Try this Hakomi practice.

Find somewhere quiet and get comfortable. Turn your attention inwards and sense a place of tension in your body. Direct your awareness to this tension and familiarise yourself with it. Take your time. Discover where it is exactly; its size; shape; colour; and texture? Now very gently find a way to increase the tension. Voluntarily contract it a little more so that you can notice the muscles, thoughts, breathing patterns, feelings and emotions that accompany it. Maybe you will discover some words that surface with the tension, words the tension seems to express? Now let the voluntary tightening relax. Return your awareness to the original place of tension and note if it feels any different?


The Hakomi Method involves short practices done in a state of ‘mindfulness’ to help us discover some of our deeply held beliefs that may be causing us unnecessary suffering.

Hakomi is a Hopi Indian word, which translated means “How do I stand in relation to these many realms?”,  or put more simply “Who am I?”.

Ron Kurtz (in the three pictures above), who sadly died in January at the age of 76, was the original creator of the Hakomi Method. A skilled psychotherapist and avid theoretician, he blended ideas from Buddhism with many psychotherapy methods to develop a profoundly respectful technique that helps people access and heal themselves.

Fundamental to the method is ‘Loving Presence’, a way of being with people and perceiving them as a source of inspiration and nourishment. It is a deep appreciation of another person, and seeing all that is right with them. Another essential principle is ‘Non-Violence’.  This, in Hakomi, means that nothing is imposed on a person. There is a trust in ‘Organicity’ - the natural drive in each of us toward ease, satisfaction and wholeness. ‘Mind-Body Holism’ recognizes that the mind and body influence each other, so, in Hakomi, physical habits will often be seen as expressions of unconscious beliefs.

In Hakomi, we are especially interested in how core beliefs and significant early memories influence the self, and how changes in these beliefs and images can lead to the transformation of experience. As we go through our lives things happen that cause us to form ideas about ourselves and the world around us. These ideas become core beliefs, which we carry with us, and which influence how we act and the decisions we make. Many of these beliefs eventually become redundant or out of date yet continue to cause unnecessary unhappiness.

A typical Hakomi practice involves a person settling into ‘mindfulness’ and carrying out a small experiment to evoke real experience that can lead to the discovery of core beliefs.

Here is another Hakomi experiment. Stand or sit comfortably in front of a mirror in a quiet, undisturbed place. Turn your awareness inwards. What is happening inside right now? Notice your body, muscle tone, breath, thoughts, and feelings. Observe what happens to all the above when you take on the idea “I’m OK”. Say the statement “I’m OK” in your head and notice your reaction to it. There may be a thought or feeling that disagrees/or agrees, a physical tightening, or a change in breathing. There may be no reaction at all. Simply notice what happens inside and then let it go.

Hakomi is a multi-facetted tool. It can be used as a therapy, helping the individual develop greater self-understanding and potential relief from limiting behaviour. There is also the possibility of attending workshops that offer an opportunity for self-development and for learning the basic techniques. The Hakomi principles and skills, especially ‘Loving Presence’, can increase the ability of people who work with others to support nourishing relationships so avoiding feeling drained on an emotional level.

When we know what we’re doing we have choice and can change our behaviour. We can get out of our own way and lead more fulfilled and satisfying lives.

Caroline is a trainer in the UK Hakomi training team, and is a Hakomi therapist in London. She teaches on the Hakomi trainings in Sheffield, runs regular workshops, and offers individual Hakomi sessions in London.


Assisted Self-Discovery Done in Mindfulness