Always Be Dancing

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


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Meditation: Getting Started

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How does one start to meditate? I started meditating about 5 years ago. I wanted to start before that but just never sat down on my own and meditated. When I started, I had little knowledge of “how-to” meditate. I thought you needed to sit absolutely still, in total silence and think of nothing. Yeah….you can guess how well that went.

But overtime, it seemed to take hook. I was never sure if I was meditating correctly and often felt I was not doing it right or well, but I stuck at it and it stuck to me. First, I found that I needed to meditate in the morning, because if I waited until later in the day, it did not get done. So every morning, after I made breakfast for my son, I would sit on the other sofa and meditate…listening to him munch his bagel and gulp his milk. I felt like a pro! Look at me sitting here, not moving, blocking out the sounds around me….but I still felt like I was not doing it right and it was not “affecting” or “effecting” me correctly.  But I stuck to it. And it stuck to me. It was oddly satisfying and if I did not do it, I felt like I was missing something that I wanted. My brain wanted it. My body wanted it. My soul wanted it.

Enter Kundalini. In Kundalini, everything is organized and makes sense. The exercises have aim and purpose and are felt physically, mentally and energetically. There are physical movements or stillness encased by specific breathing patterns, chants and mudras. This allows for the seeing, the hearing and the sensing of of what’s happening  within minutes of starting a practice. The truth is in the doing. Here form really follow function. Kundlini fits all bodies, all sizes, all adaptations without getting lost in the “what my body should look like” thoughts. 

Also, Kundlini is a gold mine when it comes to varied meditations. Kundalini offers metal, physical and emotional distractions that ope the gateway for meditation that is wholly enjoyable and accessible. 

     Two Meditations to Start Your Journey:

                            Kirtan Kriya/ Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation

Kirtan Kriya, often referred to as SA TA NA MA meditation, is the most important meditation in Kundalini Yoga. If you can do only one meditation, this is it. It will readjust and align you to bring balance into your body, mind and spirit and thus your life. It is your teacher. It is your best friend. 

The bottom line is that this meditation works. All you have to do is do it. You can trust the process and the technology.

Directions:

Sit with a straight spine. Bring your mental focus to the brow point/3rd eye point.

Chant SA TA NA MA.

While chanting alternately press the thumb with the four fingers. Press hard enough to keep yourself awake and aware of the pressure. Keep repeating in a stable rhythm and keep the hand motion going throughout the whole meditation.

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SA press the thumb and the pointer or Jupiter finger together with pressure.
TA press the thumb and the middle or Saturn finger together.
NA press the thumb and the ring or Sun finger together.
MA press the thumb and the pinky or Mercury finger together.

The Jupiter/Pointer finger brings in knowledge, expands our field of possibilities and releases us from limitations.

The Saturn/Middle finger gives us patience, wisdom and purity.

The Sun/Ring finger gives us vitality and aliveness.

The Mercury/Pinky finger aids clear communication.

Visualize or feel each individual sound come in the crown chakra at the top of the head, down through the middle of the head and out to infinity through the third eye. This is very important and must be done with each sound. It is an essential part of the cleansing process. If this part of the meditation is not done, you may experience a headache.

While doing the meditation, you may experience pictures of the past come up like on a movie screen in your mind. Let them dance in front of your eyes and release them with the mantra. This is part of the cleansing of the subconscious mind. If emotions come up, you can also incorporate them in the chanting, i.e. if you feel anger then chant out the anger. Whatever you experience is OK. Do not try to avoid or control your experiences. Simply be with what is going on and go through it. It is all part of the cleansing process.

** Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation is becoming scientifically recognized as a powerful tool for preventing or stopping Alzheimer’s disease, increasing all aspects of cognitive function, (perception, thinking, reasoning and remembering) and reducing stress levels while improving short term memory.

                                          Morning Meditation

6 minutes version:

  • 1 min out-loud
  • 1 min whisper
  • 2 min in-head (can add tongue movements) with hand movements
  • 1 min whisper
  • 1 min out-loud.

This meditation can be done for 6-31 minutes. Just keep all the segments equal length (the silent section is repeated twice). It can really be done for as little as 3 minutes (30 sec, 30 sec, 1 min, 30 sec, 30 sec)

31 minute version:

  • 5 min out loud
  • 5 min whisper
  • 10 min in-head (tongue moving) with hand movement
  • 5 min whisper
  • 5 min out-loud
  • [1 min listen inside, hear the mantra, experience it. No hand movements.]

                                        Evening Meditation

                                      Sa Ta Na Ma Variation

3-30 minutes

Rest hands in lap. Fingers interlaced with the pads of the thumbs pressing into each other

Rest eyes gently looking at tip of nose; eyes may close.

Sniff in 4-counts, mentally saying Sa-Ta-Na-Ma.

