Croad, R. (2022). Lost in emotional translation: Narrative analysis of the self-perceived impact of somatic awareness on men’s experience of emotions [Unpublished Master’s thesis]. Alef Trust & Liverpool John Moores University.

The World Health Organization reports that of the one million annual deaths by suicide, 75% are men. The disproportionate number of men’s suicides are linked to male gender socialisation making it difficult for men to experience, reveal and express vulnerable emotions. Research of emotional experience is often approached from a cognicentric framework and there is a paucity of transpersonal perspectives exploring emotion from somatic-centred experience. My dissertation explores how men described the effects of somatic awareness (through Mysore-style Ashtanga yoga) of their experience of emotions informed by participatory theory. A narrative enquiry method was employed to capture the full complexity of the men’s lived experience and enrich the data beyond limitations of ‘expression’ meaning verbal articulation of emotional vocabulary. Results revealed an overarching theme in the men’s narratives of Mysore-style Ashtanga yoga as an accessible mediator to engage with emotions in men’s narratives. Men experienced concealing vulnerable emotional experiences from others and had experiences of emotional isolation in shared spaces with other men. They reported their practice of Mysore-style Ashtanga yoga had a positive transformative impact on their experience of emotions as their body and emotions revealed intuitive sources of wisdom. My findings indicate the importance of finding practices and contexts for men to experience their emotions without gender socialisation inhibitions. These findings also offer new insight that may contribute to further research into alternative participatory approaches to expression of emotion beyond verbal articulation.

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