Donna Wood Blog

The Weight of the Universe – July 21, 2018

What lovely creature of the world would you guess these came from?

As an artist, I was drawn to the shape and form of these beautiful turtle bones as discovered by a friend on a ranch. They are exquisite. In art, the turtle represents strength, steadfastness, and the ability to endure through time—qualities we wish to see in ourselves and the people around us.

The turtle is long-lived and respected. With her powerful spine and shell construction, she is well-shielded from her harsh surroundings. In mythology, it is the powerful turtle who holds and supports the weight of the entire universe.

As a Feldenkrais practitioner, I was struck by what appears familiar— the structured ribcage, spine, and pelvis. These boney structures resemble human bones in a way but are curiously different. Adaptation immobilized the turtle’s ribcage millions of years ago, providing a base for its strong defensive shell. Our flexible ribcage helps us to breathe, conversely, a turtle uses its shoulder blades and hips in much the same way, from inside the ribcage! They move downward and outward like bellows, bringing air in and out of the lungs.

It is fascinating how two vastly different beings have developed such individually complex, yet beautiful, ways to accomplish the most basic tasks of life. The turtle is an example of how a function creates the form. The turtle’s spine is a real-life example of “use it or lose it”.

There is beauty all around us, we just have to look!

Uprooted and Rooted – May 8, 2018

When I was in Florence, Italy, at the Bargello museum, I saw a bronze sculpture depicting the epic battle between Hercules and Antaeus. According to Greek mythology, Antaeus is the son Poseidon; God of the Sea, and Gaia; Earth Goddess. Antaeus compelled everyone he encountered to wrestle him—to the death. He seemed to be invincible; whenever thrown or pinned to the ground, his strength increased.
Antaeus challenged Hercules to a wrestling contest, but Hercules recognized his fatal flaw. Antaeus drew strength when making contact with the Earth, his Mother. With this knowledge, Hercules was able to defeat Antaeus by uprooting him from his source of strength, lifting him upward in an epic bear hug, squeezing until his opponent perished.
This dramatic depiction is representative of the struggle we all face to remain grounded amid forces and distractions that uproot us, both literally and figuratively.
Two ways I try to maintain a rooted connection to my source of spirit are martial arts and Feldenkrais. Both, quite poetically, also keep me connected to the floor, the same Earth that gave power to Antaeus.
What connects you to your roots? What keeps you grounded? Let’s chat about it at the studio. – DW


Persimmons and Pomegranates – November 20, 2017

Shadows get longer as the days get shorter during this gorgeous bittersweet time of the year. These are the shortest days of the year and a perfect time to reflect, looking inward. In fact, this is when Persephone begins her descent into the Underworld.
For us, this can be a time of developing greater stability and groundedness. For Demeter, her mother, it is a time for mourning the loss of her daughter, so she takes away the sun, leaving us with cooler and darker evenings.

This period of the year is also fertile for planning and the incubation of ideas. I’m beginning to dream and imagine the sculpture project I wish to begin in January. To help facilitate that, I will be selling all the old stuff in the studio in order to create space for something new to enter.

Please join us for a Studio Sale on Saturday, December 2 at 9:30a-3pish. There will be a FREE Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement class at 8:30a. There will be an open studio sale all day, including fine art cards, pottery, jewelry, and of course, bronze sculpture, all hand-made by yours truly. Please come to class and consider going home with a unique gift for someone! – DW



 My Love of Drawing – November 6, 2017

Introduction to Monthly Drawing Workshop

My love for drawing began very early. As a child, I would spend hours drawing with my Dad. He was a painter. We would draw together for many hours without even speaking. These are minutes and hours I cherish to this day. I’ve carried this love of drawing my entire life. My drawing practice is my mindfulness practice. It allows me to see the world differently. It forces me to see details that often go unobserved.

My drawing practice also feeds my sculpture practice. Usually, I draw or sculpt, taking inspiration from the life that is inside me, and the world around me.

It is a very rare and special treat to draw or sculpt from a live model. Beginning this month, November, we will bring a model to the studio, for a monthly drawing workshop. Everyone is invited to participate!  We will divide the price of the model among all the artists in attendance- so the cost will be minimal. More details to follow. This will be a fun event, please join us! – DW


 Feldenkrais and Aikido – October 16, 2017

Aikido and Feldenkrais, Feldenkrais and Aikido
Some of our readers will notice changes on the website this month to better position some of our educational and informative content. The more it comes along, the more we can see familiar schools of movement brought to the forefront. One example of this is the somewhat recent addition of Aikido to our class offering and web tree. I recently had a moment to ponder on my formative years in the Dojo and thought I could share some of my story with you to better unify and outline why Aikido, Feldenkrais, and other movement teachings fit together in class, and how they came together in my life in particular.
Starting with Aikido, I first encountered the Japanese martial art as a 16-year-old. Since then, I have immersed myself intensely and obsessively in the practice. Aikido has been absolutely essential to my life and has been instrumental in shaping me into the person I have become. Its teachings, more than the obvious physical challenges and lessons, help to develop one’s sense of self and possibility. This a benefit felt deeply, whether in motion or sitting perfectly still.
I was introduced to the Feldenkrais Method and began studying it while I was an uchi-deshi, studying Aikido and living at the Dojo. The knowledge of these two threads of learning, these two movement systems, has provided cross-fertilization, and have intertwined and co-mingled with each other in interesting and unexpected ways. I practice Aikido and Feldenkrais with single-minded dedication, a study that has been long and deep. It is sometimes difficult to know where Aikido ends and where Feldenkrais begins, they flow so beautifully into and out of one another. I see each one as a part of the other. My teaching reflects this as I incorporate both streams of knowledge and movement. This means that there are fewer hard lines separating worlds. – DW

