As I have my next feldenkrais training this weekend, the connection between feldenkrais and ashtanga is on my mind. One of the things that my feldenkrais method seems to have in common with ashtanga is the emphasis on not making extra or unnecessary effort. With the feldenkrais lessons, you use your body as a laboratory, to sense and feel how you make movements and where you are making extra effort. The attention alone will tend to reduce the extra effort (ie. you don't need to figure out how to relax whatever part of your body is contracting).
Yoga Bee's excellent guest post at My Yoga Blog illustrated this with her discussion of the David Swenson workshop she attended on flying and floating. The example he gives is how cats and dogs fall:
"To drive home his point, David compared the image of a falling cat with that of a falling dog. Simple observation of a cat being dropped with its feet in the air, shows that the cat remains supple and relaxed during the flight. The cat activates only the bare minimum of muscles, turning the legs towards the earth just at the exact moment. Timing. Breath. And a focus on the moment of landing. Dogs in comparison, freak out."
and this corresponds to how we should focus on landing softly when we jump back.
This caught my eye because I have recently started to jump forward and back in the suryas, for the first time since my injury. Interestingly, they don't aggravate my ankle..and I think it is because I am relaxed when I jump back. In contrast, I still have problems if I have to run (even a few steps) for the bus or train..and when I am "running", I am definitely anxious about making my foot hurt. I know they are different activities, but the original problem was with jumping on it in yoga. How to relax when doing this sort of running..that will be the next challenge.