Always Be Dancing

The Art of Movement for Every/body & Mindful Book Reviews By Eve


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Groove & Flow: Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe

Groove: Movement relaxation series to relax the entire body

Flow: Short & Sweet Kriya to get the energy moving

Playlist:
Myopia by Moby
Circling by Four Tet
Swisha by Ratatat
Running Up That Hill (Instrumental) by Kate Bush
Samba de Orfeo by António Carlos Jobim
Dazz by Brick
Be Still by Beautiful Chorus
My Secret Lover (Diplo Remix) by Private
I Was Born This Way (12 Instrumental) by Carol Bean
Like Some Dream I Can’t Stop Dreaming (Break Mix) by Daniel Wang
Synchronize Ft. Jarvis Cocker by Discodeine
I Want To Be Free by Ohio Players
Groove & Flow playlist for 11/9/2020

Ayurvedic Tips for Autumn

Fall is a time of transition. Trees, shrubs, animals and birds are preparing for the winter. They are all gathering the energy, including nutrition, that they will need to survive the winter. Temperatures, although right now quite balmy, are going to drop and the wind is slowly gathering strength, carrying with it the whiff of winter on its breath. Autumn is dry, rough, windy, erratic and cool.

These are all qualities shared by vata dosha (vata-wind/dosha=energy) 
Vata is one of the three energetic forces of the subtle body, the inner happenings of the life inside your body.. This particular dosha corresponds with the elements of air and ether (space). Thanks to the airy and mobile qualities of vata, it plays an integral part in healthy bodily functions such as digestion, the flow of breath, and communication between the mind and the nervous system. Vata types tend to have creative personalities and are often inquisitive in nature.
 
Excess vata can cause the body, mind, and emotions to feel scattered like the wind. This type of imbalance can happen to anyone, regardless of their Ayurvedic constitution or body type.

Here are a few simple ayurvedic tips to balance Vata this fall:

1. Enjoy warm cooked foods. Foods made with a little olive oil or ghee have a wonderful soothing effect that immediately calms down restless Vata. Root vegetables, hearty grains, soups, and stews are recommended. Cooked grains – like oatmeal, tapioca, cream of rice, and cream of wheat – and most nuts and seeds are also beneficial.
2. Use warming spices like ginger, black pepper, cinnamon and cumin, but not extremely hot spices like cayenne pepper.
3. Enjoy warm beverages such as chai or golden milk.
4. Eat less cold and raw foods. 
5. Take extra care of your skin with a warm sesame oil self-massage. 
6. Increase stillness in your day to connect with yourself. Vata is aggravated by feelings of fear and insecurity.
7. Get enough sleep, nap when you need.
8. Reduce stress by consciously practicing yoga, meditation, long deep breathing and alternate nostril breathing.
9. The colors we wear can greatly contribute to how you feel. Choose colors from the environment around you. In this cooler season of autumn, warmer richer hues, like autumn’s foliage, are a great choice. Adorn yourself with rich red, warm gold, and burnt orange.
10. Try to stick to a regular routine: go to bed at the same time, meditate daily, mindful movement every morning.
Simple techniques to help you feel grounded, steady, and nourished all season long!


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Yoga Books and Online Health and Wellness Classes at the Morse Institute Library

I am so lucky!

A few years ago, I taught teen yoga workshops for the library. They were a lot of fun and I really enjoyed sharing them with the community through the library. One of the best things, is that all programs through the library are open and accessible to all and are free of charge for the participants.

Fast forward to now. The teen librarian shared my name with the adult programming coordinator and voilà! through a generous self-help grant, I am now offering my Groove & Flow series through their online event portal (search for yoga in calendar). Here is the link to my online yoga video-library. Along with my classes, the library has been able to bring a fabulous online Qigong program with Dr. Ming Wu and Dr. Wei Li. Here is the link for the online Qigong video-library.

I skimmed though the library’s yoga book selection and created a list of books that I thought would compliment my teaching. Of course, there are so many yoga books available, so my list is just a snap shot of some. This list does not include children’s books (here’s are two good blog posts I wrote “My Top 20 Books About Yoga For Kids” and “21 Mindfulness and Yoga Books and card Decks For Kids”)

  • Accessible yoga: poses and practices for every body by Jivana Heyman  
  • Adaptive yoga moves any body by Mindy Eisenberg  
  • Autumn winter spring summer by Sandra Sabatini, Silvia Mori
  • Chair yoga for seniors: stretches and poses that you can do sitting down at home by Lynn Lehmkuhl
  • Chair yoga: seated exercises for health and wellbeing by Edeltraud Rohnfeld
  • Chair yoga: sit, stretch, and strengthen your way to a happier, healthier you  by Kristin McGee  Gentle yoga : a guide to low-impact exercise by Lorna Bell and Eudora Seyfer
  • K.I.S.S. guide to yoga by Shakta Kaur Khalsa 
  • Lilias! yoga gets better with age by Lilias Folan
  • Relax into yoga for seniors : a six-week program for strength, balance, flexibility, and pain relief  by Kimberly Carson, MPH, E-RYT; Carol Krucoff, E-RYT 
  • Relax into yoga for chronic pain: an eight-week mindful yoga workbook for finding relief and resilience by Jim Carson, PhD, Kimberly Carson, MPH, C-IAYT, Carol Krucoff, C-IAYT  
  • Restore and rebalance : yoga for deep relaxation by Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD, PT  
  • Yoga for body, breath, and mind : a guide for personal reintegration by A.G. Mohan
  • Yoga for healthy aging : a guide to lifelong well-being by Baxter Bell, MD, Nina Zolotow
  • Yoga for women by Shakta Kaur Khalsa 
  • Yoga for women : wellness and vitality at every stage of life by Shakta Khalsa 
  • Yoga for osteoporosis : the complete guide by Loren Fishman, Ellen Saltonstall  
  • Yoga in bed : awaken body, mind & spirit in fifteen minutes by Naomi Sophia Call    
  • Yoga mind & body by Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre  


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Groove & Flow with Eve: The 4 U’s

This is Kundalini yoga done my way. This is the set or kriya called the 4 U’s. They are for you! Through stillness, your Prana or life force is invigorated.

