Always Be Dancing

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

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Youth Flamenco, Inclusion Yoga and Tween/Teen Yoga with Eve Costarelli 2014-2015

Lola's Fandango
Youth Flamenco on Wednesdays; Classes start Wednesday September 10th, 2014
@ The Dance Complex, 536 Mass Ave., Cambridge, MA

Youth Flamenco 1 (ages 5-10); 4:00PM The class is designed for children aged 5 to 11 with zero to 1 year of flamenco dance experience. This class includes basic technique of flamenco dance to include correct posture, hand, arm, and foot placement. The student will become familiar with basic flamenco vocabulary. The course will include exercises that will develop the clarity of the students’ footwork, develop their upper-body to lower-body coordination. Basic castanet playing exercises are practiced. Repertoire will be taught. Required attire: leotard or fitted top, castanets, flamenco shoes and skirt for girls. Castanets and flamenco boots for boys. Pre-Registration for Fall-Winter 2014 session, as well as Winter-Spring 2015, contact Eve Costarelli for more information. No drop-ins.

Youth Flamenco 2 (ages 9-16); 5:00PM Two years of dance experience required. This class offers Flamenco technique to improve posture, hand, arm, and foot placement. Exercises that will improve clarity of the students’ footwork, upper-body to lower-body coordination as well as stamina and endurance are included. Medium to complex footwork and choreographic variations are taught. Required Attire: Flamenco shoes, flamenco skirt, leotard or fitted top, castanets. Other dance accessories may be required such as Spanish hat, mantón and fan, when necessary. Pre-Registration for this Fall-Winter 2014 session, as well as Winter-Spring 2015, contact Eve Costarelli for more information. No drop-ins.

Inclusion Yoga
Inclusion Yoga (ages 6-10) and Tween/Teen Yoga on Thursdays: Classes start Thursday October 2nd, 2014
@ Open Spirit Center, 39 Edwards St., Framingham, MA

Inclusion Yoga (ages 6-10); 3:45-4:35PM This inclusion class will help children with Autism, special needs, and typical learners to feel comfortable with all people, noting that everyone is different and that’s OK. The class combines breath work, movement, guided meditations and a deep relaxation period to help children learn to be aware of their thoughts, emotions and what their bodies say. This specialized program is designed for typically developing children, and children with special needs, including but not limited to; Autism, ADD/ADHD, OCD, Anxiety, PDD, Sensory Processing Dysfunction, PTSD, CP and DS. Students must be able to take verbal instructions and follow along in a group setting with support. Pre-Registration for this Fall session, as well as other sessions throughout the year, are available Led by Eve Costarelli. $90 for the Fall session, no drop-ins.

Tween/Teen Girls Yoga (ages 11-18); 4:45-6:00PM This class brings older tweens and teens together to explore how yoga can help them better understand and appreciate their changing bodies, relationships, and lives. Yoga can help tweens/ teens move through these often-challenging years and emerge with healthy ways to address stress and find balance. Classes will help empower teens and inspire self-awareness and body confidence, and are fun, upbeat, and non-competitive. Yoga poses, philosophy, breath work, meditation and journaling will be explored. This class also presents a wonderful opportunity for tweens/ teens to come together, laugh, and build friendships within the Open Spirit community. Pre-Registration for this Fall session, as well as other sessions throughout the year, are available Led by Eve Costarelli. $90 for the Fall session, no drop-ins.

Privates are available, slots are filling quickly.
Flamenco and Yoga parties available for children and adults. Yoga Classes & The Common Core, Weddings and Corporate events available. Please inquire.

Eve’s other projects include:

Nourishing Teachers, Strengthening Classrooms Project @ the Framingham Public Schools; Framingham, MA

The Birth of Flamenco @ Young Audiences of Massachusetts; Greater New England

Yoga in the Park @ Ivy Child International; Worcester, MA

Core Yoga In Schools @ Brighton High School; Brighton, MA

Yoga Reaches Out: Kid’s Yogathon; Natick, MA

Smell The Roses Flyer

Working with kids and animals…

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There is a saying “Never work with kids and animals”….but I cannot imagine a better “job” in the world!  

