Always Be Dancing

Yoga and Flamenco for Every/body & Mindful Book Reviews By Eve


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Mateo Finds His Wow A Story Of Wonder And Gratitude by Gabi Garcia

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Mateo Finds His Wow A Story Of Wonder And Gratitude by Gabi Garcia (Illustrations by Charity Russell; Skinned Knee Pub.) 

Gabi Garcia has done it again! Mateo Finds His Wow is a beautifully worded and illustrated story about a child in a funk who, through simple mindful attention, discovers the “wow-ness” of life in the moment. Ms. Garcia’s books fill an important niche in children’s mindfulness books as her books are so well crafted and sincere that they fit the needs of both adult’s and children’s connection to the stories.

This book packs a ton of wow! Be prepared to be positively changed by this wonderful book of awareness, curiosity and the amazement of the little things in life. The book is accompanied by bright wall charts that are helpful reminders of how to find the ¡WOW! in life.

A special note about the lovely and beautifully detailed illustrations by Charity Russell. They match the story perfectly and I really love the eye catching and fun fonts. 3 Cheers!

Thank you to the author for sending me this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

For more information about me, please visit alwaysbedancing dot com

#bookreviews #children #picturebook #mindfulness #alwaysbedancing #evecostarelli #fiction #iameve #theaccidentalkundalini #peacemoji #gratitude #wow #influencer

 


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Today’s Kriya: Feeling 10 Feet Tall and Bullet Proof

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July is a hot month! You can choose to channel its fiery intensity into positive thoughts, ideas and bursts of creative energy. Let go of irritability, damaging aggression and bursts of negative emotions. Use the friction to spark positive change!

The playlist:

  1. Om Namo Guru Tune-In by Shakta Kaur Khalsa
  2. Cosmic Cycles by Bachan Kaur
  3. Circles by Adam F
  4. Mondo Grosso (Fearless Mix) by Artist Unknown
  5. Bah Samba (Yoruba Soul Vocal Mix) by Tired Little One
  6. Words (Yoruba Soul Mix) by AbysSoul, Sio, Osunlade
  7. Rose Maria by Chambao
  8. Tangos De Mi Novia by Son De La Frontera
  9. Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam by Snatam Kaur
  10. Har Hare Hari Wahe Guru by
  11. Long Time Sun by Paramjeet Singh & Kaur

Continuing this week on the theme of activating the 3rd Chakra, the seat of your willpower, by activating the abdominal muscles while at the same time striving to completely relax the abdominal muscles, to help them release inherent patterns of restriction and stress. A free and balanced third chakra/abdomen will lead to better digestion and elimination physically, emotionally, mentally and energetically. Heal & Release!

Joy on the inside and peace on the outside,
Loving on the inside and laughing on the outside,
Kissing on the inside and healing on the outside,
Flowing on the inside and thriving on the outside,
Clearing on the inside and accepting the outside,
Shining on the inside and shining on the outside.

Even though it’s not on the play list for today, I have been thinking a  lot about the mantra Om Narayana Shanti Om as sung Wade Imre Morisette. The words just make such sense. Love yourself. Heal yourself. Shine on! Shine on!. The mantra basically means paying respect, peace and love to the ultimate being.  You do not have to focus on the identity of a god or a particular being or belief. Just reach deep inside yourself, so far in that you are in your bliss body-the ultimate state of oneness and find your caliber, character, consciousness, courage and commitment. (These are the 5 C’s of Yogi Bhajan). I look at them like the map to being authentically you.

Caliber= Quality/ Character= Your essence/ Consciousness= Intelligence/ Courage= Determination/ Commitment= Dedication

The following set is based on the Kundalini Yoga, the Kriya for Navel Center and Elimination. My classes are a fusion of my life as a flamenco dancer and a dedicated yogi. I have always just wanted to dance. From the days I spent watching Soul Train on Saturday mornings while dancing in my living room using the large picture window as my own private studio mirror, go-go dancing at Man Ray, being embraced by the punk rock community, becoming a Bohemian, discovering the spirituality of the house dance family, tap dancing, flamenco…flamenco…flamenco…to yoga…yoga….yoga…the fusion begins.

