Tuesday, July 27, 2010

yoga: sol y sombra

I'm a flamenco dance teacher as well as a yoga teacher, and teaching dance has been a precious opportunity to witness the gifts that dance gives to the hundreds of students I have taught -- each one a unique person, with a unique temperament, style of expression, and comfort level with her own body and personality.

Dance is a process of revealing oneself to oneself. In the process of dancing, the student learns new things about herself that she may not have come to know in any other way.

The dancer learns the moments and the circumstances under which she holds back and defends herself, where she shrinks from showing herself. She learns and develops the places in which she feels confident and strong. She finds physical places in her body that seem closed and inaccessible. And she knows her areas of freedom.

At first glance, a dance class is much more revealing than a yoga class, because dance is an expressive art. We're constantly finding ways to let go, to free ourselves, to bring our individual expression into physical being.

But yoga can have the same effect within us. It is an inner exploration of strength and fluidity, power and softness, expansion and contraction, breath and being, sun and shade. The inner dance.

When you think of yoga as a dance, a new joy can enter into familiar asanas. Your practice takes on a sense of play, if you will allow it. Goals become different, as every practice becomes an exploration of the you whom you may not have fully known until this moment.

Yoga practice gives you the opportunity to inquire into how you are feeling. Really. What is your body telling you? Are you willing to slow down enough that you can hear? Are you willing to play between the extremes of sun and shade, sol y sombra, where you will find the incredible breadth of who you are?

1 comment:

  1. For an interesting post by Sadie Nardini, taking a similar subject in a different direction, visit http://blogs.yogajournal.com/corevalues/2010/07/shadows-and-light.html.

    Just a brief excerpt:
    "It's time to look directly at these energies, without naming or blaming, and use our yogi powers to channel even our blackest moments from the messiness of reaction into the clarity and empowerment of reflection. From there, we can move forward into actions born of wisdom, not wildness.

    "One way we do this on the mat is, simply put, by no longer resisting the sensations we don't like, but by embracing them, or at least, softening our resistance against them to allow them to co-exist with the ones you are happier to feel."

    LOVE the phrase "use our yogi powers"!