Years ago, I was kicked out of a dance club while yelling these words at the security guard, “Let me move my body!” We were being packed and roped into the center of a room and some of my curves drifted outside of the imaginary lines. Okay, there were some actual ropes, but it felt arbitrary.
Perhaps this wasn’t my finest moment, but in retrospect, I believe there was some divine insight to this riddle of authenticity.
This spring at the International Yoga Festival in Rishikesh, Jivamukti teacher, Jules Febre, led a Hip Hop Asana class along the Ganges River and encouraged us to let loose and travel around the space, moving our body however it wanted to move. My face could barely find room for the smile that was brimming past my ears. My limbs encountered no boundaries and my hips whirled to infinity.
Although I usually don’t resonate with the lyrics or subdued beat of contemporary hip hop music on the radio, this session bustled with eclectic world beat. Jiva means individual soul and mukti means liberation. Jules asserts, “The power of coming together, of sharing ideas, insights and practicing asana lends one to become more receptive. As we undertake this journey, we may do so together and thus together we come to realize the vastness of our existence.”
Each jivamukti class involves chanting, meditation, and inspiring music while revolving around a theme, based on ancient wisdom. In this case, the theme was devotion or bhakti and as he emphasized the importance of practicing with an elevated intention. Bhakti yoga is surrender to one's inner Self, concentrating one's mind, emotions, and senses on the Divine. “Bhakti means whatever strikes your heart with beauty, whatever hits the mark of your heart and inspires you to just feel the love," says Sianna Sherman.
Jivamukti is a physical, ethical, and spiritual practice, combining a vigorous hatha yoga, vinyasa-based physical style with adherence to five central tenets: shastra (scripture), bhakti (devotion), ahimsa (nonviolence, non-harming), nāda (music), and dhyana (meditation). Animal rights, veganism, environmentalism, and social activism are also emphasized. We closed each physical practice with some kirtan or singing the traditional Sanskrit songs.
Next, at the Elysia Yoga Convention of 2017, I had the opportunity to practice Yoga Devotional Dance led by Franciane Cris Santos. She asserts that we have access to the power of our senses, but nowadays we are losing many of this contact. Swami Kriyananda states, “ yoga postures are the outward expressions of the inner movements of the soul.”
Bhakti yoga, like any other form of yoga, is a path to self-realization, to having an experience of oneness with everything. Bhakti yoga has been called "love for love's sake" and "union through love and devotion." It’s about creating a dynamic flow of energy from the heart chakra toward the object of one’s longing. Initiate every movement from an awareness in the heart, to be motivated by love and the desire to live more in the heart. As you tap into this universal love, you naturally develop a sense of trust that this benevolent, wise universe provides. The ultimate goal is to reach the state of essence, a feeling of pure bliss achieved in this surrender.
Franciane Cris Santos is shown in the initial image for this video, but you can also catch a glimpse of our devotional dance in the following video.
I’m so excited to be attending the Bali Spirit Festival- April 2-8 2018!
At BaliSpirit Festival you can explore:
· A wide range of yoga including Vinyasa, Yin, Ashtanga, Jivamukti, Acro, Hatha, Power, Children’s Yoga, Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP), Laughter Yoga and more
· Dance and movement classes (including capoeira, tai chi, contact improv, embodied dance, afro flow and latin) and traditional Indonesian dance performances
· Sound healing and meditation
· Kirtan, mantra meditations and daytime music
· Bhakti Night concerts including cacao ceremonies, ecstatic dance, spiritual and world music
· A healing area for private sessions with a wide range of healers
· Conscious marketplace with healthy vegetarian and vegan foods and eco-friendly yoga-related products
· Relaxation areas with award-winning massages, swimming pools and chill out spaces
I can’t wait for you to join me!
Check out this video and mention Hannah Half Moon when you sign up!
All of the following quotations and photos are taken directly from the website.
“The goal of the BaliSpirit Festival is to awaken and nourish each individual’s potential for positive change within, leading to positive change in our homes, in our communities, and around the world. Through beneficial and inspirational traditions of Yoga, Dance, and Music, the BaliSpirit Festival illustrates the Balinese Hindu concept of Tri Hita Karana: living in harmony with our spiritual, social, and natural environments.
Committed, particularly, to nourishing our own home in Bali, the founders of the BaliSpirit Festival pledge to provide financial, logistical, and organizational support to local charities, with a special emphasis on children’s programs, multicultural education and performance, healthcare, HIV& AIDS awareness, and environmental conservation in Bali and greater Indonesia.”
The music and dance at Bali Spirit Festival revolve around the concepts of Nāda yoga which centers on deep inner listening, chanting, and elevated music. Its theoretical and practical aspects are based on the premise that everything that exists, including human beings, consists of sound vibrations, called nāda. The aim of hatha yoga is to hear the soundless sound, which is Om, by first perfecting the ability to listen.
The Dancing Line Up Includes the following Instructors from around the world:
DANIEL "SONIC" ROJAS from COLOMBIA/ DENMARK/ SINGAPORE
“This practice brings together various elements of yoga, physical conditioning, capoeira, housing, popping, breakdance, parkour and contemporary dance techniques, as well as utilizes breath, oscillations and communication through movement, to gain better understanding of the body and our innate musicality. Embodied Dance is a powerful physical practice (strengthening, stretching, opening, conditioning) as well as a highly energetic practice in that it opens free movement within the whole body, aligns energy centers and allows the practitioner to feel inspired, open & energized.”
LAYLA EL KHADRI from SPAIN
Artist, Transformational Dance Therapist & Life Coach
“Through movement & the soundscape created by Dj Kamau Abayomi she will help us find doorways to the vast information that´s innate in our being and simple ways to utilize this information for healing & to speed up personal growth.”
RONAN TANG from CHINA
Taoism Yoga & Qi Gong
“Ronan is highly skilled at leading therapeutic classes, a fusion of physical, emotional spiritual aspects of the body, interlaced with a wealth of teachings around asana, pranayama, meditation, Chinese traditional medicine, meridian massage, acupuncture, Taichi, Taoism Qi Kung.”
SUGENG "MADEIRA" PRASETYO from INDONESIA
“With his profound knowledge based in martial arts, dance, anatomy and capoeira he has craftily created his very own unique ways and techniques of teaching. He’s been learning and sharing all over Asia, Russia and Brazil.”
TAH RIQ from JORDAN / UK
The SuperHero Factory
“Through years of exploration, Tah Riq has learned to leverage his understanding of energy to bend his personal reality. He expects the unreasonable. Tah Riq practices 'skill reverse engineering' From classical and flamenco guitar.”
MALAIKA MAVEENA from AUSTRALIA
African Dance, 5Elements Dance & Ceremony
“Malaika Darville, Shamanic, Tantric Earth Goddess of Canadian Jamaican Ancestry, spent a year living in an African village with her partner and two young children. This started a life long journey into the dance, culture, music and healing from Africa. Malaika brings a wealth of Earth wisdom for personal and planetary awakening having walked the Shamanic path for a lifetime. A true Shamanic Goddess, dedicated to creating sacred space in ritual and ceremony to help restore balance to our distorted civilized culture. A qualified ISHTA yoga teacher, Water Dance practitioner, Hawaiian Body Worker, African Dance performer and teacher, Creatrix of 5Elements Dance Activation™ a Shamanic Dynamic meditation dance journey embodying the five cardinal elements, earth water fire air and spirit. This Dance is an ACTIVATION of our true essence and allows for authentic movement and the individuals needs to be met in each moment, to be the guide. It’s tribal and dynamic and every Body is welcome.”