Category Archives: Sacred Dance

HoopPath EarthQuaker! (Edmonton Throws Down!)

This weekend Jonathon Livingston Baxter taught his fourth Hoop Path workshop in Edmonton. You can see him hooping in the background, blissfully unaware he is being stalked by the T-Rexing  Snowzilla behind him.

Baxter has been hooping for over 10 years and maintains a daily personal practice where he hoops for about 2 hours.

2 hours a day for over 10 years, plus countless workshops and festivals. Now I haven’t done the math, but that’s a lot of flight time. Oh, I should also mention, he often hoops blindfolded.

Suffice it to say, he’s a hoop ninja.

During opening circle he posed the question ” Why did you come this weekend?”

Honestly, I didn’t have a specific answer like to improve my technique, or spend time with the community. It was just that I couldn’t imagine missing it. I had been there for the last two workshops (Open Air and Deep Water) and both were epic. I know that’s an overused word, but really, they were epic. Transformational. Mythic, even.

Spending a weekend in your hoop will always improve your hoop dance, but  this is a different kind of leveling up. Baxter not only gives techniques to work on, but he introduces us to ideas and forms that you can play with and explore, including very personal and archetypal concepts.
The technical focus of Earthquaker was footwork and folding (two of my favorite things)- which you can get a little taste of here:

The meditative focus of this tour is Earthquakes and rebuilding. He sees our Truth, the deepest, most authentic parts of us shaking down the aspects of our lives that no longer serve us (UnTruths) and destroying them! This may create momentary chaos, but allows us the space and freedom to rebuild a more stable and beautiful structure. He used the silly but apt metaphor of our Truth as The Incredible Hulk to explain it further on his website: http://www.hooppath.com/cms/2012/12/01/the-earthquaker-tour-details/

The EarthQuaker theme builds on the previous two themes of introspection through movement meditation and opening to our own personal truths. It’s also perfect timing considering the global shift in energy consciousness. Truth with a capital T is tearing down all sorts of old systems in the world right now and we have the chance to rebuild with integrity and far more awesome.

Another focus of the workshop was to build openness and trust.  On Friday night, we were all having a great time in flow (dancing our hearts out) but we were all looking down, lost in our own little worlds. He wanted us to engage with each other, so he had us make two lines facing one another and had us each stare into our partners eyes for quite a while. A minute or two at least. It was amazing and I know for many people, it was way outside of their comfort zone. I personally loved it. We switched partners three times and each time the beauty and peace in my partners eyes was astounding. I felt as though I could see the universe observing itself through my own eyes reflected in theirs. After that, the energy in the room shifted to suddenly being so much more open, free and trusting.

This is the kind of life changing stuff he throws in to the weekend as he whips us into baddass hoop-ninja shape.

This is why the thought of not attending didn’t even cross my mind!

All weekend, he kept mentioning that this year had the best vibe and energy of any Edmonton workshop to date and we could definitely feel it.

Our community has grown so much over the last few years, both in numbers and in sheer awesomeness. So many friendships have developed. When I looked around the room, I felt surrounded by love and awesomeness.

But it wasn’t just our community that has grown (both in size and awesome).

I mentioned in closing circle that a big part of why the vibe was so great this year was due to Baxter’s own growth as a person and as a teacher. The energy he was holding for us felt so grounded and centered, light and responsive (It was ninja energy really). He created a sacred container where we all felt safe enough to open to our own authentic personal expression and spirit through movement meditation and hooping. He said that someone had said the same thing to him, in similar words at every stop on the tour so far. That’s so rad, and such a beautiful thing. I’m glad that other people can really appreciate the energy he brings.

It’s inspiring!

When I teach classes or facilitate movement meditation this is exactly the kind of energy I aspire to hold for the room.

