finding our way

yoga studio

This is our yoga studio, most people comment that they’ve never seen a mirror ball in a yoga studio…but when you do ecstatic dance its a nice touch…we just painted the floor–meant to be burgundy, came out fuscia…I don’t know if its the right look or feel yet…its a bit intense!

I dont even know where to begin. We are just about to say goodbye to the first 3 guests of the season at Sun Lotus, they are 3 beautiful souls from the UK and they have been here for a few weeks. I just want to cry, its all been so lovely.

Sarah and Mandy have been the most beautifully willing students, the sacrificial lambs–they are the kind of students inspire a teacher to teach. Knowing that we are just begining to teach they have been more than eager to encourage us to spread our wings and go for it. They can be credited with legitimizing our endeavors, keeping us to our ashram schedule, and giving us sincere feedback as we needed it. Their enthusiasm has been inspiring to say the least, they whole-heartedly participated in asana, meditations, chanting, fasting and yoga dance–with virtually no prior experience. Their discipline and dedication were truly inspiring. Within the first days here they added their own pre-bedtime asana practice. For the whole time they’ve been here–even when it had been offered by others, they avoided caffeine, alcohol and meat (totally of their own accord, and apparently for the first time in their adult lives!) They turned our lounge into a study hall full of yoga books from our library, they asked questions that showed deep introspection and curiousity, they even bought their own books, they watched documentaries and before my very eyes became two truely gorgeous young yoginis.

Jody, the young fellow from the UK with an obviously old soul, is a soon to be kundalini yoga teacher. His presence has been a real blessing for all of us, he has been a true source of knowlege & inspiration on many levels. His selfless devotion and countless hours of creating a beautiful & consistent new look for Sun Lotus thru promotional materials, facebook, twitter, wordpress and website design is truly an inspirational model of karmic work. (I can only repay him with love and a deep commitment to teach yoga to all who find their way here–sat nam!) He also lovingly makes & serves wicked hot drinks (honey garden-mint, almond-milk chai latte, honey lemon etc) and inspired us all to fast on the full moon–which was a great idea and saved me one day of cooking–thank you my love!

In some magical spontaneous collaboration of spirit, Jody and I discovered a style of meditation that I will forever refer to as the “jazz of meditation”–easily moving between the two of us as facilitators, we had an unforgettable 4pm meditation sitting out on the stumps overlooking the pond listening to soft sacred music in the background. I began by suggesting that we either close our eyes or keep a drishti (soft meditative gaze) gently we began to do some small stretches for our neck, back and arms, then some breathing excersizes, from the kundalini tradition offered by Jody, we then relayed back and forth with different suggestions for contemplation or movement, each of us offering insights direct from our present experience…the girls sat in quiet cooperation, following along in our natural flow–the hour passed completely unnoticed. When we wrapped up, Sarah, who had been struggling with meditation, joyfully exclaimed “I think I like meditation now…” Jody and I both knew it had been a special kind of experience that we were not likely able to repeat, but we would now use as a benchmark and a new perspective on teaching meditation and yoga. I was truly inspired & full of gratitude; the possibility of having such a wonderful experience with a wide variety of individuals–particularily other teachers who might pass thru Sun Lotus is truly exciting…what a sharing, what a gift!

The definitive highlight of this opening season, has been the yoga dance on the full moon friday night. Without too much thought on thursday night i lay in bed and quickly put together a playlist from my limited selection of danceable sacred music and suitable pop music. At 8pm on Friday evening we cleared the studio of mats, set out water, played soft sacred music, burned inscense and carefully lit ALL the candles. I have had this incredibly strong yearning to combine dance and chant and to teach it to others as I beleive it can open the doors to heart and spirit on so many levels. However, I am still a little uncertain as to my ability to bring people along in the dance journey and this was only the third time that I facilitated an ecstatic yoga dance.

We had listened to a wide array of chant up till then but as usual the girls, like most new yogis were reluctant to actually use their voice in chant–I was hoping that now, with their previous exposure to some of the songs, combined with their previous practice, new understanding and the conduciveness of the environment, they would perhaps let go of that niggling little bit of ego that says “you look/sound weird doing this”. Conscious dance is strange for most people. Jody had experience, loves music and dance and his energy was uplifting and easy to feed off, but the girls admitted they would not normally dance unless they had a “few drinks’inem” so I was half-expecting it to be a bit of a struggle. I hoped I made the right choices in music, pacing and timing.