The full set would be 11 minutes for each pose with an 11 minute Savasana. In this video, each pose is 5 minutes, hence a 5 min total relaxation at the end.

Here is the video for you to follow. Please enjoy this amazing set. Once in your position, do not move. Let the energy circulate itself.


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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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Today’s Accessible Yoga Set: It’s All About You

October 2, 2019

I am in the process of putting more of my yoga online, so bear with me. My next goal is to add voice-over to my videos so that people can be guided through the sets. Today’s set is, accompanied by my son practicing his sax, so enjoy!

Here is the video of the practice and below are all the various chair adaptations for the set. If you have a specific issue and would like a different adaptation, please comment and I will make poses for you.

In this set, the warm-up is timed to about three breaths per movement. I have done the 4 U’s at 5 min. each, but you can do anywhere between 1-11 min each (just remember all segments must be of equal time.) *Not videoed: 10 min. deep relaxation (Allow your body to fully sleep. “I am in a deep sleep. I do nothing”)

Breath Series 

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Part 1: Prosperity Meditation (3 min): Pictures 1 & 2

~It is so powerful in bringing prosperity that more than 11 minutes would be greedy. This meditation stimulates the mind, the moon center, and Jupiter. When Jupiter and the moon come together, there is no way in the world you will not create wealth.” -Yogi Bhajan
  • 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.
  • Mantra: Har. Chant continuously from the navel, using the tip of the tongue (pronounced “hu-duh”  or a rolled “rrrr”).

Part 2: I’ve Got It In My Sight/Caliber of Life Meditation. (3 min) Pictures 3-6.

~Removes depression & discouragement
  • 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 of the two thumbs.
  • Focus eyes on this “v”. Look as if through a eagle eyes, seeing far away and seeing the “v”.
  • Inhale deeply 5 sec./ Exhale completely 5 sec./ Suspend breath out for 15 sec. (can increase hold to up to 1 min.)

Part 3: Ego Eradicator with Breath-of-Fire (3 min)

~Ego Eradicator opens the lungs, consolidates the magnetic field, and brings the brain hemispheres to a state of alertness. 

Posture: Raise arms up to a 60 degree angle. Keep elbows straight and the shoulders down. Apply Neck Lock. Curl fingertips onto the pads of the palms at the base of the fingers. Thumbs stretched back, pointing towards each other. Feel a rainbow streching over your head thumb tip to thumb tip.

Eyes: Eyes are closed.

Mental Focus: Focus above the head.

Breath: Breath of Fire

Time: Continue for 1 – 3 minutes.

To end: Inhale deeply and bring arms overhead with the thumb tips touching. Open the fingers (like moose antlers), exhale and relax the arms down in a wide arch, feeling the rainbow expand.

Part 4: Peaceful Heart (2 min)

Warm fuzzy happy glow for you

Cross one hand over the other at the heart (try right hand on top and then left the next time; notice). Breathe long and deep. Bring the positive energy into your heart. Share it.

Sun Salutation Variation with Warrior Series

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  • Mountain, Up Mountain, Look Up To Hands, but keep them straight up *First notice your feet. Step hip distance apart. Big toes are slightly turned in towards each other.  Knee is tracking the directions set by the line between second & third toes. Sit and stand a few times. Make sure the knee do not fold inwards or splay out; keep them aligned with your toe line.
  • Utkatasana, Flat Back (1/2 Way Lift), Forward Fold

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  • Lunge, Lunge w/ Arms Up, Low Lunge

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  • Plank var. 1, Plank var. 2
  • Downward Facing Dog var. 1, Downward Facing Dog var. 2

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  • Cobra, Upward Facing Dog

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  • Wide Legged Forward Bend, Twist var. 1, Twist var. 2, Twist var. 3

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  • Head Stand variations #1 fingers interlaced, pressing firmly on the crown of the head. This contraction helps to build strength in the shoulder complex.
  • **Headstands are invigorating and revitalizing, resulting in increased positive energy and mental vitality. Headstands also improve circulation and balance.

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  • Crescent Lunge Set-Up, Crescent Lunge **I found in this instance, that trying to turn my back foot out into Warrior 1 caused tweeking in my hips and obliques, so I chose to do Crescent Lunge, a straight back-leg.
  • Warrior 2, Archer, Dancing Warrior

Kriya/The Four U’s

Originally taught by Yogi Bhajan on July 5, 1984
This is the set of “U.” It invigorates you by adjusting your Pranic Body with your Auric Body in direct contrast with the Ardine. These are called the 4 U’s and they are “for you.” Anytime you do these, you need to do a deep relaxation afterwards.
“The ‘4 U’ kriya sets the nervous system to withstand pressures of society and challenges of times.  Do each posture for 11 minutes for 11 days without moving a muscle and this is said to create nerves strong as steel—’stainless steel forever.’ This kriya also works on eliminating fear and developing greater spinal flexibility. Different people will function at individual levels of development and capability. Therefore, though the full time for each posture is 11 minutes, practice according to your individual ability.”
-Mukta Kaur, SuperHealth

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  • U #1 variations

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  • U #2 variations

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U #3 & #4 variations


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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)