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Basic Neurocellular Patterns Book And Dvd Package - Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen

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Language: English

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Included files: 1 epub



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“Weakness, inflexibility, and lack of coordination are often not due to structural or muscular problems but caused by a lack of process. When that process is actualized, we experience strength, flexibility, and ease in our movement and our mind. The Basic Neurocellular Patterns are an exploration of that process.” – Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen

Movement is a language and the body is the instrument through which it speaks. It is a doorway into the body-mind relationship, at once the expression of that relationship, a way to assess it and a way to balance it. Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen is a movement linguist who has spent her life exploring and mapping the grammar, syntax and vocabulary of movement.

Her book, Basic Neurocellular Patterns: Exploring Developmental Movement is about human movement and its significance to our development and well-being. For over fifty years, Bonnie has worked with people functioning in a wide range of skills – from professional dancers to infants with severe neurological difficulties. She has observed that the developmental patterns outlined in this book have a global influence on our physical, perceptual, emotional and cognitive functioning. She named these movement sequences the Basic Neurocellular Patterns (BNP).

The BNP normally emerge and ideally integrate through infancy and can have a profound effect on an infant’s development — how it bonds, defends, learns, organizes and sequences information, and relates to itself, others and the world. Revisiting these patterns and exploring them as adults can be eye-opening, transformational and life-changing. Who we are as a person has a lot to do with how we experience ourselves through movement.

With this book as a guide, Bonnie is inviting you to enter your own world of movement experience. She has provided discussions of the patterns to give you a theoretical framework of ideas, insights, relationships, and correspondences – a context in which to explore your experience. The exercises she outlines will help to guide your exploration of the patterns. The copious drawings not only illustrate a pattern or its correspondence in the animal kingdom, but also help you get a feeling for the pattern. The richness and subtlety of movement does not easily translate into words, so feeling is important in a book about movement.

In the developmental work, as in all aspects of Bonnie’s work, the place to begin your study is through your personal experience, embodiment, and integration of these principles and body-mind relationships. In doing so, you can come to know and use this work in deep and meaningful ways.


The Basic Neurocellular Patterns (BNP) form the underlying words and phrases in the language of human movement. The BNP have a global influence on our physical, perceptual, emotional, and cognitive functioning. They shape how we bond, defend, learn, organize, and sequence information, and how we relate to ourselves, others, and the world. Done in sequences, they can also form the basis for a deep and ongoing personal movement practice.

Although the BNP normally emerge and ideally integrate throughout infancy, revisiting these patterns and exploring them as adults can be eye-opening, transformational, and life changing. With this book as a guide, Bonnie invites you to directly experience, embody, and integrate your own developmental movement patterns. In doing so, you can come to know and use this work in deep and meaningful ways with yourself and with others.

This book includes the following:

  • Parallels between animal movement and infant developmental movement
  • Progression of development from internal movement to external movement and locomotion
  • Exquisite drawings to help you get a feeling for the patterns
  • Step-by-step exercises to guide your exploration of the patterns
  • How to use the vertebrate patterns as a framework for your personal movement practice
  • Applications to yoga, dance, sports, music, vision, touch, teaching, aging, psychophysical processing, meditation, and prayer.

Paperback; 430 pages, 400+ illustrations, 80 explorations


The Basic Neurocellular Patterns (BNP) were developed by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen as an integral part of the Body-Mind Centering® approach to somatic movement education.

This video on the BNP is designed to accompany Bonnie’s book, Basic Neurocellular Patterns: Embodying Developmental Movement. It can also be useful for people who have studied the BNP:

  • in a course at a School for Body-Mind Centering® licensed training program
  • in a workshop with Bonnie
  • in classes, workshops, or sessions with qualified Body-Mind Centering® professionals
  • in other settings

The Basic Neurocellular Patterns (formerly called The Basic Neurological Patterns), or BNP, are potential patterns of movement inherent first in the movement of fluid through the cellular membranes and then recorded and organized in the nervous system. They exist, both phylogenetically in the animal kingdom and ontogenetically in the developmental stages of the human infant. The BNP are stimulated into existence through relationship and interaction with the environment. They are called forth based on the relative simplicity or complexity of their structure and function and the supporting and challenging conditions in the environment.

