Always Be Dancing

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


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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: Courage and Balance

July 15, 2019

Warm-up to Find Your Courage

  1. Punch/March IMG_3309
  2. Ego Eradicator
  3. Cat/CowIMG_3316
  4. Boat
  5. Forward Fold
  6. Reverse Plank
  7. Push-Up
  8. Alternate Leg LiftsIMG_3314
  9. Seated MeditationIMG_3315

Kriya to Balance The Mind In The Group Energy

Sit in a close-knit circle; everyone should choose a partner. If you have groups of 4, Patty Cake (if not enough people, switch to Rararara, Mamamama, Ramaramaramarama, Sa Ta Na Ma in partners)

  1. Gratitude Hands w/ Clockwise Hip-to-Head Circles (see above)
  2. Hold Hands in Silence (whole group holds hands; no one is left alone)
  3. Cactus Arms & Spirit Fingers w/Counterclockwise Circles (see above)
  4. Dance: Punjabi Style; Freely: Add Clapping
  5. Patty Cake (would like to try it with Rockin’ Robin)
  6. Surrender
  7. Rest

Playlist:

  1. Ong Namo by Shakta Kaur Khalsa
  2. Ek Ong Kar by Tina Malia
  3. Brazilian Rhyme (Fearless Mix) by Mondo Grosso
  4. Hey Hey by Muete
  5. Naive Melody (Young Edits Sophistaicated Melody Version) by The Talking Heads
  6. Chattr Chakkr Vartee by Nirinjan Kaur
  7. Hallelujah by Jai-Jageesh
  8. Heartbeat by Taana Gardner
  9. Shake The Mind by C Cat Trance
  10. Adidas To Addis by Cut Chemist
  11. Har by Snatam Kaur
  12. Har by Tera Naam
  13. Rockin’ Robin by Michael Jackson
  14. Rararara, Mamamama, Ramaramaramarama, Sa Ta Na Ma
  15. Fantasia Inca by Various Artists
  16. Fantasia Inca by A. Caste
  17. Long Time Sun by Paramjeet Singh & Kaur


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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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#flamenco #yoga #kundalini #dance #speedyyogini #inclusive #alwaysbedancing #alwaysbedancingflamenco #olenamaste #evecostarelli #natickma #smallbusiness #kundalinifusion #peacemoji #iameve #innerpeas #todayskriya


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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.

 


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Around The World In 80 Puzzles by Aleksandra Artymowska

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What a fun book! This book is beautifully designed and each 2-page layout is gorgeously detailed with intricate puzzles and labyrinths that are full of ships in glass bottles, hot air balloons and a host of interlocking pipes, strings and vines that seem endless. This book will surely provide hours of engagement and can entertain and fascinate kids through adults. This is a very creative book!

This book would make a perfect gift for the holidays and every day. I absolutely love the sweet illustrations and the fun and challenging puzzles.

¡Olé Namaste! Eve Costarelli

Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me a copy of this book.

For more information about my accessible mindfulness/yoga/dance program, please visit alwaysbedancing dot com.


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Book reviews by Eve: 100 Yoga Activities for Children by Shobana R. Vinay

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This book is instantly engaging. It is neat and well organized and the color palette is muted and very pleasing yet still finds a way to “pop” and grab attention. The book is full of very cute cartoonish images to accompany each pose and sequence. They are easy to follow and sweet. The kids wear aqua blue or chartreuse green, so there are no pink for girls and blue for boys images; which is very refreshing! The meditation scripts are easy to follow and read aloud to your children or students so can be enjoyed by yoga teachers, families and in school.. Although there are labels “beginner”, “intermediate” and “advanced”, the book does a very good job of not seeing yoga as linear. Everyone can enjoy the pleasant flow of this book. I can’t wait to take this one to my kids yoga classes and share it with my students. I know it will be a big hit!

Thank you to Skyhorse Publishing for sending me a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.