I could go on for hours about all the inspiration at the workshop, and all the breakthroughs I had hooping,  but I should also mention how much fun we had after class too! We’re pretty social creatures and love any excuse to party so we definitely took advantage of the weekend and spent a lot of time together: going out for dinner and drinks on Friday, there was the house party on Saturday night that featured Youtube videos of baby sloths, and our little pizza party  on Sunday while watching Ace Ventura Pet Detective. We capped it all off with a trip to the pool where we did a some hot-tubbing, and splashed about in the pool. No one even noticed when I almost lost my bikini bottom after diving in.

All in all, the whole weekend rocked my world!

Edmonton Hoop Path 2013
Edmonton Hoop Path 2013

Feeling Better And Owning It

Ahhhhh….

I feel soooo much better! I’m still a little stuffed up, but in comparison to how I felt this weekend, I feel amazing!

It always shocks me when I get my energy and happiness back after being ill.

When I’m sick, I’m generally pretty sad and mopey. If I’m not actually sad, then I feel flat and blah where nothing really feels that that good. I’m a pretty terrible patient. I whine, I wallow, I probably drive my husband nuts. I also feel like this is how it’s going to be forever. I can hardly imagine having the energy to do anything other than the basics needed for my survival.

When that energetic fog inevitably lifts, as it did this morning, things are suddenly so much better it’s almost comical.

I suddenly feel like doing the dishes, cleaning the house, firing off a few emails that I’d been procrastinating on.

I did my movement meditation for the first time in a few days (I gave myself permission to do absolutely nothing on my two days off), and I danced for almost two hours! It was such a relief. Whenever I spend a few days being lazy (resting), I fear that I’ll stay that way forever. I always forget to honor the ebb and flow of energy and the cycles our bodies go through.

I started my movement with some slow off body hooping with a mini hoop. My body found some interesting ways of moving I had never experienced before. Then, once I dropped the hoop, my core began to undulate and I was carried away with my hip shimmies! They’ve been a little rusty since it’s been years since I trained in Belly dance, but today they just vibrated right out of me. I was able to move and dance and figure-eight  while shimmying effortlessly, like never before.

I could feel all this movement clearing out stagnant energy from my second chakra.

I suddenly felt sexy and confident, infused with a gorgeous, seductive and sultry energy.

I was the embodiment of Shakti, the divine feminine creative power.

As I moved I felt this gorgeous sensual power run through me. I could also feel this energy running through all of creation.

I suddenly understood this cosmic power is mine to play with, to use, to create with anytime and all the time!

In the past, I’ve played with this energy, then put it back in its box.

I think I always felt like I was borrowing the energy and I had to give it back.

Today I realized its my birthright.

Time to own my own power.

I felt my goddess nature in a way that finally felt right. It wasn’t intimidating. In fact, it felt freeing.

I see now that I’ve always been afraid of this energy.

It crackles and sizzles with heat and oozes with sexuality. Sexuality, sensuality and eroticism are all integral parts of the creative divine feminine.

I suddenly felt no shame. No lingering doubt about the validity of sex as a tool for creation and manifestation.

It all clicked into place, and I danced and danced, feeling wild, free and beautiful.

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One Billion Rising- Strike, Dance, Rise!

There is an amazing global movement called One Billion Rising that is using the transformational power of dance to change the world.

In their words…

One In Three Women On The Planet Will Be Raped Or Beaten In Her Lifetime.

One Billion Women Violated Is An Atrocity.

One Billion Women Dancing Is A Revolution.

Join V-Day on
02.14.13

STRIKE, DANCE, RISE
in your community &
Demand an
end to violence

People all over the world are rising up, using the alchemy of dance to affect change on a personal and global level. This is a joyful movement I am 100% behind.

Here is a video that shows the passion and intent behind the movement. This is pretty emotional and may be hard to watch, but please take the time to view it.

I’ve always known that dance is healing. It’s a form of energy medicine… Dance has freed my soul. Let it free the world!

