‘If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.’
~ Henry David Thoreau
Goal-Setting and Goal-Realisation
As this year slowly -or rather quite quickly- draws to a close and the New Year is right around the corner, we are entering this period of transition, coming up to a closure of one symbolic cycle and awakening to the next chapter of our lives.
The holiday season tends to be quite busy these days; lots of responsibilities, projects to complete, housework to take care of, preparation for family gatherings or for travelling…Alongside all of these though, there is also the more internal process of reflecting on the year that has gone by and on the life experiences that it has brought us, realising what has worked well and what hasn’t, acknowledging our achievements and progress, as well as our set-backs and impediments, and of course…setting our goals for the year to come!
This is the time of year, when we make our commitment to ourselves to implement certain changes in our lives, work to fulfil certain wishes and set our intentions for the new cycle, with all the forward-moving energy and enthusiasm that new beginnings grant us –yes, talking about the well-known topic of New Year resolutions!
However, have you ever had the experience of coming up with amazing ideas and inspiration, making wonderful plans in your mind, maybe journaling on them, sharing with friends and really committing to them, but then having difficulty following them through to completion, bringing your dreams to life, putting ‘flesh’ on them? I certainly have been there myself.
As the initial excitement fades away, when we go back to our daily routine and ‘real-life’ obligations, it becomes hard to maintain the motivation and engagement that was there at the beginning. (just think of the common example of annual gym registrations that remain unused throughout the rest of the year…)
Most of us do not know how to make our dreams come true, on a practical level. We know quite a lot about writing our goals down and thinking about how it will be, when we have achieved them, but what about the steps that we need to take to reach them? And the most important question of all: how do we keep the whole process alive, meaningful, soulful and relevant, instead of just mechanically ‘doing what we have to do’ to get where we want to go?
Just like Henry David Thoreau says in the quote above, there is no need for our ideas, dreams and ‘castles in the air’ to be abandoned or wasted. The only thing that needs to be added is the foundation; the building blocks, the stepping stones that will take us from air to earth, from thought to materialization, from the place of infinite possibility to that of finite creation…
The Chakra System as a Path to Manifestation
To take this reverse journey from top to bottom, the most comprehensive and powerful system that I have personally encountered so far is that of the Chakras. The Chakras, the energy centres of the human body, located along the spine, give us a detailed map of the different steps we need to take, in order to walk down the chakra ladder, from the heights of our Spirit, where our ideas and dreams originate from, to the reality of the earthly realm, where they find fulfilment. Each chakra is associated with one of the main elements (earth, water, fire, air, ether, space) and governs a certain area of human experience.
Anodea Judith, in her book ‘Creating on Purpose’, talks about the two currents that one can experience, in terms of the chakras: the upward current or current of liberation and the downward current or current of manifestation. The upward current describes the process of moving from the lower to the higher planes of consciousness, from earth to space or light, and is the most well-known, most written about and advocated one ,in the world of spirituality, as it leads to the ultimate purpose of yoga and all spiritual practices: union with the Divine, or Self-realization.
In terms of the downward current, Anodea says: Less understood is the downward path, which the ancient masters called bhukti (meaning ‘enjoyment’). In this path, the flow of creation begins in the vast place of pure awareness. It enters our individual consciousness as a thought or idea. The chakras act as condensers, giving thoughts shape and form, moving them into words and then into actions, until they are dense enough to manifest on the material plane. We call this energetic path the current of manifestation. It is by this path that we enjoy the play of life, the myriad ways the Divine can manifest into the world.
One of the reasons that the chakra system is so effective and powerful in terms of manifesting our dreams and desires is that it involves the body –the physical, emotional and energy body; ideas are not just explored in our minds, we don’t simply stay in our heads with them -on the contrary, we take them step-by-step down into the rest of our physical and energetic being, and engage the power and essence of each of the seven major chakras, in order to bring them to life.
The Downward Current
The downward current starts at the crown chakra, where we receive inspiration through our Source, Higher Self or Spirit. We open up and allow ideas to flow spontaneously through our imagination –our connection to the Self. In the crown chakra, we receive.
In the eyebrow centre, we immerse in visualisation; we see our dreams coming true, with as much detail as possible, and infuse them with light, blessings and energy. In the third eye, we envision.