  1. Leg Pistons (2 min.)
  2. Double Leg Lifts (1 min./30 sec rest; repeat)
  3. Sphinx with butt kicks (2 min.)
  4. Baby (2 min.)
  5. Stretch Pose w/ Breath-of-Fire (1 min.)
  6. Stand: feet together; gracefully pendulum side-to-side (2 min.)
  7. Stand: Twist; L arm out; palm front; R hand to chest. (2 min.)
  8. Dance (15 min.)
  9. Alternate leg lifts (2 min.) Didn’t fit into the class.
  10. Seated “U” B-o-F (2 min.)
  11. Easy pose. Arms overhead; palm-to-palm; close eyes; meditate on 3rd eye. Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam Siree Wahe Guru (2-3 min.)
  12. Rest deeply (3-5 min.)
  13. Group Meditation: Har Haray Haree Wahe Guru (5+ min.) This truly was the best part of class. I cannot thank the participants enough for their willingness to try something new!


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Mindful Cookie Eating Exercise: English and Spanish Instructions/Ejercicio Consciente de Comer Galletas: Instrucciones en Inglés y Español

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Below, I adapted a mindful eating exercise from John Kabat-Zinn to include the art of eating a cookie (home-made with love, of course!) for the students at Framingham High School in the SLIFE program, a program dedicated to supporting students with limited or interrupted formal education. I have spent three years cultivating mindfulness in this classroom which has included things such as chair yoga, Yoga Jenga, coloring and worksheets, group discussions about replenishing much needed personal energy supplies and of the meaning of MWE (Me+We=MWE), passing a spoonful of water around the circle or having a group moving a table with a bowl of water on it without spilling and as many crafty ways that I could come up with to share the concept of mindfulness with them. My heart has exploded repeatedly with the kindness these students have shown me by helping me with my Spanish, heart hands showing up in photos and the real clincher was when a group of them started singing along to Cameron de la Isla’s “Rosa Maria” (please, my heart, be still!). All these ways have really opened the door for them to hear me and ingest some of the mindfulness strategies and techniques I have laid out for them. All these years, the lead teacher, Hannya Lord, opened her door (and her heart) to me. Some years the class was weighted with Spanish and Portuguese speakers, other times it was not so simple but somehow, we all managed to come together and have laughs, learn how to relax, and to pay a little more attention to ourselves, our immediate surroundings and the world around us.

Holding, Seeing, and Touching:

Examine the cookie it as if you were an alien and had never seen such a thing before. What do its features look like? How does it fit in your hand? How do the ridges feel on the pads of your fingers?

Sostener, ver y tocar:

Examíname la galleta como si fueras un extraterrestre y nunca hubieras visto algo así. ¿Cómo se ven sus características? ¿Cómo encaja en tu mano? ¿Cómo se sienten las crestas en las yemas de tus dedos?

Smelling:

Hold the cookie to your nose and smell its aroma. Really get a sense of it. Does the smell arouse your senses? Does your mouth or stomach react?

Olor:

Sostén la galleta en tu nariz y huele su aroma. Realmente tener una idea de ello. ¿El olor despierta tus sentidos? ¿Su boca o estómago reaccionan?

Placing:

Take a small bite of the cookie and place it on your tongue. Just hold it there. Examine the cookie with your mouth, without chewing. How are you reacting? How does this cookie feel?

Colocación:

Toma un pequeño bocado de la galleta y colócala en tu lengua. Sólo mantenlo allí. Examina la galleta con la boca, sin masticar la. ¿Cómo estás reaccionando? ¿Cómo se siente esta galleta?

