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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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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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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Boston Dance Alliance is Inclusion

        Boston Dance Alliance is Inclusion

“Through their new referral service for dancers with disabilities, the Boston Dance Alliance strives to break down barriers to inclusion. I was thrilled to see their action become a reality when I received an interview for and then earned the position to teach a 5-week accessible youth flamenco class at the Cotting School in Lexington. This is a chance of a lifetime, affording me the opportunity to share my love of flamenco with this inclusive community. Thank you BDA for increasing cultural equity and access to dance for diverse communities! 

~Eve Costarelli, owner and founder, Always Be Dancing Expressive Arts: Yoga and Flamenco for Every/body

Boston Dance Alliance is committed to opening doors to dance. Our free referrals for dancers with disabilities and those who want to work with them are only possible because of your generous support.

Every donation of $50 or more gets you the benefits of membership!

Donate Here
Share in the success of the organization honored this year as one of the four best small nonprofits in the state by the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.

Thank you so much!

Debra Cash, Executive Director
Boston Dance Alliance
19 Clarendon Street
Boston, MA 02116
www.bostondancealliance.org

P.S. Check if your employer will match your gift! And BDA can now accept gifts of stock.


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It’s Great Time for Yoga & Flamenco!

882824_10151907518920295_1244060619_oNow is a great time to bring one of Eve Costarelli’s varied mindfulness programs to your school, center or special event. Eve Costarelli will seamlessly adapt her programs to fit yours and your students/residents needs.

  1. ¡Olé Flamenco! Educational Flamenco Presentation:*September 15 – October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month. This dynamic, experiential arts learning program can help bring Hispanic cultures to life for your students. Available all year.a. With guitarist, Antonio Tiriti

    b. Solo

     

  2. ¡Olé Flamenco! Workshops* & Classes*in addition to or separate from the educational presentationa. with guitarist Antonio Tiriti

    b. Solo

  3. In-School Yoga & Mindfulness (working with school districts)

     

  4. Accessible Flamenco & Yoga (for populations who need accessibility and adaptability)

Programs are available for grades K-12; college level; corporate events; senior living facilities and private hire. All programs are inclusive and can be adapted as needed for those with special needs including physical disabilities, medical conditions, intellectual difficulties, or emotional problems, including deafness, blindness, dyslexia, learning difficulties, and behavioral problems.

Please contact Eve Costarelli for scheduling and pricing:

AdamAnt_Eve@hotmail.com or 617-216-1643

All About Eve:

For over 20 years, Eve has been an arts educator, teaching flamenco, tap dance, and yoga to children through seniors citizens of all levels and abilities. She practices a therapeutic and body-centric approach to teaching to give her students both physiological and psychological benefits from these art forms.

Eve is the lead teacher for Framingham’s own Open Spirit Centers Nourishing Teachers, Strengthening Classrooms project, bringing mindfulness into both the Framingham Public Schools and Hoops & Homework, an award winning after-school program for the neediest children in Framingham.

Ms. Costarelli is a familiar face on the Boston dance scene, and along with guitarist Antonio Tiriti, brings educational and experiential flamenco performance and workshops all over New England. Eve and Anthony are past members of Young Audiences of Massachusetts and Celebrity Series: Arts for All!

Eve Costarelli is the creator of Always Be Dancing Expressive Arts: Yoga and Flamenco for Every/Body.

All programs are adaptable, accessible and inclusive www.AlwaysBeDancing.com

 

 


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Book Review by Eve: The ASD And Me Picture Book by Joel Shaul

IMG_8157 (1)Once again, Joe Shaul hits it out of the park with an accessible, user-friendly book for children on the Autism Spectrum. The book clearly explains, with easy-to-read cartoon/clip art-like illustrations, how we are all different yet all the same and shows how we can quantitatively assess these things thereby gaining insight about ourselves and the world around us paving the way for self- reflection and improved self control.

I love the outlined head-shapes with the visual depictions of thoughts actions and ideas. This makes it so clear and simple. It really helps to delineate differences and similarities so that we can see that we are similar to each other not only by our similarities but also by our differences; we are similar because we are different and by becoming aware of this we will be able to blend all varied modalities together seamlessly, into a world that truly allows everyone their own growth path. This book is great for kids with ASD but it is also great for everyone else to appreciate and learn from. Its especially good for visual learners.

I highly recommend. It is a great tool!

How will I use this book:

As you can see, I was inspired to make visuals of my own thoughts on the sticky notes attached to the book in the heading photo. Inside my head, I have ideas to make accessible flamenco as a way to discover ones true nature. It makes it very clear what I am thinking about and what makes me, me. These are things that I am good at, I feel confident about and I am passionate about expressing within this creative form.

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Full Disclosure: Jessica Kingsely Publishing sent me this book. All opinions are my own.


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Book Reviews by Eve: No One Needed To Know by D. G. Driver

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D.G. Driver, author of No One Needed To Know, delivers an honest and highly relateable portrayal of a pre-teen girl, Heidi (who is partially biographical) with an older brother who has autism. On one hand, Heidi wants desperately to fit in with her peers and on the other hand, remain true to her family values. It is easy to identify with her as she struggles with her own coming of age at a time when society was much less inclusive for people with autism. On the precipice of “growing up”, we meet Heidi when she is unable to stick up for herself or her brother, but she evolves into a resilient, brave young woman, who comes, not only, to her brother’s rescue but also, in turn rescues herself. I highly recommend this book. It is a great heart-felt, eye opening “slice of life” that should be shared at school, in the home and out into the world. back-of-no-one-needed-to-know-5

Full Disclosure: The author sent me a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.