In our throat chakra, we communicate our vision and share our intentions, through conscious self-expression and the power of our -literal and symbolic- voice. In the throat chakra, we express.
In our heart centre, we engage the greatest power of all – love- and bathe our dream in the energetic field of our sacred centre, as we connect with others, with respect and compassion. In the heart chakra, we expand and relate.
In our navel centre, we engage our personal fire, our will-power, the energy that will sustain us in our journey, and embody our inner warrior/warrioress with passion and focused determination. In the navel chakra, we will and act.
The sacral centre connects us with the juice in our dreams, the pleasure, the ‘taste’, the fluidity and yumminess that makes them feel good and desirable. In the sacral chakra, we feel and enjoy.
Lastly, the earth centre is where everything becomes concrete, tangible, real. Our vision gets grounded, our seeds get planted. We arrive. In the root chakra, we complete.
Gratitude. Having completed our whole journey, we express gratitude and celebrate! Here, we have.
The Journey of Manifestation
If you would like to experience this transformational process for yourself, I warmly invite you to join us for our December JourneyDance & Vision-Boarding workshop, The Journey of Manifestation; a 3-hour workshop that has been intentionally designed to take you on a Journey into your deepest, truest Desires, Visions and Dreams for the New Year and help you own, claim and celebrate them, through two of the most powerful and fun practices; Vision-Boarding & JourneyDance!
I’m having the great joy to be joined in this workshop by my dear friend, and gifted coach/healer, Filomena Leone. In the first part of the workshop, Filomena is going to guide you through the fascinating process of creating your personal, unique VISION BOARD. You will identify our greatest visions and desires for the New Year, and then find visual representations of them (images), which you will bring together, to create your Board. At the end of the workshop, your Vision Board will be yours to take home and use to help you manifest your desires for 2018!
Following the vision-board creation, I will lead you into a deep and transformative MANIFESTATION JOURNEYDANCE, in which we will travel the downward current together, and you will be guided to immerse in your dreams and desires, through the body, and dance your visions through all of your chakras. You will experience the unique Manifestation JourneyDance flow and choreographies, and the practices of healing movement, shamanic ritual and sacred community, to fully embody and ground your vision, break through any obstacles, shake up stuck energy and blocks, and ‘taste’, ‘drink’ and celebrate your fulfilled dreams!
We will finish in deep gratitude for our journey so far, and for what is to come and is already coming to us…
You will leave the workshop ready to step into the New Year fully clear on how you desire it to be and feel, and what you’re birthing into your life, as well as having cleared the way to making that happen, by activating the manifesting potential of your energy centres!
Wherever you are in your manifestation journey, join us next Saturday, 9th December, at 2pm, at Evolve Wellness Centre, to clarify, embody, dance, share and celebrate your unique vision, while being supported, blessed and cheered on, in the spirit of conscious community!
*There is a limited number of places available, and about half of them are already taken, so if you are planning on coming along, please book your space in advance, the soonest possible.*
Click here now, to be taken to the event page on Meetup and read all the details about the workshop. To book your place, you will need to join our Meetup group (if you are not a member already) and RSVP ‘Yes’ to the event. You will then be asked to make your payment and will be taken to PayPal, to complete that.
I wish you all the best in your journey to manifesting your dreams and hope to dance with you next Saturday!
I came across JourneyDance while searching online for Yoga Dance classes and trainings back in 2006. At that time, I had already spent 4 years in the grip of an eating disorder and was compulsively practicing dynamic yoga and contemporary dance. I loved moving my body, but was so scared of actually ‘living in’ it, terrified of its needs and emotions that I had neglected for years…
There was something about JourneyDance, Toni, the tribe, the philosophy of self-love and body-embrace, the combination of disciplines and approaches…that made me register for the 2007 Level I Teacher Training, book my tickets and plan my very first transatlantic journey, without ever having tried a single class!
