Section: Yoga
Supporting Methods
With 14 years of experience as a Certified Kripalu Yoga teacher and 7 years as a Feldenkrais practitioner, I have had a great deal of fun experimenting with how yoga and the Feldenkrais Method are similar and different, and when and how it makes sense to integrate them. I have discovered that it doesn't have to be an "either/or" situation, nor a blending together into an unrecognizable hybrid. Below are some examples of how I bring yoga into my Feldenkrais teaching/learning and how I bring the Feldenkrais Method into my yoga teaching/practice. I do this with the intention of being clear about when I am doing Feldenkrais and when I am doing yoga.

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Lodestones of Sensation: the Feldenkrais Method in the Yoga Classroom
One of the governing principles shared by the Feldenkrais Method and hatha yoga is the notion that our experiences in the movement classroom change our selves, and therefore change our life experiences outside the classroom. But how does this happen? Spontaneous eruptions of well-being? Urgent and self-conscious planning? Both of these?

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Getting to Know the Neighborhood
One of the appeals of yoga is its large number of interesting and inventive poses, called asanas. While a typical illustrated yoga book for home practice shows 30 asanas, a master practitioner in New York, Dharma Mitra, has photographed himself in 908 positions. He has printed these on a wall chart that measures 6 feet by 4 feet.I came upon this chart one afternoon in the ladies changing room at the Sun & Moon Yoga Studio in Arlington, Virginia. As my eyes passed from one photo to the next, I felt a mounting exhilaration. The sense of discovery and invention was amazing.

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Saluting the Sun with the Feldenkrais Method
Yoga classes have always been a gathering point for people with widely diverging abilities, interests, and states of health. Two of my yoga students with very different problems found benefits from Feldenkrais work.

Kathleen Clute had been coming to my yoga classes for several months. Being in good health, she enjoyed the classes but found her lack of flexibility annoying. She had done yoga for years and regularly included the Salute to the Sun (a series of 12 consecutive movements, coordinated with breathing, that are repeated several times) both as a warm-up and to get in shape. One of the more difficult movements starts in a push-up position. From there a foot is brought forward and aligned with the hands.

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Yoga and The Feldenkrais Method
Born with three fused vertebrae in my neck, by my early twenties I was beginning to experience pain down my spine and into my low back and hips. It was very difficult to sleep at night or to keep still for long periods of time without a rush of pain. By my early thirties the pain was enough to send me to see an orthopedic surgeon. He informed me that nothing could be done and that most likely, because of the arthritis already apparent in my spine, I would be in a wheelchair by my fifties.
Side Effects You Want
The Student Says:
As I wound my way up the highway from Los Angeles, I felt myself relaxing as I got closer and closer to Big Sur. The weather was clear and beautiful, a perfect warm California autumn afternoon. As I slowed down to negotiate one of the narrow hairpin turns, my car was struck head-on by a 60 foot semi. The truck was much too long for the tiny road, and had crossed over into my lane to avoid going over the cliff. At the time I didn't agree with his choice.
The Joy of Discovery
Yoga poses and movements are meant to unfold from the core of an individual's spine, breath, and awareness, rather than be copied from a model outside ourselves. The Feldenkrais approach evokes this unfolding from within, gradually and steadily developing suppleness and release through the rib cage, stable balance through the limbs, shoulders, and pelvis, and fluid integration through the spine, tail to crown. These are the skills that make challenging poses easy! In fact, Moshe's promise," to make the impossible possible" is listed in the Yoga Sutra as a benefit of yoga practice.

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The Feldenkrais Method with Yoga and Tai Chi
Yoga, a practice that was developed well over three thousand years ago and formally organized into a methodological discipline is based on finding pathways that connect and integrate body, mind, and spirit. Taoist yoga, now known as Tai Chi qi gong, came from India to China, had a similar intention, and its own special application. Both utilized and cultivated a process of body movement awareness.