as a potent tool.

Now I find this method instrumental as a way to gently reintroduce women to their bodies in my workshops, and to help them restore their wild, embodied nature!

I have now practiced with this modality for more than thirty years, creating and refining this simple movement as a method that can be applied and taught effectively.

The key in NLMM is that it “unfreezes” you, and with that, the body’s natural genius can release and attend to whatever needs to be let go. As I described in chapter 6: “Embodiment” and chapter 7: “Barriers to Embodiment,” stress, tension, overwhelm, and trauma of all kinds tend to put us into fight, flight, or freeze mode.

Of those three responses, freeze is the hardest to detect and work with, as you are frozen, which creates a numbness that makes you “feel fine.”
With this gentle, non-forcing method, stored tension and emotion as well as programmed coping patterns can be loosened; and as the body moves it can facilitate its own release and restoration.
This exercise is a good entry into the method. It is simple and effective, and allows you to choose for yourself how much time you need.

The Non-Linear Movement Method® FAQ

This video is a Q&A with Michaela from a recent online Non-Linear Movement Method® class, using the ‘Moving What You Are Feeling’ technique.

0:00 – Creating a Non-Linear Movement Method® home practice
2:49 – Practicing with a knee injury
3:54 – Yawning dizziness, and nausea
4:51 – Working with pain
5:41 – When non-habitual movement is frustrating
6:51 – Should my music choices have emotional meaning?
7:46 – Crying and release
9:52 – What does it mean to ‘move as love’?
14:58 – Working with distraction and pain.
21:03 – How long should I practice?
21:34 – Moving as pain
22:40 – Self-soothing movements
25:33 – Practicing with intensity and nausea
29:39 – Head position in NLMM®
32:12 – Should I stay on my hands and knees?
35:02 – What if I start shaking?
39:07 – Boundaries and freedom from conditioning

The Non-Linear Movement Method® Release Q&A

A Q&A with Michaela from a recent online Non-Linear Movement Method® class, using the ‘Release’ technique.

0:00 – Emotions and physical contraction
0:56 – What is non-habitual movement?
2:41 – Different NLMM modalities and online training options
7:17 – Body distortions and self-regulations
9:04 – Emotional release and muscle tension
10:07 – Yawning in NLMM®
10:57 – Bodily wisdom or habitual resistance?
12:58 – Stuck in the head when feeling the heart
14:00 – Antidotes to resistance
15:32 – Working with looping thoughts
16:22 – Mind speed vs body speed
17:12 – Working with stuck energy in the head
19:34 – Side effects of practice
22:38 – Different reasons to open the eyes
25:28 – Moving the music or moving my feeling?
27:44 – Working with strong emotion
27:44 – How Michaela worked with a strong pattern
35:10 – Nausea when practicing
37:37 – Combining NLMM® and meditation
41:35 – Different ways to release
44:50 – Michaela’s playlists
45:20 – Experimenting with subtlety

The Non-Linear Movement Method® Vitality Q&A

A Q&A with Michaela from a recent online Non-Linear Movement Method® class focused on vitality & aliveness.

0:00 – Feeling energized after NLMM®
3:33 – Music for NLMM®
4:27 – Getting out of your head
7:09 – Adrenals and developmental trauma
10:19 – Practitioner Training
12:05 – Restarting a daily practice
19:09 – Nausea and after-session care
24:45 – Intense feelings after practice
27:01 – Accessing emotions

The Non-Linear Movement Method® Love Q&A

A Q&A with Michaela from a recent online Non-Linear Movement Method® class focused on love.

0:00 – Why do I yearn for stillness?
9:04 – Am I draining my adrenals?
16:38 – NLMM in public places.
19:10 – Why do I feel cold after NLMM?
21:33 – Self-love and NLMM
23:30 – The importance of non-imposition.
28:20 – How to create a themed home practice?
32:32 – Stories about the effects of NLMM
36:21 – Music with lyrics?
39:28 – Resistance and coping with trauma.

The Non-Linear Movement Method® Release & Renew Q&A

A Q&A with Michaela from a recent online Non-Linear Movement Method® class focused on “Release & Renew”.
0:00 – Working with shame
1:53 – Working with mind walls
8:06 – Long vs short practices
9:04 – Self-soothing and repetitive motions
10:47 – Why are my movements so sexual?
13:47 – How long should I stay on my hands and knees?

The Non-Linear Movement Method® Unfolding Q&A

A Q&A with Michaela from a recent online Non-Linear Movement Method® class focused on ‘Unfolding’.

0:00 – Nausea and Release
1:57 – Feelings of sadness and anger
3:34 – Visual content during practice
5:57 – Steam of consciousness words when practicing
8:00 – Non-habitual movement
10:04 – Communicating emotion when triggered
11:48 – Love and grief
15:49 – Tips for when lost in thought

The Non-Linear Movement Method® Heart Q&A

A Q&A with Michaela from a recent online Non-Linear Movement Method® class focused on ‘Heart’.

0:00 – ‘Dropping in’
0:34 – Non-Linear for dental trauma
5:46 – Insights gained while practicing
7:44 – Release before heart practice?
11:08 – Methods of release.
13:49 – Moving to the heart when angry.

Resources and Class Information

Practical Session Information

Everything you need to know when attending a class.

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Playlists for Your Home Practice

Playlists are available on SoundCloud and Spotify with ideas for songs to utilize during your practice at home.

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