Because these patterns are an outer manifestation of inner motility and neurological organization, I have named them the Basic Neurocellular Patterns. Understanding and embodying these neurological patterns and their developmental progression can greatly facilitate full developmental potential. Because these movement patterns are most recognizable in animals, they are classified as prevertebrate and vertebrate movement sequences. There is a progression in which each pattern underlies all succeeding patterns and modifies each preceding pattern. This progression is not linear but occurs in overlapping waves. Patterns occur, integrate into the next pattern and then re-emerge in the next level of complexity.

An understanding of the Basic Neurocellular Patterns is important in caring for infants and educating children — those who are on a normally developing path and those with developmental challenges. When there are developmental difficulties and/or neurological disorganization, these patterns can act as gateways to reorganizing the nervous system and significantly create greater ease and control.

With adults, these patterns can facilitate greater ease in everyday movement and indicate underlying factors in alignment/movement difficulties. They offer a movement form within which we can further engage and deepen our aliveness and sense of possibility.

Each of the Basic Neurocellular Patterns is viewed from the standpoint of normal development. They can be applied to anyone at any age of life to analyze areas of movement efficiency and inefficiency and to improve one’s proficiency of movement. If any patterns have become overly dominant and are preventing other patterns of behavior from emerging, we can explore which patterns are missing that would modify the restrictive patterns and discover ways to enhance them. This will allow the overly dominant patterns to integrate into the total matrix of development and thereby allow more mature behavior to emerge.

The process of embodiment through these developmental pathways allows us to experience more the fullness of our being and our ability to move through life with greater ease, flexibility, confidence and understanding.

The BNP are based upon the development of perception and movement through the embodiment of distinct changes in consciousness. Their understanding is gained by experience, both personally and shared with others. This is a map only, derived from the past experiences of others. The concepts and ideas expressed are not given as absolutes but as reference points. For it to have meaning for you, you must explore them experientially yourself and gain your own insights.

The Basic Neurocellular Patterns: Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen’s crystallization of over fifty years investigating human developmental movement.

It contains more than three hours of instruction covering:

  • prevertebrate and vertebrate patterns
  • step-by-step instruction
  • demonstration of the Basic Neurocellular Patterns
  • key points for learning and teaching the patterns
  • rare classroom footage of Bonnie teaching

Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen’s innovative work has influenced many fields that utilize movement, development, education, therapy and the body-mind relationship. She is the author of Sensing, Feeling, and Action and the founder of the School for Body-Mind Centering®, where people from over twenty-five countries have come to study.

The Basic Neurocellular Patterns can be used as the foundation for a personal movement practice and can be applied to:

  • dance
  • yoga
  • athletics and martial arts
  • infant and child development
  • occupational and physical therapy
  • somatic movement practices
  • somatic psychology

Three discs; 190 minutes; English subtitles.

What people are saying about Basic Neurocellular Patterns: Exploring Developmental Movement:

“I am so happy to see that Bonnie – one of the true innovators of bodywork – has finally shared her system in an organised fashion. Here is the underlying body language – the reflexes that build into patterns that build into individual expression – and what happens when these pathways to maturity get diverted, detoured, or stopped.Most methods proceed from the idea of ‘body as machine’; Bonnie has named her book well, because she proceeds from two ideas: 1) We are a cellular collective, and we each have to build ourselves from a single cell. Bonnie identifies the benchmarks of the growing cellular self moving out into the world from conception to adulthood, and 2) We are reaching for full self-expression through movement and voice, and Bonnie lays out how these blocks to full expression can be relieved through re-establishing these instinctual movements within your clients or students.

Bonnie marries cellular requirements with developmental movement to adult biomechanical issues. This is not an easy path to take on – it’s requires subtle perception and inventiveness – but Bonnie has just made it easier by cataloging the language and stages of, well, exactly: Basic Neurocellular Patterns.

