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Introduction to Autogenic Dynamics

For those who have completed the basic AT course with a therapist

This section on Autogenic Dynamics was originally intended primarily for those who have completed, or are nearing the completion, of the basic AT course with a therapist, and anyone else interested. In recent years it has expanded considerably in conception, and may also be of interest to counsellors and therapists in general, and in particular to Mindfulness and Autogenic Teachers & Therapists.

The term Autogenic can be taken to mean “generated from within”, which is exactly what is occurring when we are practising an Autogenic Sequence or are engaged in Mindfulness / Meditation Practice. From this perspective, we can see that Meditation and Autogenic Practices are both generating changes from within – without relying on external factors / medications.

The close overlap between Autogenic Training and Mindfulness Practices is beautifully articulated in Professor Luis de Rivera’s book: “Autogenics 3.0 – The New Way to Mindfulness and Meditation” [2018].

Research over the last couple of decades or so has revealed extra-ordinary inter-connections between Ancient Meditative type Practices, ‘Mental Training’ (such as Autogenic Training and Positive Mental Training), and neuro-science.


I find these links both fascinating and deeply humbling – in that some of the current ideas and concepts in cutting edge neuro-science and research reveal the wisdom and insights of various millennia-old Eastern Meditative Traditions.

From the point of view of ‘mental training’ and our own Well-Being, however, it is important that we keep our feet, as it were, firmly on the ground. That is to say, ideas and concepts of how meditative type practices work can interfere, if we are not careful, with the practice itself. So when we are doing an AT session, for example, the essential practice is to be gently focusing on where we are in the sequence, such as “Arms and Legs Warm”, and the simultaneous live experience (vivencia) in that present moment: and not on the neuro-chemistry of what is going on in our brains and bodies!

The term ‘Mental Training’ can give an inappropriate analytical (Left Brain) feel, and a more wholesome expression / phrase seems to me to be that of my Autogenic colleague Ruth Sewell: “Reflective and Awareness Building” Practices. In this connection, the very term Mindfulness is problematic. The Sanskrit word is Smṛti; the Chinese character for ‘mindfulness’ has two parts: the upper meaning ‘now’, and the lower embracing both heart and mind. So a more appropriate translation of the original Sanskrit term would be Heart-Mind-fulness.

In Autogenic Dynamics (Ross 2010) the phrase is used to convey in general terms the dynamics of Autogenic Training in physiological, psychological, neuro-physiological and feeling / affect / emotion domains.

In this web manifestation of Autogenic Dynamics, and particularly in sections C, D, E and F, the concept has been expanded to embrace fundamental aspects of Mindfulness and Meditation which Heart-Mind Practices facilitate. As these processes involve internal body-mind-brain dynamics, the term ‘Autogenic’ (generated from within) seems increasingly apposite.

The Autogenic Dynamics section of this website is the longest. It is divided into six sections.

A.     Physiological, Psychological and Research Matters

B.     Neuro-science and related matters

C.    Mindfulness & Mindsight – relating to the work of Daniel Siegel

D.    Autogenic Training, Meditation and Mindfulness

E.    Talks given by Ian Ross

F.    Reflections on Autogenics 3.0 (based on the work of Prof. Luis de Rivera) and Meditative Practices.

Recent additions to the above six Autogenic Dynamics sections include:


Recent/Current Year

September / October 2023 updates

This autumn there are three new articles coming into being:

  • B 28: An Experiential Introduction to ABC States of the Polyvagal Theory An outline of a brief practical guide developed with students of AT
    Having knowledge of the Polyvagal Theory per se does not really help us in our day to day lives.  However,  having a present moment and day by day awareness of what State we are in – right now –  can help us in the daily ups and downs of life, and so be a path to greater well-being . In recent years I have been  introducing an experiential dimension to  AT / Mindfulness courses, in terms of an ABC of the Polyvagal Theory. This gives us as sort of internal map and direction as to what is going on within us at any one moment leading, with practice, to increased equanimity.  These dynamics are discussed in this paper in practical terms.
  • C 13: Shadow and Light of our Time. This is an expanded version of an article that appeared in the Spring 2023 edition of the British Autogenic Society Newsletter.  The idea of the paper came to me on 11th November 2022 when my wife Bernie and I attended a live performance Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem in Edinburgh. In the article, we reflect on matters of war, destructive power, and aggression on the one hand, and those of compassion and our common humanity on the other hand – while embracing a neuro-physiological, artistic, and mindfulness perspective.