And there I was! Deep in the woods of the Berkshires, in the beautiful community of Earthdance, being part of a group of incredible, powerful women, brought together by our love of movement, committed to support, empower and celebrate each other, as we learnt how to best love and care for ourselves…
During those 12 days that the training lasted, I had my very first ‘wake-up’ moments. I experienced for the first time how it felt to move my body just like it wanted to be moved – not in order to look good, or perform technically. I allowed myself to be held and embraced by the strong container the practice offered and have the deepest emotional release in my life, till then…
It was halfway through the training, after several days of ongoing and unstructured movement, on a profoundly expressive moment on the dance floor, that all the emotion I had been suppressing for so long, in my endless battle against myself and my body, came up so strongly, through my body itself, and asked to be seen, felt and expressed.
It was then that I had a realization that was going to change my relationship with my body, and my whole life really, forever. In that moment, it finally dawned on me:
My body was alive. It felt things, deeply.
I had been abusing it like there was no tomorrow, as if it was a lifeless object I could manipulate without consequences…
And there it was, powerfully revealing what was really going on inside, in its own language.
The movement had eventually caused my defenses to melt away and my real feelings to emerge.
From then on, JourneyDance and movement became my medium for expressing what I felt inside, without having to take it out on my body and make it its fault that I had to fix ASAP.
JourneyDance became my favorite way to connect with my body, listen to it, honor it and take care of it, give it time and space to just be and enjoy moving, rather than a way to attack my body, shape it up, improve it, make it ‘acceptable’…
I started to move to love and heal my body, not to hate and change it.
And it was not just my own, personal experience that had such a profound healing effect on me -it was our collective experience, as well.
In the JourneyDance community, I found myself, for the very first time, among women of all ages, shapes, sizes and backgrounds, fully inhabiting their bodies, courageously expressing themselves and connecting with each other from a place of such honest love and acceptance -and that was strikingly different (rather, diametrically opposite) to the competition and comparison-based way of relating to women that I had been used to, thus far.
I didn’t come across the concept of ‘sisterhood’ till much later, but I know now that JourneyDance taught me what sisterhood looks and feels like, even without having a word to describe it.
Coming across JourneyDance and learning how to teach it was a real turning point for me; it was what sparked my desire and determination to heal my relationship with food and my body, for good, and my first proof that that was actually possible.
10 years later, teaching women how to fully love and accept their bodies, through movement, yoga, psychotherapy and healing, has become my passion and life’s mission.
JourneyDance, a combination in itself of all of the above, was a profoundly transformative experience for me –and this is what I aspire to facilitate for my students every time I lead JourneyDance, from my heart…
p.s. If you would like to experience first-hand how JourneyDance, sisterhood and chakra-work, in combination, can radically shift the way you see, relate to and treat your Body, you are warmly invited to join us for ‘Love your Body through the Chakras; A Women’s JourneyDance Workshop‘, on 18th March, in SW London! Click here for all the details, and I can’t wait to dance with you!
*JOURNEYDANCE CHAKRA SERIES starting 30th January*
**YOGA FOR POSITIVE BODY IMAGE starting 2nd February**
”Within my body are all the sacred places of the world, and the most profound pilgrimage I will ever make is within my own body.”
I hope this finds you well, enjoying a restful and joyful weekend!
I am deep in preparation mode and filled with excitement, as we are now just about a week away from the beginning of both of our brand-new courses, JourneyDance ~ The Chakra Series and Body Prema Yoga ~ Yoga for Positive Body-Image!
Starting with JourneyDance, this coming Friday, 30th January, is the first class of the 3-month Chakra Series. This class will be dedicated to the first two energy centres of our body, root and sacral, or muladhara and swadisthana, as they are known in Sanskrit. We will be focusing on our foundation, our ‘roots’ in both a physical and an emotional sense, by strengthening our connection to the Earth, spending time on the ground and tuning into the lower part of our bodies. We will also awaken to our sensuality, creativity and emotional depth, by embodying our fluid nature, discovering power in the flow and diving into the ocean of our emotions…
Be prepared to immerse from this journey fully grounded, juicy and flowing! If you would like to participate in the whole series, you still have time to book your place in all three classes, at a special discounted price, by clicking here! Or, if you would like to only join us for this Friday’s class, you can book your place in advance at a discounted price, here.
