The Bliss of Yoga and Dance

by Morgan Webert

“Each of us is a moving center, a space of divine mystery. And though we spend most of our time on the surface in the daily details of ordinary existence, most of us hunger to connect to this space within, to break through to bliss, to be swept away into something bigger than us.

Dance is the fastest, most direct route to the truth — not some big truth that belongs to everybody, but the get down and personal kind, the what’s-happening-in-me-right-now kind of truth. We dance to reclaim our brilliant ability to disappear into something bigger, something safe, a space without a critic or a judge or an analyst.” ~Gabrielle Roth

I felt filled with inspiration and joy at the first Yoga Dance Jam I hosted just a few weeks ago as I saw everyone in the room transform from slightly self conscious and restricted in their movements to breakthrough into flying arms, open faces and free flowing into their unique body and expression.YJD_69C7452

We pumped the music and flowed with yoga and dance moves through my take on the Five Rhythms pioneered by Gabrielle Roth leading us into the bliss space within.
In Yoga philosophy this is called the Anandamaya Kosha, the layer of bliss. This layer or kosha, is the inner most layer of five identified in the yogic system. The outer most layer is called the Annamaya Kosha (physical body), next is the Pranamaya Kosha (energy body), then Manomaya Kosh (mental body), followed by the Vignamaya Kosha (wisdom body) and finally we reach the Anandamaya Kosha (bliss body).

I’ve always felt that our yogasana practices leads us through clarifying these layers of ourselves and brings us into feeling the bliss body. In a similar way Roth has been teaching a spiritual practice of dance for three decades that works through five rhythms of movement and awareness leading us into a state of ecstasy and bliss.
In the Yoga Dance Jam we explored these FiveRhythms in our yoga poses and free form movement. We began with Flow, the energy of femininity and fluidity, then moved into Staccato, the energy of masculinity and sharp movement. We then found the rhythm of Chaos where masculinity and femininity meet and collide, shifting between the two contraries that exist within each of us and in our lives until they dissolve and we are ready to move into the rhythm of Lyrical where these oppositions harmonize and we find lightness of being. Finally, warmed up and enlivened we wound down into the rhythm of Stillness, finding balance and softness, observing the subtle, slow movements of the body and breath.

YJD_69C7613The critic and analyst fell away as we flew around the room in a walking chaos meditation, sometimes bumping into each other, sometimes grooving with each other, sometimes lost in the inner groove. Laughter exploded as we shook our booties and embodied the inner teen that made up dance routines with her best friends.  Stillness radiated beautiful through the room as we melted into stretching and final sivasana.
I’m inspired by and looking forward to the journey of finding again and again that inner bliss through dance, yoga and the amazing energy we all share groovin’ and movin’ together.

See you all at the next Yoga Dance Jam, Friday June 9th 6:15 to 8:15 at Qi Yoga Freshwater!