My practice is always evolving, therefore, my teaching is always evolving, as well. In recent years, I’ve included Pilates, Tai Chi, Feldenkrais, group sculpt classes, power lifting, kettlebell training, resistance stretching, and lots and lots of walking into my routine. All these disciplines (and the amazing teachers) have contributed to my ideas about movement and challenged my body in new and different ways. Before this exploration, all I knew was yoga, running, and nightclub bartending – all three of which did not offer many novel movements due to their repetitive nature.

Learning to use yoga props well within the Yapana yoga style is what began my departure the from the vinyasa style which I had practiced for almost 20 years. I needed the feedback the props provided me in order to identify my own compensatory patterns. I still teach and practice the Yapana style regularly. Yet, I also enjoy the freedom of practicing and teaching without props and will never fully abandon vinyasa yoga. Some of my more recent classes on Udaya reflect the skills I’ve picked up by varying my movements.

You can watch a clip from Upright and Balanced here:

Some concepts we played with in class include:
• Leveraging the effort from the legs through the rest of the body (utilize that ground reaction force)
• Elongating axially using the feet (like foot work in Pilates)
• Connecting the head neck with the neck and shoulders (easy to forget)
• Pushing out through the limbs (although pulling in from the limbs is also good)
• Adding movement to otherwise static poses (does this even need a supporting statment?)

You can watch the full class, Upright and Balanced, here on Udaya to explore novel movements in combination with classical yoga poses. Enjoy!

By Jules Mitchell

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