Always Be Dancing

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


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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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The Accidental Kundalini: Courage and Balance

July 15, 2019

Warm-up to Find Your Courage

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

Kriya to Balance The Mind In The Group Energy

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

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

Playlist:

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


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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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Last Minute Yoga Gifts For that special Little Yogi In Your Life!

 

  • Gift Certificate for Yoga or Flamenco lessons with Eve Costarelli (Contact Eve/ AdamAnt_Eve@hotmail.com for information and rates)
  • ABC for Me: ABC Yoga! by Christiane Engel
  • Babar’s Yoga For Elephants by Laurent de Brunhoff
  • Chi Universe Kids Mat

  • Hoberman Sphere
  • Little Gurus – A Yoga Discovery Book by Olaf Hajek (gorgeous pictures, no words; great for imaginative yoga fun)
  • The Go Yogi! Card Set by Emma Hughes & John Smisson
  • Listening To My Body by Gabi Garcia
  • Listening To My Heart: A Story of Kindness and Self-Compassion by Gabi Garcia
  • Meditation Is An Open Sky: Mindfulness For Kids by Whitney Stewart
  • Memory Yoga Action Game by Thinkfun
  • Mindful Cards by Whitney Stewart
  • My Daddy is a Pretzel by Baron Baptiste and Sophie Fatus
  • My Yoga Workbook: A Winter Yoga Journey by Lara Hocheiser
  • Seahorses magical Sun Sequence: how all children (and sea creatures) can use yoga to feel positive, confident and completely included by Michael Chissick
  • Yoga Pretzels Cards by Leah Kalish and Sophie Fatus
  • You Are a Lion! And Other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeeun Yoo


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Dance In The Schools- Day One: What is yoga?

Dance In The Schools- Day One: What is yoga?

Dance In The Schools- Day One: What is yoga?

(Included at the end is a classroom/home assignment: How to make a Happiness Collector)

Funded by both Dance In the Schools and Friends of Baldwin, I am thrilled to be back for my sixth year at the Maria Baldwin Elementary School, Cambridge, MA, teaching my own Always Be Dancing Adaptive Movement program with their amazing second grade classrooms. This year, they have three second-grade classrooms and I am able to see each group 5 times. Having this opportunity to grow each year with the students and staff is priceless. Also, I love seeing the past participants who are now in third, fourth or fifth grade. Whenever they see me, they jump into tree pose or even strike a flamenco pose (as I also integrate my program with flamenco). This school has great community spirit and I love the diversity and how it is celebrated.

Good Behavior In Yoga:

Good Behavior In Yoga Class:

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I deliver the rules verbally, also pointing out that they can read along that there is a picture for each rule that shows what I am asking them to do. That way there are many ways to help them remember the rules.

  1. I stay on my mat. This is so each child has personal space. We take a moment to look at our mats, the size, the color… I asked them to think of a color that makes them feel happy. Holding an imaginary Hula Hoop, we then cover our whole mat, including ourselves, with a bubble of this color. Inside our bubble we feel happy, good and safe.

  2. I listen with my ears. That way they can hear the directions that are being given

  3. I watch what my yoga teacher is doing. I remind them that I will most likely being doing what I am asking them to do, so if they watch me, they will always know what is being asked of them.

  4. I try my best to do each yoga activity. Yoga is about trying, noticing, feeling. Just give things a try and if you need help…

  5. If I need help, I can ask my yoga teacher. If one child needs an adaptation of an activity, we all do it. Its just something else to try!

  6. If I need a break, I can take Child’s Pose or I can sit quietly on my mat. OK…a big one. I stop everything here and I go through and teach what I call the “three resting poses” First, I teach Child’s Pose, have everyone take a breath or two to feel this pose in their bodies. Then we roll forward onto our bellies, for Crocodile Pose, everyone needs belly-time! Once again a few breaths to feel the pose. Then we flip over onto our backs, and I teach Gingerbread Man Cookie Pose. This is the traditional savasana pose. Take our breaths. When we all sit back up, I ask them to think about which pose was the most restful for them because I will ask them later during class to do that pose.

  7. I use a quiet voice. Enough said!

  8. I keep my hands to myself. (OK this one should really be up by “staying on your mat” That will be on the updated poster!) Here I bring back the color bubble. Keep your hands to yourself. Do not pop anyone’s bubble….img_6145

After the rules (I only do this one time but I bring the board each week as a reminder, classes started with belly breathing. A great way to begin! I am a strong believer of breathing in and out through the nose, as an exhale with the mouth actually feels like a balloon that is losing air too fast (insert “balloon deflating too rapidly” sound here….FFFRRRAAPFT). I encourage breathing in through the nose, as if you are smelling a lovely flower and then letting the air gently leave through the nose on the exhale. It is more calming this way. Of course, there are two exceptions. If you have a cold/allergy or if you feel nervous and it makes you uncomfortable to breath that way.

One reason I bring yoga into classrooms is to help students and teachers that yoga is an accessible safe choice towards embodying self-control. Yoga is all about the self. Yoga is all about what it feels like inside your body. Only the individual knows what is feel like because no one else is inside another person’s being. The individual knows what is safe, what makes them feel good and how to calm themselves down. With increased self control, classrooms can flow more smoothly and teachers do not have to be noise/distraction monitors. For sure, yoga is not a cure-all, but it is one very accessible, adaptable and enjoyable tool for a person’s emotional intelligence tool kit.

