December & January Classes

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This week, we finish up an 8-week series of Bellydance Fitness on Thursday evenings at Weinstein JCC. So much fun and so much sisterhood! But, wait, there’s more!

NEW this week on Wednesday, Dec. 7, a drop-in Bellydance Fitness class launches at The DanceSpace in Richmond, 6-6:45 pm. Drop-in fee is $10/class. Or, purchase a December set of 4 classes for $32. Bring your own coin scarf or purchase one at the door for $5. (Plus size option is $15. I sell the scarves at cost.) Women Only. No prior dancing experience necessary.

Coming in JANUARY 2017, another Bellydance Fitness 8-week series begins at Weinstein JCC. Mark your calendars and keep an eye out for the link to on-line registration, which is not yet up. Class will be held January 19-March 9, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. in the dance studio room at JCC. $80 for JCC members. $110 for non-members. (Coin scarf included.)

The Gift of Honesty

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Satya is Sanskrit for truth. One of the virtues we strive for daily is honesty, with ourselves and others, in thought, word and deed. Simple, yes? Do not tell lies. Do not distort. Do not mislead or misrepresent. Ah, but as we get into degrees and interpretations and intent, not really so simple after all. Fortunately, we have a lifetime to practice, with many opportunities to move closer to harmony with our truest nature.

Being true to ourselves is essential self-care. Are we hiding feelings? Is overt “niceness” giving others a false image of who we are and what we are willing and able to do or be? Is “niceness” subtly telling our own hearts that our real self is unlikeable or unloveable, so it must be concealed? Are we overcommitting? Are we honest about how many hours are in our day, how much rest and relaxation we need, how we must prioritize and apportion energy? Are we avoiding change, sitting with the falsehood that things are fine when they are truly not? Are we polite to someone in person but cutting when they are out of sight? Do we unload double-barrels of “truth” in bursts of anger or frustration that are an act of violence and in excess of what we know to be true when we feel calm?

There are some heart-centered, open-minded tools that can help us preserve and express Satya. Taking a pause before a habitual response or gathering storm. Allowing for quiet centering before tipping into busyness and reactiveness. Asking the inner question of “what’s really going on now?”

We have launched into the winter holiday season with a day devoted to giving thanks, moving into a season of light beaming through the long, cold nights and culminating with a celebration of newness and possibility as the calendar ticks over another notch. There’s much external pressure to do everything right, to give in to excess to please everyone, to express generosity and festivity. Satya can serve us here, if we let it. What do we really want from the holidays? How can we express ourselves truly during this special season? Why are we behaving in certain patterns and is it true that we and others need them to continue?

Sitting in stillness with truth can be uncomfortable. We may feel the weight of past errors or slip into fear of future difficulties. Again, an opportunity to ask, gently and with great kindness, “What’s really going on? Right now? In this moment?”

Comfort and joy can be ours and we may share them freely, especially when we are true to our essence, no matter the circumstances.

Namaste! The light in me recognizes and honors the light in you.

Jingle All The Way

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A super fun, relaxed lesson in belly dance builds bonds between women. Everyone is a sister on this floor. Share this joyful, playful, sensual expression of feminine creativity. Belly Dance began long, long ago in the community of women for women, all generations dancing together, growing stronger and showing off their sparkle and inner fire. Shake, shimmy, wiggle, jiggle and laugh, while jingling all the way in your coin scarf!

Team-building for Women, Girls’ Night, Ladies’ Only Birthday/Holiday Party or a Bachelorette Party are all great occasions for a single, 45-minute LUV Belly class. $15/person, minimum 5 people, includes a chiffon coin scarf. (Note: $10 upcharge per Plus Size scarf. I provide all scarves at cost with registration fees.) *Must be booked at least 10 days in advance. **Wear soft, comfortable clothing and be prepared to dance in bare feet. ***Zero prior dance experience needed.

*Photo credit: Jimmie Ransom

 

NEW: LUV Bellydance Fitness in December 2016

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Get fit the fun way! Explore the ancient, feminine art of bellydance while strengthening core, increasing flexibility and toning arms in an atmosphere of supportive sisterhood. All ages above 18, all shapes and sizes. Women Only.

NEW session launching in a NEW location in December 2016. Wednesdays, 6-6:45 pm at DanceSpace, 6004A West Broad St., Richmond VA. Near the intersection of Libbie & Broad, upstairs above Mekong Restaurant.

Drop-in fee = $10/class. Dance Card = $32 for 4 classes in December.

The dancing will be done barefoot. Bring your own coin scarf for hips OR purchase one at the door, regular one-size for $5, plus size for $15. Wear soft, comfortable clothing in which you can move freely. Also, if you wish to be expressive, do not hesitate to wear halter tops, bikini tops, crop tops or decorative/bellydance bra. Whatever works for you!

Keep an eye out for posting RE January class at Weinstein JCC, on Thursdays at 5:30. Details being confirmed.