Tasting:

Take another small bite of the cookie. Notice the adjustments and placements your mouth and tongue take in order to bite this cookie. When you bite, notice the texture. Note the flavors as they release. Pause after a few chews and experience the flavor and texture in your mouth. Continue chewing and noticing. Does the taste change?


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Roots And Wings: A handbook for parents and educators to promote positive change based on the principles of mindfulness by Alex Koster M.Ed.

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This is a wonderfully helpful book that is passionately written from deep in the soul of the author. Alex Koster openly shares her knowledge on how a mindful approach to life can bring about positive family, community and societal change in this increasingly digital, impersonal, self-absorbed age. The simple but effective strategies and techniques she offers give parents and educators the mindfulness tools they will need to “put their air masks on first” and then be able to help their children become confident, happy, compassionate adults.

The main message I took away from this book is that by living a more aware, kind and joyful life, life itself will be more enjoyable. Therefore, I will be a more loving and lovable person who is then confident, happy, and compassionate enough to help my children and for those who I care for. Sounds like a win-win to me!

I highly recommend this wonderful book. It’s heart centered approach is just what is needed to diffuse the stress of today.

Thank you to the author for sending me this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Yoga set to Reduce Anxiety

Breathing exercise to Reduce Anxiety: *Breathe in 10sec/Hold 10/Breathe out 10. Continue For 5min. (Can work up to 20/20/20)

*Up Mountain

*Chair (with “pass-the-present” arms)

*Low supported flat back (with “Spirit of Ecstasy” arms)

*Standing child’s pose

*Standing child’s pose (with flat back)

*Standing forward bend

*Lunge (Left foot back)

*Float hands

*Standing split

*Try one hand off, other hand, both hands

*Low lunge

*Plank

*Low plank

*3/4 Cobra (feel the hood)

*Extended child’s pose

*Down Dog

*Up Mountain

*Lightning Bolt

*(missing) Standing flat back

*Standing forward bend

*Lunge (Right foot back)

*Float hands

*Standing split

*Try one hand off, other hand, both hands

*Low lunge

*Plank

*Side plank

*Side plank (in tree)

*Side plank

*Side plank (in tree)

*Down Dog

Kriya for a Healthy Bowel System:

*Windmills: Exhale bend; inhale up.

*Right hand to left foot, continue 1min.

*Left hand to right foot, continue 1min.

*Left/Right alternate, pause at each foot 5sec., continue 3min.

*Left/Right alternate, pause at each foot 25sec., continue 2min.

*Left/Right, each foot hold for 2min.

*Corpse pose 2-3min.

*Side Bends. Inhale bend; exhale up. 1min.

*Twist. Inhale twist; exhale center. 1min.

Meditation for Emotional Balance:

**Drink a glass of water, for kidneys.

*Easy pose

*Arms crosses; Hands in armpits (palms face in)

*Raise shoulders (not crunch); keep neck in line

*Close eyes

*Slow-Deep-Breathing 3-11min.


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Today’s Kriya is the Nabhi Kriya for Prana-Apana from the Aquarian Teacher by Yogi Bhajan

Today’s Kriya is the Nabhi Kriya for Prana-Apana from the Aquarian Teacher by Yogi Bhajan

1. Life Nerve Stretch var.

• Right leg straight

• Leg Foot on Right side of leg; a comfortable seated floor-tree so you get maximum stretch with as little strain as possible.

• Hold Foot. Bend straightened leg until you can grasp toe. Stretch might increase by straightening leg as pose progresses.

• Press thumbs against big toenail

• Tuck chin so back of neck is very long

• Breath-of-Fire 1min. Focus on big toe through eagle eyes.

• Switch sides

• Inhale/Exhale/Relax.

2. Kicking Buttocks

• Alternately kick buttocks with heels.

• Inhale while raising a leg; Exhale while striking buttocks

• 2min.