Last night, I had the awesome opportunity to include some of my youth flamenco students in a performance with the Boston Arts Consort. Last night was the Feria de Abril at the Democracy Center in Cambridge , MA. supported in part by the Highland Street Foundation and Art Week Boston. It was a huge success, played to a SRO audience!

The first half of the show was Zarzuela and Feria. My students and I paraded onto the stage, dancing flamenco, to cheers and ooh’s and olé’s, from the audience. This was free-flamenco movement that is so lovely and allows each child to express themselves as they see fit, without any constraints. This can be difficult at times. Being free in front of people can cause fear, embarrassment, and self-consciousness.

Prior to our starting, I had a pow wow with the kids and talked about how to relieve the symptoms of stage fright. I used the example of a movie star, who on the set, has perfect hair, make up, costumes, memorized lines and even a fake accent. We adore this person as an actor! But what if we met this person on the play ground? Their hair would be messy, no make up, regular clothes, no memorized lines and no accent! This is the same person. One is the actor person, one is the person they really are. When we perform, we must be the “actor” part of us, who is not the same as the regular us. It was a good analogy; the kids really got it.
Here are a few more tips:
*Be prepared. Know what you have to do for the performance. That means you have to have practiced prior to the event.
* Be calm. Take breaths in and out through the nose to calm your body and your mind. Inhale like you are really savor into a delicious smell so it fills you up like a balloon, then slowly allow the breath to slide out of your body, letting the body deflate and relax.
* Remember that the audience will be amazed at your fearlessness! Most people do not have the ability to perform in front of others…you do! I guess this is the one we say to imagine the audience in their underwear…
* Be energized, confident and “in the zone”. Allow yourself to draw from all the energy around you, to use that energy to lift you!
* Be in the moment. Be mindful. Do not reside in what happened in the past or what will come in the future. Dance for that moment and give your all. That is true. That is art.
“The strings may be squeaky and worn, the voice cracked and hoarse. What counts here is not the pure and polished sound imposed by the anxious academician of our conservatories, but outrageous expressiveness…a sound too human to be heard without a total upheaval of one’s being. A heartrending cry that rips through the guts and immerses the listener in the sacred ecstasy of the duende.” Bernard Leblon/Author
* Before you go on, do some type of group bonding activity, such as all hands on top of each other in the center and a huge shout of “Ole!”!
* Get your sillies out! This was best helped by Bianca the juggler!

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I don’t know why they say “Never work with children or animals”? For me, it is always an experience of a life time. I graciously thank all my students and families! ¡Viva Sevilla! ¡Viva España! ¡Viva Cambridge! !Viva the Boston Arts Consort! 


Below is the program form the event. If you missed us this time, I hope you’ll be able to join us the next. For all the audience members-thank you!

¡Ole Namaste!

The Boston Arts Consort Presents

Feria De Abril

April 26, 2014, The Democracy Center, 45 Mt. Auburn St., Cambridge, MA

Linda Papatopoli, pianist and director;

Liz Leehey, clarinet, Eva Lorca, flamenco artist with youth dancers

Josie Howe, Ainoa Nashat, David Perez-Lawrence and Frida S. Vasquez;

Roberto Rios, flamenco guitar, Clara Sandler, mezzo-soprano,

and visiting artist, bass-baritone Miguel Angel Machinandiarena



-Sevilla from “Suite Española”…………………………………………….……… Isaac Albeniz

-Vals del Caballero de García from “La Gran Via”….…………….……….Federico Chueca

-Tango de la Menegilda from “La Gran Via”…………………….………….Federico Chueca

-Fiesta from “Miniaturas”…………………………………………………………Joaquin Turina

¡Que Viva Sevilla!.……………………………….Traditional dance by students of Eva Lorca

-Romanza from “Luisa Fernanda” ……………………………………..Federico Moreno Torroba

-Sevillanas………………………………………………………..Traditional dance by Eva Lorca

-Duo: ¿Porque de mis Ojos los Tuyos Retiras? from “La Revoltosa” ……….Ruperto Chapí