Moving with Kids – August 7, 2017

I have been working with the kids at a Tijuana school for almost 2 years now, teaching Feldenkrais, art and Martial arts. I have been working with the kids at a Tijuana school for almost 2 years now, teaching Feldenkrais, art and Martial arts. I have learned so much doing this, and it is always so much fun. I’ve recently noticed that some of the things that I do with the children have circled back into my teachings with adults and teens. Several of the new class offerings directly reflect what I am doing in Tijuana at the school.
People that I’m working with in San Diego, (and in several other places as well) have expressed interest in this ongoing project. I’m currently working with the kids on a weekly basis. I would like to experiment with bringing a group of people to participate on a monthly basis. Many hands make for lighter work. There is no commitment to make. If you would like to participate in some way, please join us! Every month there will be different projects we can engage in; from helping to build a house for a local family, or helping someone learn to read. These are small, simple, things that make a world of difference (This almost sounds like Feldenkrais)!
Absolutely everyone is invited, Spanish speakers, non-Spanish speakers, and loving hearts of all ages. It will be fun, helps people out, and will grow and expand our community of like-minded movers. Our first event will be Saturday, August 26, from 1-4;30p. If you are interested or know someone who might be, please don’t hesitate to contact me. See you at the studio. – DW

Coming Home – March 3, 2017

Even from my vantage point from a window seat 2,000 meters in the air, Mexico City is breathtaking. She stretches out in every direction; sprawl, glitter, and beauty. This cmexico_blogity is everything that I love.
I am returning home from teaching a series of intensive workshops. It has been overwhelming, exhausting and absolutely wonderful beyond measure! Two weeks of intensive teaching and LOTS of FI giving. I return home energized and inspired.
I’m looking forward to classes at the studio this month. We have some new things beginning in March, including a new Feldenkrais Lending Library and Feldenkrais At Home audio packages. In addition to the regularly scheduled class, will also be a weekly aikido session. We will break in our new tatami mats with some break falls! See you at the studio. – DW

Growing Community – Nov. 14, 2016

After a whirlwind of teaching, it’s nice to be back home at the studio. I recently instructed at Feldenkrais workshops in Brooklyn, San Jose, and two in La Mesa. Wonderful to meet and learn with each one of you. Thank you for participating and being part of this community we are growing!

destination_imageSpecial gratitude to Geri, Lisa, and Janet for creating these beautiful gatherings. Many thanks to Mark and Wes, also, for masterminding the project and making it concrete. I couldn’t do this without any of you.

I’m particularly enamored with the la Mesa workshops. What a beautiful experience with lovely people in a spectacular setting. The community which we are building in San Diego is one I am very excited to contribute to. Positivity and togetherness are virtues valuable beyond words.

Wow! Let’s continue with what we started. In January, taking inspiration from the La Mesa workshops, Feldenkrais San Diego will offer a monthly Saturday Feldenkrais intensive 10:30-2:30. Please join us. Details will be announced soon.

In Mexico, the Sharda Community Movement Arts Center will open its doors in Tijuana. So excited to be teaching the first classes at Sharda this Friday at 6p.

Also in Mexico, we raised $337 for the children at Hogar Juvenile San Juan Bosco Orphanage! Thank you, Marilyn. Wonderful!! – DW

Summer of Transition – Oct. 18, 2016

This has been my Summer of Transition.  A time of loss, growth, introspection, engagement and new projects. I spent the summer teaching Feldenkrais at a school in Tijuana. This has been a tremendously rewarding learning process for me; teaching in Spanish, working with children and their families. Incredible.

As a natural extension of this experience, a group of friends and I are creating the Sharda Community Movement Arts Center. Sharda is located in Playas de Tijuana. Of course,  all my Feldenkrais classes at Sharda will be taught in Spanish.

Along with the theme of transition, I recently opened a new studio in San Diego. I held a showcase week of free classes and a fun little social after the last evening class where I enjoyed chatting with students and friends new and old. I thank everyone that attended and look forward to seeing you in class again.

orphanageDuring the showcase week, and in lieu of the free classes, I collected donations for the Hogar Juvenile San Juan Bosco Orphanage in Mexico, where I have many friends and worked with the children. We collected a total of $227.00! Thanks to all of those who donated for their generosity.

Coming up, I am looking forward to our destination workshop in La Mesa, where I will be teaching intensive ATM. Contact me to RSVP, space is limited! – DW