Free Your Yoga with Dance


By Diane Anderson with Dana Flynn  |  

Laughing Lotus co-founder and yoga teacher Dana Flynn wants you to feel in inspired. “Everything seems so uncertain in this

world today, but your practice is one thing that can be certain,” she says. “It’s totally possible to face your fears, make

your home practice a prayer, and ensure that it’s meaningful as well as fun.” Flynn suggests that by moving in a dynamic

flow through the sequence on the following pages, you can free your body and mind.

Don’t worry if the poses look unfamilliar or have strange names—like Stargazer, Funky Tree, or Dancing Ganesha. Flynn

has dubbed the entire sequence a “shape-shifting cosmic dance” and recommends that you approach it with the intention of

being spontaneous, open, fearless, and free. “It’s energetic, empowered, ecstatic, alive,” she says. “So keep your sense of

humor, especially if you aren’t used to sticking your tongue out at your difficulties,” which you will do in the pose

called Kali.

Part of the series is moving from Kali to Peaceful Warrior to Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle

Pose). Cycle through these three poses as many times as you like until you feel like a dancing dervish. You will tap into

your intuition and sense your unlimited, boundless, ingnite potential. “You might feel small,” Flynn says, “but you’ll soon

realize that you are bigger than you think you are.” Now that’s cosmic!

To begin

Personalize Make your own daily yoga ritual: Light a candle, say a prayer, or dive into movement as medicine.

Breathe Tap into your creative power by becoming intimate with your breath. Sit cross-legged; inhale and exhale.


Janu Sirsasana (Head-of-the-Knee Pose), variation
Sit with your left leg extended in front of you and bend your right knee so that your right foot presses against your leftthigh. Turn your torso to the right; with both hands on the floor, rise up onto your finger pads and soften through bothelbows so that your heart can spread wide even as it stays lifted. Let this soft twist become a doorway into your trueSelf. Turn your listening within as you breathe deeply for 3 to 5 breath cycles.

Stargazer
Press your right hand down behind your hips. Now root down through your right shin and left foot as you lift your hips offthe ground and sweep your left arm up on a big inhalation. Begin to reach your left arm alongside your head as thoughyou’re sending out a cosmic telegram. Ground down and lift up. Breathe and reach for the stars!

Three-Legged Down Dog
From Stargazer, bring your legs together, sit down, cross your shins, bring your hands in front of you, and roll onto allfours. Reach through your arms and legs, coming into Downward Dog. Use your breath to open the spine from your shoulders toyour hips. Inhale and lift your right leg up. Puff up your inner right thigh as you drop the baby-toe side of your foot tothe right to rotate your leg internally. Imagine moving your breath from your hands all the way into your lifted leg. Step

both feet forward and fold fully over your legs in Uttanasana (Standing

Forward Bend). Bow down at your own feet for a few timeless breaths.


Funky Tree
Stand tall like a mountain. Shift your weight to your left leg and press your right foot into your left thigh (or shin ifthe thigh is out of reach). Inhale and extend your arms out wide, exhale and weave your left arm underneath your right andthen press the palms together so that your arms are in Garudasana (EaglePose). How’s your balance? Focus on a spot in front of you. Breathe and express your own funkiness, your own uniqueness!

Dancing Ganesha
From Funky Tree, softly bend your left leg and lift your right knee in front of you. Bend your right knee. Breathe as youunravel your arms out to your sides and then shape your left arm like Ganesha’s trunk. Open your right hand, facing it awayand letting it fall on the top of your left wrist. This open right hand forms Abhaya Mudra, which represents fearlessness,and is placed out in front of your heart. Dance with Ganesha, the elephant god who removes obstacles. He can help you see

what gets in your way. Breathe into Ganesha’s positive vibrations.


Kali, Fierce and Loving Goddess of Darkness
Jump your legs wide and bend your knees into a Horse Stance. Put your right arm underneath your left, as in Garudasana. Tochannel Kali, the wild goddess of destruction, stick your tongue out and roll your eyeballs up toward your third-eyecenter. Breathe and let yourself sway from side to side, pulsing Kali’s fierce protective love.

Shanti Virabhadrasana (Peaceful Warrior)
Move from Kali into Peaceful Warrior. Turn your right leg out, bend the right knee, and send the arms out and away fromeach other. Turn the right palm up and sweep it up and over your head as you send your left arm back.

Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)
Inhale, lift up from Peaceful Warrior, exhale, place the right forearm on the right thigh, and then run the left armalongside your head. Begin to move and dance through these mystical shapes: Parsvakonasana, to Peaceful Warrior,shape-shift to Kali, over to Peaceful Warrior again, and back into Parsvakonasana.

Urdhva Prasarita Ekapadasana (Standing Splits)
From Parsvakonasana, turn to face forward and place both hands by your right foot. Walk your hands in front of you and comeonto your fingertips as you lift and straighten your left leg into a split. Create length in your front body and room inyour back leg by keeping your hands out in front of you and coming up onto your finger pads. Inhale and exhale for 5breaths.

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) with Ganesha Mudra
Lower your left leg as you soften your right knee. Tuck your left knee behind your right knee, and sit between your heels.Bring your hands in front of your heart and clasp your hands together to form Ganesha Mudra. While exhaling, pull yourhands away from each other without releasing them. As you inhale, relax the pulling. Repeat 3 times. Place both hands onyour heart space. Pause before extending your right leg out and exploring the sequence on the other side.

To Finish


Release

Sit with your legs extended, then fold into Paschimottanasana (Seated

Forward Bend).

Counterbalance

Lift up into Purvottanasana (Upward Plank Pose). Rest Exhale an

audible “Ahhhhh,” and lower to the ground to rest for 10 minutes in Savasana (Corpse Pose).