-Brief Intermedio-

-Herencia Gitana………………………………………..……………………………Juan Mostazo

-Nana from “Siete Canciones Populares Españolas”………………..………Manuel de Falla

-Te Lo Juro Yo…………………………………………………..………………..Miguel de Molina

-Sevillanas del Siglo XVIII from “Canciones Españolas Antiguas”..Federico García Lorca

-Tangos en Tono de Tarantos…..………………………….……Flamenco dance by Eva Lorca

-Zapateado from “La Tempranica”……………………..………….………..Geronimo Giménez

-Porompompero…………………….…………………….…………………..Juan Solano Pedrero

¡A Bailar por Sevillanas!


Many thanks for the support of Sarah Cadorette, Democracy Center Chief Coordinator,

Joe Cugini, tech support and set design, and the Madison Park Culinary School for supplying our delicious churros.


Drawing from the many talented artists and scholars here and abroad, The Boston Arts Consort presents programs that combine the aesthetic, cultural and literary aspects of its themes for a multi-faceted and enjoyable audience experience. At the heart of its programming is the music of Spain; Programs include Goyescas: When Art Becomes Music; Scenes of Spain in Music andTapas; and Lorca in Song and Poetry. The Consort continues to explore contemporary composers of Spain, and looks forward to programming a series of events in 2016 for the centenary of the great Spanish composer Granados. We are thrilled to be part of the inaugural year of Boston’s Artweek.


Meet the artists…

Linda Papatopoli, pianist and director, is active as performer and teacher in the Boston area, as well as giving workshops and concerts in Japan and Italy. In recent years her repertoire has expanded to include her passion for the music of Spain, and her lifelong interest in literature and culture led her to found the Boston Arts Consort. She was recently commissioned with soprano Meena Malik to record a series of Japanese art songs for Japan’s Children’s Song Alliance, and her arrangements for voice, clarinet, and piano of Falla’s Siete Canciones Populares and Lorca’s Canciones Antiguas will be recorded this year. Ms. Papatopoli is on the faculty of Boston College and the Solomon Schechter School Enrichment Program of Newton.

Luis De Haro, Executive Director, brings entrepreneurship to the nonprofit community through his experience in business development and real estate asset management, but his love for his native culture is reflected in all of his community efforts and in his dedication to the Boston Arts Consort. As a connoisseur of Spanish cuisine, Luis launched a specialty food business in Boston’s South End. He teaches a long-running tapas class and has created a collaborative program to mentor students with an interest in the culinary arts. As a strong proponent of bilingual education, he teaches both conversational and business Spanish.

Eva Lorca (Eve Costarelli) has been teaching flamenco, tap and yoga in the Boston community for the past twenty years. Through her exploration of flamenco technique and its connection to the yoga body, her dancing personifies the power and stillness held within the music of Spanish gypsies. Eve Costarelli is the founder and Artistic Director of Always Be Dancing which provides flamenco performances, classes, and lecture demonstrations throughout New England. As a member of Young Audiences of Massachusetts, she travels with her program, The Birth of Flamenco, to schools K-12 bringing both her love and knowledge of flamenco.  Her recently created Ole Namaste is on the cutting edge of the global yoga and dance trend infusing the movements, breath-work and meditation of yoga with the music and dance of flamenco.  Ms. Costarelli performs with The Boston Arts Consort, is on the Massachusetts State Teaching Roster and is a certified yoga teacher. For more information and

Elizabeth Leehey is a clarinetist and music educator in the Boston area and a graduate of the Boston Conservatory. She has been a featured soloist in concert series at universities, music schools and art centers in the United States and Spain. Along with a passion for Spanish music and culture, Elizabeth’s many interests include Alexander Technique and its relationship to music making. She is co-creator of several new transcriptions for flute and clarinet duo which are available at Elizabeth maintains a teaching studio in Sharon, MA where she offers private clarinet instruction and chamber music coaching to children and adults.

