Yin, Nidra and Five Rhythms Retreat
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom…” Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
The physical body is always in the present moment while our emotions and thoughts are forever influx. In yin yoga we use the poses or shapes to target an area, connect with a sensation, observe a response to the sensation, and in this way understand the mind body connection. We move therapeutically through the physical body, energetic emotional and mental body with an attitude of mindful awareness
The intention of yin yoga is to stress tissues in the body we don’t normally get to access in our yang movement (whether that be yoga or other muscular lead movement)
Other intentions might be to remove ‘speed’ from the body, slow down, relax and become more aquatinted with our thought patterns and practice mindfulness to access our own inner wisdom
Yoga nidra is like meditation, but it is not the same. With nidra, you are lying down and the goal is to move into a deep state of conscious awareness. This state involves moving from consciousness while awake to dreaming and then to not-dreaming while remaining awake!
There are five brain waves, all necessary for normal healthy brain function. All the way at the bottom of the spectrum of brain waves — below theta waves — are the low, deep, slow delta waves.
Regular meditation practice calms the fight-or-flight, sympathetic nervous system to access the parasympathetic. This has a huge benefit on immunity, digestion and stress management. Theta waves are activated in meditation while nidra has the ability to bring the body and mind down to a delta state where the pineal gland is activated and the powerful antioxidant melatonin is produced reducing blood pressure, cortisol production and inducing restful sleep
Both delta waves and theta waves occur when you’re asleep, but delta waves are the waves that dominate when you’re in a period of deep, restorative sleep, these delta waves are accessed in yoga nidra and the body, mind and emotional body can rest here
The Power of Dance
“Dancing as if language had surrendered to movement– as if this ritual, this wordless ceremony, was now the way to speak, to whisper private and sacred things, to be in touch with some otherness. Dancing as if the very heart of life and all its hopes might be found in those assuaging notes and those hushed rhythms and in those silent and hypnotic movements. Dancing as if language no longer existed because words were no longer necessary…” – Brian Friel, Dancing at Lughnasa
Often in our minds we link dance with the subjective ideals of beauty, performance, sensuality, an art form, something to gift to others and the World. It can be, all of these things, but of equal and non-comparable value is the power of dance as a medium of individual expression, a place of freedom, presence and ultimately of joy. There are many styles and methods of free form dance; yoga dance, chakra dance, ecstatic dance and five rhythms. In my experience over the last fifteen years of practicing, learning, teaching and facilitating many styles of movement, there is a pathway, a broad but circular pattern that involves finding ground, creating safety, moving toward individual expression, connecting with thoughts, feelings and emotions and then letting go to arrive at a point of stillness
Gabrielle Roth, the founder of Five Rhythms said in1989 “Disease is inertia and movement is healing. If you put your body in motion and let your heart, be moved, be open to the risk and adventure of feelings you will change. Tears turn to smiles and anger to embraces. The spirit in motion heals, expands, circles in and out of the body moving us through the layers of consciousness from inertia to bliss.”