Our Teaching Team

The members of our skilled Essential Somatics® Teaching Team have backgrounds in complementary practices that bring a unique perspective that enriches the programs that we teach and enhances our students’ experiences. Every member is registered with ISMETA—a professional international Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association (ISMETA) that is dedicated to evolving the field of Somatic Movement Education and Therapy and ensuring high standards of education and practice.

Colorado, USA

Martha Peterson, CHSE, CCSE

Programs taught: ES Intro series, ES Fundamentals, ES Retreats, ESMTT (Trainer and Mentor), CSET (Trainer and Mentor)

Martha Peterson, CHSE, CCSE, received her certification from Novato Institute in 2006. She holds a BA in Dance Education from the SUNY, and certification in Massage Therapy from the National Holistic Institute in Oakland, CA. Martha is the founder and CEO of Essential Somatics® and a leader in the field of Somatic Education.

Martha has over 30 years’ experience working with professionals in the field of dance, bodywork, and somatics. She discovered Clinical (Hanna) Somatic Education after suffering chronic hip and knee pain due to injuries after years of dancing professionally; it is the only method that taught her to reverse her hip pain and postural imbalances. For Martha, restoring the skill of self-sensing was the key to a life of movement, mastery, and joy.

Averøy, Norway

Laura M Gates, CHSE, CCSE

Programs taught: CSET (Trainer and Mentor)

Laura M Gates, CHSE, CCSE, received her certification from Novato Institute in 2007. She is a former professional dancer and brings 40 years’ experience as a movement educator to her work and has training in deep tissue body work with Tyr Throne and is an ongoing student of master kinesthetic anatomy teacher, Irene Dowd in New York City. Laura is based in Averøy, Norway, and also offers services in New York City, USA.

Regarding her own issues around scoliosis and chronic pain Laura says, “Thomas Hanna’s techniques and system has proven hugely and uniquely helpful to my scoliosis, increasing comfort and mobility, improving alignment, and giving me a ‘somatic medicine kit’ that I use daily. I can’t imagine life without Somatics.”

Dublin, Ireland

Colm McDonnell, CCSE, ESMT

Programs taught: ESMTT (Trainer and Mentor), CSET (Trainer and Mentor)

Colm McDonnell, CCSE, ESMT graduated from the inaugural Essential Somatics® Clinical Somatic Education Training in 2015. Colm holds a diploma in Holistic Massage, ITEC (2006) and is a qualified Sports Injury Therapist, NSRT (2007). Colm is based in Dublin, Ireland where he runs Learn Somatics.

Colm personally used Somatics to resolve several chronic injuries he accumulated over the years through martial arts, strength training, and life in general. He is passionate about teaching people how they too can resolve their pain, improve their movement, and be their most potent selves through a regular Somatic Movement practice.

In his free time Colm enjoys ten pin bowling, bouldering, writing, reading, music, and walking along the wonderful north Dublin coast.

New Jersey, USA

Gena Rho, CCSE, ESMT

Programs taught: ES Fundamentals, ES Retreats, ESMTT (Trainer and Mentor), CSET (Mentor)

Gena Rho, CCSE, ESMT graduated with Essential Somatics in 2017. She has 30 years of experience in movement and education as a yoga teacher, former professional modern dancer, and educator. Gena is owner of Emerge Somatics in Maplewood, NJ where she offers both somatic movement and yoga.

Gena remembers well her first real experience of what it meant to be in “process”…always, refining, growing, changing and adapting. Gena’s clients appreciate her ability to help them bring somatic awareness to yoga, athletics, performing arts and the functional movement patterns of everyday life.

Gena’s practice continues to evolve and grow in fascinating ways and she enjoys working in collaboration with other inspiring teachers to help people further awaken the body and spirit.

Dublin, Ireland

Katrin Neue, CCSE, ESMT

Programs taught: ESMTT (Mentor)

Katrin Neue, CCSE, ESMT graduated from Essential Somatics in 2017. She has a degree in Dance Education from Erika Kluetz School in Hamburg (2007) and an MA in Contemporary Dance Performance from the University of Limerick (2010). She also has certifications in Pilates mat and equipment, pre- and postnatal exercise, and Cancer rehab through exercise. Katrin is based in Dublin, Ireland, and is the owner of SOMADublin.

