Force and Flow is an oasis in Brooklyn for Mind-Body Fitness and Holistic Wellness. Our specialties include Pilates, Yoga, Qi Gong, Thai Yoga Bodywork, Chi Ne Tsang and Energy Work. We offer individualized private sessions, intimate mat classes, therapeutic bodywork and specialty workshops.
The Spring into Summer semi-private group session is off to an amazingly successful and rich start. It’s also full, sold out in a few days! We’re focusing on our spines – how we experience mobility, stability and release – so I thought I’d share with you some of the ideas and material we are exploring over the course of the seven weeks on this here blog.
This week I’d like to do that via some questions that Alison sent me after our first class. Most of our time in class is spent on the very grounded and focused task of sensing our body and its movement, but what we discover in this process can be absolutely amazing. So after 36 hours of experiencing her spine in a newly relaxed and open way, Alison started to wonder about the source of some of the tension. She asks:
To what extent are spinal structures inherited or acquired? Some people seem genetically to have strong, straight spines, that curve in the right places but not too much, while others just do not.
What a great question! In fact, in one form or another, it’s one of the questions that has motivated me all these years. Where do these patterns to which you seem to be bound most of your life come from? And more to the point, can you change them? So here’s what my experience has led me to understand… Continue reading
“In going against a habit, for example, like eating or sitting in a certain way, we are not struggling to change the habit. Or in trying not to express negative emotions, we are not struggling against the emotions themselves or struggling to do away with their expression. It is a struggle with our identification, to allow the energy otherwise wasted to serve the work. We struggle not against something, we struggle for something.” Jeanne de Salzmann
Relaxing in my garden frees me up to be more productive
I posted this quote on the Force and Flow Facebook page* last week, and it’s come up in conversations every day since.
Which tells me how rich and relevant it is for so many of us right now! So I’m going to come back to this topic over a number of posts, but to begin with, I’ll offer up the quote above and the questions below:
- Are you having a hard time changing your habits?
- What are you struggling against?
- What are you struggling for?
Leave comments and questions below if you like, I will answer them all
*I post all kinds of great quotes and links to interesting material on the FB page, as well as an early heads up about what’s going on in the studio. So make sure to visit and “like” us to get updates!
Are you ready to dive more fully into your body, shake off winter and greet summer with the same vibrant, relaxed energy it beams at you?
Spring into Summer
at Force and Flow
A 7-Week Semi-Private Group Session Focused on Mobilizing, Stabilizing and Releasing the Spine
Wednesdays at 7PM, May 15 – June 26
Sundays at 11:30AM, May 19 – June 30
- Do overcrowded Yoga, Pilates and movement classes leave you feeling more stressed and brittle than supple and rejuvenated?
- Are you ready for the kind of detailed information and personalized attention that can catapult you to the next level of comfort, energy, flexibility and strength?
- Do you love to learn and feel ready to bring your physical intelligence up to speed with your brilliant mind?
- Are you committed to opening your awareness, aligning with your highest potential and moving consciously through life?
Then you are invited to join a small group of other brilliant, creative, and inquisitive folks like yourself to experience the Force and Flow approach to holistic mind-body movement.
Our focus this session will be on our spine – our antenna to the world and the trunk that connects our sky reaching head and limbs to our roots in this world. I’ve gathered a number of incredibly potent exercises from the worlds of Yoga, Qi Gong, Pilates and beyond, and cohered them in a systematic flow focused on developing an emergent understanding through a felt sense of the dynamics of mobility, stability and release of your spine. Continue reading
The smell of forsythia wafting in through my window right now is intoxicating, as is the anticipation of the warmer days and all they bring with them. I’ve been as anxious as you for the arrival of Spring, which is making a slow entrance here on the East Coast, and thrilled with every extra hour of light and degree of warmth we’ve gotten, but also relishing the slow transition of the seasons this year, which is giving me time to digest all the insights the winter months brought and to acknowledge the shedding of old skin in this Year of the Snake.
