Always Be Dancing

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


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Groove & Flow: Flexibility of the Spine no.1

A flexible spine is the key to youth!

Groove & Flow is only getting groovier!  

We are focusing on flexibility of the spine for the next few weeks.

A flexible spine is the key to youth! Please join me.

Groove: Swimming Dragon

Flow: (Based on) Basic Spinal Flexibility Kriya

Groove and Flow is a specially blended style of embodied movement where participants explore and experience the joy of movement and freedom of expression within a supportive, creative environment, regardless of experience and/or abilities. This class is balanced with movement, tranquility and meditation and participants can be on a mat or in a chair. All abilities welcomed for this one of a kind experience. 

Get creative! Build connections! Create community!

Playlist for G&F 10-19-2020

Garth in a tux in the snow.

Garth Stevenson (All songs are from his album Flying. I highly recommend buying this album. It’s truly magnificent, made even more special if you order a hard copy, as you will receive a beautiful hand made CD envelope. Both of his albums are glorious!)


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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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Meditations for My Next 40 Day Cycle

I just finished a 40 day meditation cycle. I always meditate first thing in the morning for 11-15 minutes…

I just finished the cycle of the Chattr Chakkr meditation kriya.

This mantra helps to move from fear of change to boldness and courage.  It removes feelings of anxiety, depression and phobias, leaving in its place courage and victory.  Just like the snake leaving behind its old skin.

Try this mantra for fear of change:

Chattr chakkr vartee, chattr chakkr bhugatay

Suyumbhav subhang sarab daa sarab jugtay

Dukaalang pranaasee dayaalang saroopay

Sadaa ung sungay abhangang bibhootay

These words bring victory during changing times! Chant along with my favorite version by Nirinjan Kaur or keep it playing in your house! I practiced this every morning for 11 minutes (the length of the recording) and I added this mudra:

Tomorrow, I will start a new 40 day cycle, but I am not sure which meditation I will choose?

Meditation for Developing Your Human Kindness. Also known as Bandhu Dya Kriya, Bandhu means “brother or comrade;” Dya means “kindness;” and Kriya means “action.” Give this kriya a lot of reverence and do it with a lot of love and devotion. Do it very calmly.

Mudra: Rest your elbows alongside your rib cage. Place your hands in front of your chest, palms facing upward, with the two Mercury (pinkie) fingers touching and the outside part of the base of the palms touching. Keep the Sun (ring) fingers and the Jupiter (index) fingers straight and the thumbs pulled back. Touch the tips of the Saturn (middle) fingers so that they form a triangle. The mudra is held before the heart center in a comfortable, prayerful position, but it does not touch the chest.

Posture: Sit in Easy Pose with your spine straight, chin in and chest lifted. Place your hands in the mudra.

Breath & Eye Focus: Inhale through the nose in 8 strokes (break the inhalation into eight equal segments with a slight pause separating each part so that there is a distinct beginning and end to each segment. In other words, you are inhaling in 8 separate “sniffs.” Each stroke is about one “nose length.” You can feel the breath travel the length of the nose from the nostrils to the eyebrows. Each count of a stroke is about one second, so the 8 stroke inhalation takes about 8 seconds).  Eyes are open only 1/10th of the way so you  are gazing at the mudra. Exhale completely and totally with a whistle through the puckered lips. Continue for 11 minutes.

“Sat Narayan” Meditation To Reclaim Your Peaceful Presence.

Mudra: Hands are in Gyan Mudra (thumbs and index fingers touch, resting on knees or in lap).

Posture: Sit with a straight spine.

Breath and Eye Focus: Eyes 1/10th open or gently closed, focused on the Third Eye (between the eyebrows). The breath will adjust itself as you chant. Mantra:

Sat Narayan Wahe Guru (True Supporter, Indescribable Wisdom)

Hari Narayan Sat Nam (Creative Sustenance, True Identity)

Sat Narayan Wahe Guru

Hari Narayan Sat Nam

Directions:

  • Chant along with this recording by Ajeet Kaur, which is my favorite version of the mantra. Put your heart into it!
  • When the meditation has finished, powerfully and deeply inhale while raising arms above your head, and hold for 10-15 seconds. Powerfully and deeply exhale. Repeat inhale-hold-exhale once more with raised arms. Then lower your arms to your lap/knees and sit quietly. Feel the vibrations of the mantra in you and around you.
May you be elevated by this meditation and blessed with its strength always!

