16 April 2010

Life Is Just A Game !

Life Is Just A Game!

I had no inkling what was in store for me that day, it however was going to make me feel alive and thrilled beyond compare.
It was a normal visit to a park, that too at the insistence and pressure from my ten year old daughter to take her to a new park in the neighborhood that evening, which her friends were talking about. Relenting ,that fine day my husband my daughter and I decided to visit the place that had constantly figured as the sole conversational word in my daughters vocabulary for the last few days .
The place turned out to be a massive jogger’s park with a nice jogging track. It had a neat lovely and well maintained garden in the center for people to stroll and relax in. There were a good number of people in it. Again at my daughters request we all decided to make full use of our visit by having a fast paced walking session with each other for company.
My daughter was happy and at the start itself she decided on a protruding stone near the starting point which was going to be our finishing point and that whoever reaches it first would be the undisputed winner. My usually occupied husband turned out to be sporting enough that day, so we soon began to enjoy ourselves like small children. And I wanted nothing more but to elicit peals of laughter from the dimpled face of my daughter and revel in it.
It was a truly enjoyable experience trying to beat my daughter at her own game; she would run a bit instead of walking and try to reach faster than us to the finishing stone.
Anyways time flew and soon we were done with about six laps of the huge track and were all warmed up nicely.
While walking around the track there was one sight which caught my eyes. It was of a few men playing volleyball at the net ,you see,the place also had a volleyball court on one side of the garden. So every time I would reach the bend I would keep checking them out. I used to be a player may be around twenty odd solar cycles back at school and college, but then lost touch with the game totally over the years.Oh! How I longed to be there playing my favorite game. A time there was in my life , that I would think nothing but of playing volleyball for the rest of my life, I had even toyed with the idea of going to play professionally a long time back….But well that’s another story! So coming back to where we were, I kept on watching the players practicing at the net hard. They seemed professional in their approach and boy were they tall! They were almost towering at the net. Their game was enjoyable to say the least, the spiking the defending and the strategies however I was itching to have a go at it.
So after walking we all settled at a spot near the court to watch their game. I enthusiastically told my daughter everything I knew about the game, the rules etc.as I was waxing eloquent on my favorite sport my husband who had silently noticing my enthusiasm for the game prodded me to go and ask them if I could play with them too. At first I was hesitant but my daughter also goaded as she had never seen me playing, and
I decided to have a go at it. I politely went up to the players with my request for some practice. They looked at me and at each other grinning probably as a woman requesting them for a some volleyball practice was a little way off their usual scheme of things.

Sure enough I was on and playing much to the delight of my daughter who watched me with new eyes. I too enjoyed my self and was so immersed in the game to notice the beetroot and brinjal color bruises my arms received from playing after such a long time... it hardly mattered, as I was having such an exhilarating time. My heart soared hearing my daughter cheer for me ,guess it pays for mothers to know some sport with which they could bond with their children, a role which has so typically been a males domain. The joy of sharing your knowledge and passion with your child is unparalleled.
Of course the fact that my partner had been encouraging  me to join and play, as without his insistence I probably would have just watched from the sidelines like we usually do and drove back home without connecting with the game. From that day on I regularly go to the park with my daughter much to her delight whenever possible.
My daughter is loving the game and insists on taking some practice from me,and by the way the players I practiced with did turn out to be professionals players of the railways team and they were in awe to know that though I hadn’t played for a very long time of over two decades and more, I had not lost touch with the game . They asked me to join them whenever I wanted to.
That day the unbridled contentment and thrill of playing and once again connecting with my favorite sport will stay with me for a long time indeed!
The best part of it all is that not only that nowadays I spend my evenings with my daughter doing what I thoroughly enjoy, I also see my daughter in a new light enjoying herself jogging at the track .And well I almost forgot to mention that we smile and laugh more often now. Life is after all just a game …..

10 March 2010

Memoirs - Unending hope

Unending hope

Hungry eyes desiccated look
Chapped swollen lips a dry cough
Feverish body accompanies a dazed look
Bony arms that work has made rough.

With empty stomach he wanders far
Walking bare feet on a just laid road of tar
Sweat pores dry up on that sizzling hot day
In the mid summer month of May

Yes you couldn’t guess better
And there is no better word to utter
He is a street child
And that’s putting it mild.

Each day he lives
He searches longingly for someone who gives
Each moments such a torment and pain
As he waits patiently for some endearment in vain.