Hold breath while mentally repeating the mantra 4 times.

Breath out through the nose in two strokes while mentally chanting Wahe/Guru. (Wahe/Wow! + Guru/Inner teacher = Cheers to my inner super hero!)

To end: Breath in for the count of 4. Hold breath for the count of 7. Breathe out through a circle mouth, making a whooshing sound, for the count of 8. Repeat 4-8x.

                                          Practice Timing:

3 minutes: Affects your circulation, blood chemistry and stability of the blood. The increased blood circulations begins, distributing enhanced neuroendocrine secretions throughout the body.

7 minutes: Brain patterns start to shift from the static of beta waves, to calmer alpha waves and ultimately to deep relaxing delta waves. Simultaneously, the magnetic force surrounding the body increases in strength.

11 minutes: The pituitary gland, glandular system and the nerves start to learn and change. The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems begin to accommodate the increased energy.

22 minutes: Anxiety producing thoughts in the subconscious begin to clear. Your three minds (negative, positive, and neutral) start to work together so your mental integration changes. 22 is the infinite number of longing and gives mastery of the mental realm.

31 minutes: Affects your whole mind and your aura. Endocrinological balance is achieved, as is balance of the chakra’s of the ethereal body. This balance persists throughout the day, and is reflected by changes in moods and behavior.

                                            Amount of days: 

11 days: 11 is the number of Infinity in the material world and conqueror of the physical realm. So it’s like the first step to break loose from the entanglement of the mind.

40 days: Helps to break negative habits that block you from the expansion possible through the Kriya or mantra, if done 40 days straight in a row

90 days: When you practice the Kriya or mantra for 90 days straight it will establish a new habit in your conscious and subconscious mind. It will change you in a very deep way.

120 days: When you commit to practice the Kriya or mantra for 120 days without skipping a day it will confirm the new habit of consciousness. The positive benefits of the Kriya get integrated permanently into your psyche.

1000 days: This will allow you to master the new habit of consciousness that the Kriya or mantra has promised. No matter what the challenge, you can call on this new habit to serve you.


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Chair Yoga to Balance The Injured Body

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I was inspired to create a chair yoga sequence with the aim to create healing energy for realignment physically, mentally and emotionally for a friend of mine, who is recovering from a Tibial Plateau Fracture . Not only does a physical injury throw the body out of physical alignment, like the game Topple where every little shift away from center creates the need for the body to readjust itself to be balanced. The left compensates for the right, the right compensates for the left and back and forth it goes. Like in the game, though if too much weight is shifted to one side, it topples over. In the human body,  this can lead to other injuries, depression and general deterioration of health.

Yoga’s goal is to balance body, mind and spirit. It uses various modalities to affect the positive effect on the physical body, the emotional state, the state of consciousness and the energetic impression , but not solely through postures that are often unattainable for injured, stiff, elderly and physically disabled persons. I realize one of my gifts,  is to help bring movement and balance back to these bodies, inside and out. I feel my yoga creates a safe space for healing, flying, dancing….wholesome goodness to create a pathway for self-healing.

The Sequence (click here for video of the sequence)

  1. 5-Minute Breathing (each section 1 min; between each section, release the nostrils and breath deeply several times with both nostrils):
  • Breathe only with the left nostril (male, calming). Block of the right gently.
  • Breathe only with the right nostril (female, fiery). Block the left gently.
  • Breathe in with the left and out with the right, only.
  • Breathe on with the right and out with the left, only.
  • Alternate Nostril Breathing: In with the left, out with the right; in with the right, out with the left
  • If you have trouble inhaling or exhaling, with a finger, gently lift the area on your face, near the cheekbone, on the same side as the nostril. Lifting that area can open the sinus passage and allow for freer breath. You can notice this in the accompanying  video of the sequence. Before beginning the next exercise, take a moment to make sure your feet are aligned properly-big toes slightly in so that the outer edge of the foot is parallel with the outer edge of the mat. Feel the triangle beneath the foot between the pads of the big and little toes and the center of the heel. Notice that the knees should follow the same line created between the second and third toes.
  1. Spinal Flex (2-3 min)
  2. Suffi Grind/Coffee Grinder, both directions (2-2 min)Processed with VSCO with g3 preset
  3. Side Twists/Washing Machine (2 min)
  4. Shoulder Shrugs (2 min)
  5. Lazy Neck Rolls, both directions (1-1 min or 2-2 min)Processed with VSCO with g3 preset
  6. Alternate Leg Stretches (2 min)
  7. Life Nerve Stretch with Breath-of-Fire (BoF) , both sides (1-1 min or 2-2 min)
    Processed with VSCO with g3 preset
  8. Downward Facing Dog (2 min)
  9. Bridge (2 min) or 12-26 times
  10. Ego Eradicator w/ BoF (1-3 min)Processed with VSCO with g3 preset
  11. Healing Meditation/Rest (5 min)