*Photo credit: Jimmie Ransom

Playlist for Flow Yoga

For a more vigorous practice of yoga, you might want to crank up the volume and the pace of the music. I use the following playlist for a class that is about half bodyweight strength-training and half yoga poses with a brief savasana at the end. I think this playlist also works well for running — I’m one of those folks who can’t crank out the mileage without music! All songs may be found on iTunes.

“Flying With You”                      MC Yogi

“Honey”                                         Moby

“Bodyrock”                                    Moby

“Staple It Together”                    Jack Johnson

“India Beat Crush”                      DJ Drez

“Shiva’s Dancehall”          EarthRise Sound System

“Shut Up and Dance”       Walk The Moon

“Uptown Funk”                            Mark Ronson

“Solo Darbuka”                            Chalf Hassan

“Senegal Fast-Food”    Amadou & Mariam

“Say Hey”                                     Michael Franti

“Tangerine Thrumi”                Prem Joshua

“Bombay Theme Music”   A.R. Rahman

“Fairytales with Gentle Rainforest Birds” Rainforest Lullabies

“Free Spirit”                            Budi Siebert

Power Pose: Convince Your Mind

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Wonder Woman! No doubt she gets the job done. She is sure of herself. She knows she has the power to do good. She will be heard.

Imagine the same woman, crumpled in a chair, drooping toward the floor and holding onto herself, gaze downward. Even with a groovy outfit, that body language screams: “I doubt myself! I’m not really here. Don’t look at me.” Of utmost importance is that her brain believes the feedback the body is sending it. Even an intellect that knows an answer, has solutions and proposals aplenty, even a strong and fit body will balk and hesitate if the body language feedback is negative. She who hesitates is lost! She who wants to be invisible or feels invisible can easily convince others that she does not count, perhaps barely exists.

And, yes, this phenomenon is not limited by gender. Men may get into self-defeating postures as well. If Superman really didn’t want others to know his secret identity, then Clark Kent would slump and droop and stumble.

Contemporary social scientists posit that we can create a better feedback loop. We can teach our bodies to convince our brains that everything is O.K., that we are worthy and we can take positive action even under stress. In the vernacular, “Fake it ’til we make it!” Check out this TED Talk by Amy Cuddy for details.

Even Ursula knew it! Villain or not, she knew about power!

LOVE, PEACE & UNITY PLAYLIST

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We have weathered a stormy, contentious year on the political scene. Whatever side of the aisle you stand on or whether you feel adrift in the middle, it has been difficult. My Gentle Yoga class tonight is held in a gym & community center that is also a polling place for voting. I created the playlist below to soothe nerves and generate positive vibes for my students. May the good feelings flood the building! And when the final votes are counted, may we all remember we are in this together, all Americans.

Tonight’s gentle, mindful flow will focus on releasing tension in the chest/heart and throat/voice. Most of us hold onto significant stress in these areas. Chest-opening poses (asanas) help to relieve the tension of overwork at desks/computers, the forward hunch that is a physical manifestation of worry or loss, and the inner ache of powerful feelings such as lack of love and connection or an overflow of negativity. Throat-opening poses help alleviate the tension of neck, jaw and base of skull that come both from a forward-jutting posture (computers & phones) and the clenching that arises from anger, tension or the repression of speech. Emotionally, sometimes people carry a lot of tightness in the throat area if they feel it is not safe to speak their truth or that it will never be heard, so why bother.

Chest Opening poses include Upward Facing Dog, Cobra, Sphinx, Locust, Standing Camel or Kneeling Camel (pictured above), Humble Warrior, Crescent Lunge, Fish (recommended in restorative form with blocks or a rolled mat for most people), Bow or Upward Facing Bow or Side-lying Bow, Cow, Lord of the Dance and Wild Thing. Forward folds and shoulder stretches can also be beneficial to the heart chakra.

Of benefit to the throat are Camel (again), Fish (supported & restorative), Bridge, Shoulder-stand (supported) and Plow (although I seldom teach it because of the risk to the cervical spine).

I hope you will find the playlist below both soothing and uplifting. (Songs from iTunes.)

“Winter Winds”                                           Yoga Pop Ups

“Air On A G String”                                     Tiempo Libre

“As”                                                                  Stevie Wonder

“Life Is Better With You”                           Michael Franti

“Stand By You”                                              Rachel Platten

“Peace Train”                                                 Cat Stevens

“Imagine”                                                       Etta James

“You’ve Got A Friend”                                Owen Richards

“Together”                                                      Demi Lovato

“Dream A Little Dream Of Me”                  Yiruma

“Blackbird”                                                      Sarah McLachlan

“Somewhere Only We Know”                     Lily Allen

“Here Comes The Sun”                                 The Beatles

“I Won’t Give Up”                                           Jason Mraz

“Up To The Mountain”                                  Patty Griffin

“Meditation (from Thais)”                             Lawrence Foster

“Sayuri’s Theme”                                             John Williams

“Across The Universe”                  Vitamin String Quartet

“The Cave”                                                         Yoga Pop Ups

***Photo credit: Jimmie Ransom