Join us on Thursday and Dance in solidarity! You can find an event near you on their website http://www.onebillionrising.org, on facebook, or just dance where ever you are, where ever you happen to be. I will be extending my morning movement meditation and taking my hula hoops to work with me  as well as dancing in my car, walking down the street, basically as much as I can… If I have to be still my soul will still be dancing.

 

Lessons From Movement Meditation Challenge (How This Challenge Changed My Life)

I challenged myself to do a movement mediation every morning for a week.

I had no idea when I accepted said challenge I would be taking on something so life changing and monumental! The second day of in, I wrote this post ‘I didn’t expect so much Awesome!’ http://wp.me/p32wA4-3x

Unlike the junk food challenge which ended exactly seven days after it began, this challenge is going to be extended indefinitely.

It transformed almost immediately from a challenge into a practice, and I can’t imagine starting my day without it already.

Every morning practice has been different. Sometimes I spend a lot of time just shimmying, stretching and breathing into any places in my body that are sore. Sometimes I wind up rolling around on the floor and there were a few times I wound up incorporating my hoop.

Whenever I am fully absorbed in the movement, in flow- my mind seems to quiet and open to messages from my inner wisdom and from the universe. I received a lot of affirmations and inspiration. There were also many messages about opening to and embracing the divine feminine. I spent a lot of time sending love and gratitude to my body when I was moving and stretching. I found that when I touched my skin as I danced, gently tracing my body with hands and genuinely appreciating the beauty of my spirit’s  earthly container I would fall deeper into a joyful and peaceful ecstatic meditation. It was the kind of blissful union of mind, body and spirit that breaks the heart open and spills love out through the world.

I did notice that it was much harder to have the transcendental meditative experience if anyone else was around. I’m a little too self-conscious and easily distracted.  I don’t have a private space yet, but I will in a few months, so it was easy to accept that on mornings when my stepdaughter or husband were around I was going to spend more time stretching and grounding into my body rather than dancing in ecstatic union with the divine. Either way, it was still a fantastic way to start the day!

Going to bed knowing I will have that time to myself in the morning to process whatever I need to process lets me sleep more easily. My body feels better, more open and less stiff. I spend a little time stretching now every day, instead of just thinking “I really should stretch later!”

I also find that I am far happier, more centered and grounded throughout the rest of the day. It’s not like this is shocking, I suppose I expected that, but actually feeling the difference it makes to my mood and to my stability is incredible. I also feel far more creative and excited about life! I am super grateful that I am finally in a place where I am ready to commit to having a daily joyful movement practice ’cause it really is so much awesome. What’s even more exciting is that I know I’m just scratching the surface, and that there will always be more to discover and ways to go deeper and deeper, with more to discover!534254_354664434622396_1395651147_n

Wasn’t Expecting So Much Awesome!

NASA , ESA and H.Richer(UBC)
NASA , ESA and H.Richer(UBC)

When I woke up this morning I was more than a little annoyed at myself for setting up this movement meditation challenge.

All I wanted to do was settle into my normal day off routine of drinking jasmine green tea and eating breakfast while catching up on whatever happened online while I was sleeping.

As I was turning on the music (Bass Yoga vol. 1 -by HumenNature) to start my half hour practice, I actually said to my husband “I think I’m gonna hate this!”

I was stiff, sore and wanted nothing more than to stay in bed and be lazy. It’s C-41 outside, and I could feel the cold seeping in from the windows. The living room was chilling and seemed unwelcoming.

I stood barefoot in the center of the room, bundled up in sweats and a bunny hug, hood up- shielding me from the sun and the cold. I didn’t feel like moving at all, so  I closed my eyes and listened to the music, which opened with a soft and droning synth, and the sound of the ocean. It drew me into myself, and my breath deepened. The first long notes of the flute touched me  and I felt a deep yearning… A desire for comfort and connection. The melody lifted me away, out of that feeling and into something more like curiosity. I began to move, almost imperceptibly at first.

