ABOUT THOMAS HANNA - Creator of Hanna Somatic Education
To peer into the history of Hanna Somatic Education® is to encounter the bright star of its founder, Thomas Hanna. An original philosopher/teacher, Hanna developed a theory of somatology and of the field he named Somatics. As the founding editor of Somatics: Magazine-Journal of the Bodily Arts and Sciences, he saw the evolutionary/revolutionary import of somatic understanding and left a dazzling trail of insights into its many applications. His writings are a massive treasure to be discovered and rediscovered by all explorers of human potential. A few of his many published works include: The End of Tyranny: An Essay on the Possibility of America; Bodies in Revolt: A Primer of Somatic Thinking; The Body of Life: Creating New Pathways for Sensory Awareness and Fluid Movement; and Somatics: Reawakening the Mind’s Control of Movement, Flexibility and Health.
In the early 1970’s, Hanna, then Chairman of Philosophy at the University of Florida, was introduced to the work of Moshe Feldenkrais, an Israeli physicist and body educator. Meeting Feldenkrais and watching him work had a great impact on Hanna as the Feldenkrais Method was compatible with Hanna’s somatic philosophy. In 1975 Hanna arranged the first Feldenkrais training program in the United States as director of the Humanistic Psychology Institute (now the Saybrook Institute). He continued his study with Feldenkrais for several years and practiced at the Novato Institute for Somatic Research and Training, an institute which he and Eleanor Criswell Hanna founded in 1975. During the time that he worked somatically with thousands of clients he evolved the work in some highly effective ways, in part, by adding his understanding of the rules of biofeedback. Hanna observed characteristic postural difficulties in people of all ages and in all walks of life, and developed a process that was extremely effective in helping people regain control of muscles that had been holding them in painful, restrictive postures. These processes became known as Hanna Somatic Education®.
Although Hanna died in 1990, the work has continued to expand and grow for the past twenty years, thanks to the dedication of Eleanor Criswell Hanna, Ed.D, director of the Novato Institute.
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