I was recently sent this fascinating film about the groundbreaking SAGE project by Ken Dychtwald from Age Wave (who features in the film).
Ken explains :
“In the very early 1970s, two remarkable women came together in Berkeley California to midwife a grand vision of the future of aging intertwined with the future of mind/body health. Gay Luce, a brilliant psychologist and science writer joined forces with Eugenia Gerrard, an impassioned family therapist and mental health pioneer, to consider all the ways in which we might more deeply and respectfully understand and improve the aging process. They were soon joined by Esalen’s budding bodymind psychologist Ken Dychtwald.
With some funding help from friend Stewart Brand, who had experienced recent success with his Whole Earth Catalog, and with inspired counsel from Erik Peper, Jean Houston, Len Duhl, Stanley Keleman and Ken Pelletier, the group initially christened themselves the Holistic Health Council (from which the national/global movement emerged) and later renamed themselves the SAGE Project.
With research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the SAGE Project became the nation’s first preventive health program focusing exclusively on older adults. The participants ranged in age from sixty to ninety. They were divided into groups of twelve and met twice each week in four hour sessions – facilitated by Luce, Gerrard and Dychtwald (and many other guest instructors) – and had daily hour-long homework assignments over the course of a year. During the group meetings, participants learned yoga, meditation, aerobics, stress management, biofeedback, proper nutrition, art, movement and dream therapies. Throughout, they were encouraged to share their thoughts, feelings and progress with other group members in an open, mindful manner.
Over the next five years, the SAGE Project was extremely successful – by all measures. Participants were transformed by the lessons/therapies as well as their newly empowered capabilities: vitality increased, canes disappeared, friendships blossomed, creativity exploded and the worldwide media and mental/physical health worlds took note. SAGE was the prescient precursor to so many of today’s personal growth modalities, human potential programs, educational curricula and the modern field of healthy aging.
The evolution of the SAGE Project was video-recorded over the five years from idea to global model. Unfortunately all of the video tapes were lost, except for this special one: a 30 minute, black and white mini-documentary titled: “The SAGE Project: Toward a New Image of Aging.””