Michael comes to DAYA Foundation with a wealth of experience and a passion for movement as a Rolfer and movement educator.
What is your first memory of Yoga or something you recall about your first yoga class? If it was something you felt was challenging, what brought you back?
As luck would have it, my first yoga class was with Richard Freeman in Boulder, CO in 1990. Richard saw my interpretation of down dog and immediately put me in legs up the wall pose and told me for now this would be my down dog. Brilliant! I had just begun my training at the ROLF Institute and was exploring Somatic movements after years of ballistic sports like weight training, football, basketball and cycling. The challenges of integrating breath and awareness into strength and balance led to deep self-exploration, and was a perfect compliment to the structural changes I was experiencing from Rolfing. Yoga also gave me useful language to use with my clients who studied yoga, and for my students who teach.
How does your practice support you in meeting life’s stressors and challenges with more balance or equanimity?
The intention and experience of ‘staying on the mat’ translates into everyday life by creating presence of the chair I am sitting on, the pen in my hand, the food in my mouth. Like the chatter in my head or the world outside the window when I am on the mat, I have more tools to concentrate not only on daily tasks, I can notice things I may never have if not so centered. The calm often allows me to question my own answers to the same problems I was trying to solve in the past.
What led you to follow a path of teaching?
I consider myself a movement educator. All movement requires kinesthetic awareness, and for this we need to know where center is. Once identified, awareness of the this ‘core’ can be translated into any expression of the body – from Tadasana to power lifting. Rolfing provides a method in which to make changes to the shape of the body, which directly creates opportunity for more efficient and dynamic movement. It is this potential which truly inspires me. The human form can put together an infinite combination of shapes because it is adaptive and malleable. Possibilities are endless.
What inspires you about teaching?
The lineage of teachers I have had the great fortune crossing paths with all had a common sentiment, and that was to ‘pass it on’. Not having proprietorship over any information passed on to me is perhaps my strongest belief. We are hear to learn and teach. Nothing more. Well, and love. Same thing. And, information is not knowledge. Creating new and appropriate metaphors and analogies that translate messages to a student who gets it is what gives me the most satisfaction. Moshe Feldankrais told us he does not teach anything he just tells stories. I tell stories, too.
What motivates you to come back to the mat to practice when life gets hectic?
Is that is a rhetorical question? LOL. I am not on a mat every day and yet there is yoga in my every day life. Breathing, sitting, standing, resting, are all flavored with some element of what I have learned.
Join Michael on Wednesday mornings at 6:30 for Yoga Body Shop: A blend of anatomy, asana, and somatic movement.
Michael Feldman is a Physical Education Professional specializing in Pain Management, Postural Alignment, and Functional Anatomy/Movement. He believes Structural Imbalances in the body caused by past trauma, repetitive actions, and the stress of daily living can lead to pain or injury when unaddressed. Michael has great skill diagnosing these imbalances, taking into account both personal and physical history, and finds resolve using Hands-On Therapy, Self-Care, and Re-Educating the Body to move with Ease and Comfort blending his wide range of study and out-of-the-box style. After completing his degree on a four year football scholarship from Syracuse University, Michael began his wellness career in 1988 as a Fitness Coach, was certified by The Rolf Institute in 1992, and Pilates, MELT Method, yoga, Cross Fit, Feldenkrais, Motor Control, and a wide range of Osteopathic and Somatic based trainings have occupied his ongoing quest for finding the right tool to restore well being to his clients and students. Described as a ‘hybrid healer’ Michael has a gentle intelligence and genuine passion to share his knowledge with anyone committed to living a better, more comfortable life in their body. He also presents his creative concepts to a variety of audiences including the Rolf Institute Membership Conference, AMTA National Meeting, Yoga Journal Conference, Reebok, Adidas, and Yoga Works.