“Body-Mind Centering® is an ongoing, experiential journey into the alive and changing territory of the body. The explorer is the mind - our thoughts, feelings, energy, soul, and spirit. Through this journey we are led to an understanding of how the mind is expressed through the body in movement.
...An important aspect of our journey in Body-Mind Centering® is discovering the relationship between the smallest level of activity within the body and the largest movement of the body -aligning the inner cellular movement with the external expression of movement through space. This involves identifying, articulating, differentiating, and integrating the various tissues within the body, discovering the qualities they contribute to one’s movement, how they have evolved in one’s developmental process, and the role they play in the expression of mind. The finer this alignment, the more efficiently we can function to accomplish our intentions.
In BMC® we are the material, our bodies and minds the medium of our exploration... We are each the study, the student, the teacher.”
-Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Introduction to Body-Mind Centering®, in
Sensing, Feeling and Action
(2003, Contact Editions)
What is BMC?
Body-Mind Centering® is a highly experiential, somatic approach to embodiment, movement and consciousness. Developed by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen over the last several decades, BMC promotes the conscious embodiment of anatomical, physiological, psychophysical, embryological and developmental principles, utilizing guided movement, intentional touch, voice, expressive arts, and a developing awareness of the play of conscious attention, or mind.
Body-Mind Centering is:
- embodied: anatomical and physiological precision and specificity - embodying and integrating all of the body systems
- developmental: a grounding in the developmental patterning that occurs during the first year of life through the Basic Neurocellular Patterns (BNPs)
- embryological: re-membering the formative patterning of this body and mind to support well-being, ease and psychophysical integration
- relational: BMC sessions and classes begin with conscious meeting, being-with, rather than trying to fix or remedy
- creative: the practice of Body-Mind Centering supports creative expression, somatic intelligence and embodied approaches to being in the world
Applications of the work are varied and wide-ranging, including private bodywork practice, movement therapy, yoga, creative arts practice such as dance and music, embodied leadership, somatic psychotherapy, meditation and mindfulness, somatic education in schools, and infant developmental repatterning. The best way to find out more about BMC is to try a class or contact a practitioner in your area.
Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen's workshop at the 2014 BMCA Conference at Skidmore Collge, Saratoga Springs, NY, USA; photo: Rosie Dienhart
The School for Body-Mind Centering offers certification programs through licensed centres at various locations around the world. Current certification courses include: Somatic Movement Education, Infant Developmental Movement Education, BMC Practitioner Certification, BMC Teacher Certification and workshops in Foundations in Embodied Anatomy and Yoga and Foundations in Embodied Developmental Movement and Yoga.
The uniqueness of Body‑Mind Centering® lies in the specificity with which each of the body systems can be personally embodied and integrated; the fundamental groundwork of developmental repatterning; the utilization of a body‑based language to describe movement and body‑mind relationships; and the almost unlimited number of areas of application of BMC®.
The underlying educational process in studying this work involves the experiential embodiment of the material. It is this exploration of embodiment that makes the work transformative and allows us to deepen our appreciation of how we express who we are, how we perceive the world, others and ourselves, and how we learn. Classes are a combination of experiential and intellectual approaches and may include include movement, touch, voice, theory, demonstration and discussion.
-from the School for Body-Mind Centering website.
photos: Rosie Dienhart
Some words about BMC from teachers, practitioners and students:
"BMC is a pathway of experiencing and perceiving our patterning process. It is a healing art form and a treasure of somatic tools.... BMC is personal and universal. It is cellular and whole."
-Mary-Lou Seereiter, BMC teacher, Moving Within
"Body-Mind Centering is a study of the vital materiality of the body…In studying somatics we not only learn about ourselves but come to understand how we learn." -Olive Bieringa & Otto Ramstad (BodyCartography Project) BMC teachers
"Body-Mind Centering is an embodied approach to learning, living and knowledge making. ...BMC is the study of the experienced body in contrast to the objectified body." - Alice Cummins, BMC Practitioner
"The underlying premise is that we learn from our personal process and that this becomes an informed and insightful starting point for our work with others. The journey we take leads to greater awareness and deeper understanding of ourselves as human beings. It helps us to understand how the mind is expressed through the body, and the body through the mind."
-Katy Dymoke, BMC teacher, Embody-Move Association UK
"BMC re-establishes the adequate importance of movement that has been lost in our culture and society. Movement as a form of expression, but also as another sense to perceive the self and the environment."
-Walburga Glatz, BMC teacher