The Anat Baniel Method® (ABM) has two modalities: group movement exercises and one-on-one sessions with a trained ABM practitioner.
With the Anat Baniel Method, we recognize that the brain is our CEO. Its job is to make sense of all the sensations coming in, to organize the movement of our body, our thinking, our feelings, and our emotions. But like any CEO, the quality of the brain’s performance depends on the quality of the information it receives.
Provide the Brain with New Information
When we experience pain, or when we reach an invisible ceiling in our performance, rather than focusing on the muscles, the limitation, or the painful area, the Anat Baniel Method focuses on providing the brain with new information; the brain uses this information to change and improve what we do.
But what is the source of that information?
It is movement, what we call NeuroMovement®, which is the relationship between movement and the brain.
Bring Attention to Movement
Movement alone is not enough to bring about positive change. Brain research shows that when movement is done automatically, the only change in the brain is the deepening of already existing patterns. Over time, this leads to an actual loss of brain connections. When the person pays attention to what they feel as they move, the brain wakes up and changes at an incredibly rapid rate as new neural connections are created.
Movement done automatically only deepens existing brain patterns of pain and limitation. We feel stuck, even hopeless, as we are led to believe that the cause of our pain and limitation is the condition itself: aging, accidents, stroke, genetic disorders, brain damage, etc. We don’t realize that we are starving the brain of what it needs: new information.
The Nine Essentials Help the Brain Grow
The moment we bring attention to what we feel as we move—the first Essential—and apply the other eight Essentials, we flood the CEO brain with valuable information it immediately uses to begin growing, finding new solutions to function and govern the body better.
Developing these new neural-networks helps organize and upgrade thinking, fosters creativity, and supports higher level interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence.
In a nutshell, instead of just focusing on the body, trying to force physical rehabilitation and fitness mechanically, and trying to improve cognitive, and interpersonal functioning through drills and repetition, the Anat Baniel Method provides the brain with information it needs to better do its job as CEO of all our actions. Everything improves—physical performance levels, cognitive abilities, creativity, and social skills. Our happiness quotient rises as well!
Using the Nine Essentials to Move Beyond Limitations
A 70-year-old woman (we’ll call her Patricia) can’t reach her shoe laces to tie them. She is told to, “Try harder. Stretch, stretch, stretch.” It doesn’t work. No matter how hard she tries, she can’t reach the laces. She is now convinced that her limitation is inevitable she is simply too old.
She doesn’t realize that she isn’t getting better because this mechanical approach is not addressing the real problem. The problem is not in her muscles—it’s in her brain. After many years of habitually moving only some of her joints, using only certain muscles and not others, Patricia literally cannot feel parts of her back and hips and legs because her brain has stopped getting the information it needs to remain aware of those parts of herself. Whole areas of her body are not “mapped” anymore in her brain. It’s as if they don’t exist for her.
Now, if the brain isn’t aware of certain muscles and joints, how can it direct and orchestrate those muscles and joints to work? It can’t! The same holds true for adults with different conditions and children with Cerebral Palsy, Autism, and other special needs.
By moving gently and slowly, with attention, and with lots of variations, and by using the remaining six Essentials of the Anat Baniel Method, Patricia helps her CEO brain connect to more parts of herself. By differentiating her perceptions and movements, remapping her body in her brain, and evolving her ability to move more flexibly, she can now reach her shoelaces easily.
As a by-product of applying the Nine Essentials, she begins thinking and feeling better too.
Through communicating with the brain, miraculous changes can occur.