If you noticed that I’ve been on hiatus from the blog and website lately, it’s because I’ve been taking the time to take my own advice – stepping backwards, acknowledging my vulnerability, emptying out from old patterns and beliefs so that I can fill up with ones that are more aligned with where I’m going, and planting seeds, yes, a lot of planting, cultivating and tending new seeds. I’ve included the gallery of photos below to share with you some of where I’ve been, internally and externally – if you click on them individually the title will tell you what they’re about.
It’s been busy here in the studio, and I am incredibly grateful to all my clients for the opportunity to share this amazing work that I have had the privilege of studying, discovering, and articulating. The feedback from many of you has been incredible, and I am listening carefully as I engage in the process of upgrading my business so it not only serves you better, but reflects the true and enduring value of this incredible work of tuning in to our bodies and connecting to our most fundamental being.
Photo by Kimberly Bryant
Sometimes the hardest step to take is the one that takes us backwards.
Here’s an example. I’ve been working with C. for over two years now and by most standards he would be the envy of his peers in terms of physical capacity. In his sixth decade of life, he is in good health, fit and extremely flexible. He’s been practicing Yoga since before most people knew that it existed and works out at the gym regularly, yet despite his daily practice there are a number of physical pains and limitations that he hasn’t been able to overcome – Yoga poses that consistently elude him, chronic pain that limits his range of movement and tightness that won’t go away no matter how much he stretches.
I’ve seen people much younger than C. encounter these same dilemmas and answer them with a resigned “that’s just the way my body is”. Actually, our body is just exactly how it is right now, and since now is always changing, the thing that keeps our body the same as it was a moment ago is the way we are using it. Continue reading
Photo by Rex Hohlbein
I’m ambivalent about Valentine’s Day. My first memories of celebrating it are from fifth or sixth grade, an awkward preteen just a few years into life in the US. As far as I could decipher at the time, it was a holiday about making cards and determining who was worthy of love, a combination of joyful art projects and candy eating and terrifying battles with insecurity and self-image.
As an adult, by now well-versed in American culture, I can appreciate the novelty of a day that’s put aside to celebrate our intimate relationships, and since I mostly ignore mass media, I manage to avoid the pressure to measure myself or my relationships to some kind of ideal. In truth, with our incredibly busy and work-focused lives, we could probably stand to do a lot more celebrating of the incredible value of our human connections, in all their shapes and forms.
I’d like to start by celebrating the most intimate relationship we have, which is with our own body. Continue reading
Walking is falling with intention, dancing is just falling with style!
I’ve been spending time digging through all the notes I’ve taken over these years of crafting Force and Flow as a vehicle to carry me closer to my dreams. I was somehow under the impression that when the year of “sabbatical” I gave myself came to a close, all my big questions would have been answered and I’d be on a clear trajectory to the next step. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that in many ways, I am exactly where I was a year ago! Continue reading
An exercise – whether it be a yoga asana, a pilates move, a meditation technique, an aerobic sequence, a weight lifting maneuver, and so on – is a charting device. It helps you to map the territory, get to know the landmarks, and learn pathways for navigating from one place or state in the body and mind to another.
An exercise is not an end in itself. It is not a measuring stick for determining your capacity or worth. You are not “better” if Continue reading
"...this is what my work is about - genuine connection and a rich learning experience"
I just discovered Seth Godin, a wizard of sorts and innovator in the world of digital connections. His interview with Krista Tippett on On Being came to me just in time, via a friend and phenomenal wordsmith, Laylage Courie, who knows that Force and Flow and the work I do is a multifaceted labor of love that just doesn’t fall into any of the readily marketable categories out there. Continue reading
An acquaintance asked me about ergonomic chairs yesterday. He’s at Columbia, doing a PhD in Statistics, and is subsequently faced with a massive amount of reading. This means he’s spending a lot of time sitting down to read, but is desperately uncomfortable having to sit for any stretch of time – which makes getting through all the reading difficult, and at the cost of being a good student he’s not being so good to his body.
He’s considering a couple of different options – a set of adjustable pillows or a very pricey chair – and wanted my opinion on the matter before he went spending lots of money. Here’s what I suggested: Continue reading