Miguel Angel Machinandiarena, baritone, lives in Argentina and is currently in Boston pursuing academic studies in English language. Miguel is a graduate of Argentina’s Teatro Colón’s Instituto Superior de Arte. He has appeared in numerous operatic and zarzuela productions, performing in “Salomé” at the Teatro Municipal de Santiago de Chile, the roles of Alberich in “Das Rheinegold”; Sigfried and Klingson in “Parsifal”, and Joe in Weill’s “Mahagonny”. He also performed Goro in “Madama Butterfly” and Saltan in “The Tale of Tsar Saltan” at the Teatro Colón.

Roberto Ríos , flamenco guitarist, has performed as dance accompanist and solo guitarist for over thirty years. He has appeared with Omayra Amaya, the Rogelio Rodriguez Spanish Dancers, José Greco, Gitanerías, the Ramón de los Reyes Spanish Dance Theatre, the Houston Pops Orchestra and the Central Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra. Ríos, the founder and Director of the group, El Arte Flamenco, is the father of dancers Isabel Ríos and Faustino Ríos with whom he formed the El Arte Flamenco over twenty years ago. Besides performing  in local schools, restaurants and other venues, Ríos also accompanies flamenco dance classes given by his son in Waltham, Massachusetts.  E-mail:

Clara Sandler, mezzo-soprano, a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, feels at home in a wide range of styles, from opera, oratorio and recitals, to zarzuela and tango. She was the featured soloist at the Boston premiere of Gorecki’s “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs”, with the Boston Chamber Ensemble. With this orchestra she also performed Wagner’s “Wesendonck Lieder “She has performed in opera and oratorio with different local music organizations. An avid researcher of music from Spain and Latin America, Clara has presented many recitals in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and in her native Buenos Aires. Her CD “Alma Apasionada, Songs from Spain and Argentina” was released in 2006 by Newport Classic. Clara Sandler, a graduate of the New England Conservatory, is on its Voice faculty at the Preparatory & Continuing Education Schools as well as at Boston College’s Music Department. This spring she is completing a three-year program towards the certification as practitioner of the Alexander Technique at the AT Center of Cambridge.

Young flamenco dancers Josie Howe, Ainoa Nashat, David Pérez-Lawrence and Frida S. Vasquez are students of Eve Costarelli’s Always Be Dancing flamenco school. For more information and


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Winter-Spring 2014 Youth Flamenco & Yoga Classes with Eve Costarelli

Winter-Spring 2014 Youth Flamenco & Yoga Classes with Eve Costarelli

Youth Yoga (Ages 8+)
Open Spirit, 39 Edwards St., Framingham, MA 
Youth Flamenco (Ages 5-16)
4:00-5:00PM (Ages 5-10) Level 1
5:00-6:00PM (Ages 11-16) Level 2
Dance Complex, 536 Mass Ave., Cambridge, MA 
Youth Yoga (Ages 8-14)
3:00-4:00PM (please call to inquire 617-566-9642)
DownUnder Yoga, 1052 Beacon St., Brookline 
Youth Flamenco (ages 4-12)
4:30-5:15PM (Ages 4-7)
5:15-6:15PM (Ages 8-12)
*Brookline Location TBD; please call or email to inquire: 617-5216-1643;

  • Bring The Birth of Flamenco to your school or community event. Discover the fiery art of Flamenco, a creation of the Roma (or Gypsies) who fused dance from Spaniards, music from the Moors and song from Sephardic Jews. Through movement, music and words, Eve Costarelli traces the origins of this emotive form from India to Andalusia. In addition to Flamenco’s rich history, students will learn about compás (rhythm) tacaneo (footwork) and the communication between dancer and guitarist. They’ll join in the performance using palmas (clapping rhythms) and jaleo (calls) and volunteers will be called upon to learn a few moves!