I am devouring this book. Its insights will inform and enlighten any bodyworker with both the simple wonder of animals in motion and the complex intricacy with which it plays out in human form”

– Tom Myers
Director, Anatomy Trains

“Every generation has a few gifted pioneers that forge the path towards a more enlightened and conscious understanding of our self and our universe. Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen is definitely one of the main pioneers of our generation.

In her recent book, Basic Neurocellular Patterns: Exploring Developmental Movement, she not only reveals her great knowledge of developmental movement but shares the connection of movement and consciousness itself. True to Bonnie’s respect and love of movement this book provides a way to explore one’s self and one’s body through exercises of embodied anatomy. I highly recommend this book to all who are on the path of self-discovery.”

– Donnalea Van Vleet Goelz, Ph.D.
Executive Director of Continuum Movement®

“This book is a must for the experienced movement professional and quite accessible to the novice that comes with open curiosity. Bonnie’s consummate embodiment has allowed her to distill and transmit so that we can all enter, explore and have our full understanding and experience.

Bonnie does for movement and the Basic Neurocellular Patterns what Stephen Hawking did for space. The depth of her passion and understanding combined with her ability to communicate will allow many more people to come into their full movement potential and a deeper sense of identity.”

– Roxlyn Moret
Certified Practitioner and Teacher of Body-Mind Centering®, CMA, RSME, ERYT-500

“In my almost 40 years of practicing and teaching yoga, the insights and revelations I have gleaned from studying with Bonnie far surpass anything I have experienced anywhere. Her clarity and depth continue to amaze and delight me.

With her new book, Basic Neurocellular Patterns: Exploring Developmental Movement, Bonnie is presenting the culmination of over fifty years of embodied spiritual practice, therapeutic application and collective exploration of human movement. The twelve neurocellular patterns are presented within the context of the evolutionary journey of life, embryology, and the developmental movement sequences that allow an infant to discover human locomotion.

Well illustrated and filled with explorations and descriptions, this book will offer anyone engaged in a somatic spiritual practice a treasure trove of wisdom and guidance on the path of awakening.

– Arthur Kilmurray
Yoga Teacher and Somatic Explorer

“The book is a marvel! Every time I open it, my understanding of developmental movement, and all movement deepens and clarifies. The life’s work and living that this book encompasses is enormous. You have articulated it, organized it, and made it so accessible. The clarity and simplicity is astounding, knowing how complex the subject really is.

This text will stay near me for a long time. I will be sure the Laban Institute has a copy in the library, and I can now fill in aspects of my own learning that were weak.

For example, today, I realize that I have never really understood “yield.” So I kept reading, and came to the beautiful page called YIELD, where you so clearly explain the need to experience the pull of gravity before the experience of push. This goes directly into my daily movement experience and opens a new door. And this is just one example of what lies ahead, even after so many years with the material.”

Ellen Goldman
CMA, KMP, AP, Senior Faculty of New York Certification Program in Laban Movement Studies, Author of As Others See Us: Body Movement and the Art of Successful Communication, Geometry of Movement; Part 1, the Defense Scale, Part 2 the Axis Scales

“Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen is a uniquely brilliant teacher and healer. Yet she is far more than this. She is a rare original thinker who enables others to experience their own bodies with a radical intimacy that transforms their way of being present to themselves and the world.

With surpassing kindness and gentleness she guides you on a journey into yourself. Those who travel within with her emerge with a changed relationship to life, to themselves, and to others. As an innovator in the sphere of body/mind integration, she is without peer and beyond comparison.

– Jonathan Klate, Ph.D.,
Lic.Ac, in practice since 1975, is a second generation practitioner of traditional acupuncture and Chinese medicine, author to The Tao of Acupuncture, who maintains his practice in Amherst, MA

“Basic Neurocellular Patterns: Exploring Developmental Movement offers a comprehensive description of human developmental movements, along with detailed exercises to enliven one’s experience of them. Comparisons to other creatures demonstrate our relationships in the natural world and in the evolutionary progression.

Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen has spent a lifetime exploring this work and the clarity and specificity in this culminating volume are unsurpassed. It is appropriate for beginners and more advanced students of human movement and early development. This book is instantly the essential reference.

Pat Ethridge
Body-Mind Centering® Practitioner


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