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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Today’s Kriya: The Woman’s Set for Beauty, Radiance and Grace

Practice the Woman’s Set to feel empowered, strong and confident. If you want to feel like Superwoman, try The Woman’s Set one morning… even better, practice it daily over the course of a week (or 40 days even!) and see for yourself. This set keep will keep us young, vital and radiant and builds courage and grace.

Kundalini Kriya’s are little prescriptions for the mind, body and soul. Each one is unique and offers such a wide variety of movement, breath and meditation that they are wholly accessible to everybody. I am enamored, to say the least. I feel that the combination of movement, breath and meditation are  acupressure from the inside out. With this yoga you can heal yourself.

I love my background in Hatha yoga and cannot thank my dearest teacher Barbara Benagh for instilling in me the love of bodily focus and alignment, but the general flow yoga classes just bore me to tears. It’s like everyone is on repeat. Same old every single time with just a different “affirmation” being preached at me with the same old poses which are never taught. I am so happy to have stumbled onto Kundalini since it has given me an avenue to be different. I am not a Sikh nor a certified Kundalini teacher, but I get it and I can give it. I can give it in my way, with house music in the back ground, by adding dance and by offering people the chance to let go of what they think yoga is and experience something new-something different.

Thank you deeply to the birthday boy (August 26th), Yogi Bhajan for sharing the beautiful art of Kundalini with the world!

I am an Aquarian teacher.

¡Olé Namaste!

~Remember to always be dancing!

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  1. Rock Pose. Sit on heels or in chair, palms on thighs or hands relaxed in lap, spine straight. Relax meditatively in this position. 1-3 minutes.
  2.  Life Nerve Stretch. Extend both legs straight out in front. Grab the big toe(s) in finger-lock. Inhale, lengthen the spine. Exhale, bend forward bringing chest to thighs, and nose to knees. Avoid leading with the head. Long deep Breathing. 1-3 minutes.
  3. Camel Pose. Long, deep breathing. 1-3 minutes. This exercise adjusts the reproductive organs. D8DDA2E4-9BC6-47B9-882E-E00E66B8B97F
  4. Shoulder Stand. Long, deep breathing. 1-3 minutes. This exercise releases pressure on all of the organs and stimulates the thyroid gland.653A7B07-419B-4682-AB04-877838064A08
  5. Archer Pose. Start with right foot forward so that the feet are 2-3 feet apart. The right toes face forward while the left foot comes to a 45 degree angle, with the heel back and the toes forward. The left leg stays straight and strong as the right knee bends until the thigh is almost parallel to the ground (do not let the knee go beyond the toes); tuck the tailbone. Curl the fingers of both hands onto the palms, thumbs pulled back. As if pulling back a bow and arrow, lift the right arm up, extended forward parallel to the ground, over the right knee. The left arm, bent at the elbow, pulls back until the fist is at the left shoulder. Pull Neck Lock. chin in, chest out. Feel this stretch across the chest. Eyes stare beyond the thumb to Infinity. Practice for 1-5 minutes on each side. *Please note: In the standing picture, with my left foot forward, I note my right arm should be higher up. In the seated pose, you should push forward a bit towards the extended knee, which is not evident in the photos.ED6CA45E-DFB2-4400-ACC6-56230A3E5419
  6. Child’s Pose. Palms face up by feet. Totally relax. 1-3 minutes.
  7. Bow Pose. Long Deep Breathing. In chair (or on floor) you can try the one handed version. Stretch up with the extended arm to increase the stretch. 1-3 minutes. 1A3E2B94-A387-4D38-95E1-1AFC2CFAEBC6
  8. Locust Pose. Still on the stomach, feet together, with the chin on the ground, place the fists under the hips where the hips and thighs join. Raise the legs up, and the back of the thighs to keep the legs together. Long Deep Breathing. 1-3 minutes. *I am not sure this is the best chair representation for this pose, but it did allow for a light-opening stretch for the back of the leg.CBF79227-6A23-4FC6-B38F-AAD8401DDA2F
  9. Cow Pose. Do not scrunch the neck. Open the heart and raise the chin as far as you can without collapsing the neck. Hold with long, deep breathing. 1-3 minutes.
  10. Cat Pose. Press chin into chest; arch up like an angry cat. Hold with long, deep breathing. 1-3 minutes.IMG_2476
  11. Stretch Pose. Lie on the back with the feet together, toes pointed. Flatten the lower back. Place hands palms down over the thighs, pointing toward the toes. Lift the head up, apply Neck Lock and look at the toes. Lift the feet up 6 inches and begin Breath of Fire for 1-3 minutes. In chair, raise one or two legs off the floor, out straight. If doing one leg at a time (on floor  or in chair) switch at 1/2 way mark)
  12.  Corpse Pose. Relax on the back or in chair, palms facing up. 3-10 minutes.


