Always Be Dancing

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


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Who Do You Think I Am? by Hannah McLaughlin

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Who Do You Think I Am? By Dawn McLaughlin; Ill. Hannah Rowe; Positively Publishing Kids

I love everything about this sweet book of soul-accepting affirmations accompanied by beautifully rendered pastel pencil drawings of children being everything that they can be. It is 100% a feel good book that embraces diversity, acceptance and creates an endless stream of possibilities a child can be from their moods, feelings, sensations and dreams. I can’t get enough of the doe-eyed children illustrated by Hannah Rowe, a young artist. Each unique set of eyes tells their story. Everyone who reads this book will be able to connect with the characters. I love this concept of empowering children with tools for creative self-expression and success. It is sure to aid in creating more mindful, resilient and positive people. Highly recommend.

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

For more information about me, please visit alwaysbedancing dot com

 


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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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Today’s Kriya: Intuitive Awareness

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I am always trying to open paths to a richer experience. When I teach yoga, I choose a contemplation and from there build the class. This week, I was inspired by something my yoga teacher talked about and I kept mulling over it for myself. Intuitive awareness. To be intuitively aware; Allowing your intuition to blossom and grow like a flower because you are aware of it and its power. IMG_4074

When I meditate, I see colors. I see a crunching blackness and then it gets eaten away by the vivid colors of the rainbow-like a geode kaleidoscope. Sometimes its deep and dark purple/indigo/blue; others times bright yellow and one time even pink and green-like watermelon tourmaline. I feel calm and floating when I see these colors. I am in awe and entranced yet at peace.  Another student mentioned after class that she too saw colors. Her pattern is different than mine but I could totally relate. I am so inspired by her discovery that I am planning a chakra balancing class for next week and I will be interested to hear her experience with it. I see these color-visions as relating to the chakras. Each chakra is a whirling energy center along the spine and head. Each one a lotus flower that blooms and grows in each of these energy centers. Every chakra is related to a gland or glands. The ultimate goal to balance the chakras would have a profound effect on over-all health and well-being-total happiness, health and wholesomeness.

 

Breathing Sequence (1-3 min each) :

 

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  1. Left nostril breathing only.
  2. Right nostril breathing only.
  3. Breath in left and out right only.
  4. Breathe in right and out left only.
  5. Alternate nostril breathing (In left & out right; In right & out left…)
  6. Breath of fire.                                                                                                                              *at end of each section, breathe in and hold for 10-30 seconds, pull up root lock; try to beam out the third eye the whole time/eyes at 3/4 

Wake-Up The Body (Modified Morning Sadhana) (1-3 minutes each)

  1. Cow/Cat
  2. Knee-to-NoseB590112C-E39C-4923-AAB3-4732C54FE0C4
  3. Hug Side-to-Side
  4. Cactus-Arm Twist
  5. Spinal Flex 5FB62A7F-ED3B-411E-9376-04CE99D33898
  6. Life Nerve Stretch
  7. Butter Fly-Flaps & Hold
  8. Pelvic TiltsDE3CE6B7-E46F-4E3B-81CD-D49481B5304A
  9. Pistons (Hold at end)
  10. Rest
  11. Rock and RollD309111A-F1A2-4131-9EBC-D0E166D59338
  12. Cobra (Hold & Side Glances)
  13. Child’s Pose

Here is the sequence in a chair:

(link to Youtube chair yoga version of the sequence)

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Meditative Movement Series To Fully Relax The Body. (3-5 minutes each, except #4)

  1. Stand and dance gracefully. Arms are completely relaxed. Close eyes. Consciously release all the tension from each body part. Scan and release. Begin to sway gently. Dance gracefully with freeing, easy movements, using every body part
  2. Stop. Stand still and straight. Begin to gently touch every part of your body. Feel sensitive with the palms of hands.
  3. Lean forward and hang completely relaxed. Use a block or a chair to rest on if the floor is too far away. Gently bend your knees so your hips can be completely relaxed. Breathe normally.
  4. Stand carefully. Hang back slowly with arms hanging loosely by sides. Feel like you are resting on Little Bo Peeps crook. Back up along the pole and then upper back gracefully following the crook. (1 minute only)

Cross Heart Kriya With A Partner: This meditation balances the hemispheres of your brain, allows your past to become processed and released, and eliminates insecurities.

