Many would say grounding is the most important aspect of Bioenergetics. Being grounded means having energy flowing throughout our body. We often have excess energy in our upper body and are not well connected with the earth through our feet. Grounding helps our energy flow so we experience our feet solidly planted on the ground.
1) Stand with your feet beneath your hips.
2) Bend your knees slightly.
3) Bend at the waist and slowly lean forward as if to touch your toes.
4) Allow your arms to hang freely. If you need to, touch the floor with your fingertips for balance but do not put weight on them. Your legs will hold you up.
5) Breathe deeply, and with every exhale allow your neck, shoulders and upper torso to relax.
6) Hold the position and breathe.
7) To find your vibration, bend your knees more, then slowly straighten your legs (as if you are pushing the floor away) until you find a place where your legs naturally want to shake.
8) Breathe and enjoy.
9) When you’re ready to stop, slowly roll up, one vertebra at a time, until you’re standing up straight.
Therapists and people seeking therapy have many different therapeutic methods to choose from. Success comes from finding a therapy that speaks to your mind and maybe your body. Ana Murillo and Alberto Wang, two extremely gifted Bioenergetic therapists and trainers discussed some unique aspects of Bioenergetics to consider when making the choice to be a Bioenergetic therapist or client.
Ana lives in Buenos Aires, where she has a private practice and is the academic coordinator for the Bioenergetics School in Argentina. Alberto has been involved with Bioenergetics since 1986, when he trained with Alexander Lowen. He is co-director of the Bioenergetic schools in Argentina and Chile. Ana and Alberto are married and travel internationally to lead Bioenergetics workshops.
| How They Chose Bioenergetics |
Ana and Alberto have committed much of their lives to experiencing, practicing and teaching Bioenergetics. So how did they make their commitment to Bioenergetics?
Ana shared that at one point she felt something missing in both her body and in her ability to help her clients. After her first experience with Bioenergetic therapy, she felt it gave more meaning to both her personal life and professional role.
“I started because I had the opportunity to experience Bioenergetics,” she said. “I was living but tired. Bioenergetics gave me the opportunity to design my life.”
Alberto was studying music at a university and began working with actors in a chorus as a conductor. When a colleague asked him to help the actors find their voices (because they were struggling), Alberto began to explore different ways to help them. Then he learned from the actors that work with emotions helped their voices.
After one session, an actor came to him and thanked him for the incredible Bioenergetics session. Alberto did not know what Bioenergetics was, so he researched it. He read one of Alexander Lowen’s books and eventually went to meet Lowen.
“I did not find Bioenergetics,” Alberto says. “Bioenergetics found me.”
| Choosing Bioenergetics for Couples Work |
For a long time Bioenergetics has been used for individual and group therapy. Recently, interest has grown in using Bioenergetic Analysis in couple’s therapy.
Alberto and Ana have been exploring this. They say that, just as in with working with groups or individuals, the emphasis is all on the energy system.
“Doing Bioenergetic Analysis with couples allows you an opportunity to acknowledge the energy flowing in the couple system,” Alberto says. “Two individuals’ energy makes a third energy system. We need to understand the fluency of the energy in the couple’s energetic system. We need to see where the blocks are in the energy.”
“For me,” Ana added, “the health of life in the couple system has to do a lot with first recognizing who I am. If I am not grounded in me, we cannot be grounded as a couple. For me Bioenergetics has a lot to do with learning something very complex. I am ready to stay in a relationship when I am ready to stay with myself. Respecting the growth of each person in the system is a great issue.”
Ana and Alberto once discussed couples Bioenergetics work with Robert Glazer, PhD, who wisely said, “A couple has to be connected mind to mind, heart to heart, and genitals to genitals.”
| Choosing Love in Bioenergetics |
When exploring important aspects of Bioenergetics, you will find techniques, theories and possibly YouTube videos of people screaming over a stool. What you may not find are its subtleties, such as the importance of love.
This is something both Ana and Alberto are passionate about. Their passion is demonstrated in articles they have written and is visible in the beautiful work they do with their clients and trainees. Alberto and Ana work as a team and seem to have a magical energy flow that keeps them connected with the client, with each other and with themselves. This energy flow is comprised of love.
