How To Find God Through Dance
In Bhakti Yoga, the longing for god is God. The fastest way TO God is to love God.
If you want to know where God is, keep God on your lips.
Chanting was my introduction to yoga, and I loved it. Instead of the formalism of a Sanskrit class, where we diligently worked at the pronunciation of the Mantras, here our voices were allowed to soar and explore. We chanted the names of GOD to feel GOOD, and the separation between the two dissolved. To feel closer to God was to experience ecstasy — to become one with the Divine.
And, if you’re singing to God, you're usually dancing too.
Music and dancing are like two hands coming together in a namaste. Singing creates breath, and breath creates movement — the music creates the dance. It's an instant connection; you hear the music and begin to move and be moved.
Although it's surprising to most people who know me, I've never studied dance. As a kid, I was too wild for that. Instead, I would climb trees or ride my bicycle. There was always movement. Constant flow. I loved dancing so much that one of my first organizational efforts was to put on a 24-hour dance marathon in high school to raise money for muscular dystrophy. I changed my birth certificate so that I could go dancing at the Milky Way Disco.
This was a top priority.
When I opened my restaurant, Trixies, if I wasn’t dancing on the tables I would toss them to clear the area to dance.
From the beginning of time, dance has been a part of every ritual. It’s how we communicate with spirit.
As I linked chanting, music and breath, I began to feel an ecstatic connection through the movement. I was dancing with God, dancing with the Divine.
This hints at the Indian devadasis, the dancers who were chosen to dance in the temple for God for a blessing. As I discovered through my own commitment to the dance of breath and movement, the whirling, twirling, turning is the place where human and divine meet. The sacred place where we meet ourself.
It's in this dance that you turn TO God and INTO God. You are moving with God, not for God: dance as worship with the divine.
Dancing is like breathing, but better.
This is the essence of the vinyasa krama. In the sequencing of a vinyasa class, we step or place the body, "krama," in a special way so that the movement is progressive. One pose leads to the next, readying the body one breath at a time, one step at at time.
At the top of the practice, we often feel separate from God. Then, with the breath and our willingness to stay "on the mat," we begin to merge with the Divine.
Bring the body and the mind will follow; then we're free to drop our mind into our hearts.
When I was new to the asanas, I soaked up the learning, enjoying the shapes and climbing deep inside of them. It wasn't for many years that I was able to integrate my love of dance and ecstatic movement into the practice, where they truly merged.
The dance was certainly in the breath. Inhaling up and exhaling down, jumping back and lowering down, opening up and jumping forward. It was demanding and challenging, but the sheer joy of moving to music and the discovery of how to move like myself took a lot of showing up. It took a commitment to myself and to my spiritual practice, or sadhana.
Bit my bit, my flow became more me — more dance-y, more wild. I set it up to set it free. Lotus flow became this awesome container,
the structure or architecture holding so much freedom.
This is why the mantra is move like yourself! We invite you to MOVE like YOU, to make it yours!
Remember when you were learning the electric slide (or maybe the bus stop or the macarena)? It might have felt awkward at the beginning, but once you got the hang of it, you were putting your own spin on it. Your personal flair came through, you added color and came ALIVE on the dance floor!
That’s the essence of Lotus Flow: set it up, repeat it and build the flow. Once you get the hang of it and flow in deep with the dance of movement and breath, the mind falls away. You're dancing with the divine. Your body has brought you directly into communion with Spirit. It’s an egoless space and a deeply spiritual experience of oneness.
Dancing is in your nature because freedom and happiness are in your nature. Finding happiness and freedom in the midst of life’s challenges is what yoga is all about. Yoga shows you how to be in the flow of your life, to dance with the changes and to make room for all of it. To teach your thoughts how to dance.
I practice yoga each day to remember this dance of the Divine. I continue to twirl and spin from front to back and through center, and feel a direct connection and communion with the dance of the dervish.
This dance it the greatest romance of your life, your love affair with your own Divinity. It’s at the deep end of the dance floor where you and God get to go direct. It’s where we meet ourselves, and dancer and dance become ONE.
The more I practice, the more I discover. I find myself shape-shifting and soaring from one side of the mat to the other. The Sufi poetry of Rumi and Hafiz hang on my lips, and I read them constantly to keep my mind uplifted and enchanted:
“You are god in drag, you are the sun hiding from yourself.”
Yoga lifts the veil of darkness, and the words of these poets continue to pour sunlight into my cup. I need a daily dose of both. This is Big Loving Medicine.
Yoga Sufi swirling, chanting. These are the different ways we dance and flow toward God so that we can make the connection and remember. WE ARE GOD IN DRAG!
Dancing is the different ways we find the same ONE. It’s like the many names of the ONE GOD!
YOGA, WHOLENESS, ONENESS, HAPPINESS, TOGETHERNESS, UNITY.
To learn more about yoga, check out The Complete Guide To Yoga With Tara Stiles.
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