Finding and Creating Balance…and then keeping it!

I never seem to realize that my life has become out of balance until I receive that universal kick in the butt that knocks me back with a cold or some other malady that forces me to stop and take a break. Not one to sit still for too long I find these occasions at first, really stressful. However, once I get over my “too much to do for this to happen now” mindset, I settle into listening to what my body, heart and spirit are saying.

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What brought my attention to the issue of balance this time was not the usual messages but instead it was a picture from a recent performance at a friends wedding, where as part of a dance I had a sword balanced on my head. It took many years to develop the ability to balance the sword well as I danced with it. I can balance it, twirl and spin with it, get down to the floor and back up again… So in tune with this sword I intimately know it’s exact balance point and when it has moved or shifted away from that and may fall. A slight shift in my posture or the way in which I hold my head will bring it back to it’s balance point. 

I had seen pictures in the past but this time it brought a number of questions to mind “why don’t I have the same intimate knowledge of when my life has moved out of balance as I do with my sword?” “why do I have to wait for the “fall” before I have a realization of imbalance?” More importantly“what changes do I want to make so that I create that awareness for myself?”

When I look at my 2014 year in review I realize that this question must have been sitting on a back burner within my spirit for some time as through the year I had taken a number of steps to ensure more balance, without consciously linking the two. My goal through 2015 is to strive for more balance. I already have an awareness of what works for me in doing that but I’m also going to stay open to discovering more.

Anything that brings me out of my head and into my body for a period of time works really well. For me that is dance, meditation, bodywork and yoga. Stopping everything to just breathe for a few minutes works well but if I add some body movement to those breaths then it is so much more effective. Stopping the mind chatter to just move and breath for a period of time … feels fabulous!

I’ve taken my 2015 appointment book and booked times in that are just for myself. My yoga, 20meditation and dance times are in there! I will receive my first massage of the year on the 2nd…rather than waiting to see when I have time between clients. I’m not going to leave that massage appointment without booking my next session. I’m going to give myself an hour on the 3rd to do a home facial, etc. Most of the times are just booked off to be filled in later with what I want to do with my “me” time but I’m planning to be pretty strict in keeping these appointments with myself!
My next project is to fill a drawer with things I enjoy, that bring me frostmistspleasure and that I can look to during those appointments. My drawer will include some books and favourite teas, some bath and shower aromatherapy treats, a couple of craft projects, music…lots of music, my sketch pad and pencils, a bottle of wine, and I’m not sure what else, it will likely evolve as the year progresses.

Maintaining more balance in life, making both work and play a priority is so important to keep stress at bay and I know when I take the time I sleep better, feel better, live better. It’s definitely my priority this year.

What steps do you take to maintain balance for you? Do you bring enough play into your life?

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Rhythms of Nature inspiring the Dance

I am pretty sure that those ancients that have danced, stretched and shimmied before us would be amused to see us “training” within 4 walls and surrounded by mirrors! I wonder if they would have been able to do it? Or would have even wanted to?

RFCMy first experience with the amazing energy of taking dance outdoors was a number of years ago during a summer session. Each class began with warm ups where our noses were pushed right into the grass as we stretched and breathed. I was surprised when bells rang within and my spirit  reached a new level of calm connection…it felt natural, it felt like I had known and done this before, it felt amazing!

And so began my yearning to move my dance and yoga practice to the great outdoors whenever 009possible. Having only learned, taught and experienced within studio surrounds, protected by 4 walls,  it was a little unnerving at first. Then I began the process of slowing it down, breathing and with the music still playing, becoming connected to those other rhythms and sounds that were taking place all around me. Moving with those rhythms seemed to come spontaneously from within me. While surprising at first, at the same time it felt really comfortable and “known”. Meditation had taught me to draw upon the energies of the earth below and the sky above and while I had always found that to be a natural connection in dance, it was a different experience to actually move and dance with those energies.

When we place our bare feet upon the earth, close our eyes and just breathe it is possible to become connected to the pulsing rhythms and swirls of the earth beneath us. Connecting with that earthy grounding energy, as well as that ethereal breath of the air and breeze that surrounds our skin, is something we have a natural affinity to. We’re born with the connection but often neglect it.

Dancing outside completely and irrevocably changed the way I experience dance whether inside or 7aoutside a studio and also the ways in which I share it, whether as an instructor or a performer. No longer are they just figure 8’s being completed in isolation but now my hips wave and move and ripple through the shape of the 8 rolling from the inside out. Snake arms reach out to connect with the energy that surrounds my body, that is in the air beside, above and around me. With each moving step, if even for a split second, each foot reconnects with the pulsing earth energy that resonates through the floorboards and shimmies up through my hips. It is effortless and natural and I love how the dance “feels”.