Moving on to Yoga for Positive Body-Image (women only), this 8-week course starts on Monday, 2nd February, and classes will be held every Monday, 7.30-9pm, until the 23rd of March. This is a course specifically designed for women who want to cultivate greater self-and-body-love through the practice of yoga, in a non-judgmental, all-inclusive environment. There is currently limited capacity for this course, so go ahead and book your place now, if you plan on joining us! (You will be taken to Evolve’s website to make your booking, click on ‘book online’ at the bottom of that page)
In my years as both a student and a teacher of yoga, I have realised and experienced first-hand how certain elements of yoga, as practiced and taught in the West, can aggravate body-image issues, and have also had the opportunity to be exposed to teachings and ways of practising that truly facilitate unconditional self-and-body love. The elements and circumstances that underlie both these very different experiences are being discussed in my latest blog post, Love your Body with Yoga ~ Yoga for Positive Body Image, which I would love for you to read and let me know what you think in the comments!
The themes, tools and practices that are outlined in the blog are precisely these, which we will be exploring and experimenting with in the course, so I hope it inspires you to join us and experience this profound journey for yourself!
I am really looking forward to welcoming many of you to any or all of our upcoming events and sharing with you these practices of deep embodiment and profound self-love!
Till next week…
Much love and lots of blessings,
And please feel free to spread the word and forward this message to anyone you feel might be interested!!
Mondays 7.30 – 9pm
How Westernised Yoga can reinforce Body-Image Issues
It is difficult and rather rare to be living in today’s world and to not be affected, in some way or another, by the cultural pressure around having a ‘perfect’ body, shape and weight. Both men and women fall victims to the bombardment of messages about how to achieve a specific weight, how to shape certain body parts into the promoted ‘ideal’ and what the best products are, promising freedom from low self-esteem and life’s struggles by eliminating perceived flaws of appearance.
These days, we have access to endless amounts of information and facts regarding nutrition, health and exercise, and, nevertheless -or rather, as a result- we find ourselves in a position of being most alienated from ourselves, completely cut off from our bodies’ wisdom. We are highly educated from an intellectual perspective, but quite illiterate still, in terms of our emotions. From such a place of disconnection from our embodied experience, it is very common to project any difficult emotions, insecurities and discomfort we might feel on our body and try to manipulate it into a desired form -it being the only thing we have control over- with the more or less conscious hope that by making our bodies ‘perfect’, the rest of our lives will follow.
Yoga, though admittedly being one of the most complete, rich and powerful systems of physical, mental and spiritual transformation, is not at all immune to this tendency of our times. Certain elements of yoga, as taught and practiced in the West, can aggravate instead of heal one’s own issues with their body image.
The stronger, more vigorous yoga styles, such as Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Power Yoga, have gained immense popularity and have found their way into almost any gym programme. Even though dynamic yoga is no less complete or spiritual than the slower types, it does more closely resemble a work-out, an alternative way to exercise, and, as such, has been widely promoted as the next fitness trend, with terms like ‘yoga abs’ and ‘yoga butt’ being used to describe its desired, body-sculpting, outcome.
Even though it is not at all bad to set purely physical goals for oneself, when it comes to those struggling with their body and shape, practicing yoga in such a way can only aggravate their dissatisfaction with their bodies. It is anyway quite common these days for yoga to be taught purely as a fitness routine, stripped off of any mindful, energetic or spiritual elements.
The environment in which yoga is practiced can also add to feelings of self-and-body-consciousness. Gym practice almost instantly creates a mindset of not only exercise, but also competition, particularly in those who are more prone or susceptible to it, as it is goal-oriented and there’s a clear motivation to ‘manipulate’ the body and to make it more desirable, more attractive, fitter, etc. Also, gym studios are almost always equipped with mirrors. Practicing yoga in front of a mirror creates too much focus on the outer appearance of the body and the poses, which is totally contrary to yoga’s nature and purpose of connecting with the internal experience and with how the body feels in a pose, instead of how it looks.
