Does a scientist perceive the world through formulas and fractals? Is a chef’s world created through scent and texture? I don’t know since I am neither one, but as a dancer and a yogi, (always a dancer first) my world is filtered through the lens of lines and movement. Just as an artist looks at a painting in terms of composition, color, etc.. I perceive everything in the context of shapes, lines, rhythm, proportions and the way in which those shapes and lines move and integrate with one another.
Another crucial element to my worldview is movement efficiency. There’s a sense of perpetual motion throughout my daily musings from driving around Los Angeles to cleaning my apartment, to putting away my groceries. I remain connected to the flow of movement within all I do. The question I ask myself most often is what movement or set of movements within a certain time frame (rhythm) will most efficiently complete the task at hand. This question arises subconsciously much of the time because it is so deeply engrained into my being that it has become a samskara. Somehow the question and the answer are always framed within the language of movement, just like an equation is framed within the language of mathematics. (more…)
In my last post Say Hello to Samskara, I discussed how our thoughts and experiences engrain themselves into our subconscious and become habits. In this post, I want to follow up on the idea of samskaras or our habitual patterns and how these patterns affect they way we learn new things.
As a professional dancer, yoga instructor and Pilates instructor I understand firsthand how powerful habits can be through my own muscle memory. Memory is not possible without thoughts and experiences, which are processed via the conscious mind. These experiences become stored impressions, aka samskaras within our subconscious mind. It is very difficult to unlearn something that you’ve been doing for many years because it stays with you on a SUBconscious level. (more…)
Wake up, work, go to the gym, dinner, bed, repeat… sound like a familiar pattern to some of you? Do you ever feel like you’re caught up in the wheel of your own life? It doesn’t have to be in the particular order above of course, but we are all such profound creatures of habit. These habits or in yogic terms samskaras are embedded so deeply into every cell of our being that doing anything other than what we have grown accustomed to becomes confrontational.
Our thoughts and past experiences are created by the conscious mind. Once we have these experiences, they sink deep down into our subconscious mind where they become impressions or samskaras. The samskaras reside as subliminal. Memory is only possible via samskaras. Samskaras are often associated with the image of a wheel. A wheel goes round and round ad infinitum as do our habits, unless we take the time to stop, observe and take action to correct them. Insanity is rooted in patterns and habits. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the very definition of insanity. When we consciously choose to become aware of our physical, behavioral, emotional etc… patterns, even something as mundane as which hand we use to brush our teeth, we can then fix those habits and patterns that do not serve us and replace them with ones that do. (more…)
I’ve been reflecting on the idea of samtosa a lot this year. Samtosa is the second niyama within the eight limbs of yoga. Samtosa translates literally to mean contentment. It is an acceptance of what we currently have and where we currently are in life. A sense of modesty if you will…The Yoga Sutras contend that supreme joy is ascertained only through contentment. Being content is different than satisfaction. Contentment means being open and okay with things just as they are without seeking happiness from external factors.
Samtosa seems like a simple concept in theory but when put into practice it becomes much more esoteric. It’s those darn kleshas again that keep getting in the way of my samtosa and more specifically my samtosa as it pertains to my three professions. Let’s remember that the five kleshas are the root causes of all suffering. Raga is the third of the five kleshas and refers to our desires and our attachment to results. Raga is the one I seem to struggle with most. My attachment to success in ballet, Pilates and yoga is what gets the best of me, especially ballet. Most people only need concern themselves with one profession. I have chosen three or maybe they chose me. I’ve always identified the most with dance as my profession and all the trials and tribulations associated with it trump the ones associated with Pilates or yoga. That is not to say I’m indifferent to Pilates or yoga, but in my mind I am and always will be a dancer first. However, the practicality of teaching Pilates and yoga allows me to stay connected to the movement arts, allows my schedule to remain flexible enough to continue dancing professionally and allows me to make a decent living. So you see, I have to stay on top of all three in order keep my business growing and in order grow as a dancer. (more…)
I was a devout existentialist all through college until about my mid-twenties. At age 24 I discovered what it means to be slapped in the face by this thing called life… she can be a real bitch sometimes. I battled an autoimmune condition, which lasted for many months. My views shifted. I started expressing more gratitude for the simplest things I used to take for granted like doing my own grocery shopping. I realized that indeed we are not our choices as Jean-Paul Sartre, my college idol once purported. Eventually even Sarte departed from his existentialist ways probably because he too experienced a hard dose of reality in some way, shape or form at some point in his life. (more…)
Hello Fellow Yogis and Lovers of Movement!
It has been a while since I last blogged but I just wanted to share my latest experience (and what a wonderful one it was) to once again be a part of a fantastic and dynamic group of dancers in San Diego Opera’s A Masked Ball! Giuseppe Verdi’s poignant score along with an intriguing story will turn anyone into an opera fan!
I am happy to say I am back in Los Angeles after a 2-month stint of working with the San Diego Opera! What a tremendous experience it was working with extremely talented dancers and fantastic choreographer, Kenneth von Heidecke. Samson & Delilah was the first opera and Aida was the opera I just concluded. (more…)
Hello All! It has been a long time since I have blogged, but I am starting up again. I recently finished performing in San Diego Opera’s production of Samson & Delilah. What an amazing experience with amazing dancers! I will be performing with San Diego Opera again in April in their production of Aida.