260298_10150305604991539_681361538_9623999_844318_nTaking the dance outdoors reconnects the dancer with the ancients, who danced on the dirt and the sand telling their stories and sharing with the younger generation the lessons of life. Can you imagine what changes it will make within you?

Join me as my summer session classes move into the outdoors, experience how the pulsing rhythms of nature move through you. You will likely find that it firmly establishes the moves of the dance and connects them to the core of you, the dancing diva…and dancing from that core inner space is amazing!2013-06-01 11.34.00

Classes taking place in Abbotsford & Otter (on the Langley/Aldergrove border). For more information click here

Summer ClassesCollage

SummerLA Collage

The Energetic Spine

The past posts have been pretty technical and physically based…there is another, just as important aspect to the health of your spine

The practice of holistic/wholistic/natural health includes all aspects of the self…mind, body and spirit. When the 3 are in alignment (what we strive for in holistic health practices) one feels “whole” in their being.

The spine not only supports us physically, but energetically as well…equally important.

From the base of our feet, supported by our legs and suspended from the hips attached to the sacrum or bottom of the spine…we can connect with the nurturing, grounding energies of the earth upon which we live and walk upon. The earth has a rhythm and a pulse all its own and in paying attention to that we can connect our body’s rhythm to it.

From the other end of the spine…right at the top…is our head and when we focus on connecting to the energies above us…those of the heavens and the cosmos we create a stronger connection to our intuition. Drawing that energy in, to flow through our spine and connect with that of the earth’s energy brings us to a space of centredness.Illustration of the main 7 Chakras, as taught ...

Which parts of your spine are aware and connected to the energies around you?

Here is something to try ….

Put on some music that has a drum beat only or where the drum is the featured instrument, starting with something slow and steady .

Feel the weight of your body in all parts of your feet.

Move yourself into a good posture (knees slightly bent, low ab tucked, shoulders down from the ears, head floating, facial muscles relaxed, chest lifted out of the waist) and be sure that your body weight is centred and that you can feel the weight of your body in all parts of your feet…take a few slow deep breaths. See, if through your feet, you can connect to the pulse of the earth….just breathe and feel…if that doesn’t work then just try to connect with the rhythm of the drum beat.

 

Close your eyes and, without moving, just “feel” where in your body you notice the drumbeat in the music first. Just notice and breathe…where are you feeling it? Does the music begin to change the rhythm of your breath? Take some time with this, staying centred and still…just notice how and where you feel it.
 

Staying centred and while keeping the upper body still, allow the drumbeat to dictate the movements of your lower body…it doesn’t matter how it looks, just how it feels. Be sure you’re keeping a good posture, keeping your body weight centred, close your eyes and disengage the thinking….just engage the feeling. Only move the lower body…how does it feel? Is the drumbeat leading the way? Are your moves earthy, grounded, full, rounded, sharp…? Keep breathing and allowing the energy of the drum beat or the earth to flow through your feet, up your legs and into the spine. How far up the spine can your draw this earthy energy? How does it feel in the organs, muscles and body parts attached to your lower spine? Do any emotions come up?

When working with the breath awareness and the spine people notice different sensations…some warm, some cold, some tingly, some heavy…all of them are the right and correct sensations for you.

Return to the beginning…stop moving, just feeling the drumbeat and breath. Staying centred and in a good posture now let the upper body only begin to move to the beat try to keep your feet and hips still. Again disengage the thinking, close your eyes, and notice how it feels. Are your arms, head and ribcage all involved or just the arms? Are your moves airy, full, rounded, precise? As you breathe try to focus on the space just above your head and breathe in the energy from there and let it travel down your spine. How far down does it go? What directions are you able to move your upper spine in? How do the organs and muscles around your upper spine feel? Does the feeling of the drumbeat change when you move it through your upper body?

 

It’s inspiring to experiment with the flow of energy not only through your spine but through different parts of your body. Working with isolating just your hands, legs, feet, arms, neck and head, etc. can offer up different sensations. Different music evokes different moods and moves, music that grounds, music that picks you up, music that slows you down or makes your heart beat faster. You can also turn the music off, stand quietly and feel the natural rhythms that you already have within you…how do they move you?

Are there any spaces in your spine where they are stuck?

Can you breath and release that “stuckness”?