Elsa Gindler

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Elsa Gindler (19 June 1885 – 8 January 1961) was a somatic bodywork pioneer in Germany.

Born in Berlin, teacher of gymnastik, student of Hedwig Kallmeyer (who, in turn, had been a student of Genevieve Stebbins).

From her personal experience of recovering from tuberculosis (it is said 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.[1]

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.[1]

Students and Collaborators[edit]

Gindler's collaborators included

Several of Gindler's students went on to become influential teachers themselves:[2]

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.


  • History of Esalen Institute
  • German Wikipedia article on Elsa Gindler (translation requested)


  1. ^ a b c d 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.
  2. ^ 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. 5 (1): 59–73. doi:10.1080/17432971003620113. S2CID 143759167.
  3. ^ See: Store norske leksikon (The Norwegian Encyclopedia): http://snl.no/Elsa_Lindenberg (Retrieved 3. June 2014)
  4. ^ Carola Speads (1978). "Ways to Better Breathing." Healing Arts Press, Rochester. VT. https://books.google.com/books?id=6raSuDun7wcC

External links[edit]

in German:

in English: