Yoga is the union of breath and body, the balance of stillness and movement. So is dancing, if you pay attention.
A lovely yoga studio in my vicinity held an open house party last night to celebrate its new space, a dance hall. I went with a friend and we weren’t quite sure what to expect from a dance party at a yoga studio. I didn’t think it would be as focused and spiritual as a kirtan, and I knew a DJ would be present. I assumed the energy would be fantastic. But I usually associate dancing with drinking, and (presumably) no one would be drunk since alcohol wasn’t being served. Unless you count kombucha, of which there was a keg.
The original studio space was filled with people who mingled like typical partygoers, though instead of cocktails there was hand-shaved ice, and most guests were dressed in stretchy yoga attire.
Across the hall in the new addition, dancedancedancedance LOVE. I don’t know how else to describe the infectious enthusiasm and joy. The beats were slamming and I quickly spotted the studio owner getting down with another friendly familiar face–Anya Porter, whose Breakti class I took a few weeks ago.
Shaved ice and getting to see Anya bust some moves? As if that weren’t enough to delight me, before long I had polished off my red plum and rhubarb frozen treat and found myself tossing out a few of the break dancing steps I’ve learned.
As someone who has been uncomfortably self-conscious on dance floors for many years, it was a tremendous relief to feel confident releasing energy in a welcoming space. Over time I’ve learned to hold my own and even enjoy myself dancing at a bar or club, but getting down with a crowd of yogis brings “nonjudgment” to a whole new level.
Especially when they’re filling a space where one wall is covered in graffitied words like “peace” and “om” and “laughing” and another features a modernized mural of Ganesh. And when the music is ranging from Kanye and Gaga to “100% Pure Love” and “Do You Love Me”.
Moving fast but breathing slow, I realized I was doing supersonic vinyasa, flailing my arms with subconsciously calculated control. Later, I was jumping up and down, spreading my fingers wide in a bouncing tadasana, acutely aware of my body’s ability to rise up and reach out. Absolutely exhilarated, I felt flooded with gratitude and a grin filled my face.
Sometimes dancing is definitely yoga….Bring on the bhakti!