Evolution of the Anat Baniel Method

//Evolution of the Anat Baniel Method
Evolution of the Anat Baniel Method 2017-09-21T04:14:28+00:00

Anat has evolved to a point that few can match, let alone surpass.

~Moshé Feldenkrais


Just as the brain differentiates and grows when alive and working well, so do systems, approaches, and methods. The Anat Baniel Method℠ (ABM) has evolved out of Anat Baniel’s three decades of breakthrough work with adults and with children who have special needs, her background in clinical psychology and dance, and her unique perspective as Moshé Feldenkrais’ closest student and long-time professional colleague. Following in the footsteps of her great mentor, Dr. Feldenkrais, Anat has continued to develop her exceptional system of movement and learning, based in the science of brain plasticity, that has transformed thousands of lives.

Dr. Feldenkrais: A Mentor and Friend

When Anat was five years old, she watched Dr. Feldenkrais teach movement lessons in her parents’ living room. She began doing his movement lessons with her dance teacher when she was seven. Years later, while studying at university to become a clinical psychologist, she looked for a method that would involve kinesthetic, body-based movement to include in her psychology work. Recalling her earlier experience with work of Dr. Feldenkrais, she looked him up.

Although an old man when she took his training program, the two quickly became close friends and Dr. Feldenkrais became her mentor. Anat traveled the world with him, continuing her studies, teaching with him, and working jointly with clients. From the beginning she experimented daily, exploring alternate techniques and approaches while trying to help his and her clients.

In 1982, shortly before Moshé Feldenkrais’ death, Anat brought his work to the United States and began teaching Feldenkrais professional training programs across the US, and in Europe, Israel, and Japan. At the same time she ran a thriving private practice.

The Brain Needs to Change

Anat grasped early on that it is the brain that needs to change. Her ongoing work with many high-level performers—top athletes, musicians, and dancers—gave her enormous insight into what it takes to move to the next higher level of performance, to repeatedly advance one’s personal best. But it was her work with children with special needs that, for decades, compelled her to question the “hows and whys” of the brain’s ability to bring about the miraculous transformations in movement, thinking, emotions, and social skills she witnessed over and over again.

“Dr. Feldenkrais didn’t talk much about how or why anything worked,” says Anat.It was the kids that got me searching for ways to understand the actual mechanisms and triggers behind the amazing results I was seeing.”

Puzzling out the dynamics of brain plasticity many years before science caught up and actually began validating her mentor’s and her own evolving work, her life-long inquiry lead to the development of the Nine Essentials that formed the basis of the Anat Baniel Method.

Neuroscientist Michael Merzenich on Anat Baniel’s Work

As Dr. Merzenich wrote in his forward to Anat’s book, Kids Beyond Limits:

. . . I have spent much of my own scientific career trying to understand how we can harness our capacity for brain remodeling for the benefit of children and adults in need of neurological help. From several decades of research, summarized in many thousands of published reports, we scientists have defined the ‘rules’ governing brain plasticity in neurological terms. We now know how to drive brains to change for the better.

It has been a great wonder to me, then, that my friend Anat Baniel, working in parallel along a completely different path, has defined almost exactly the same rules. Moreover, Anat interprets them here in practical and understandable human terms, in ways that should contribute richly to your own more enlightened parenting, grand-parenting, or clinical intervention.

The Anat Baniel Method Continues to Evolve

Trusting in the evolutionary quality of the process, Anat constantly develops new techniques and encourages her trainees to do the same, helping clients overcome limitations and discover delightful, life-giving possibilities. Her method continues to promote not only the development of better movement and awareness, but also incorporates evolution and improvement in the areas of thinking, feeling, emotion, and human interaction.