• Inhale/Exhale/Relax

3. Leg Pistons

• Inhale, left knee to chest; right leg out parallel to the floor. Extended leg stays parallel to floor.

• Exhale as left leg extends and right knee comes to chest

• Powerful breath 2min.

• Inhale extend both legs out.

• Exhale/Relax.

4. Front Platform

• Press up; weight supported by hands and tops of feet (Do not lock elbows)

• Straight from Head-to-Toe

• Breath-of-Fire 2min.

• Inhale and hold breath briefly

• Exhale.

• Inhale.

• Exhale completely and hold breath out briefly.

• Inhale/Exhale/Relax

5. Stretch Pose

• Raise heels 6”

• Raise head & Shoulders 6” and stare at toes.

• Arms stretched by sides pointing at toes.

• Inhale hold briefly.

• Exhale.

• Inhale. Exhale completely and apply Root Lock.

• Inhale/Exhale/Relax

6. Heart Center Stretch for Healing

• Spread arms 60 degrees, parallel to ground, as if to open arms to embrace someone.

• Take a few Long-Deep_Breaths.

• Inhale, make fists and bring fists to the center of chest, as if pulling in a great weight.

• When fists reach chest center, exhale forcefully.

• Repeat 2-3 times.

• Arms out again. Tense fingers. Long-Deep-Breathing 1min.

• Slowly bring hands hands approximately 4 inches form chest, palms facing, not touching each other. Stare at the space between the palms and feel the energy flow between the hands.

• Long-Deep-Breathing 1min.

• Bring palms together. Meditate with attention at the Brow Point. 1min.

• Bend forward from waist, bring forehead and palm to floor. Relax. 1-2min.

7. Caliber of life Meditation: Conquer mild depression and discouragement

• Easy pose

• Light neck lock.

• Extend arms straight forward, parallel to ground. Elbows remain straight through the whole meditation.

• Curl fingers of right hand into a fist.

• Extend thumb straight up.

• Wrap fingers of left hand around right, so end of palms still touch and extend thumb straight up, so that both thumbs touch along their sides. There will be a tiny “v” between the tips f the two thumbs.

• Focus eyes on this “v”.

• Look as if through a eagle eyes, seeing far away and seeing the “v”.

◦ Inhale deeply 5sec.

◦ Exhale completely 5sec.

◦ Suspend breath out for 15sec. (can increase hold to up to 1min.)

◦ Start with 3min and work up to a maximum of 11min.


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Always Be Dancing: 40+ Day Kundalini Kriya and Meditation Series

My day starts with an 11-minute Sa Ray Sa Sa meditation.

This version is to be practiced on the Full Moon, but I was so inspired by this meditation for Saturday’s full moon (5/4/2019) that I am continuing with it, for at least 40 days.

This version of the meditation is a key to opening the flow of Kundalini. The new awareness will give you the authority to make the right choices to conquer the ugliness of life. You will be peaceful and secure. *Yeah, I need this!

Mantra:

Sa Ray Sa Sa, Sa Ray Sa Sa, Sa Ray Sa Sa, Sa Rang

Har Ray Har Har, Har Ray Har Har, Har Ray Har Har, Har Rang

Mudra and Movement:

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  1. Start with hands flat together in Prayer Pose at the Navel Point. Breathe in.
  2. Sa Re Sa Sa, ascend the palms up the center front of the torso passing all the chakras, about 4·6 inches in front of the body

*Passing by Heart Center, begin to open the hand mudra to resemble a lotus flower; fully open by the time the hands reach the level of the Brow Point. (The open lotus has the base of the palms together, the little finger tips touch and the thumb tips touch. The rest of the fingers are spread open to express an open lotus flower.)

*The full path up coordinates with: Sa Ray Sa Sa, Sa Ray Sa Sa, Sa Ray Sa Sa, Sa Rang

4. Har Re Har Har turn the fingers to point down, with the back of the hands touching

*It is a reverse Prayer Pose. Slowly bring this mudra down the chakras in rhythm with the music until the fingertips reach the Navel Point on the sounds Har Rang. Then turn them around and begin again.

