“Dr. Moshé Feldenkrais was the greatest thinker in the 20th Century on how to improve movement. He was well ahead of his time in his understanding that the brain can change itself and needs to change itself in order to improve skill and well-being.” —Anat Baniel
Anat Baniel remembers meeting Dr. Moshé Feldenkrais for the first time at age five when he came to her parents’ home to teach his movement classes.
Anat’s father, a scientist, met Dr. Feldenkrais through the scientific community in Israel. He deemed Dr. Feldenkrais to be the first live genius he ever met.
Dr. Feldenkrais was looking for a place to teach the movement lessons he was experimenting with. And Professor Baniel was thrilled to host him and a group of researchers in their living room once a week for their weekly classes.
Then, at age seven, Anat began studying with a ballet teacher who was a student of Dr. Feldenkrais. She introduced his work and weaved it into her dance teaching.
Anat Baniel’s Experience With Dr. Feldenkrais’ Work
Today, Anat Baniel remembers vividly her first encounter with Dr. Feldenkrais’ work. The changes she experienced in flexibility, in movement and skills, and an internal feeling of well-being were immediate and far reaching, like no other experience she had before.
It was not until 15 years later, when Anat Baniel finished her undergraduate studies in Psychology and Statistics and was looking to find a way to work with people that included movement, body, and the brain, that she remembered her experiences with the Feldenkrais work.
Anat Baniel Takes Lessons From Dr. Feldenkrais While Studying in Tel AvivWhile in graduate school to become a clinical psychologist at Tel Aviv University, Baniel contacted Dr. Feldenkrais at his studio in Tel Aviv, Israel.
It was during her first private session with him that she found her path. She began participating in his group lessons and taking private lessons from him.
Moshé Feldenkrais Invites Anat Baniel to Work at Feldenkrais Institute
A year and a half later, in 1975, Dr. Feldenkrais opened a professional training program in San Francisco, which Anat Baniel joined.
Dr. Feldenkrais invited Anat Baniel to work at his Feldenkrais Institute in Tel Aviv soon after she graduated from his program in 1977. That was the beginning of the transformation of a student-teacher relationship into a close professional relationship and friendship.
Baniel and Dr. Feldenkrais worked side by side in the same room seeing clients. In 1978, when Dr. Feldenkrais required assistance during his extensive world travel, he asked Anat Baniel to accompany him, which she did for as long as he was able to travel.
During those years of travel, Anat Baniel and Dr. Feldenkrais spent countless hours discussing his ideas and theory. In her twenties, Baniel got to see, hear, and witness hundreds of hours of Dr. Feldenkrais’ teaching in many different situations. She observed him work with world class musicians, actors, authors, politicians, therapists, businessmen, and educators; and also with ordinary people from different cultures and from all walks of life.
Anat Baniel assisted Dr. Feldenkrais in his work with large groups in his seminars and became a trainer for his last professional training program.
Anat Baniel Gives Dr. Feldenkrais Private Lessons
In 1980, Dr. Feldenkrais began receiving private lessons from Anat Baniel. That same year, Baniel began teaching for Dr. Feldenkrais as a Trainer, working together with him, and independently.
A defining event for Anat Baniel in the future of her career was when Dr. Feldenkrais began referring all the children that came to work with him to her.
“Dr. Feldenkrais didn’t talk much about how or why anything worked. It was the kids that got me searching for ways to understand the actual mechanisms and triggers behind the amazing results I was seeing.” —Anat Baniel
In 1981, when he fell ill, Dr. Feldenkrais asked Baniel to become the Educational Director of his professional training program, in addition to being a Trainer.
Baniel Develops Unique Work From Feldenkrais Method
Despite his stature, Dr. Feldenkrais was adamant that Anat Baniel do the work in her own distinct way, allowing her work to develop and evolve uniquely and fully. His words to her early on were:
“Do not let anyone tell you how to do your work.”
And that included him.
Dr. Feldenkrais fell ill while in Zurich, Switzerland. He asked that Anat Baniel come to be with him to help take care of him and eventually to bring him back home to Tel Aviv.
Anat Baniel and Moshé Feldenkrais remained close until his death in 1984.
After the death of Moshé Feldenkrais, during the following 15 years, Anat Baniel continued working intensely with high performers such as musicians and dancers, with people suffering from pain or limitations and those wanting to improve their life, and with an ever-growing number of children with special needs.
This combination of clients led Baniel to have profound insight as to how the brain learns and changes in powerful ways. She developed the Anat Baniel Method® that offers both the theory, fully supported by current brain science, and the practice—what she calls NeuroMovement®.
Today, Anat Baniel is world-renowned for the transformational outcomes her students experience and for training hundreds of practitioners to do the same. She is the bestselling author of Move Into Life and the breakthrough book Kids Beyond Limits.
Anat Baniel has and is fulfilling Dr. Feldenkrais’ vision for her and all her graduates—to continue and evolve the seminal work he started.