  • F 11:  Constructive Feeling Meditation: Inter-Being Part IIMeditations in and around “Call me by my True Names”
    This article, a sequel to the earlier paper (F 9: Inter-Being Part I), takes up the theme of Thich Nhat Hanh that, but for an accident in where we were born and into what family we were born, we might have been, for example, a drug baron or pirate.  These themes then become the basis for meditations.  The article also includes an extended Appendix on the ancient theme of Turning Swords into ploughshares.

These three articles are thematically interlinked.

October 2022

Three new articles appear for his autumn. These are:

This article is the final article in the trio: B25, B26 and B27

May 2022

The first three new articles planned for this year are based on the work of Richard Davidson and others over the last decade or more. The first two are now online: ·

November 2021 revised and updated articles

This year the focus has been on revising, updating and expanding four articles that first appeared on the website in 2020 or early 2021. The revisions and updates in each article appear in purple print, in order to make explicit the changes for those who have previously read the origin articles.


These are, firstly, the three articles on Expressive Autogenic Resilience Training Exercises (EARTE). They have all been extensively revised, and after each exercise there is a new specific section on the Rationale / theoretical basis for that particular exercise. This generally  include the rationale  from a Polyvagal perspective.

This group is primarily physical in nature – i.e. short physical exercises, some of which have specific neuro-physiological effects.

This group deals more explicitly with distressing emotional and feeling states, some of which involve expressive writing.

Here the emphasis is more on personal development – in terms of Self Realisation – and moving towards our Authentic Self.





May 2020 update

A new article is included:

  • B 22 A playfully sympathetic approach to the Polyvagal Theory – An introduction to Flourishing Autogenically (2020).

This is a relatively short article, and, as indicated, is a prelude to a longer article (B 23) planned to go on-line in a few months’ time.

Also: I have updated the article:

  • B6   Perceptions, flowers, and reality (previous versions 2010 and 2011)


New Articles for Summer 2020

July 2020

  • B 24: Autogenic Switches and Well-Being

This article deals with some of the underlying dynamics that can facilitate balance and harmony in those regularly practising mindful / meditative approaches such as Autogenic Training.  It brings together some fundamental concepts of Autogenic Training based on the work of Schultz, Luthe, Luis de Rivera and Micah Sadigh.

August 2020

  • A 10: Towards Transformation: Surviving and Thriving in the era of Covid 19 – and building inner long-term Resilience to the vicissitudes of life

This article focuses on building inner resilience in the context of the Covid 19 pandemic, based on the work of David Hanscom and his team – from an Autogenic perspective.  Central to this thesis is that Autogenically induced Life Style changes and Inner Transformation facilitate being better able to deal with the inevitable ups and downs of life.

December 2020

Two new articles appear as we approach the end of 2020, both on the subject of Expressive Autogenic Resilience Training Exercises. The original ideas of these arose out of Luthe’s Intentional Off Loading Exercises and his concept of the Authentic Self.  The two are:

  • A11:  Expressive Autogenic Resilience Training  Exercises: Series A 

This group is primarily physical in nature – i.e. short physical exercises, some of which have specific neuro-physiological effects.

  • A12:  Expressive Autogenic Resilience Training  Exercises: Series B 

This group deals more explicitly with distressing emotional and feeling states, some of which involve expressive writing.

These were originally conceived as one article, but then became somewhat unmanageable. I therefore decided to divide it into three sections; the above two, and a further article scheduled for

February 2021:

  • A13:  Expressive Autogenic Resilience Training  Exercises: Series C 

Here the emphasis is more on personal development – in terms of Self Realisation – and moving towards our Authentic Self.

Previous Years

November 2012:

Stephen Porges’ research has resulted in his “Polyvagal Theory”, which is introduced in A7 and A8. This theory helps us to understand the links between the autonomic nervous system and social engagement, crucial for our well being.

• A7: Porges and The Polyvagal Theory – Reflections on clinical and therapeutic significance

• A8: The Polyvagal Theory and a more sympathetic awareness of the ANS (after Porges et al)

The original B3 section on Affective Neuro-science and the work of Jaak Panksepp has now been expanded into two parts.

• B3: Part l: The Origins of Affect and Affective Neuroscience – and the misplacing of Affect in the


• B3: Part ll: Emotional Operating Neuro Circuits – a brief introduction to Panksepp’s model

April 2013:

• B13: Expressive Writing and Well-Being – the efficacy of intentionally Off Loading through writing

• B16: Antidotes to Threats our Minds Create – the Soothing and Contentment System

• C6-A: Integration and Well Being – original 3 page version (2011)

• C6-B: Integration and Well Being – expanded 17 page version (2013)

January 2014:

• C12: Presence in Mind – Autonomic Afferents and Well-Being

• B18: The Space to Choose – reflections on the gap between the stimulus and the response


• B5: Emotions, Frontal Lobe Dynamics, and Autogenic Training – in the context of autonomic afferent lateralisation

April 2014:

• B15: Towards a Growth Mindset – based on the work of Carol S Dweck

• B17: Windows of Affect Tolerance: Reflections on Childhood Distress, Procedural Learned Tendencies, and the Therapeutic Dyad [based on Ogden]

December 2015:

• A9: Emotions, Well Being and Immune Function: Awe and Shame as modulators of Being – for good or ill

• D10: Look at the Cypress Tree

May 2016:

This update involves a new category E. This relates to papers based on talks given by Ian Ross over the years.

