Meet Anat in Chicago 5/30-5/31

There is still time to register for Anat’s free presentation in Northmoor on Saturday from 4-6pm and the one day workshop on Sunday at the Renaissance Hotel from 10am-5pm.

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Anat’s tour continues in the South Bay – 5/28

Anat will be speaking in De Anza College, Cupertino this thursday evening from 6.30 – 8.30. She will be hosted by Andrea Bowers and the Anat Baniel Method Center of San Jose. The event is free and is a great chance to experience Anat’s teaching first hand, to meet her, have the opportunity to ask questions and have your copy of “Move into Life” signed by her.

Anat Baniel Speaking

Anat speaks at Posit Science

On Friday Anat gave a presentation at Posit Science, the company headed by Michael Merzenich where he is continually looking to find new practical applications for the knowledge he has gained in 40 years of brain plasticity reasearch.

Anat initially won over the few skeptics in the audience before utterly captivating them as this e-mail we recieved shows;

Dear Anat,

Thank you so much for coming today- everyone really loved it. I wanted to share one comment I received afterwards:

“Anat Baniel!  Wow!  She is absolutely terrific!  Her subject matter is fascinating.  She is charming, delightful and a breath of fresh air!  What a brain!  And it seems that she has harnessed a corner on healing, and gentle, positive change.  Wow…I for one was truly impressed and can’t wait to go get my book!  And I can’t wait to put some of her concepts with the body to practice!  I’m jazzed! Thanks again for having her.”

So, that about sums it up- thank you again!

Best,
Karen

Karen Merzenich

Michael Merzenich himself continues to be a champion of Anat, her work and her book. Amongst several moments of testimony during her presentation he described her work and her book as a tour de force that all of his staff should read in order to have a clearer understanding of what they are working to achieve at the corporation.

Surprise! Daydreaming really works the brain!

A new study in the Journal of the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences gives further support to Anat’s views on the importance of daydreaming as outlined in the chapter in her book on the eighth essential Imagination and Dreams.

Surprise! Daydreaming Really Works the Brain

Got a tough problem to solve? Try daydreaming.

Contrary to the notion that daydreaming is a sign of laziness, letting the mind wander, can actually let the parts of the brain associated with problem-solving become active, a new study finds.

Kalina Christoff of the University of British Columbia in Canada and her colleagues placed study participants inside an fMRI scanner, where they performed the simple routine task of pushing a button when numbers appear on a screen. The researchers tracked subjects’ attentiveness moment-to-moment through brain scans, subjective reports from subjects and by tracking their performance on the task.

Until now, scientists had thought that the brain’s “default network,” which is linked to easy, routine mental activity, was the only part of the brain that remains active when the mind wanders. But in the study subjects, the brain’s “executive network” – associated with high-level, complex problem-solving – also lit up.

The less subjects were aware that their mind was wandering, the more both networks were activated.

“This study shows our brains are very active when we daydream – much more active than when we focus on routine tasks,” Christoff said.

The findings, detailed in the May 11 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that daydreaming is an important cognitive state where we may unconsciously turn our attention from immediate tasks to sort through important problems in our lives.

“When you daydream, you may not be achieving your immediate goal – say reading a book or paying attention in class – but your mind may be taking that time to address more important questions in your life, such as advancing your career or personal relationships,” Christoff said.

That’s particularly good news, because daydreaming can occupy as much as one third of our waking lives, previous studies have found.

Read what Michael Merzenich says about Anat and her book on his blog and see the complete video of their conversation

I strongly encourage our readers to check out the newly published book “Move Into Life”, authored by a highly distinguished therapist (and personal friend) Anat Baniel. Anat was originally trained by Moshe Feldenkrais, who developed a novel empirical perspective about physical/cognitive/perceptual rehabilitation that is broadly consistent with the principles of brain plasticity neuroscience. She has very significantly elaborated those practices, and has gradually encorporated a richer scientific perspective into them. Anat summarizes this deeper understanding in this important book — which is full of good information and advice, both for the therapist, and the patient. At the core of her approach is the understanding that awareness, cognition and movement are really inseparable, and that the establishment or recovery of ability in any one of these domains requires the integrated engagement of the impaired individuals and their brain in all of these dimensions of recovery. Put another way, isolated weakness or loss in ‘movement’ or ‘awareness’ or related ‘cognition’ is a human IMpossibilty. Movement is inextricably controlled on the basis of ‘feedback’ from our bodies and brains, and movement control is guided very directly by the cognitive resources that guide all of our behaviors. They are weaker or stronger, enabled or disabled TOGETHER. Neurological processes that control the flow of cognition and thought are not really different from those that control the flow of movement — and in fact are complexly, inextricably inter-twined!

Anat Baniel provides many examples of these relationships, then provides the therapist or patient with a set of principles that can guide them toward more rapid and complete and more holistic recovery. I think that most readers of this book shall value it as an important source of new insight and understanding. If you would like to hear a little more about it, in Anat Baniel’s own words, check out the video!

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Segment 2 of our Basic Training Begins on Saturday May 9th – Still a few spaces left!!!

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Segment 2 of the Anat Baniel Method basic training begins on Saturday and the opportunity to join us still remains!

I had the privilege of being present as an assistant for segment 1 in February and was once more astounded by how advanced Anat’s basic training is. She takes a group of very mixed backgrounds through an extraordinary learning process that provides complete newcomers and experienced therapists with a huge amount of knowledge. Because of the experiential nature of the work and the training you are always ready to learn from your own point of entry. The training unfolds as an incredible series of “A-Ha” moments for students, assistants and trainers alike (some of the trainers are still learning from Anat on a daily basis after 20 years of hugely successful practice). Anat always jokes that people come up to her at the end of a segment and tell her that it was the best segment ever! While it is true that Anat and her team of trainers and assistants are continually working to refine and develop the training, the fact is that the students find each segment better than the last because they are better learners through having engaged in the process that next step.

One of the most thrilling things for me about that process is that I see Anat herself after 30 years, still engaging in it and continually creating and being creative. How inspiring is that? To be entering a career where you can be of so much benefit to people and through endless creativity, never grow stale or bored with the work that you are doing!

Although our new basic training began in February we will accept new students up until segment 3 in July. Students who are joining for segment 2 or those who join by segment 3 will have the opportunity (and be required) to make up the missed segments on DVD. We already have one entire training captured on DVD and the current training is also being filmed. It is hoped that in the near future we will be able to offer a library of the whole training by streaming on the internet.

Anat’s Book tour begins this Wednesday 5/6/09

Anat will be speaking, presenting the work, taking attendees through an experiential movement lesson and signing copies of her book at Clayton Books.

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Clayton is in the East Bay just south west of Concord. Click here for a map. The presentation will begin at 7pm and will last approximately 2 hours during which time you will both experience the method first hand and have the opportunity to meet and ask Anat questions.

In order to see the rest of ANat’s book tour schedule click here.