The Somatic Work of Thomas Hanna, Tai Chi, and Kinesiology

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Thomas Hanna’s somatic work has been essential to the development of the field of somatic education. From redefining the word “somatic” and developing the concept of somatics as a field of study, to starting the magazine/journal Somatics, to developing theories and practices of somatic education, Hanna greatly influenced this fledgling area of work. This article presents the somatic philosophy, theories, and education techniques of Hanna, focusing on the aspects that are unique to this somatic explorer. Hanna’s techniques are contrasted to the traditional somatic movement training of Tai Chi. The difficulties of researching a learning such as somatic education are discussed. Ideas are presented on how kinesiology and somatic education can inform each other.

Bennett (bennett@westeastsomatics.com) is with the West East Somatics Institute, Crozet, VA, USA.

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