*The full path down coordinates with: Har Ray Har Har, Har Ray Har Har, Har Ray Har Har, Har Rang

Time: 11 – 31 minutes.

Here is Nirinjan Kaur’s FANTASTICAL version!

 

             Meditation for Prosperity II (Har Har)

                                          Posture: Sit in Easy Pose, with a light chin lock 

                                  Eyes: Focus at the tip of the nose, eyes are 9/10th closed.

Mudra: Elbows are by the sides, forearms are at a 45° angle, with the fingers at the level of the throat. The exercise begins with the palms facing down.

Alternately strike the sides of the hands together. When the palms are face down, the sides of the Jupiter (index) fingers touch, and the thumbs cross below the hands, with the right thumb under the left.

When the palms are face up, the Mercury (pinky) fingers and the Moon Mounds (located at the base of the palms) touch.

Yogi Bhajan said that the thumbs crossing in this way (right under left) is the key to the meditation.

Mantra: Har

Chant continuously from the navel, using the tip of the tongue (pronounced “hu-duh”).

Time: Continue for 3-11 minutes. To end, sit quietly and reflect on the vibration of the mantra. 

Set for the Nervous System and Glandular Balance*

This kriya is for reducing stress and fortifying the mind and body to effectively respond to change in a healthy way.

*I am doing all the exercises in this kriya for 3 minutes each. It is a very powerful kriya and after doing the full sequence on day-one, I decided to break it down so my body and mind are more prepared and can sustain this for a 40 or more day challenge. Please remember to breathe and rest between each section. I find that to end, I breathe in through my nose, with closed eyes, I roll my eyes up to look at third eye, and hold my breath for 10-15 seconds. I also make sure to have a gentle neck lock and root lock**.  I like to notice the colors that appear before my “eyes”-noting their relation to the chakras. I then continue to breathe normally and rest for another 2-3 breaths before I continue on. 

**I describe the sensation of the neck lock as a subtle lifting-up behind the ears to create a long back of the neck and of the root lock as a gentle pulling-up on the muscles of the “seat” as if to try and lift yourself off the floor.

  1. Sit in Easy Pose with the arms extended straight out to the sides parallel to the ground. The palms are facing up. Begin to move only your Saturn finger (the middle finger) up and down rapidly. Using a powerful breath, inhale as you raise the finger and exhale as you lower it. Continue rhythmically, coordinating this movement with the breath for 7 minutes. This exercise stimulates the pituitary to create a balance between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.
  2. Remain is Easy Pose. Stretch the arms out in front parallel to the ground. Place the left hand over the right interlacing the fingers with the palms facing down. Begin to rapidly swing your arms from side to side, moving the head and neck in the same direction as the arms. Keep the elbows straight. Continue coordinating the movement with a powerful breath for 5 minutes. This exercise makes the body very flexible. It also strengthens the chest muscle and stimulates the lymph nodes in that area.
  3. Sitting in Easy Pose, extend the arms straight out in front, parallel to the ground. Make fists of the hands with the thumbs tucked inside touching the fleshy mound below the little finger. Keeping the arms and hands straight, bring the left arm up as the right arm goes down. Continue alternately moving the arms up and down forcefully, coordinating the movement with forceful breathing for 8 minutes. This exercise works to balance the parathyroid gland and stimulates weight loss.
  4. Butterfly Pose. Sit with the soles of the feet pressed together. Draw the feet into the groin, keeping the knees as close to the floor as possible. Interlace the fingers and place the hands in the lap.

Inhale and raise the arms up over the head while simultaneously drawing the knees up towards the center of the body. Exhale and lower the knees and arms down to the original position. Continue rhythmically coordinating the movement with powerful breathing for 8 minutes. This exercise balances the prana and apana, and sets the navel point.