A time there was when tears rolled down the cheeks
from the corner of his eye.
But all his tears have dried
and there isn’t much left to cry.

All alone I am
He says and whether he lives or dies none give a damn.
He wants no pity or sympathy, just some love and care
But well that’s just too hard to share.

 But come what may
 His hope is here to stay ....

Memoirs- Wake up wake up my sleeping heart

Wake up wake up my sleeping heart

Wake up wake up my sleeping heart
Don’t lie back and remember,
Change your track for a new start,
Don’t think of that which has gone into the ember.
Today is there because there was a yesterday,
What is to happen tomorrow let it set in on its own,
So rest your mind awhile don’t let it stray
And what is there today try not to disown.
Today when a new wind has blown afresh,
Don’t think of that windy day,
Leave your heart free to feel a tumult or a crush
And dont give in so easily to the colour of grey.
Have dreams and hopes don’t leave it to another,
Learn to enjoy today as an art of living,
Don’t give in to fuss and bother,
Awake from deep slumber and often keep smiling.
There is so much to do and so little time,
Whatever you do do it with the same old passion,
Cos it’s much more a crime,
To keep your heart in check and ration....
Try living for today and only the moment.
Try to be open to those loving few,
Give more of yourself without a comment
Soon you will have a heart which may never need a mend or a sew….


Memoirs - The world lives within you

The world lives within you

You are what you want to be ,
The world is nowhere but within you.
Say of reason , I can make you see
Then the action you can justify, you can do.

In lonely lanes of sensitivity don’t sit and sulk
Running away from the problem is no solution
Cos only your sorrow and strife increases in bulk
And in frenzy and fear is what you are in your reclusion.

Put out that truly heartwarming smile
Hurt if you are, try hard to hide
And don’t ever those worries in you mind file
And who knows perhaps you may swim the opposing tide

Forget the trifles that flicker your brow
Live in harmony with that living you
Feel that moment and try not to overgrow
And know it comes searching what to you is due.

Don’t blame time for things it has done
Time is full of sweet innocence
It’s what’s in you which matters has gone
So try and build that lost confidence .

Feel free to feel as free as you want to feel
Think totally the way you think is the way to think
Just take care not another’s joy, you do steal
And soon for sure you can get over the brink


22 February 2010

Dance The Stress Away , The Ballroom Dance Way

The child in you is equipped with handling stress whenever required. Every person has always moved their bodies more as children than as an adult. Silly expressions, funny positions of the body, the hopping, skipping and jumping ,these are nature’s way of getting all the aggression out of our system.And we all know how hyper children can at time be.

As we grow up we all forget the child in us and go about our duties diligently but we also forget to revel in the pleasure of simple movements.These rhythmic movements are really about releasing the stress and tension that’s blocking our bodies. These simple playful movements whenever executed are quite a cathartic experience in themselves. Now if we remember to behave like children we are all scorned upon or laughed at, but to totally rid your body off these blockages caused by stress we must cultivate the habit of releasing stress through some playful movements which can happen while dancing….For example dances like the Jive involve a lot of kicking movements of the feet in different directions. These are good tension relievers of the feet. Similarly this dance is based on the arm tension principle called push and pull technique which simply means that while dancing as a couple with a double or a single hand hold, whenever your partner exerts a pull , you too must pull back  and whenever your partner exerts a push, you too must push towards so that you can maintain the synergy of movement as a couple .
On this simple principle works the entire body  weight connection of a couple who are dancing and in our context these playful stretching movements do a lot in terms of stress release. As you exert pressure while pushing and stretch while pulling or on getting a gentle pull in your arm ,one can actually feel, a nice warming up of the muscles and a warmth enveloping our bodies and a smile playing on our lips…
And well who can resist a playful movement whatever the age?

But a word of cautionary advice! In our hurry to learn things or do things to accomplish a task we almost never realize to enjoy the moment. Similarly in our hurry to complete a dance practice remember to let go and feel the moment. And never be aggressive towards yourself so much, that we are not able to benefit from what we are setting out to accomplish in the first place.
So develop moderation in whatever you do and slowly take it a notch higher in terms of where you want to go, step by step and you will never feel a strain in your body or mind.

Live life dancing all the way gracefully.
Learn to dance and grace up your life.


