Yoga tree pose on the beach
Yoga and the Feldenkrais Method ®
November 8, 2019
In This Issue
From the Editors
tree pose on beach
Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash
Ardha Padmasana (Lotus), Gomukhasana (Cow Face), Urdhva Dhanurasana (Backbend) - Yup, there's an Awareness Through Movement® lesson for that! While it's true that the Feldenkrais Method improves all aspects of life, it is especially useful for yoga practitioners. 
If you are one of the 40 million + people in the US and Canada  who attend yoga classes regularly, the Feldenkrais Method can help you to improve your practice and prevent injury.

According to Science Daily,  "Yoga causes musculoskeletal pain in 10 percent of people and exacerbates 21 percent of existing injuries, research shows. The findings come from the first prospective study to investigate injuries caused from recreational participation in yoga. The injury rate is up to 10 times higher than has previously been reported."

In this issue of SenseAbility, we hear from three people who find that yoga and the Feldenkrais Method are complementary practices; working synergistically to promote awareness, peace of mind, and physical vitality. So if there are some asanas that seem out of reach or full of struggle at the moment, if you'd like to improve balance and coordination, or if you'd just like to benefit more from yoga all-around -- read on! Want to see how it feels for yourself? You'll find some short video lessons in the

Our authors this month come from a variety of backgrounds. Mercedes (Didi) von Deck, MD brings her perspective as a practicing orthopedic surgeon, certified yoga instructor, and Awareness Through Movement teacher to the discussion. Her remarks will encourage you to dig deeper. Sheri Cohen is an Assistant Trainer in the Feldenkrais Method, a choreographer/dancer, and former yoga skeptic. She answers important questions: what are we trying to "accomplish" in a movement class, and how can we better know ourselves? Lastly, Buffy Owens offers her expertise as a Functional Medicine Coach, Feldenkrais® Practitioner , and spiritual seeker. She describes her journey with these two rich movement forms, leading her to an expanded outlook on self, community, and the well-being of the planet. 

May all your downward dogs be friendly,

--MaryBeth and Lavinia

Yoga and the Feldenkrais Method®:
Can You Do Both? Didi
by Mercedes (Didi) von Deck, MD

yoga class
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
The Feldenkrais Method® of somatic education and yoga are both practices that help people feel more at home in their bodies. Both use movement as a means for healing and as a means for transformation. While the ways the body moves in yoga and the Feldenkrais Method are very different, the two practices are beautifully complementary. One doesn't need to choose between them. In fact, the Feldenkrais Method can enhance a yoga practice, and the awareness that practicing yoga brings can expand through the Feldenkrais Method. 

The physical practice of yoga focuses on asana (poses) which place the body into certain positions, and holding these asanas helps strengthen and lengthen muscles. Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement® does not involve stretching or strengthening.

In Feldenkrais lessons, movement itself is what captures the attention of the nervous system. Small, slow, easy movements draw attention to . . .

Lodestones of Sensation: Feldenkrais Method in the Yoga Classroom Sheri
by Sheri Cohen, GCFP

Image source_ Wikipedia
One of the governing principles shared by the Feldenkrais Method® and hatha yoga is the notion that our experiences in the movement classroom bring us closer to ourselves; and therefore give us new perspectives on our lives in general, which may lead to greater well-being. But how does this happen? Spontaneous eruptions of pleasantness? Urgent and fastidious planning? Constant self-conscious awareness of the present moment?

Moshe Feldenkrais elucidated a theory that experience is made up of four component parts -- all interrelated and indivisible, but nonetheless describable: sensing, feeling, thinking, and acting. Action, he pronounced, is the only thing we have the power to change*. Sensing, feeling and thinking, being largely organic processes located in the body and primarily organized by our unconscious, cannot be affected by our desire, intention or will. The only area where we have choice is in action.

This is what makes the movement classroom such a potent site. In it, we . . .

Subtle Connections Buffy
by Buffy Owens, GCFP
mudra hand
Photo by Ksenia Makagonova on Unsplash

The Feldenkrais Method® can enhance your awareness and provide you with an anchor for self-study, both on and off of the yoga mat.

In fact, the movements of the Feldenkrais Method can serve as a conduit to a deeper connection to yourself, and is one of the ways in which it's similar to yoga. The difference, however, is how we go about those movements. But those differences can vary from person to person and from teacher to teacher (lineage or style). 

In most yoga that is taught throughout the United States, we are often. . .
Read More
Videos and ResourcesResources
from around the Web

stack of stones
Photo by Deniz Altindas on Unsplash
Curious to know more?

Yoga Journal recommends crosstraining with somatic practices to improve your yoga practice. 

Careful, there! Research says p articipants aged 65 years and older have a greater rate of injury from practicing yoga when compared with other age groups. Read about the study here, and then find a Feldenkrais practitioner. . .

VIDEO: Pigeon Posture for the Spine, Hips, and Shoulders.

VIDEO: Check out our colleague Erifily Nikolakopoulou (you may know her from the Feldenkrais ® Awareness Summits) and her fab yoga playlist!
Do you like to write?

SenseAbility welcomes articles from our readers who wish to share their experiences of Awareness Through Movement® lessons and Functional Integration ® lessons .
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Header Image Credit: Photo by  Kaylee Garrett  on  Unsplash
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The following are service marks, trademarks or certification marks of the  Feldenkrais Guild ®  of North America:  Feldenkrais ® Feldenkrais  Metho d (TM) , Functional Integration ® , Awareness Through Movement ® ATM (TM) FI (TM) Guild  Certified Feldenkrais Teacher (TM) Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner (TM) Prise de conscience par le mouvement (MD) Functional Integration ® FI (TM) , and  L'intégration fonctionnelle (MD)