We are starting with a talk given in London on 21st May 2016:

• Look at the Cypress Tree – Autonomic Afferents and Well-Being:  Background Research Paper for talk given to the British Autogenic Society Annual Lecture (London, 21st May 2016)


February 2017

Some years ago we looked at aspects of Autogenic Training specifically in the context of Buddhist Psychology in the article: D4: “Duhkha, Impermanence, and Inter-relatedness (Some Reflections on Sakyamuni, Inter-relatedness, and Well-Being)”.

In 2011 I started writing two further articles on this theme, which I then set aside for some years. During the last six months I have returned to these, re-written parts, and added a new third article (D11), making a series of four.  The three new articles are:

  • D8: Duhkha II  The Second Arrow and Sympathetic Afferents
  • D9: Duhkha lll  Reducing Duhkha: Experiential Modes, Mindfulness and Intuitive Working Memory
  • D11 Sukha: Paths of Well-Being, PSNS Afferents, and Inner Warmth: from Duhkha to Sukha

All three of these papers have a glossary covering some Buddhist psychology and neuro-physiological terms; the most extensive of these is in D11.

September 2017

In Buddhist psychology there are six teachings on the concept of Paramita, and these include:

  •  Dana Paramita (see web-article: D2: Dana Paramita) and
  •  Virya Paramita.Virya Paramita can be seen in terms of an Affect Regulation model which is based on four underlying principles, discussed in: D12: Diligence and Well-Being

The concepts here overlap with D3: Store Conscious and Watering Our Positive Seeds.

December 2017

During the last few years I have also been working on two articles on the origins of Separation Distress and Grief. The first of these, B19, is now available, and B20 will become available during 2018.

  •   B19: Reflections on a Secure Base – Bowlby, Ainsworth, Attachment and Well-Being
  •  B20:  Separation Distress – Neuro-physiological reflections on developing a Secure Base


Summer 2018

The article B20: “Separation Distress – Neuro-physiological reflections on developing a Secure Base, is now available.

A new Autodynamics section is being developed, Section F.  This will focus on the new Autogenics 3.0 model developed by Prof. Luis de Rivera (Madrid) during the last few years.  It is this approach to Autogenic Training that Ian Ross now teaches, having found that it has significant enhancements – and fits in better with Ian Ross’s underlying philosophy and perspective on life and AT.

This section will cover practical articles on aspects of Autogenics 3.0, which may be of value to those who have completed a basic Autogenic Training course.

January 2019

Section F: Reflections on Autogenics 3.0  (based Prof. Luis de Rivera’s work)

The first of this series of articles is now available:

  •  F1: An introduction to Autogenics 3.0 – based on the work of Luis de Rivera


May 2019

Three further articles are planned to be on line by the end of the month. These are:

  • F 2: Autogenic 3.0: an approach to the 10 Standard Exercise format for those familiar with, and practising, the Six Standard   Exercise format
  • F 6.1: Constructive Feeling Meditation I: Calm
  • F 6.2: Constructive Feeling Meditation II: Existence


October 2019

Two further articles are scheduled to be online by the end of this month, and are a continuation of the series on Constructive Feeling Meditations.  They are:

  • F 6.3    Constructive Feeling Meditation III: Zest
  • F 7       Meditation on Five Sounds that can Heal the World

The first of these, on Zest, is based on Luis de Rivera’s Constructive Feeling Meditation (de Rivera 2018); and the second, on  Five Sounds that can Heal the World, is grounded on one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s more recent books (2015).

Please note:

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information given in on this website is accurate and up to date.

However, neither Ian Ross nor the British Autogenic Society will be liable for any loss or damage of any nature occasioned to or suffered by any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of reliance on the material contained on this site. If in doubt, please consult your Autogenic Therapist or your medical / therapeutic advisor.

Please also note that the ideas expressed here are those of Ian Ross, and not necessarily those of the British Autogenic Society.

British Autogenic Society

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Get in Touch

Email: ross425@btinternet.com
Telephone: 01620 844 321

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AT Dynamics