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Today’s Kriya: Balance Is The Basis Of Health

Today’s class blends the balancing effect of Alternate Nostril Breathing with the Kriya for Polarity Balance. These two will help to bring balance to the energy channel that runs down the center of your body, the channel to allow the prana, your life force, to flow freely & energetically throughout the body.

Two main components of prana are the prana and apana vayus, or winds. Prana vayu is located in the head by the third eye and its energy pervades the chest area (like an inhale). Its flow is up and out. Apana Vayu is located by the pelvic floor and its energy pervades the lower abdomen. Its flow is down and out (like an exhale).The main channel is the Shushumna Nadi-the central energy channel that is flanked by, on the left, the Ida, female moon energy that starts at the root and ends n the left nostril and on the right, by the Pingala, masculine, sun energy that ends in the right nostril. These two nadis, criss-cross the shushumna nadi, resembling a cadusa, intersecting at each chakra.

Alternate Nostril Breathing Exercise (click here to follow along as I do the breathing exercise.)

Breathing long and deep through the right nostril will give energy.

Breathing long and deep through the left nostril bring calmness.

Breathing long and deeply through alternate nostrils simultaneously  soothes, calms and energizes the whole nervous system which will revitalize you.

1 min. each

  1. Breathe only with the left nostril.
  2. Breathe only with the right nostril.
  3. Breathe in with the left and out with the right.
  4. Breathe in with the right and out with the left.
  5. Close the right nostril, inhale deeply through the left nostril. At the end of the inhale, close the left nostril and exhale through the right. Now alternate sides, back and forth.

To End: Inhale deeply, hold the breath a few seconds, lower the hand, and exhale.

Seated Warm-Up: Hip Circles; Spinal Flex; Twist; Lazy Neck Rolls; Butterfly; Boat…

Kriya for Polarity Balance 

Here is a video of me performing the exercises.

  1. Tilted Balance: Extend through the core. Balance is the basis for health. 2 min. each side.
  2. Demi-Squats: Inhale up; Exhale down. This exercise will put pressure on
    the hips, spine and the muscles along the back. 5 min.
  3. March w/ Robot Arms: move the arms back and forth with a precise and controlled
    movement. The left arm should move forward as the right knee comes up. Continue alternating sides. For the final minute, increase the pace, moving powerfully.
    5 min.Chair Yoga Kundalini Kriya for Polarity Balance
  4. Wide Legged Hip Circles: Allow the entire body to move and rotate. 3 min. 
  5. Heel March: Dance on your toes. Hips move. 3 min.Chair Yoga Kundalini Kriya for Polarity Balance
  6. Yoga Jumping Jacks: Rhythmic 3 min. IMG_4622
  7. Dancing Pointer Dog: Try to kick butt. The left arm should move forward as the right foot kicks back. Continue alternating sides. 3 min. IMG_4623
  8. Dancing Pointer Dog  w/ Partner: Face a partner. Do same exercise but grasp hands and lift legs together on alternate sides as legs go back. 1-1/2 min. 