Moreover, in stronger practices, whether in gyms or elsewhere, there is usually more emphasis on moving deeper into poses, pushing and overcoming one’s limits, challenging oneself and going into more advanced poses. This is an essential part of a well-rounded yoga practice; however, for people who have a challenging, potentially resentful and punishing, relationship with their bodies, this approach is not at all helpful, as it reinforces the core feelings of being ‘not enough’ and needing to improve/change/adjust themselves and their bodies, in order to be ‘good’ at it. When progress in yoga is measured based on how perfectly one can perform so-called advanced, often acrobatic asanas and how flawlessly their body fits into the ‘yoga body’ standard, one’s practice can easily turn into another battle against one’s true self, with its strengths and weaknesses, abilities and limitations, advantages and flaws.
Under these circumstances, it is very common for many people to be turned away from the practice of yoga, due to feeling too self-conscious and lacking what they perceive as the requirements to participate; strength, flexibility and a certain body type –thus, missing on the opportunity to reap yoga’s many benefits that both include and extend far beyond the body.
So, what type of yoga would be recommended and beneficial for those of us who have faced or are still facing difficulties with our body-image and would like to explore and experience yoga as a holistic path to self-care and self-acceptance?
Yoga for Positive Body-Image
The absolute priority when teaching and/or practicing yoga in a body-positive, self-accepting spirit, is to cultivate a mindful connection with the body, a deep rootedness and grounding in it, and the ability to become aware of and ‘stay with’ the experience in one’s body, mind and heart, with an attitude of openness, non-judgment and curiosity.
In other words, mindfulness on all levels needs to be encouraged and facilitated at all times and in as many ways as possible. There is a specific type of mindfulness that is particularly important to de developed and enhanced, when aiming at befriending one’s body, and that is interoception. Bo Forbes, renowned clinical psychologist and yoga therapist, defines interoception as the act of ‘attending to momentary bodily sensations as they change from one moment to the next’. People with negative body-image tend to spend quite a lot of time in their heads, detached from any internal bodily sense, which might feel scary, uncomfortable, or too intense to connect with, while obsessing about and trying to control the outside. With practice, interoception builds intimacy with one’s experience, as it manifests in the body, thus gradually developing what is known as embodied awareness; body-based, in-the-body consciousness.
For interoception to be integrated in our yoga practice, we need to engage in it at a sufficiently slow pace, to allow enough time for mindfulness of each movement to take place and for sensations to arise, become acknowledged and fully experienced. Focusing on what is going on in the body allows us to shift our attention from the outside (how it looks) to the inside (how it feels) and let go of the pressure to ‘perform’ yoga poses. It goes without saying that mirrors are best to be avoided and for at least some parts of the asana sequence, it is extremely helpful to practice with the eyes closed, to further facilitate one’s connection with their inner environment.
- Asanas: an opportunity for personal exploration and development
In the same spirit, asanas can be used as an opportunity for personal exploration and greater self-understanding, instead of end-goals, to be achieved at all costs, or fitness exercises. Transitioning in and out of a yoga pose, as well as the time we spend in it can become a gateway into getting to know ourselves on a deeper and more intimate level, by stimulating and revealing our mental patterns and tendencies, our attitudes towards our body and our inner self-talk, which more often than not involves our inner critic voice too. When the appropriate guidance is offered, we can become aware of how we speak to ourselves, on and off our yoga mat, and how we tend to deal with challenge -physical, mental or emotional- and with the unknown. This awareness lays the groundwork for the transformation of these damaging patterns that do not serve us well into healthier, more loving and compassionate ones that can truly support and nurture us. This way, our yoga practice becomes a tool for personal development on all levels.
- Body-based Resilience facilitating Emotional Resilience
With practice, as we strengthen our capacity to remain conscious of our bodily experience, our comfort with and willingness to contain even the more challenging, unpleasant states of being becomes greater too, on both a physical and an emotional level. In other words, as Bo Forbes also points out, ‘body-based resilience becomes a direct parallel to emotional resilience’. Being able to identify, acknowledge, observe and fully embody our emotions is the foundation of emotional health, self-acceptance and self-care, and it is this ability that progressively diminishes the need to project them onto the body and make our physical appearance ‘the problem’.
- Nervous System Rebalancing
There are specific elements of yoga that are particularly helpful to this end, such as breathing, relaxation and restorative, therapeutic practices. These allow the nervous system to relax and become rebalanced, which is crucial, as battling with one’s body, weight and appearance can cause great and, most importantly, ongoing stress. This body-specific form of anxiety, when added to the general high stress levels we all suffer collectively these days, can lead our nervous system to overdrive; therefore, acquiring simple tools and techniques that can be incorporated into our life is an essential first step towards consistent self-care and embodiment.
