From her personal experience of recovering from tuberculosis (by concentrating on breathing only with her healthy lung and resting the diseased lung), Gindler originated a school of movement education, in close collaboration with Heinrich Jacoby.
What Gindler had called Arbeit am Menschen (work on the human being) emphasised self-observation and growing understanding of one's individual physically related condition. Simple actions such as sitting, standing, and walking were explored, as well as other everyday movements.
This became one of the bases of body psychotherapy since many of the most influential body psychotherapists studied with her or "Sensory Awareness" with Charlotte Selver at the Esalen Institute around 1962.
During the Nazi-period of Germany, Gindler used these investigations and experimental exercises with her students to covertly help people who were persecuted by the regime. For her assistance to the Jewish population of Berlin, she was distinguished as a righteous among the nations and a tree was planted in Yad Vashem in her honour.
Students and Collaborators
Gindler's collaborators included
Several of Gindler's students went on to become influential teachers themselves:
- Elsa Lindenberg (partner of Wilhelm Reich)
- Laura Perls (wife of Fritz Perls and co-creator of Gestalt Therapy)
- Charlotte Selver (Sensory Awareness)
- Ilse Middendorf
- Carola Speads (Physical Re-Education)
- Gertrud Heller
- Lily Ehrenfried (Methode Ehrenfried / Gymnastique Holistique)
- Clare Fenichel
- Sophie Ludwig (1901–1997)
- Ruth Matter (1904–1995)
Gindler's student Charlotte Selver emigrated to the United States in 1938, and later became one of the first teachers at Esalen Institute where she would frequently credit Gindler. Through Selver's Sensory Awareness workshops at Esalen and elsewhere, Gindler's work indirectly influenced most of the somatic teachers in the United States, including Ida P. Rolf, founder of Rolfing Structural Integration.
- History of Esalen Institute
- German Wikipedia article on Elsa Gindler (translation requested)
- Knaster, Mirka (1996). Discovering the Body's Wisdom: A Comprehensive Guide to More Than Fifty Mind-Body Practices. Bantam. pp. 226–8. ISBN 978-0-307-57550-0.
- Geuter, Ulfried; Heller, Michael C.; Weaver, Judyth O. (2010). "Elsa Gindler and her influence on Wilhelm Reich and Body Psychotherapy". Body, Movement & Dance in Psychotherapy – An International Journal for Theory, Research and Practice. 5 (1): 59–73.
- See: Store norske leksikon (The Norwegian Encyclopedia): http://snl.no/Elsa_Lindenberg (Retrieved 3. June 2014)
- Carola Speads (1978). "Ways to Better Breathing." Healing Arts Press, Rochester. VT. https://books.google.com/books?id=6raSuDun7wcC
- Jacobson, E. (2011). "Structural Integration: Origins and Development". Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine: 775–780. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- Swiss Association for Elsa Gindler/Heinrich Jacoby
- Jacoby/Gindler Foundation Germany
- Ways of Development, German Association working on pedagogy following Gindler/Jacoby
- Ruth Matter Foundation