“We don’t need no dance floor…let me take you dancing,” Take You Dancing written by Teemu Brunial, Derulo, Emanuel “Eman” Kiriaku, Sarah Solovay, and Shawn Charles.
The themes that have been cropping up for me lately are simplicity and humanness. One of the things I love most about Yoga is that there is. So. Little. Needed. Back in the day, yogis (and yoginis, ‘natch, once they came on the scene and were allowed to play, too) didn’t even use mats, for goodness’ sakes, and Lulu was nowhere to be found. (First of probably many sidebars…I always thought the brand was pronounced: Loo-luh-Mohn, not Lulu Lemon. Whoops! Guess Tarzhay is not in my wheelhouse, either.)
Accoutrements are just gravy. Give me meat and potatoes. (Metaphorically for all the animal & planet lovers out there.) Get back to basics. Sometimes there isn’t even any music coming from the speakers. My breath and body guide me. Gymnastics and Cirque du Soleil moves optional.
No shade to props – blocks, straps, and the like – but a hefty dictionary, a wall, and a necktie, towel, or tee-shirt will stand in nicely, TYVM. Use what you have. I have residual pride, and a hefty dose of Gumby-ness, though, and above-it-all-ness, so props typically are not for yours truly. Do as I say, not as I do 😀
Aparigraha, or Non-grasping in Sanskrit, is how we can comfortably practice in our torn, stained partner’s sweats that are way too big. All I truly need (most of the time) is my trusty bandana, and a shirt that won’t ride up.
Sometimes there’s music. Sometimes there’s commercials ‘cuz the stereo ate my fave mix tape, like ever, and my fave station from middle school got bought out and became something tooooottalllly different. Sometimes there’s singing along. Loudly. Mostly in tune, but what are keys anyway?! I mean really 😉
My playlists can be 80s pop, easy listening, “hard” rock, rap, or just the sound of my breath. (Getting the theme here, my friends?)
Almost all the time there’s magic. Let the breath and body guide you. Who cares what it looks like? Even the covers of those fancy, schmancy magazines get models not yogis for their splashy covers. In other words, photo editing software does no one any favors. Move.
Move slowly. Move quickly. Move fluidly. Move with precision. Move on the breath. Just. Move. As a Yoga teacher of mine says, “fill up your pose.” Or don’t move at all. Watch the breath flow in and out. If and when your mind wanders away, gently invite it to come back and join you. Be safe, listen to your body, check your Ego at the door. It’ll be there when you get back. Hopefully you can set it down somewhere, if even for only for a few breaths.
Tapas, or Burning Zeal, or Spiritual Discipline in Practice, allows us to practice anywhere, because it’s not the where you do, it’s the what, then the how, then the why. I have done Yoga in the woods, in my room, in studios, in gyms, in living rooms, in church basements, in bed, in lofts, online at the supermarket, in the sauna, and in the airport terminal. One does not need a punch-card, stanchion, or an outfit that cost more than my Dad’s first car to find flow, ease, grace, and dripping-schweatiness, to use it all up and give it all back.
In school, my students are learning the soft* skill of circumlocution. This is when the word you want completely escapes you, and you have to use the words you have in your vocabulary arsenal to describe it instead. One example would be the word tiger. You say: the big cat, with the stripes, that lives at the zoo…If no one can guess, perhaps you add: eats meat, is friends with Calvin. Or, my other ubiquitous example: “You know…that movie…with that guy…who does that thing…” and your bestie responds with the. Most. Obscure. Movie title. Ever! As much fun as circumlocution is to say, it sure is a plein bouche, so I call it “going dancing.” (There’s that pesky connection!)
The other day, a student asked, “how do I dance this word?” It was so cool!
All of this dancing is communication. Dance with the breath. How do we communicate with our bodies, our spirits, ourselves? If there’s someone else there (students in public classes, for example,) we are communicating wordlessly.
*It’s called a soft skill because it’s not really quantifiable. Sad, since those intangibles make us better humans, whether because the Taboo! championship is on the line, or because your fill-in-the-blank language skills are rusty or non existent. Ha! Or your celly is out of range and no search engine is coming to rescue you. You must comuuuuunicate. Oh, the horror!
In class, we go dancin’ to prevent the insidious use of that maaaaassive search engine. Y’all know it: it’s so big that the name’s become a verb. Ugh.
We need to move freely, fluidly, and wherever the spirit takes us. No handstands in Savasana, but other than that, anything goes!
So where’s your dance floor? Who takes you dancing? Think about your ideal practice space: be it for Yoga, kickboxing, reading, arting, choose your own adventuring. Ideally perhaps we’re the only ones we need filling up our own dance cards, TYVM, but we invite others to join us on occasion.
If this resonated with you, please feel free to comment below or drop me an email. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.