    Please contact Jason Rabin at Young Audiences of Massachusetts for more information and scheduling questions. Workshops available. or call 617-629-9262 

  • Eve is available for private/semi private/ family lessons, birthday parties for all ages, performances.

Contact Eve Costarelli 617-216-1643 or;

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Breath Easy Through The Season: And above all dance flamenco!

Thanksgiving is surely a time to be thankful for all the good graces that are in our lives, but truth be told it can also be a stressful time. All ages, kids to adult, have to combat overeating, stress, sadness, lack of exercise and imbalance.

I like to make sure my students have a few good things  in their tool box of way to cope with these feelings.

Remember if things do get stressful:
1. Breath: inhale though your nose and out through your nose. Try to elongate the exhale to calm you.
2. Do a simple inversion: forward bends, which can be done leaning forward onto a chair if the floor is just too far away. Yoga poses like forward bend and downward facing dog raise your blood pressure enough to trigger the body’s natural calming mechanisms (do not do inversions if you have high blood pressure-the best thing here to do would be to sit and rest your head on a table).
3. Do heart opening poses to combat depression: cobra, bridge, bow, wheel, locust, fish, camel. Simply you can sit on a chair, place your hands by your sides, lift up your chest and feel you back arching up.
4. You can tame feelings of fear and instability by doing twists, hip openers and side bends. These will help balance your emotions: butterfly, child’s pose, 1/2 lord of the fishes, simple lying twist and dimple seated twist (on the floor or in a chair).
5. DANCE FLAMENCO! Above all let your hearts be free, it will help you digest your food and you will feel great!

Here is a past post of mine called “Smell The Roses In Your Poses” 
Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving!
¡Ole! ¡Namaste!

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Veteran’s Yoga (Mondays 6:15-7:15) Open Spirit, 39 Edwards Street, Framingham, MA

  • This yoga class is free for all veterans, family members and providers. This class focuses on the specific needs of veterans. Experience the benefits of yoga to relieve stress, recover from trauma, focus the mind and heal the body. All veterans welcome regardless of age or physical ability. No previous yoga experience is necessary. Mats and props are provided. Please wear comfortable clothing and avoid eating at least one hour before class. (Classes are co-taught with Michael Thomas and Lynn Stoller)
Yoga for Tweens and Teens (Mondays 4:30-5:30; starts Monday September 30) Open Spirit, 39 Edwards Street, Framingham, MA
  • Yoga is the perfect complement to all activities as it promotes flexibility, strength, friendliness and calmness. Students will learn yoga postures to work the body, breathing techniques to increase the flow of oxygen to the body’s tissues and meditation to calm the mind.
Youth Flamenco (ages 4-16) (Wednesdays 4:00-5:00 (ages 4-9) & 5:00-6:00 (ages 10-16)
The Dance Complex, 536 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA
  • Youth I (Level 1/2), ages 4-10
This class includes basic technique and technique to improve flamenco dance to include correct posture, hand, arm, and foot placement. The student will become familiar with basic flamenco vocabulary. The course will include exercises that will develop and improve the clarity of the students’ footwork, develop their upper-body to lower-body coordination as well as stamina and endurance are included. Basic castanet playing exercises are practiced. Basic to medium level footwork and choreographic variations are taught. Repertoire will be taught. Required attire: leotard or fitted top, castanets, flamenco shoes and skirt for girls. Castanets and flamenco boots for boys.
  • Youth II (Level 2/3+), ages 10-16
This class offers Flamenco technique to improve posture, hand, arm, and foot placement. Exercises that will improve clarity of the students’ footwork, upper-body to lower-body coordination as well as stamina and endurance are included. Medium to complex footwork and choreographic variations are taught. Repertoire will be taught.
Required Attire: Flamenco shoes, flamenco skirt, leotard or fitted top, castanets. Castanets and flamenco boots for boys. Other dance accessories may be required such as Spanish hat, mantónand fan, when necessary.
Intro to Youth and adult Flamenco Workshops; Saturday October 19th2013 Open Spirit, 39 Edwards Street, Framingham
  • Introduction to Youth Flamenco 1:00-2:00PM
  • Adult Introductory Flamenco 2:30-3:45PM
  • These introductory workshops will introduce beginners of all ages to the joys of flamenco dancing: the rhythms (compás), correct posture (postura) , arm and hand movements (braceo y floreo), footwork (taconeo) and the flamenco heart (duende). No previous dance experience is necessary.