Kirtan Kriya/ Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation: A meditation for total balance.

Here is a blog post I wrote about beginner meditations, please check it out.

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.

Check out this article on how this 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. Here is another article about it’s direct benefit for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Posture: Sit with a straight spine.

Breath and Eye Focus: Eyes 1/10th open or gently closed, focused on the Third Eye (between the eyebrows). The breath will adjust itself as you chant.

Mantra: Chant SA TA NA MA along with this 11 minute recording by Nirinjan Kaur.

While chanting alternately press the thumb with the four fingers on both hands simultaneously. 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.

SA press the thumb and the pointer or Jupiter finger together with pressure. The Jupiter/Pointer finger brings in knowledge, expands our field of possibilities and releases us from limitations.

TA press the thumb and the middle or Saturn finger together. The Saturn/Middle finger gives us patience, wisdom and purity

NA press the thumb and the ring or Sun finger together. The Sun/Ring finger gives us vitality and aliveness.

MA press the thumb and the pinky or Mercury finger together. 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.

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 balancing process.

11-Minute Variation (The recording does not follow these times exactly-just go with the flow).

  • 2 min out-loud
  • 2 min whisper
  • 4 min in-head , continue with hand movements
  • 2 min whisper
  • 2 min out-loud.


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Groove and Flow Online September-December 2020

I am excited to have the opportunity to bring to the community Groove & Flow classes through the Morse Institute Library’s Online Event Portal.

My next Groove & Flow is Saturday September 19th at 11:00AM. Registration is open now.

Groove: Late Summer and the Earth Element

Flow: Balance, Harmony and Rhythm 

Coming Soon:

Mondays @ 7PM (Registration opens 2-weeks ahead of each date)

Monday: September 28

Mondays: October 5 & 19

Mondays: November 2, 16 & 30

Monday: December 14

Please check out my latest blog post 

Purpose, Intention & Patience

Check out my videos on YouTube


I am available for:

  • Motivation sessions. Please let me help motivate you! 
  • Online classes for Adults and Children. Privates and groups.
  • Video production for private and community use. 
  • Please email me for more information AdamAnt_Eve@hotmail.com

The next Grounding In Community will be held on Natick Common, Sunday September 27th 1:30-2:55. I hope you will join us for inspiring community connecting event. I will be leading a wonderful short Groove & Flow activity for everybody to enjoy.


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Entertaining Selection of Picture Books from Candlewick Press Picture Books Highlighting Kindness, Diversity, and Mindfulness

Zero Local: Next Stop Kindness by Ethan Murrow and Vita Murrow

With very few words, this wonderful picture book is able to clearly express kindness and gratitude and how the two can easily help to build community. In an urban setting, on a commuter rail, where the characters are at first noticeably separated and in their own worlds, how one small gesture can awaken people to what is in front of them. The Butterfly Effect is in full form-where a tiny change in one place creates a large effect in another. Here we see a young child taking on the job of spreading love and positivity-one tiny gesture. The others start to notice, show their curiosity, get involved and smile-change happening. They will then go on their ways, back into their worlds again, but this time with a different paradigm, thereby affecting change on a much larger level.

This is all told in a seemingly simple book. But the few words, the scratch pencil art that is only highlighted occasionally by bursts of yellow. Why not just try to read the story by looking for the yellow moments-what story can you derive from them?

I love the diverse character array, the varied perspectives offered by the angles drawn, that the speed of movement is created wonderfully with pencil lines and from end-sheet to end-sheet pure creative fun! I highly recommend this book. It’s a shower of mindfulness that will evoke curiosity and a wonder view of the world.

The Same But Different Too by Karl Newson. Illustrations by Kate Hindley

Amazing adorable menagerie of characters highlighting their similarities and differences! These illustrations are absolutely so endearing. I just want to hug each one! The most important message of this book jumps out from the  get go- I am me and you are you and that is just the way it is supposed to be. Our similarities and differences are what keep the balance in the world. We need each other. 