Play List:

  1. Triple Mantra by Bachan Kaur*
  2. Aeo (pts 1 & 2) by Brian Briggs
  3. Circle by Adam F.
  4. Expansions by Lonnie Liston Smith
  5. Brazilain Rhythm (Fearless Mix) by Mondo Grosso (esp. good for Breath of Fire)
  6. Life Is Something Special by NYC Peech Boys
  7. Bah Sama (Yoruba Soul Mix) (esp. good for Breath of Fire)
  8. Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung by Ajjet Kaur**

*Aad Guray Nameh, Jugaad Guray Nameh Sat Guray Nameh, Siri Guroo Dayv-ay Nameh  (Surrounds you with a power shield of protection)

Aad Such Jugaad Such Hai Bhee Such Nanak Hosee Bhee Such (Clears away obstacles that block your personal growth)

Aad Such Jugaad Such Hai Bhai Such Nanak Hosee Bhai Such (All obstacle remover)

**Ra Ma Da Sa, Sa Say So Hung is the healing meditation used to generate healing energy for friends, family, ourselves, the planet.

 


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The Accidental Kundalini: Release Elementary Stress and Build Strength and Stability

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Yoga on the Downtown Common, Framingham

Saturday July 13th, 2019

This weeks Kundalini Fusion class is based on two kriya’s. The first for Releasing Elementary Stress and the second for Strength and StabilityIMG_2987. I had one lesson planned out but was so inspired by my own class last night that I did some adjusting and I am even more satisfied with the flow now. In general, for maximum benefit, kriya’s should be done in full,  but this is not a Kundlini yoga class-just one inspired by it. I also know that benefit will be reaped even in this fusion form. What can I say…I like to color outside the lines. I want to do something that no one else is doing which will be the authentic representation of the energy inside my soul that inspires me to dance. #AlwaysBeDancing

Elementary stress causes imbalances by creating blockages inside the body. They act like a dam blocking the flow of prana/life force energy through the body-therefore causing illnesses to arise physically, emotionally, and energetically. We need to open the flood gates to release this stress.

Sometimes we have to create friction (and even look at our own inner friction) to initiate change. By channeling energy into our third chakra, the seat of our willpower, we can become stronger and more stable and will be able to initiate, carry through and absorb positive change in our bodies and out lives.

July is an exceptionally fiery and creative month. Use friction to your advantage to channel energy for good within you and let go of destructive, negative habits. Use this “hot” energy/friction as a positive tool to proactively move forward in your life.

Playlist:

  1. Ong Namo by Shakta Kaur Khalsa
  2. Ek Ong Kar by Tina Malia
  3. Initiation by DJ Taz Tashid & Ingmarlo
  4. Boy With A Coin by Iron & Wine
  5. Brazilian Rhyme (Fearless Mix) by Mondo Grosso
  6. Hey Hey by Muete
  7. Dinner At Sugarbush by Brent Lewis
  8. Expansion by Lonnie Liston Smith
  9. Rock Creek Park by The Blackbyrds
  10. Chattr Chakkr Vartee by Nirinjan Kaur
  11. If At First You Don’t Succeed by Aaliyah
  12. Ease My Mind (DJ Premier Remix) by Arrested Development
  13. Me Myself &I by De LA Soul
  14. Ram Ram Haree Ram Ram Ram Haree Haree meditation by Snatam Kaur
  15. Long Time Sun by Paramjeet Singh & Kaur
  16. Rockin’ Robin by Michael Jackson

 

Sequence: Once started, the class will flow in it’s natural form. Not all parts of the sequence may be practiced.

  1. Seated Warm-up
  2. Slap n’ Clap in 5’s
  3. Rib Slap
  4. No-No Hands
  5. Drum the Ground 
  6. Seated Dance
  7. Chattr Chakkr meditation. Rhythmically sit straight. Hypnotically go to sleep.
  8. Eagle
  9. Treadmill
  10. Stretch Pose
  11. Cross Crawl
  12. Ram Ram Haree Ram Ram Ram Haree Haree meditation. Egyptian mudra
  13. Rest/Savasana
  14. (Possible: Group clapping game, if time permits)

 


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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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Kundalini Woman’s Set

Quiet meditation in rock pose 3min

Life Nerve Stretch L-D-B; L/R 3min

Camel var./ Camel pose 3min

Shoulder Stand L-D-B 3min

Archer L/R 5min

Baby 3min

Bow L-D-B 3min

Locust 3min

Cow L-D-B 3min

Cat L-D-B 3min

Stretch B-O-F 3min

Corpse 8-10min

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