  9. Partner Squats: Spread legs. Hold hands facing each other. Squat in demi-knee bends, then come up. Inhale up, exhale down. 1-3 min.
  10. Straight Line w/ Arms-Over-Shoulder Group Standing Meditation: Close eyes. Stand still. 1-5 min (play Electric Boogie). Feel the group electricity. IMG_4270
  11. Seated Cross Heart Mediation: Sit in an easy meditative pose. Fold and hold the hands at heart center. (Listen to Guru Ram Das Lullaby by Bachan Kaur. Sing along in head)
  12. Rest w/ Chakra Meditation: Lie down and rest. Meditatively sleep.

Playlist:

  1. Ong Namo by Eeday
  2. Breathe-Prana Apana by Ananda Yogiji f. Jaya Lakshmi
  3. My Friend Is A Seahorse (James Priestley & Dan Berkson’s Bariz e Syntho Remix) by Kissogram
  4. Ease My Mind (DJ Premier Mix) by Arrested Development
  5. Om Zone Pt. 1 by Stephen Halpern
  6. Circles by Adam F
  7. Adi Shakti-Bhakti Mantra by Ajeet Kaur
  8. Om Namaha Shiva by Sheila Chandra
  9. Ek Ong Kar by Tina Malia
  10. In White Rooms (Neo Mix) by Booka Shade
  11. Wahe Guru by Jai-Jagdeesh
  12. Electric Boogie by Marcia Griffith
  13. Ek Ong Kar by Simrit Kar
  14. Guru Ram Das Lullaby by Bachan Kaur
  15. Humme Hum by Mirabai Ceiba
  16. Eterno Sol by Balwant Kaur & Gurinder Singh

 


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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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Yoga set to Reduce Anxiety

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

*Up Mountain

*Chair (with “pass-the-present” arms)

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

*Standing child’s pose

*Standing child’s pose (with flat back)

*Standing forward bend

*Lunge (Left foot back)

*Float hands

*Standing split

*Try one hand off, other hand, both hands

*Low lunge

*Plank

*Low plank

*3/4 Cobra (feel the hood)

*Extended child’s pose

*Down Dog

*Up Mountain

*Lightning Bolt

*(missing) Standing flat back

*Standing forward bend

*Lunge (Right foot back)

*Float hands

*Standing split

*Try one hand off, other hand, both hands

*Low lunge

*Plank

*Side plank

*Side plank (in tree)

*Side plank

*Side plank (in tree)

*Down Dog

Kriya for a Healthy Bowel System:

*Windmills: Exhale bend; inhale up.

*Right hand to left foot, continue 1min.

*Left hand to right foot, continue 1min.

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

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

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

*Corpse pose 2-3min.

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

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

Meditation for Emotional Balance:

**Drink a glass of water, for kidneys.

*Easy pose

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

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

*Close eyes

*Slow-Deep-Breathing 3-11min.


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Mindful Book Reviews by Eve: Two Wonderful Books By Gabi Garcia

 

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Listening To My Body by Gabi Garcia is a really nice, effective book to aid children in understanding about sensations and feelings and how these things interact to better help them navigate understanding their own needs. The book is written with compassion and obvious desire to help kids tune in and trust themselves. There are great short noticing activities throughout and I really like the recap word list at the end for a visual reminder of the sensations and feelings brought up by the story. The noticing activities are also listed for easy access. A special shout out to Ying Hui Tan for her adorable illustrations. The characters are sweet and they clearly express the content of the book. The art is textural and creative and very endearing.

 

Listening With My Heart: A Story Of Kindness And Self-Compassion by Gabi Garcia shares the messages of awareness, self -respect and friendliness, using positive self talk within a story that empowers you to being true to yourself. The spirit of the book is openhearted and generous and the illustrations are super adorable. The message is clear-be compassionate and kind to yourself so that you can reach past yourself and extend the kindness to others. The illustrator, Ying Hui Tan, has really developed her style and palette. The children’s wide-eyed expressive faces display great emotion and work in beautiful unison with the words. I love the layering effects and the wide use of texture. The back of the book has some wonderful kindness activities. All around, this is simply a lovely book! 

 

I highly recommend these books. They make great read aloud’s to share with children, students, parents and teachers. These books should be in libraries, classrooms and homes!

Full Disclosure: The author sent me these books. All opinions expressed are my own.