THE BEGINNINGS OF ALIGNMENT SCIENCE *** AS SEEN ON: http://americanyogafoundation.org/history.htm
It can be said the American Yoga started like so many other discoveries, by coincidence.
Monica Lind, a ballet dancer trained by Lew Christenson and Leonid Massine, had her career interrupted by polio. At that time Monica had just completed a Broadway show for Julie Stein and Sammy Cahn and was dancing lead roles for Leonid Massine of the Ballet Rousse in New York.
Determined to cure this illness and dance again Monica went home to Portland, Oregon. There, she contacted George Emigh, the trainer of the Portland Beavers baseball team. They worked on developing exercises that would get Monica to move her right leg and hip. Monica also developed intuitive movements and within a year, by working with these movements, despite severe pain, Monica was able to resume teaching basic ballet classes at her own dance school. By the end of three years Monica was once again ready to pursue her brilliant career in dance.
This experience coupled with the acute physical awareness required of a ballet dancer was a rare mixture for Monica and she became interested in freeing up the body in general. In the dance field there are many physical problems that Monica felt were due to an insufficient knowledge of the body and its releasing capabilities through natural means. Monica worked with many dancers on their physical problems and started to develop an instinct for designing natural exercises that would help people release distortions and tensions from the body.
Then while studying singing, Monica made some startling discoveries related to breathing and the body. This led her to experience many releases that were evasive until that time. The magic ingredient, the body’s own breathing apparatus which can expand and move the body from the inside and help restore the vitality to muscles, is now an integral part of American Yoga.
While teaching dance in Portland, Oregon to children, Monica saw how the children imitated bodily habits and emotional attitudes of parents and adults. This imitation was well developed in many children and would shape and limit them for many years of their lives. This led to discoveries on freeing the body-mind of conditioned attitudes.
Between dancing engagements in New York, Monica donated her time to working with the elderly at old age homes helping them to release their bodies. This illustrated that the alignment principles she discovered work effectively through the spectrum of age.
Then while performing in NYC and operating a dance school. Monica started a practice of private and group classes. Dramanatomy, was a therapy through dance movement, breathing and analytical examination of emotional attitudes that inhibit a person’s physical performance. Monica introduced and innovated many new exercises combining breathing and movement that were extremely successful. Lovingly, her students named this method an American Yoga, the yoga of performance.
In 1962 Harmon Hathaway, a therapeutic counselor and accomplished athlete and gymnast, started working with Monica. By 1966 Harmon was working in partnership with Monica, teaching and developing sessions to help athletes release accumulated tensions and stress.
In 1969 they formed The American Yoga Foundation and a center was built on 132 acres in upper NY State with the help of Augustus Lightheart, Bruce Lano and other friends. The Center is for the continued development of American Yoga and for Meditation.
note: Monica Lind’s career is documented at the Performing Arts Library of Lincoln Center in New York City.
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