“When I am working with a client with Bioenergetics or another therapy it is the same,” Alberto says. “We work with a client and we make a relationship between the client and the therapist. This relationship makes a lot of transference and counter transference. You need this relationship to contain love.”
Continuing, he says, “Without love in the therapeutic relationship, it is impossible follow cues. If I can’t see cues, my work is to understand what happened in the relationship with the client and to see if love flows fluently. If love does flow fluently, it is possible to make and follow cues.”
Ana says using love in Bioenergetics is an ethical consideration.
“Love in Bioenergetics is everything,” she says. “Life is love. There cannot be real life if there is no love. Love is not only to be kind or more open: it is much more than that. Love is the ability to follow what life proposes to you. How you listen to what life is proposing to you is through people and situations.”
Continuing, she says, “Ethically, in Bioenergetics the most important issue is to learn about ourselves and our capability to follow and respect fully what life is proposing when we have a client in front of us. The first issue is if I can distinguish whether what I am about to do is for my needs or the client’s needs. The goal is to provide the structure for the other to go where he/she wants to go, not where I think he/she should go.
“It is the most difficult work in the world, I think. Another aspect of love is to be profoundly humbled by what we can do in a certain moment. I think real life has to do with love.”
| The Choice Is a Responsibility |
Whether you choose Bioenergetics as a therapeutic tool to help clients or as a way to change your own life, the choice is a commitment.
“What we are doing when we are doing Bioenergetics,” Ana says, “is reclaiming the right to be ourselves. Trying to distinguish what we need. Reclaiming our body is reclaiming ourselves. This is not easy. It is a great responsibility.”
Choosing Bioenergetic therapy is more than choosing a therapeutic approach. It is choosing a lifestyle and making a commitment to yourself to live fully. For Ana it means “never stop learning, never stop listening, and always keep learning about yourself.”
| Final Words |
Using Bioenergetics in your professional and personal life is a commitment to yourself, a responsibility to your body. It is not easy but brings great rewards.
“Return to feel your body,” Alberto advises. “It is so simple. But we live in a culture where it is important to think and not to feel. Nobody knows exactly how many feelings you have when you think or how many thoughts you have when you feel. But you need to learn to think and feel. Bioenergetics is a special field where you go back to feeling your body — that is the real message.”
Sabine O’Laughlin, MD, is a pathologist in Jacksonville, Fl. She is a graduate (2017) of the FSBA training program. Sabine has led workshops and is passionate about integrating Bioenergetic Analysis and women’s work.
I have been a student of the Diamond Heart Approach (A.H. Almaas) for almost 20 years. As part of the teacher training, we were asked to read a book (Bioenergetics) by Alexander Lowen. I did not enjoy that book but thought there might be something about physicality I had not explored. So I Googled “Bioenergetics” to see if I could learn more. To my surprise there was a Society for Bioenergetics 1.5 hours from my house! Jackpot!
I made an appointment with Robert Glazer, PhD (Bob) and drove down to Old Belamy Road after work on a Monday evening. On my way to the farm house spooky darkness surrounded me.
I stepped into the farm house to found a lot going on in there. As I was soaking that up, Bob came out of his office and said, “Stay right there…” He looked me up and down, asked me to turn around and then told me my life story based on what he saw. I thought it was unbelievable.
We had the session and at the end he went to the “back room.” He came back with 10 books and gave them to me and said, “Here, read these.” I thought to myself, “Jesus, this Bioenergetics is going to be quite time consuming.”
By the next session a week later I had managed to read two books (Love, Sex and Your Heart and Fear of Life) and I reported back how that knowledge had impacted me and how I was seeing patterns locked up in my body. Bob replied, “You just saved yourself 10 sessions.”
I told Bob that I would love to learn more about Bioenergetics. Bob signed me up for the training. I did not know I was ACTUALLY in a training program until graduation at the end of the second year.
To say that my time in the training program has been an impactful and life-changing few years would be an understatement! I have met spectacular people from all over the world, increased my own understanding about myself, learned about my personal history, and all my relationships have found a transformational path to more love, life and passion.