- Kindness & Compassion Encouragement
Lastly, the guidance, cues and presence of the teacher play a fundamental role in helping the practitioners connect with their internal experience and in holding the space for them to unfold, rediscover themselves and genuinely transform. When we start to explore and experiment with new ways of relating with ourselves, we need ample instruction and reminders to treat ourselves and our bodies with kindness and compassion, as our habitual ways of self-talk and self-connection are bound to keep coming up quite strongly and persistently, especially at the beginning. Therefore, it is paramount for the teacher to consistently provide messages and guidance that encourage respect of one’s limits and limitations, appreciation of one’s body and finding comfort and ease in each pose, instead of struggling to attain the ‘perfect’ presentation of it. Over time and with repetition, this external support and encouragement, as well as this more compassionate, gentle way of practicing, become internalised and owned as parts of oneself, creating an antipode to the harsh, criticising inner voice that gives rise to the negative body-image in the first place.
Yoga has an immense potential to help us develop a more loving, caring and accepting relationship with ourselves and transform our bodies from a frightening, unknown and hostile territory into a comfortable, warm and safe ‘home’, our refuge and anchor. By taking us out of our minds and back into our bodies and by offering a variety of highly effective, healing and balancing tools, techniques and practices, yoga can become an invitation to live a more embodied, peaceful and meaningful life on all levels. And it all starts right here, in the body…
Invitation ~ Yoga for Positive Body Image 8-week Course
Do you you feel uncomfortable with or ashamed of your body and does this negatively affect your life, mood and self-esteem?
Are you drawn to the practice of yoga, but feel too self-conscious in mainstream yoga classes and find yourself constantly comparing to other practitioners?
Do you feel intimidated by the advanced, complicated yoga asanas and the certain ‘fit-and-thin’ body type that the modern yoga culture is saturated with?
If this article has inspired you in any way and you would like to cultivate self-and-body-love through yoga yourself, consider joining us for the Body Prema ™ Yoga; Yoga for Positive Body Image 8-week course, starting on February 2, at Evolve Wellness Centre, in South Kensington.
”There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche
*JOURNEYDANCE CHAKRA SERIES starting 30th January*
**YOGA FOR POSITIVE BODY IMAGE starting 2nd February**
Dear friends in the flow,
A very happy, healthy, prosperous and totally blissful New Year to you!! I hope you had an amazing festive season and a bright beginning to this new cycle, and that you are now ready to embark on this journey with your whole body and your whole heart, and make 2015 your best year yet!!
Our yoga and dance offerings are here to help you do just that!!
So, starting with JourneyDance…I am so happy to offer, for the very first time in the UK, the JourneyDance Chakra Series; a journey through the whole chakra system, with movement, ritual and energy work as our guides! This is a 3-part course that you can book as a whole or attend each class separately. In each of the three monthly classes, we will be focusing on two to three chakras at a time, and will be experimenting with different choreographies, techniques and practices to awaken and harmonise our energy centres and unleash their potential, in the spirit of conscious community. We will start with the lower chakras, the ‘earthly realm’, and will be moving towards the higher ones, the ‘heavenly realm’, exploring and integrating the feminine and masculine aspects of each energy centre along the way.
The dates of the JD Chakra Series are as follows:
1. January 30: Root & Sacral Chakras – Earth & Water
2. February 27: Navel & Heart Chakras – Fire & Air
3. March 27: Throat, Third Eye & Crown Chakras – Ether, Light & Consciousness
…and the start time is 7pm.
For more details about the whole JourneyDance Chakra Series and to book your place in all three classes, at a special discounted price, please click here. (or to make your payment through PayPal directly, click here)
To read more about the first class, on Friday 30th January, and to reserve your spot for this class only, at a discounted advance booking rate, please click here. (or to make your payment through PayPal directly, click here)
-As you might have noticed, JD classes have moved from Saturday afternoons to Friday evenings. This was in order for us to move to the bigger studio at Evolve and to be able to accommodate more dancing souls, with greater freedom and space to move and express ourselves in! I hope this day and time works well for you! 🙂 –
Moving on to Yoga…I’ve got a wonderful announcement to make and the warmest invite to extend to you (women only – sorry gentlemen!)!! In collaboration with Evolve, and in less than a month from now, I am offering a brand-new, 8-week course on a subject that is very near and dear to my heart -that is: Yoga for Positive Body Image, every Monday, 7.30 – 9pm, from February 2 to March 23!!