Simple examples highlight the similarities and the differences and show how they are beneficial and that they work together for a symbiotic relationship. The rhymes are very nice and flow easily and the illustrations enrich the simple words. This is a great read-aloud which will be memorized and recited along. It is just so sweet. I really appreciate the attention to mindfulness and how it presents different ways of paying attention.  The last 2-page spread is adorable beyond words! Highly recommend this book! 

What I Like Most by Mary Murphy. Illustrations by Zhi Cheng-Liang

Starting immediately with the delicate cherry blossom watercolor art of the front end-sheet and the tree of autumn at the end, I knew I was going to love this book. The illustrations are beyond superb. Each one is a piece of art that creates a lvog atmosphere that accompanies the thoughtful text, that is full of curiosity and wonderment.

This is such an amazing early mindfulness book that will be enjoyed by children and adults alike who will all feel the lasting impression of the illustrations and words way past the reading of the story. This book will delight the senses and offers many factual images of seasons, climate, locations, animals and activities. This book conjures up for me The Children of Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren. This book is sure to become a childhood classic. I cannot recommend it enough! 

Thank you to Candlewick Press for these books. All opinions expressed are my own.

#picturebooks #children #books #diversity #community #mindfulness #similarities #differences #love #butterflyeffect #kindness #gratitude #candlewickpress #bookreview #review


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Groove & Flow with Eve presents The Woman’s Set

Here is a video of the Kundalini Kriya The Woman’s Set. I have timed each exercise at 2-minutes with roughly 1-minute between for meditative reflection on the energy within the body. This is an minimal instruction video while I actually complete the practice, so you are doing it with me. It feels very nice to do yoga together. Please join me!

Here are some pose variations that might make the practice more accessible for you. Adaptation is a beautiful gift to yourself to enjoy the practice from where you are with no comparison and no expectations.


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Mindful Book reviews By Eve: Thank You, Crow by Michael Minkovitz

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Thank You, Crow by Michael Minkovitz; Illustrated by Jose D. Medina

I love the sweet green child and the doe-eyed crow. They make a beautiful couple creating art together. The child is kind-hearted and helps the hurt crow, who in turn brings joy and wonderment to the boy. This is a creative page turner that will elicit many giggles and ooh’s and aah’s.

Thank you to Penny Candy Books for sending me this book as part of a giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own.


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Mini Yoga Sequence: Creating Inner Peace

1. Child’s pose make sure your big toes are touching, and your knees are slightly apart, so you stomach can rest on your legs. If you cannot touch your head to the floor, then put a book or a block under your head so you can rest it in something. You can make the book as big or small as needed. You could also put a large pillow  or bolster under your stomach to really relax. If you cannot get into this position due to physical restraints, try sitting on a block or on a chair.
2. Legs up the wall: can be done on the floor with legs together or comfortably separated or you can even put a folded blanket under your hips.
The main thing is to breathe in and out through your nose. Take a breath in slowly though your nose, it does not have to be huge and then try to elongate the breath out. If you have trouble breathing out though your nose at first, you can purse your lips, like you are trying to gently blow out a candle and then let the air slowly escape your mouth.
** The reason we emphasize nostril breathing is that the in-breath particularly reshapes our attention and insight by activating our brain through our senses, such as smell and the action of slow, deep breathing, whether the inhalation or exhalation, is beneficial for our nervous system when we wish to be more still. In fact, mindful breathing emphasizes not only the breathing component, but also the mental component of paying attention and becoming aware of mind, body and breath together.


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Alphabreaths

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Adorable, diverse illustrations connected to beautiful simple breathing prompts. From A-Z, easy to follow breathing prompts, each one aimed to elicit a calming response. This book is a great one for young children and it can be used more widely- any teacher could offer up one of these breathing practices at the beginning of each class. Students can encouraged to note the ones they like the best to keep in their tool boxes of practices they know help them to feel good, calm and in-control. Calming breaths can be used to bring focus and attention in a classroom as well as a home or office but are also great to combine with a yoga pose! Great accessible ideas to incorporate into today’s mindful classroom. 

Fun, accessible introduction to the power of the breath!

Here’s a link to a YouTube video showing kids in a classroom participating.

Thank you to the author for sending me a copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

#childrensbook #bookreview #breath #breathing #mindfulness #calming


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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.

kirtan_2

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.