Although it doesn't quite feel like it yet, spring is here, with all of her new beginnings and wonder. I am reminded of the chakras, the seven energy centers of the body. Because Let Your Yoga Dance® is a chakra-based practice and I spend most of my time seeing the world through the lens of the chakras, I am constantly reminded of them. Today is the first chakra: Mother Earth in all Her glory. I spent the winter in north Florida and just completed directing my Special Populations training and Let Your Yoga Dance® with the Sun and Sea. Even though it was a cold, rainy winter, I believe that being next to the ocean every day changed some essential wiring in my entire body. I feel much more connected with Gaia; my feet are more rooted in our Mama Earth.
It was poignant and tender to witness the special populations visitors who came to the last day of the training, taking classes with our trainees. I saw them seeking, as they danced their yoga, their own unique roots within Mother Earth. People often call the Special Populations training: "God's Work." I am touched by the courage of people living with really difficult physical challenges: the grit and grace it takes to just keep on going, trying, moving, dancing. When we humans suffer hardships in our physical body, working with the first chakra takes on a whole new meaning.
During the recent Sun and Sea retreat, there was a participant - I will call her Joan - a beautiful woman who lives in a larger body. Her self-hate and shame were very strong. She could not see the beautiful dancer and the beautiful woman that we could.
Meanwhile, another participant, a recent graduate of both teacher trainings, Noreen Kelty, taught the group a compassionate mirror ritual she had learned from Jack Canfield, of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame. In Noreen’s version, you look in the mirror, say your name, then say: "One thing I acknowledge about you is..."
Next you say, using your name: "I'm proud that you ...."
Then you say, using your name: "Another thing I acknowledge about you is..."
Lastly, using your name: "I love you unconditionally."
I was touched by Joan's response to the exercise. With tears streaming down her face, she shared that she had never in her entire life been able to say that she loved herself unconditionally. However, with our weekend of dancing through the chakras, along with the mirror ritual, something opened for her: she saw beauty in the mirror for the first time. Here was a first chakra miracle and mandate for Joan: acceptance of her own body. Later she admitted to me that she almost had not come to the weekend because she thought she needed to lose 35 pounds first. I replied that our special Let Your Yoga Dance® practice is all about learning to love our body, just the way it is right in this moment.
My ongoing mission is to help humans (especially those living in the culture I do) cherish their very own body. Let Your Yoga Dance® is a revolutionary practice because we are dancing away the destructive teachings of our fear-based, youth-addicted culture. No doubt about it: When we dance our yoga enough, sure – we’ll get a tighter butt, lean / mean abs, stronger legs, etc, but more importantly - we receive a deeper understanding of who we are: cosmic dancers of Life! As we reclaim ourselves, with the help of the first chakra, we are far more available to serve others, while living a happier, congruent life.