Mainstreaming Hanna Somatic Education, part 1


I’m too busy.

Between clients, consultations by telephone, filling orders, creating
new instructional videos, writing, answering email messages, answering
questions as a featured authority on, developing new somatic
exercises and refining somatic education techniques,
my days are used up, even working as fast as I can (Imagine what that’s
doing to my Landau Reaction).  I’m getting behind on my creative work
— and on the work of mainstreaming Hanna somatic education.

— and I have the idea that it’s time for somatics to get bigger. 

After twenty years since Wave 1 students gained certification, it’s a
good time for Hanna somatic education to get “mainstream” enough to make
meaningful differences to public health and to national economics.  I
would like to see that to happen (far better than it’s happening, now).

Hanna somatic education can go beyond being a small discipline practiced
by a number of people small in comparison to the general population —
to — a discipline carried on and spread by the general
population. With certified practitioners serving those with needs beyond
what somatic exercises, alone, can do, and with us training people
embedded in special advantageous positions in mainstream culture, who
can teach somatic exercises in their own place, we can set the stage for somatics
to go “mainstream”.  Then, we can reasonably expect a stream of
referrals from somatic exercise teachers to clinical somatic education

I can’t bring that about, alone, and I know that a few enterprising practitioners are making some inroads.  However, I believe we could go about this in a much better organized way, generate a smooth mindset for gracefully taking our place far more deeply in human cultures, take some artful steps, end up with a much more solid standing as a discipline serving the public, and fulfill the mission Thomas Hanna envisioned.

I need more hands.

But failing that due to my own genetic limitations, I’m asking people to lend me their ears.

We have an opportunity and we face a potential danger — that being the definition of risk.

The danger?  the success of Thomas Hanna’s contribution — in other people’s hands than ours — at a lower level of contribution than we could make.

The opportunity?

The potential to have somatics integrated into mainstream culture with such poise, mastery and assurance as to take our place as a matter of course.

Why now?

Three reasons:

Thomas Hanna’s Reason

1. It’s what Thomas Hanna envisioned when he spoke of “the millions” in his
lecture to his Wave 1 students.  He was speaking of a long-term
project, since the thirty-eight people he was addressing, and the ~300
who practice, now, can hardly serve “millions”.

The Other Reasons:

2. A need exists beyond the need for people to be out of pain.  

In today’s health care system, disability, pain management, and
rehabilitation are stupendous costs to the American economy and to the
world-economy.  Somatic education can cut those costs down to size and
transform people’s health and aging expectations; it can be part of
“health care reform” (where what we have with Obamacare is “health
insurance reform”).

3. Hanna somatic education could easily be “eaten” by two teaching streams
well-established in mainstream culture:  Pilates and Myofascial Release
(Barnes) — and there’s talk in the Feldenkrais camp about mainstreaming Feldenkrais Somatic Integration, a good thing, but also a contrast to how we are handling mainstreaming.

Both teachings are close enough to Hanna somatics that the addition of
pandiculation and the “three-reflex theory” would put them well within
eating range of Hanna somatic education.  Thomas Hanna’s book, Somatics, is out there, and so is Jim Dreaver’s book, Somatic Technique, with step-by-step illustrations of Lessons 1, 2 and 3.

They wouldn’t necessarily be as good as Hanna somatics practiced
masterfully and with right understanding, but they might be close enough
to take top position in mainstream culture, doing what Hanna somatics
uniquely does best.  Remember, “The race doesn’t always go to the
swiftest, nor the contest, to the strongest.”

I have it from one of our practitioner colleagues that:

  • One school of Pilates has developed enough sophistication about
    movement and coordination that it could incorporate pandiculation.
  • John Barnes has said that his advanced training incorporates something similar to pandiculation, if not pandiculation, itself.

If we don’t overcome their advantages, Hanna somatic education could, in effect, be eaten.

There are reasons why Hanna somatics isn’t already mainstream, and I’ll
address those in a future message.  They surface when we ask, What would
happen if Hanna somatics went mainstream?

Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with, “I need your help.”


What You Can Do Right Now:

  1. Feel whether you agree with the gist of this message.
Add your comment — what you would like to ask or tell.
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