All participants should wear hard bottomed shoes; women and girls should also wear skirts.

Pre-Registration is encouraged. For more information, please contact Eve Costarelli 617-216-1643 or

  • The Boston Arts Consort and the Democracy Center are proud to be part of Boston’s inaugural ArtWeek.

Zarzuela! Spain’s unique brand of opera filled with music, dance, comedy and passion is coming to the Democracy Center in Cambridge on Saturday, September 28th. Be part of the production by singing the fiery choruses and clapping to the rhythmic palmas of flamenco, while lovers woo and men duel over their señoritas, and get to know a little-known gem in Harvard Square —the Democracy Center, a non-profit haven that has been incubating grassroots organizations and providing space for events, classes, the arts, and community collaboration for over a decade with the goal of advancing peace and justice.
Drawing from the many talented musicians, artists and scholars from the Boston area and abroad since 2008, the Boston Arts Consortpresents programs that combine the aesthetic, cultural, and historical elements of its themes for a well-rounded and enjoyable audience experience. The Boston Arts Consort performers include Elizabeth Leehey, clarinet; Eva Lorca, flamenco artist; Donal O’Sullivan, actor; Linda Papatopoli, pianist and director; Roberto Rios, flamenco guitar; Clara Sandler, mezzo-soprano; and Gary Tucker, baritone; with lecture by Margarita Campos, Professor of Communications at Barcelona University.
Refreshments will be provided.

Tour of the Democracy Center at 7 pm, Lecture and performance at 8 pm
Tour is free, “Zarzuela” is free for students, $10 general public
45 Mt. Auburn St., Cambridge, MA 02138
Call The Boston Arts Consort
(617-666-7973)or the Democracy Center(617-4928855)for more information.

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Flamenco & Yoga: Summer 2013: Northeast Youth Ballet, Reading, MA.

Flamenco & Yoga: Summer 2013: Northeast Youth Ballet, Reading, MA.

This summer, for my 12 consecutive year, I joined the staff at Northeast Youth Ballet for six weeks of flamenco and yoga classes. To say that teaching at this school is an absolute pleasure would be an understatement. This is an amazing dance school. The dedication of the owners and the teachers to the students is unparalleled. You can tell this from the moment you walk in the door. The total vibe of the place is one of harmony, cooperation, focus and positivity. I am so fortunate to be part of it all!

The last four weeks have been dedicated to the intermediate and advanced students. Having them both for flamenco and yoga has really upped my game. I can work theories of physical and energetic movement throughout flamenco class, using the pulsations of the specific rhythm they are working on and then bring those same energetic movements back in during yoga class. I am so satisfied being able to combine these two art forms. This is where my heart lies.

At the beginning of each class, I would lead a flamenco centering exercise to get them in the mindset for flamenco. I needed them to connect to the songs they would be dancing too and to soak their minds and bodies with the rhythms. Most of the time, we started lying on the floor. After an initial breathing exercise, we would listen to the song to ingest it. I would talk about the essence of the song, how it’s particular rhythm would motivate the movement and allow your soul to show through while you danced it. I would talk about grounding, being able to hold the song in the heart, almost being able to grasp it with their hands.

The intermediate students and I worked on the fourth Sevillanas. Now it is true, that you would normally learn them in order -1, 2, 3, 4- but I chose just to work number four with this group. It is full of -step, ball change- which I knew would be a motor skill they already possessed and by working on only one Sevillanas, we would have time to do it in partners and in a circle formation. For the demonstration, they are dancing it four times. Firstly they will do it facing the audience; second, they find their partners; third, still in same partnerships; and the fourth time, they move into two circles, one inside the other, and then those two circles partner each other. It reminds me of Bugsby Berkeley’s choreography from the 1920’s (stylistically, my favorite era).