Katrin is a guest lecturer for Somatic Education at the Irish Academy for Music and Dance at UL, regularly teaches for Dance Ireland.

Katrin enjoys combining her two passions: somatics and knitting. She teaches Somatics to knitters and other crafty people internationally at retreats and festivals, when not rummaging in the garden or playing with her son.

Colorado, USA

Gabriel Posner, CHSE, ESMT

Programs taught: ESMTT (Mentor), CSET (Mentor)

Gabriel Posner, CHSE, ESMT graduated from the Novato Institute of Somatic Research and Training in 2008. He is also certified in Massage Therapy and has a Master of Science degree in Mind-Body Medicine through Saybrook University. Gabriel taught Massage Therapy and Somatic Education at the National Holistic Institute. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Association for Hanna Somatic Education and is working towards a Ph.D. in Mind-Body Medicine. Gabriel maintains a private practice in Denver, Colorado offering Somatics and Biofeedback for musculoskeletal issues, complete injury recovery, optimal performance, and self-regulation.

In his spare time, Gabriel raises his three young children with his wife in beautiful Colorado. To keep up with the kids, he is currently focusing on mountain biking, rock scrambling, bug hunting, and cuddle piles.


Jo Bentley, CCSE, ESMT

Programs taught: ES Intro series

Jo Bentley, CCSE, graduated with Essential Somatics in 2019. Jo has over 12 years of movement teaching experience from her background in Somatics, Yoga, and Thai Yoga Massage. Jo maintains a private practice in Adelaide, Australia and coordinated the first Essential Somatics courses there in 2013.

Jo has a special interest in Multiple Sclerosis having lived with the condition for nearly 20 years, and has a personal understanding of what it is like to use Somatic Movement to address chronic illness.

In her words: “There was a time in my life that my respiratory system was shutting down. I couldn’t move. Couldn’t walk properly. I lost sensation and coordination. Fast forward years later, and I’ve gone full circle. I now teach people to develop an awareness of how they walk, breathe, move and feel better.

North Carolina, USA

Carrie Day, CCSE, MA, RSME

Programs Taught: ESMTT (Mentor)

Carrie Day, CCSE, graduated from SSI in 2008. She has a Master of Arts degree in Dance and Somatic Well-Being from the University of Central Lancashire and has also been a professional modern dancer and teacher, and hoop dance teacher. She maintains a private practice in  Asheville, NC.

Carrie was introduced to Hanna Somatic Education in 2004 and knew right away it was exactly what she was looking for in both a personal and professional practice. Carrie believes it is within every person’s reach to improve, grow, and change for the better.

She lives with her young daughter; she enjoys contemplating the world, and is eternally grateful for this sweet human experience. She hopes to share her enthusiasm for making the world a better place one soma at a time.

Ontario, Canada

Sharon Smith-Carter, CCSE, ESMT, RSME | RSMT

Programs Taught: ESMTT (Mentor)

Sharon Smith-Carter, CCSE, graduated from Essential Somatics in 2019. She has been a yoga and movement instructor for 24 years and runs her studio, Sharon Smith-Carter Movement in Kawartha Lakes where she offers group classes, private Clinical Somatic sessions and workshops. 

Sharon has a special interest in mental health and incorporates somatics and yoga as a way for her clients to access their bodies in a safe and gentle way. Through her own journey of anxiety disorders she believes that somatic practices are instrumental in cultivating a sense of presence to assist in wellbeing. The work of Essential Somatics continues to be the scaffolding to support her on-going exploration of movement.

Beyond her studio walls, Sharon enjoys knitting, walking, writing, creative fibre arts and advocating for the memory impaired.

York, UK

Karen Statner, CCSE, ESMT

Programs Taught: ES Intro Series, ES Fundamentals, ESMTT (Mentor)

Karen Statner, CCSE, ESMT graduated from Essential Somatics in 2019. She has also been a Pilates Instructor and now runs Somatic Habit, a private practice in York, UK.

Karen came to Essential Somatics looking for a way out of pain after suffering a fractured back from a riding accident. Her injury initially led her to learn and teach Pilates, but something was missing in her own recovery and understanding of pain and movement.

Karen has witnessed her clients become empowered through practicing somatic movement, and this drives her passion for teaching. Through Somatic Movement and Clinical Somatic Education Karen is able to keep doing the things that she loves; she is passionate about teaching others to do the same.