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Foreward by Dr. Peter A. Levine:

“What it means to be a human being is a subject that has engaged, enraged and perplexed psychologists, anthropologists and philosophers; for thousands of years. So, what can anyone possibly add to this well-worn topic in a meaningful way? I believe that Betsy Polatin has given us a new lens into this subject. By exploring the tangible role of “embodied expansion,” she shows how poorly most of us use our bodies and our being. Here I am referring not only to the physical, anatomical body, but to the living, sensing, and yes, Knowing Body.

This premise, of an innate wisdom, is explored in depth and with competence. Polatin draws on her decades-long work with actors, singers, musicians and athletes; helping them (and all of us) achieve peak performance and to realize our unique potentials.

Moving the body properly carries multiple opportunities for how we feel, our levels of health and energy, and the equanimity of our emotions. Properly observing ourselves and moving our body efficiently has bearing on everything we do. Read, experience and learn what it means to be fully human.”

—Peter A. Levine, PhD, Author of Waking the Tiger, Healing Trauma, and In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness

“In Humanual, Betsy Polatin provides us with a richly illustrated guided tour to help us connect deeply and consciously to our bodies, minds, souls, and spirits. A dancer by training, a student of movement, music, breath and meditation, as well as an Alexander Technique Practitioner (among the many disciplines that she has mastered), Betsy in this volume passes on to us the vast wisdom and multiple skills that she acquired over many years working with artists, musicians, and other human beings who are stuck in dysfunctional habits. Humanual shows us how the body is organized to move, create, and adapt. However, sometimes our bodies create patterns that may momentarily allow us to cope, but that, in the long term, can transform into character traits that interfere with life’s satisfaction. Angry people come to live in angry bodies; and frightened people carry their fears in their muscles, sinews, and bones. ‘Every move you make, every thought, manifests as muscular reality.’ Humanual shows us how to listen to the signals of our bodies, and guides us to shift out of habitual patterns that keep us stuck. This wonderful manual is a trustworthy guide to learn to feel at home within yourself.”

—Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD, the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma; professor of psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine

“Based on decades of clinical work and astute exploration, Betsy Polatin has, in this book, created a science-informed, concise and elegantly practical step-wise guide to finding the space within our bodies for our true selves to exist and to expand.

She brings us wisdom much needed in our times.”

—Gabor Maté M.D.
Author, When The Body Says No: Exploring The Stress-Disease Connection

“The author, Betsy Polatin, takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery, in which we learn how our body moves and relates to gravity. On this journey we uncover our historical choices of either welcoming ourselves into our body or functionally dissociating our sense of self from our physical structure. Humanual teaches us, through processes focused on movement and awareness of our body, that we can reap the benefits of an embodiment celebrating the continuity among our physical structure, our feelings, our creativity, and our spirituality.”

—Stephen Porges, PhD, Author of The Polyvagal Theory.

“Betsy Polatin has been studying bodies for 50 years—first her own as a dancer and then how peoples’ bodies are affected by and affect their emotions and performance. In this intriguing new book, she integrates a wide range of approaches with her own wisdom and offers powerful, body-focused exercises to get to know and heal yourself. In doing so, you will experience and live more of your life from your expanded Self.”

—Richard Schwartz, Ph.D., developer of the Internal Family Systems model of psychotherapy

“In Humanual Betsy Polatin invites us into a thrilling journey to living in a body. Her extraordinary understanding and training in multiple disciplines brings a unique integration of body therapy, psychology, trauma treatment and spirituality. The beauty of Betsy’s work is that rather than being an abstract expression it is applicable in everyday life. It will be a book you turn to for thoughtful support and interventions for many years.”

—Deirdre Fay, LICSW, Author of Becoming Safely Embodied Skills Manual; Attachment-Based Yoga & Meditation for Trauma Recovery

Humanual (as the author explains the neologism) reminds us that we can expand in many other ways, too, by adding proper breathing and positive thinking to the simpler business of standing tall. And by doing so and with luck becoming significantly more human as a result, as readers of this fascinating and plainly written book might well conclude, is not a bad thing.”

