I reviewed another book by Alexander Lowen called The Language of The Body. You can check that out here.
So I’ll start by briefly comparing the two books.
The Language of The Body is more of a book for psychologists. It goes into detail explaining the different character structures that serve as a basis for the practice of bioenergetics. It’s interesting, but it’s a dense read.
Bioenergetics is a much more general book on the subject of bioenergetics. It starts by explaining the origins of the practice, how it grew out of Lowen’s work with a psychologist named Wilhelm Reich.
Then he goes on the give a general overview of the practice, providing lots of sketches to illustrate exercises and principles.
The book is divided according to different principles within bioenergetics such as the energetic concept, pleasure as a primary motive, reality as a secondary motive, falling anxiety, and the balance between self-expression and survival.
Of course he mentions character structures, but points out that it’s just a template and that each patient has to be treated as an individual. A few of the character structures are different from the ones in The Language of The Body. I think that’s because Bioenergetics was written twenty years later, so it’s more recent.
In Bioenergetics, the character structures are not the main focus, the practice as a whole is.
He explains quite a few exercises in the book. A few of the ones I like a lot are the bow (can also be done with hands extended overhead):
Lying on a bed with your legs above you, as straight as you can:
Bending over, fingertips in contact with the floor, straighten legs until there is a stretch on the hamstrings:
All of these exercises require that you BREATHE DEEPLY. Opening your mouth wide and relaxing all of the muscles around the air passages is necessary.
What will happen is that your body will probably start vibrating, which is a good thing. It means that your chronic muscle tensions (that you probably didn’t know you had) are dissolving. This will give you more FEELING into your body.
That’s the benefit of bioenergetics: you become ALIVE. You experience life more fully, you experience emotions, you gain energy.
Forget coffee, just BREATHE.
The bow exercise is used for charging the body, then proceed with the other two.
I still really believe in the power of bioenergetics. A lot of personal development goes on in the mind, but the mind is very limited in how much it can change a person. To change a person, change his body.
Definitely a more useful read than The Language of the Body. Easy to understand, top-notch presentation of bioenergetics.
“Freedom is the absence of inner restraint to the flow of feeling, grace is the expression of this flow in movement, while beauty is the manifestation of the inner harmony such a flow engenders. They denote a healthy body and also, therefore, a healthy mind.”