The advanced students took on a Tangos de Triana ( I was so motivated by my workshop with La Lupi to explore the rhythm and movement of this song style. It is really snarky (from the Urban Dictionary “A witty mannerism, personality, or behavior that is a combination of sarcasm and cynicism. Usually accepted as a complimentary term”) and full of bravada and fun. The attitude just jumps right out of my heart. I tell them it feels like hip hop danced on the street-an expression of the creators, the gypsies in Andalucia, fighting persecution, like the blues. We worked tirelessly on giving the dance the right attitude and grounded-ness

I cannot wait for tomorrow’s performance to see these students dance. To see them perform my flamenco but also to see them dance ballet, character, modern and musical theater. I adore seeing them in all these different elements and how each of their souls comes out. It just is so revitalizing!

Teaching yoga after a full day of flamenco is idyllic. My dream job. I love to use energetic movement, from inside the body, the subtle body’s movement, to heighten the yoga experience. This is a perfect age group for this as it allows them to drop down and totally relax, take notice of their breath and how their bodies are feeling, and then begin movement from a place of presence. I find a good combination of activities in a youth yoga class, keeps the kids present and fully engaged. Some of the things I like to include are meditation, breath-work, poses, games and open discussions about principles such as Ahimsa (a principle of yoga that means to do not harm), karma , practicing yoga off the mat.

Karma class. Karma is defined as an action or a deed; a result of an action; destiny or fate, following as effect from cause. Synonyms are fortune, fate, destiny. Karma yoga is the yoga of selfless service (altruism= one acts without being attached to the fruits of one’s deeds).

Kinder people live longer lives; people who volunteer experience fewer aches and pains. We feel good when we give because we experience the “giver’s lift”, a distinct physical sensation from helping. Kindness makes us happy. It reduces depression, lowers anxiety and builds our self esteem.

How to you practice Karma? One way is with Random Acts of Kindness (RAK). It is stated that one RAK a day keeps self-centeredness away! As Aesop said “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

I read to the class-I love reading stories out loud to kids of all ages-The Three Questions (Based on a story by Leo Tolstoy) written and illustrated by Jon J. Muth. It is a wonderful story about Nikolai who wants to “be a good person” and so proposes three questions to his friends: When is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do? They never answer him directly, but by the end of the story, Nikolai has answered the questions for himself. I had them contemplate kindness and the ways they are already kind and the ways they might like to add more kindness into their lives. I gave each of them two pieces of paper and a crayon and they wrote two examples of how they are and how they want to be kind. The recurring themes were of helping out family members, giving attention to those around them, and being positive, friendly, loving people. We left our slips of paper in a vase soother people could read our notes and feel connected.

We then stood and did some fun flows to different songs on my play list: Jamaica Resting by The Pool; Give Me The Sunshine by Leo’s Sunshipp; The Sun Can’t Compare by Larry Heard presenting Mr. White.

Taking a cue from one of my mentors, Shakta Khalsa, I taught them the “Detective” game (from the Radiant Child Yoga’s teacher’s manual). Dividing the the girls into smaller groups, I had them sit in circles. One person, the “detective”, would leave the room. The group them decides who will be the secret leader. The leader makes different motions such as leg taps, hand claps, eye blinks, small quiet movements or loud fast movements and everyone else follows as immediately as possible, trying to accomplish this seamlessly as to not give away the “it” person. The detective then returns to the scene and tries to determine who is it. This game develops powers of observation and the ability to be subtle, focused and alert. The game was a huge success and the smaller groups allowed for each girl to take a turn.

I wandered around the room listening into their giggles and relaxed chatter.  We gathered into one large circle, held hands, breathed in and then lay back (usually we play the hand squeeze game here, but today I just had them relax).

These students have been the most willing participants in everything I have given them this summer. They have expanded their repertoires, their presence, and their characters. They have expanded mine. 

Ole Namaste!

Eve Costarelli