—Simon Winchester, OBE, New York Times best-selling author of The Perfectionists

Every once in a while, you find that rare and wonderful book that can truly positively impact your life. This is it. Join Betsy Polatin on this practical and powerful journey to authentically and actively connect to your body, mind, and spirit-self. Her compelling Humanual provided the steps I needed to gracefully reclaim the energy and flexibility of my youth. Take a deep breath and welcome in a revitalized connection to the unity of your being.

Fabulous and inspiring book!


—Bishop Heather Shea, CEO & Spiritual Director, United Palace of Spiritual Arts

“Enjoy this captivating compelling, book, the result of Betsy’s lifetime of questioning, discovery and pulling together information and knowing in a clear, unique and practical way. Betsy guides us as grounded theory supports practice in the artistic work she does as a Master Teacher. The benefit to us all is this soulful offering encompassing neuroscience, mind, body and spirit, with step by step counsel that works.

Betsy’s deep caring for the well-being of everyone on the planet shines through. This book is a gift to us all.”

—Ian Macnaughton, M.B.A., PhD, RCC, FEA, SEP, Body, Breath, and Consciousness: A Somatics Anthology

“In this masterful and encompassing work, Polatin draws on an unparalleled breadth and depth of experience—her work in somatic body practices and the Alexander Technique, yoga, meditation, trauma, breath work, and dance; her long history working with actors and musicians; and her knowledge of neuroscience, biology, physiology, and spiritual practices. Humanual is a remarkable synthesis of this master teacher and somatic body practitioner’s life of inquiry and practice. Both an inspirational guide and a practical manual, it offers a clear pathway to genuine transformation, healing, living, and being.”

—Sarah Hickler, MFA, the author of In the Moment: A Practical Guide to Movement and Improvisation for Actors; head of acting, Emerson College

“I have seen my technique and sound change tremendously from the time I’ve been studying Humanual teachings with Betsy. I consider myself a completely different singer. I have much more confidence on stage and in myself while singing. Many of my fans and teachers have told me they have heard a huge growth as well! We have worked on tools for stage fright, anxiety, grounding one’s self, fatigue, and on and on. As a performer who travels all around the world, these are “tools” I use very frequently! I wonder how I got through my month-long tours before I studied with her!!Before studying with Betsy I had no idea what I was doing to produce sound while playing saxophone or singing. Betsy has such an amazing way of explaining this work. I have been learning the importance of listening to my body. The potential of the Humanual teachings for me are endless.”

—Grace Kelly, World-renowned saxophonist, singer and composer.

“Humanual is a beautifully written masterwork-covering Betsy Polatin’s 50 years of experience and knowledge as a dancer, seeker, artist, and teacher of somatic methods, blending the power of intuition, curiosity, creativity and astute observation. In Humanual we have a wonderful encouraging, playful, confidante companion guide for learning the skills and practices that lead to deep understanding of the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual point of balance that brings us to our essence, and our potential to live fully as expanded our selves.”

Licia Sky, BFA, LMT, artist, musician, bodyworker, and somatic educator

“Humanual stands out as one of the most unique and truly integrative books I’ve seen about discovering your authentic and embodied self. Supported by thorough research and cutting-edge science, Betsy Polatin’s work as an international movement and trauma expert is evident in these pages, as she gently and carefully guides the reader through experiences and exercises designed to transform old wounds and pain into the gifts of embodiment, expression, spirit and oneness. Humanual takes you on a heart-centered journey to understanding and utilizing your vast, human endowment for love, healing, wholeness and spiritual unity. This book is a compassionate offering to all of humanity at a time when we need it most.”

–Donald Altman, author, Simply Mindful, Reflect, The Mindfulness Toolbox, and 101 Mindful Ways to Build Resilience

“Betsy taps into your body, inviting all its many parts to sit at the same table for a good discussion. The conversation can be lively or quiet, but no matter how it goes, old stuck patterns often dissolve making it possible for something new.”

—Margot McLean, Visual artist and co-author with James Hillman of the book Dream Animals.