  1. Sit back-to-back with a partner. Spine straight and together.
  2. All all grudges to release as you breathe easily.
  3. Cross the forearms below the wrist and place them in front of the chest. Arms should be out slightly and angled a bit up towards the chest.
  4. Eye Focus: Look down to the tip of your nose.
  5. Mantra: Sa – Infinity Ta – Life Na – Death, Transformation Ma – Birth
  6. Process: Chant “Sa Ta Na Ma” and press the corresponding fingers to your thumb on each syllable. Chant out- loud (2 min.); chant in a loud whisper (2 min.) chant in head and continue hand movements (4 min.); chant in a loud whisper (2 min.); Chant out- loud (2 min.).  Hear the chant with your third ear which is in the same location as your third eye, right in the middle of the brow.
    Sa – Press thumb and index finger (brings knowledge)
    Ta – Press thumb and middle finger (brings wisdom and patience)
    Na – Press thumb and ring finger (brings vitality)
    Ma – Press thumb and pinkie finger (brings enhanced communication)
  7. To Finish: Inhale and suspend breath, roll eyes up to look out third eye and become completely still.
  8. Relax in resting pose.

 

 

Playlist:

  1. On Namo Guru Tune-In by Shakta Kaur Khalsa
  2. Breathe-Prana-Apana by Ananda Yogiji f. Jaya Lakshmi
  3. Circles by Adam F
  4. Ek Ong Kar by Simrit Kaur
  5. Move Your Body by Marshall Jefferson
  6. Bah Samba (Yoruna Soul Vocal Mix) by Tired Little One
  7. Toast by Koffee
  8. Om Tar Tuttare (Red Fulka Remix) by Deva Premal & Miten
  9. Salala by Angelique Kidjo f. Peter Gabriel
  10. Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam Siri Wahe Guru by (unknown)
  11.  Short Kirtan Kriya by Nirinjan Kaur
  12. Long Time Sun by Paramjeet Singh & Kaur

 

 


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: The Rhino Who Swallowed A Storm by Levar Burton & Susan Schaefer Bernardo

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This is a wonderful book to help children express and release trauma in a very relatable way. Through the power of reading aloud, a parent can help their child release the “storm within” and how to climb out from under a heavy burden. Through the story, we learn that self-reflection can help us proceed through trauma, not with fear, but with curiosity, inner strength and peace. The book is very soothing with its rhyming sections, its use of healing and trusting words and has a lovely flow of onomatopoeia. The book comes a close with a sense of calmness, gratitude and confidence. It is all about love. I love the rich, earthy tones of the illustrations and the sweet faced animals are very endearing.

I highly recommend it! It will remain in my home library so that I can share it with my clients.

Thank you to the author, Susan Schaefer Bernardo, for sending me this book. All opinions expressed are my own. Reading Rainbow

For more information about me, please visit alwaysbedancing dot com

#bookreviews #children #picturebook #mindfulness #alwaysbedancing #evecostarelli #fiction #iameve #theaccidentalkundalini #peacemoji #influencer #trauma #Rhino #juvenileliterature


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: How To be On The Moon by Viviane Schwarz

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This book is about the possibility of the impossible and just opens up the door to “you can do anything you put your mind to. Be informed, be prepared and take a risk!” I love how it stresses the importance of math, being patient, being prepared and using tons of imagination to make your dreams come true. It is a wonderful, creative STEAM book to just open a young child’s mind to possibility. Everyone’s a winner in this book-which is great, as attaining your dreams are not a competition but a journey to the unknown. It even has a nice tie into the concept that “far away” does not mean gone, it is just different which would work well for a family move, a death…love this book! The book is full of sweet smiles, an androgynous child and a sweet wild beast. The colors on gray background works very well to give the feeling of space.

I highly recommend it and cannot wait to share it with my granddaughter!

Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

For more information about me, please visit alwaysbedancing dot com

#bookreviews #children #picturebook #mindfulness #alwaysbedancing #evecostarelli #fiction #iameve #theaccidentalkundalini #peacemoji #influencer #nonfiction #outerspace #moon #astronaut #crocodile #juvenileliterature


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Firefly Home by Jane Clarke

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I was immediately drawn in by the vibrant yellow on the cover and the end sheets. It’s so glowing and alluring, just like a firefly. This book is not merely a book about a firefly; it is a creatively interactive book about curiosity and searching and is full of fun facts and keeps the mind engaged with its cute “follow” directions and is great for hand-eye coordination. The book may seem simple but it is deceptively complex and will engage the reader over and over. The illustrations by Britta Teckentrup are eye-catching with beautiful colors and layering and are reminiscent of Eric Carle’s tissue paper art. I just adore the “electric” bright yellow tail-trails throughout the book-they make me feel happy! Love this book!

I highly recommend it and cannot wait to share it with my granddaughter!

Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

For more information about me, please visit alwaysbedancing dot com

#bookreviews #children #picturebook #mindfulness #alwaysbedancing #evecostarelli #fiction #iameve #theaccidentalkundalini #peacemoji #influencer #nonfiction #bugs #firefly #yellow #ispy #juvenileliterature 


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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)