As many of you know, I am a psychotherapist by profession, specialising in Food and Body Image issues, and am particularly passionate about helping women heal their relationship with food and learn how to truly love and accept their bodies. In my years of both personal and professional experience, I have found that yoga, when taught in a certain way and in the appropriate environment, can be a powerful aid to this goal, and I am so excited to bring this course to you; a long-term dream finally coming true!!
Inspired by therapeutic yoga and mindfulness practices, classes will be a balanced combination of yoga poses, breathing, meditation and relaxation, with modifications for each unique body and level of experience.
This is going to be an intimate group, to ensure lots of personal attention and depth of experience. There are currently only 6 places available, so book early, if you would like to join us!!
For all the information on Yoga for Positive Body Image and to book your place, please click here.
It looks like 2015 is going to be a very special and important year on all levels, and I do hope you will be inspired to join us in one or more of the above offerings and share your beautiful self with other amazing beings in our community! I am feeling blessed and honoured to have the opportunity to guide you into an ever more loving, intimate and authentic relationship with yourself, your body, your heart, fellow heart-beings and All That Is!! 🙂
Can’t wait to move with you very-very soon!
p.s. Like our Facebook page and/or join our Meetup group, to stay connected with the latest updates about classes, workshops and events, and to receive inspiration from our yoga & dance community!
JOURNEYDANCE SATURDAY, 6th December, @Evolve Wellness Centre
”The body is the vehicle. Consciousness is the driver. The chakras are the map”
Dear wonderful JourneyDance friends,
I hope you are all well, keeping healthy and taking good care of your beautiful selves, as the holiday season approaches quickly.
I would first like to extend a big ‘thank you’ to all the lovely people that came along and danced with us at our last JourneyDance event on the 1st of November. It was such a pleasure to see new and familiar faces and to share the dance floor with you all, in our collective shadow dance!
Moving on to our new offerings, our next JD class, which will also be the last of 2014, is happening on Saturday, 6th December, at Evolve Wellness Centre. The theme of the class is ‘Manifestation through the Chakras‘ and we will be focusing on embodying, moving and celebrating our dreams and desires for the New Year, while also immersing in gratitude for our journey so far, as 2014 comes to a close.
JourneyDance ~ The Dance of Manifestation, is a powerful and transformative journey, in which we will reverse the flow and will be moving top-to-bottom, starting from the higher chakras, where our ideas and visions are conceived, and flowing through all the different planes and states of consciousness, down into the physical, earthly realm of complete fulfilment. Please feel free to bring with you something that represents your own dreams, visions and aspirations, to be put on our collective altar and to ‘accompany’ you in the dance! It could be literally anything, like a little object, an image, a vision board, if you have one, or even just a piece of paper, with your desires written on it…
I am very happy to let you know that you now have the opportunity to book your ticket in advance and make a payment through PayPal, to secure your space for the day and not have to carry cash! You can do this in two different ways:
a) Visit the Meetup event page: http://www.meetup.com/JourneyDance-London/events/217307842/, to RSVP to the event and then choose ‘PAY ONLINE NOW’, to be taken to PayPal and make your payment, or simply
b) Make a payment straight through PayPal, by clicking here
If you are really planning on coming (which I hope you are!), it would be a good idea to book your spot as early as possible, for I might have to limit attendance as the event draws near, depending on your interest and bookings, in order to allow for each dancer to have enough space to move freely and enjoy their undisturbed experience. This will only be until we move into the larger Evolve studio from January onwards, which can accommodate many more dancing souls! (new exciting offerings and announcements on that to follow!) 🙂
You can find all the details about this class and RSVP on the event page on Facebook as well: https://www.facebook.com/events/1577003609188337/.
