Last weekend I had the pleasure and honour of taking an Ecstatic Dance Yoga Teacher Training course at my locally loved yoga studio called Karma Teachers. If you live in the Vancouver area and you have not been to Karma Teachers, please go and check it out! It is one of the few studios I am a regular at. (I am not an affiliate with Karma Teachers, I actually just really love what happens there.)
If you haven’t heard of Ecstatic Dance Yoga…. Well… It was created by Emerson Lim, the owner of Karma Teachers. It combines dance with good loud) music and yoga. It is a yoga dance party! By the time you leave you’ve shaken yourself silly, showed off your epic dance moves, loudly chanted, stretched out in some yoga and created a living mandala.
It’s fast paced, dancey, and liberating. You leave sweaty and elevated. And I love it.
I find it to be something that changes my state of mind very fast and opens up my channel to receive from the world around me. I feel myself glowing often after I leave. And I just love to dance. I love to dance more than I love yoga. Or maybe they are about the same love-wise. I don’t know. They are both so intertwined within my life that when I came across this I was amazed. It’s a combination of two things that I love!!
I had to learn it. And now I have.
The course was challenging and emotional. As we learned the basic format of a class and about the 40 day ecstatic yoga practice we moved through our fears, shames, guilt, and more. We learned why different things are done in a class and how to facilitate this. We were put through the same practices our students would go through to open us up and balance us. It is something that Emerson gives his all to, and I realize that I must give my all to it as well.
Almost half the class were Kundalini Yogis from my graduating class of Yoga West. All of the lovers of Karma Teachers. One of the things that I had noticed right away in Ecstatic Yoga was the use of Kundalini yoga movements and chants. We dance around the room sometimes chanting “Har, Har, Har” Our arms out to the side and parallel to the ground pointing our thumbs up then down in time with our chant.
Emerson spoke of his own Kundalini practice and how he adapts different postures from different yogas to create a dancing yoga style. (He has Gurmukhs blessings.) The style is dynamic, changeable and open to whatever needs to happen. It is rare for me to attend an Ecstatic Yoga class without crying at some point. It is a heart centered practice and that cannot be denied.
In Ecstatic Yoga almost anything goes. We are fully capable to create a class following the same basic premise but bring in our own style, dance, rituals, ceremonies, and more. Completely the opposite of a very structured Kundalini class is Ecstatic yoga: Show up, dance and do yoga, let it all go.
Let it all go ~
My Ecstatic Dance Yoga name is Crystal Weaver. Eventually I’d like to get a yoga studio with great big crystals for people to practice in and a labyrinth, but for now I have a few ideas I’d like to try to see what happens. I really have to work on my music collection though… Do you know any musicians similar to Lux Moderna, Rigzin, Alya Nereo? Or any other really great dancey elevated musicians?