Class begins with the ringing of the chime. Sometimes the best way to start class is form a relaxed and calm position to pave the way for better focused minds, bodies and energy. We inhale on the ring and allow the slow breath to release as we listen to the echo of the sound. Each child gets a turn. And with each chime, we focus our attention on the sound and on our breathing.

I will continue to use the bell as a way to bring back focus to the class. I want them to understand the difference between silent and noisy and stillness and movement. We all get a bit noisy, making silly sounds, talking, wiggling and then suddenly I ring the bell. The room quiets down. Of course, I made need to ring it again, but usually one ring is enough. Sometimes I play with the level intensity at which I ring the chime (loud vs soft), so they really have to be alert for its sound.

What is yoga?

Group 1

  • stretching

  • feeling relaxed

  • relaxing moves

  • movement

  • flexible

Group 2

  • calm down

  • stretching

  • getting flexible*

Group 3

  • relaxed & feeling good

  • stretch to become flexible

  • breathing to calm

  • de-stress

  • peaceful

  • floating

Each class came up with similar responses, but the one I really liked was “getting flexible”. I love how it implies an opportunity for growth, for change. Just what yoga is about!

Jumping right into a short sequence:

Cow/Cat (adding moos and meows)

Downward Facing Dog (with barks)

Cobra (with hisses)

Child’s Pose (giving hand options to help the children figure out what feels best for them: under the forehead, fist-on-fist or hands by feet, palms up)

Now asking the students if doing  that little bit of yoga make them feel calm/good/happy or like they were getting more flexible? I refer back to the word list they created and use them. I often throw in the question, “Is being able to touch your toes or do a backbend the only way to show that you are flexible? You might need to direct them away from more physical action descriptions for flexibility then someone can come up with alternative ways to be flexible (i.e. mind, energy)

One of my favorite yoga books and the one I have been using the longest is My Daddy Is a Pretzel by Baron Baptiste. It is a great kicking off point for basic yoga poses.

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The kids think the title is hysterical and I immediately tell them to create their own version of a pretzel yoga pose: tie yourself up, twist and curl any which way.

What I have found is that the real focus of the book is in the varied types of jobs the children in the story say that their parents do each day. There is a gardener (tree), vet (downward facing dog), architect, (triangle), pilot (airplane), builder (bridge), farmer (plow), marine biologist (fish), works in Africa (lion), baker (pretzel). These jobs open up our ability to talk about what these job’s actually mean you do and kids either know or can piece together these answers by looking at the accompanying pictures. To make my teaching fully inclusive and to make sure I can make any adaptation necessary, I teach going into and out of poses my own way, so I do not use the accompanying pose descriptions. That way I can adapt and grow each pose organically with the group, rather than follow a set path. At the end, of course, we get to try another “make-your-own” pretzel pose. Lots of laughs and then I offer up the resting pose choice. We take a short resting moment.

One of my favorite moving meditations is “Yogini Went To Sea” by Shakta Kaur Khalsa (for only $9.99 you can buy the album Happy through iTunes). Shakta is the first children’s yoga teacher I studied with and she taught me the invaluable lesson of allowing your self to grow with each experience and also, she recorded the only recorded yoga songs that I use in my classes! 

Classroom/Home Assignment: Create a Happiness Collector.

A Happiness Collector is a jar, bucket, basket or any other receptacle you choose where you put in small piece of paper that have on them written or drawn things that make you happy. These things can be anything that make you happy. They can be something that you did, that you saw or that you had done to you.

  1. Choose your Happiness Collector

  2. Every day take a moment to remember something that made you happy.

  3. Write it down or draw it on a small piece of paper. Fold the paper.

  4. Put it into your Happiness Collector.

  5. Messages can be read whenever a bit of sunshine is needed, at the end of a week etc…

Children can be prompted with a phrase such as “I feel happy when I _________.

Thank you!

Ole! Namaste!


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Book Review: Growing Up Mindful by Christopher Willard, PSYD

bk04652-growing-up-mindful-published-cover_1I was pleased to receive the book Growing Up Mindful from the author, Christopher Willard, PSYD. As I have become increasingly more focused on bringing mindfulness into situations where mindfulness might not be readily available, such as in schools, offices, and  with the special needs populations, I have enjoyed the wide array of books on the practical applications of mindfulness, that I can adapt to my needs. Dr. Willard is at the top of the game. This book was really user-friendly with just enough scientific knowledge mixed with common sense. A dream book of ideas to help create a sense of balance, ease and flexibility in your life, that of your family and also to those around you. From the excellent mindfulness exercises to the practical advice, Dr. Willard offers creative and useful scripts, examples and ideas on how to bring mindfulness into your day. I highly recommend this book. It is an excellent tool for anyone: parent, teacher, and boss who wants to help young people bring mindfulness into their lives.

He also has an audio companion to his book available on Sounds True and a great set of Growing Mindful card deck that features 50 unique mindfulness activities to teach awareness, how to be present in the moment, and cultivate kindness & curiosity. Perfect for all ages! 514xcamlnel-_ac_ul320_sr192320_

As a special treat, here is a YouTube link to Dr. Willard’s TedX – Growing Up Stressed or Growing Up Mindful?

Disclaimer: The author sent me a copy of Growing Up Mindful. All opinions are my own.