I really hope you can join us for what is sure to be a high-vibration, heart-warming closure of this year and a whole-body immersion in the energy of our dreams for another amazing year to come!
Love and blessings,
‘Everyone carries a shadow and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is‘ ~ Carl Jung
This month’s theme is the Shadow –our dark places, our inner saboteur, our imperfections and well-hidden aspects-, as it manifests in the context of spirituality. We’ll be exploring, through words and, of course, through movement, the contrast between light and darkness, and, more specifically how we can embrace, embody and integrate both, through the practice of JourneyDance.
Being part of this community, I assume that most of you are involved in spiritual practice, in one form or another. I have been a yoga and meditation practitioner myself for more than twelve years now and constantly reap the benefits of having these practices in my life, as a way to take care of myself, stay healthy and support my self-growth.
Early on in my journey, however, I realised that there was something important missing in the way we approached and interpreted those Eastern-born spiritual traditions in the West. I noticed there was often an overemphasis of the positive, the light and bright, transcendence and ascension -the so-called ‘upward current’. Hardly anybody talked about or admitted the less pretty, darker aspects of life itself, of the human condition and of the yoga community, in particular -the so-called ‘downward current’. These issues were almost a taboo, especially in those days over a decade back, and you could expect to feel less of a spiritual person, or that you hadn’t yet evolved in your practice enough, if you indeed brought them up.
This realization became even stronger, when I trained to become a Jungian psychotherapist and started to gain a deeper understanding of the psychological mechanisms underlying human behavior. What I found out, through studies and personal analysis, was that this approach could easily reinforce the perfectionism and purist tendencies many of us, spiritual seekers, already have as traits in our personalities, thus creating more imbalance instead of wholeness.
And then I came across JourneyDance. When I had my first JD experience, I was literally shaken to the core, as I found myself immersing in a spiritual practice that was inviting the totality of myself, that was open to and affirming of the darker, more imperfect parts of my being and actually created the container, through ritual, movement and community, for me to embody, transform and befriend them, in the most grounded, complete way I had ever experienced.
Carl Jung said that the more we identify exclusively with the light in our psyche, the greater, more dissociated and hence more frightening our shadow becomes. The shadow is that part of ourselves that we do not know, or do not want to know about; the deepest, most undesired, unacceptable aspects of our personality that we tend to repress and neglect. Nevertheless, our shadow also hides in it our greatest potential -it is our brightest gold, in disguise, containing the highest, most refined qualities of our psyche that we cannot yet own and recognize as ours.
We also all have our demons coming up at least occasionally. They are the judgemental voices in our heads, criticising, restricting and holding us back from realising our truest potential. They are the limiting beliefs, undeserving thoughts, self-abusing and sabotaging parts of ourselves, otherwise known as the ‘victimizer’ or inner critic. And still those harsh inner aspects, at their deepest core, are but unmet and unsupported needs and emotions, awaiting for authentic connection and loving embrace..
The ultimate goal of every spiritual practice, path and tradition is the attainment of wholeness, through all-around consciousness. Enlightenment cannot be reached by denying the shadow -only by reaching down, travelling into the depths and shedding light onto our unconscious, unknown elements, wounds and inner personalities. We need to first bravely dive into the underworld of our psyche, to be able to rise into the light; we have to descend in our deepest core, before we become capable of ascending to the heights of spirit, without losing our ground, realness and humanity.
Jungian psychology taught me the importance of confronting and embracing our darkness. Somatic practices showed me the significance and power of bringing the body into the process and using it as the container that will allow us to embody, move and transform our personal demons. Journeydance offers me the space to bring the both of them together and create real, whole-body rituals that allow for the transformation to become grounded, crystallised and supported by community.
At this Saturday’s JourneyDance, we will invite our shadow side and our demons, as they manifest through the different chakras, to the dance floor and will make space for them to move, be heard and acknowledged. We will then ‘feed’ and support them, until they reveal their secret teachings -the gold in the shadow- and become our Allies, Friends and greatest Teachers. You can find out all about the event and RSVP on the event’s page on Facebook and on Meetup.
Come and join the Dance! Be prepared to look your shadows straight in the eye, embody and transform your inner critic into a trusted friend and discover your brightest light where you least expected!