My attention was drawn to the cold stiffness in my hips, and I rocked them, swaying in a figure 8 pattern, holding my hands to my heart. The movements were smaller than I have ever made, it almost felt like I was merely imagining the movement, but heat started to gather in my muscles and they began to relax. The figure 8 my hips were drawing with their movement grew larger and my hands began to float upwards, rolling and twisting, gathering energy and bringing it back down to my core.

Everything felt deep, slow and easy. I had dreaded moving vigorously so early in my day and a flood of relief washed over me when I realized I didn’t have to. I could spend the whole time rocking gently side to side if I wanted. My movement meditation had no rules and once I surrendered my expectations of dancing and stretching, I could simply be present in my body and see how it guided me.

I spent quite a bit of time with these quiet, small movements; rolling my shoulders and chest with my feet planted firmly to the ground. As I warmed up, I moved more freely and played close to the ground as well as up on my toes, reaching for the sky.  I moved and swayed, stretched and dance. The pace of movement was languid and relaxed.  When I looked up at the time, I was amazed half an hour had already passed.  I considered continuing on but chose hop in the shower and reflect on the experience. Not to mention, I was getting hungry.

When I stopped I felt energized, grounded and at peace- completely ready to face my day. I was also incredibly excited to try it again tomorrow, because not only did it feel fantastic, but because I had so many flashes of insight-  Ideas that are going to guide this project and create new ones as well. The whole thing was inspiring, fun, joyful, uplifting and made my body feel amazing. I felt more present and aware than I ever do that early in the day. Those 30 minutes exceeded my expectations in every way and I’m so grateful and happy it actually brought a tear to my eye.

I’ve spent so much time knowing how important movement is to me personally, and years ago  I vowed to cultivate a daily practice, but hadn’t had the courage or discipline to start (or perhaps I just wasn’t ready). I knew intuitively it would be a powerful tool, but I was blown away by its potential today. This is a game changer.

It’s going to change me.

I’m not exactly sure how, but I can feel it coming.

I feel open and ready to receive all the wisdom and gifts this practice is going to bring, and I’m so excited. I never thought I’d be jazzed about getting up early, but I’m looking forward to tomorrow already. Just thinking about it has all the cells in my body literally radiating with joyful excitement. It’s a crazy buzz and this is going to be a crazy ride.

Love falling for the Sky by Ventry cc by 3.0
Love falling for the Sky by Ventry cc by 3.0

The Joyful Movement Movement

In this Ted x talk, Theresa Rose exemplified what this blog and my life are all about. In 14 minutes she distills the very essence of how life changing and enriching joyful movement can be. She also hoops through the whole thing, as she explains how the hoop revolution is part of the joyful movement movement where a growing number of us are finding peace and happiness through playful movement. Not hard core exercise, but allowing our bodies to move freely and have fun in any way that brings us joy.

The happiest moments in my life have always been when I am joyfully moving. Skiing, tobogganing, running around and being silly, rolling down a hill, dancing under the stars at a festival, or just dancing where ever I am with my hoop. This joyful movement brings so many physical, mental and spiritual benefits it’s mind blowing. Since introducing more moments like this in my life by sustaining a hoop practice, my entire life has gotten better in innumerable ways, just like Theresa’s. I have more energy because I am physically active. I have more patience because I have that physical release and I have more joy because joy begets joy. I move joyfully every day, and that joy resonates so deep within my soul that it changes me. It makes me better, and inspires me to make the world a better place. My mission in life is to share this joyful movement with others through dancing, teaching, performing and writing.

Theresa calls joyful movement a cosmic alarm clock, waking us up to our own divinity. When we find flow in our movement, we are fully inhabiting the present moment with our bodies, minds and spirits in complete unison. She also says “In this spiraling, sacred container, we realize we are enough.” This realization is how we  awakening to our divinity, to our connection to everything. When we feel we are enough- that we are good enough, that we have enough, that this moment is enough- we find peace and joy. When I dance, I am enough… I am complete, and I live in joy.