Here is the song list we used, and the way it came together…the list is just under 2 hours with 28 minutes of much needed savasana included:

Become like Pleasant Music 1:10 this is a nice little intro from Sadhguru Vasudev

Ganesha Mantra – Wah 4:30 invoking ganesh at the begining of any practice to help remove obstacles which may impede the path to the highest self–we began with a little kundalini breath work breathing up energy from the earth thru legs to moola chakra

Liberation Dance- Shiva Rea 5:53 perfect voice over intro into conscious dancing

To Be Free-Mike Oldfeild 4:22 spirit, melody and lyric are so beautifully matched in this lovely song that even though paul overplays it, somehow it never loses its magic…they groaned, “we know this song…but its so good anyway” this really broke the ice, we began the song with more breathwork breathing up to the sacral chakra

Ang Sang Wahe Guru–(artist needed) 3:18 this has a great voice over at the begining “the Dynamic loving energy of the infinite source of all, is dancing in every cell of my being….”–we balanced the brain-hemispheres with walking around in circle with our eyes following our swaying hands

Radhe Bhaj Soulshine–wah! 6:20 a song about love with lots of voice over–we did breathwork up to solarplexus chakra

Give Love–MC Yogi 3:10 a very upbeat, with almost a juvenile energy, very ‘solar plexus’

Good Feeling–Flo Rida 4:30 with perfect timing Mandy finally freed her throat chakra by sqealing out “oh my god, I love this song“–it was becoming dusk, i turned on the mirror ball, hit the lights and we danced and hollered out the words to this very freeing song….(end of mirror ball experience)

Hey Diwani, Hey Diwana–Dum Dum Project 6:09 this song gave us a chance to cool down, drink water consciously recognising where the water had been before and observing it entering our body and then dancing as a body of water, dancing as a body of energy, moving our molecular bodies thru the molecules of space and recognising that we too are mostly space…

Don’t follow the Guru–Ganga Giri 6:27 this was a perfect song for third-eye chakra, it is energetic and fun, and speaks of recognizing your own inner guru, your own ability to see the truth/reality–your third eye.

Ma Chant Kali–Wah!4:22 gently energetic, lovely voice over with messages about grace etc.–I beleive this might have been when Jody introduced the idea of feeling the energy between your two hands before they touch (it feels like reverse magnets…) and we all became fascinated by this for a while…Particularily Sarah!

Ocean of Mercy (hare Krishna)Jaya Laksmi 5:53 this song is the most beautiful rendition of the maha(great) mantra “hare Krishna” the gang had heard it before and despite its deeply devotional nature its catchiness is inescapable…we all danced enthusiastically and I think I saw them chanting along…but I am willing to bet they had at least one stray thought of
what the hell am I doing, dancing around singing hare Krishna –I wonder what my friends at home would say…”
then the next song came on….such a contrast!

Dancing in The Moonlight -Toploader -3:46 this was unexpectedly received with a very vocal and critical “oh no, not this song…this was so overplayed back home” I asked “when?” because its from 1973 and these guys are only 30…but apparently it was a huge-hit in the UK being covered in 2003 by toploader…”anyway, I said, check out the moon”…by now–as if by some divine intervention, the moon had magically appeared over the pond, shining like a giant orange orb enhanced by drifting wisps of mystical blue-grey clouds…we gathered into a tight group at the doorway where it was clearly visible and re-started the song and together sang it as loud as possible–the words were a perfect fit!
…”when that moon is big and bright its a supernatural delight, everybody is dancing in the moonlight….everbody here is outa-sight, they don’t bark and they don’t bite, they keep things loose, they keep it tight…everybody feeling the moment right, its a fine and natural sight, everybody is dancing in the moonlight”…I could not have timed this better nor chosen a better song, this was obviously a divinely inspired moment~really really special….I get goosebumps just thinking about it…I was so taken away with the magic of the last moment the next few songs were a blur for me, anyway they provided ample time to cool down, bring the energy down and get ready for savasana…

Mere Govinda ✬ Jai-Jagdeesh 9:40

Sada Sat Kaur – Gobinday Mukunday 9:55

Heart Sutra 7:32 Wah!

In Sunlight by Tina Malia 5:43–we begun to pull out mats, blanket etc and lay down for savasana

Ong So Hung 22:15 The Guru Singh Experience–the nice long length of this song, enabled be to complete our session with a smudge, and a little leg/foot massage for grounding…

whilst in the throes of this dance, I had some exceptional revelations come to me; for one, I literally felt like I had become some kind of witch-doctor or shaman, then I felt I was channeling Shiva, I could see myself with arm bands on, wild hair flowing, stripes across my forehead–dancing out the old incarnation of Sun Lotus and dancing into creation the new vision, I felt very alive and very much in the flow–I felt since I had put so little time & thought into making this playlist, that It must have been inspired by something beyond myself…I felt I had come home, and merged the burning desire to teach esctatic dance with the sudden capacity to do so…I could see myself doing it over and over again, teaching it to many…It blew my mind!! It took me two days to recover.

After the long savasana, we sat up around a candle and talked about our experience, I was heartened by Mandy saying “oh my god, I could so see myself with my girlfriends dancing around our apartment like this…” I hope to inspire others to take up yoga dance…I hope to be able to host Yoga dance at Sun Lotus at least once a month!

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