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Somatic Yoga. Ladybug v. the Beetle

I cleaned out an old desk and found this described in a flyer from a workshop I taught in 2008:

Balancing Structure and Freedom

The student moving from precise focused alignment to an exploration of the senses will come away with a deeper awareness of asana as the physical expression of yoga philosophy. The student will also be guided to freedom of movement within and without form to create form.

  The second part of that workshop presented a study in inductive v. deductive body reasoning which is why an Iyengar student back in the day described my classes as back door yoga. The pose is revealed as the parts come together. You might say, as the parts become organized as a whole.


This is based on my experience of yoga. This is what a yoga teacher offers. It is not regurgitation of something before them.  It is the expression of that information now digested by their unique digestive juices.


My yoga developed during years of dual study in Iyengar and Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement. These practices do not involve opposing subtleties but they are opposing dynamics.  They are taught independently in different worlds of somatics. That informed my teaching at a time few people were studying either. Now I see the online yoga world discovering the benefits of subtle movement .  What felt unique to me is becoming “a thing”. That is a good thing.


But when I wonder what I have left to offer any student that hasn’t been done before, when I become frustrated that I’ve said and done it all, I am reminded by something I say or think that  yoga and I are constantly renewing. That is the fuel that keeps me going. A person needs to feel useful to stay interested in a job. Any job. A yoga teacher must stay interested.


So the other day when I surprisingly heard myself ask students to look for sensation that was more a ladybug than a beetle landing on the skin, I was delighted. I have never said or thought that before. I remembered why I continue to cultivate the teaching of yoga at a time yoga often appears to lack the potential for awareness and the extraordinary that drew me to it. My delight fed my passion again for now. This is more than the subtle of yoga. In this third chapter of a yoga teacher’s life, this is the subtle awareness of life.