“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
Basic Neurocellular Patterns: Exploring Developmental Movement Book
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
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.
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.
Paperback; 430 pages, 400+ illustrations, 80 explorations
Practicing the Basic Neurocellular Patterns Video
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: Exploring 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.
It contains more than three hours of instruction covering:
- prevertebrate and vertebrate patterns
- step-by-step instruction
- demonstration of the Basic Neurological 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:
- athletics and martial arts
- infant and child development
- occupational and physical therapy
- somatic movement practices
- somatic psychology
Three discs; 190 minutes; English subtitles.