20 February 2010

Ballroom Dancing A Great Equaliser

Ballroom Dancing A Great Equaliser

As we look at ballroom dancing as a form of dancing originating from the west we can draw a lot of parallels from the yogic way of the east especially with reference to the Hatha yoga which emphasizes the balancing of the opposing forces in the body such as Masculine (HA) energy and the Feminine (THA) energy symbolically representing the sun and the moon respectively. As such in yoga the left and right coordination the inhalation and exhalation the joy and sadness and so on ,thereby restoring the body to its natural equilibrium. Forward bends are followed by backward bends standing postures by the inversions contractions followed by expansions and like dancing a movement to the left followed by movement to the right for balance the poses are perfectly in tune to the mode of dancing the ballroom way.

As it is said that we must be in control of ourselves in thoughts actions and deeds we must learn to not lean too much on to the past or think too much into the future so that we are more oriented to the present .Now as a parallel we learn that we can take reference from our past when we balance ourselves backwards , consider our future course as we balance our body forward and learn to enjoy the present moment of balance that we achieve in our body through dancing.
As a couple dancing must have a huge balancing going on wherein not only are you balancing yourself but it is also a synchronization with your partner on the floor. This is nothing but balance between each other and not to mention if there are more dancers on the floor in a social situation then other dancers too must be given their due space on the dance floor The dance floor craft is a simple understanding between dancers , following the rules of the dance floor by the dancers with respect to each other while dancing in tandem with each other with body alignment and control on a proper dance floor.


Self Awareness Through Ballroom Dancing

Self awareness through Ballroom Dancing 
Life's a dance you learn as you go, Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow, Don't worry 'bout what you don't know, Life's a dance you learn as you go

Ballroom dancing helps balance emotions sharpens the intellect and brings peace of mind. When we attend to our physical body with emphasis on postures it leads us to greater flexibility of the body and mind.
When we let go and move our bodies we find a lot of our resistance breaking down for new energy to flow through to empty spaces and gradually we become open to life’s infinite possibilities and also turn positive ourselves.
A nourishing diet that boosts our immune system helps to calm our mind and as a result with greater well being we learn to cross new frontiers in dancing and exceed ourselves.
Along with diet we need to have a correct warm up and cool down session in place to stretch and tone all our muscles, bones and ligaments, improving circulation and flexibility. Dancing basically helps relieve depression by increasing the feel good endorphins in our body, along with that as we breathe deeply the capacity of the lungs increases to breathe fully and strengthens our inner organs and improves our mental abilities and deepens our ability to relax. The cool down routine must be given its due attention and must not be ignored as the entire system rests and tensions in the muscles ease ,dislodging the blockages in our system and restoring our normal energy flow in effect calming our mind. With all these in place one must also focus our attention to positive thinking when we start dancing, as it trains us to purify our thought process so that we turn to become more confident and self actualized ,wherein ,lies the real purpose of dance. The power of the mind is also used significantly in dancing, for e.g. try to visualize yourself performing perfectly before entering into the posture and then move with focus and control into the pose and you can see and feel the transformations in yourself. 


A Dance For Every Mood

A Dance For Every Mood

The benefits of ballroom dancing are many, not only in terms of health but also lets say socially mentally and emotionally. Whenever one has an emotional turbulence there is let’s say a dance for every emotion or mood in the repertoire or ballroom dance styles.
If the feeling is aggressive then the best dance would be the Paso Doble to express it.
Pure passion expressed in a Tango could just flow through and then of course there is the flirtatious Cha cha cha with its teasing quality and terrific hip movement which parallels the Samba with its unbridled indulgence. The elegance of Foxtrot with its graceful moves and coy gestures of non verbal communication speaks of a budding romance .The intense moods of love could be tenderly expressed in a Rumba and well who can deny themselves the pleasure of the wonderful dizzying heady feeling of a beautiful whirling Waltz. And last but not the least the joy of life, the exuberance of living could be exemplified just dancing the Jive with its full of life actions.
All the above mentioned dances are classified in the list of ballroom dances styles. Each dance originating from different places around the world only adds  to the culture and deep rooted significance of that dance form .

Any expression of emotion is a release of pent up stress within the body. So why not do yourself a good deed today and give yourself a ballroom dance class and release your stress the right way? Or better still also gift a class to someone who matters to you…….
Learning to dance is all about realizing the treasures of pure pleasure of self awareness through dancing…. So never be too busy to dance……



18 February 2010

Power of dance

The Power of Dance! You can  Create it !

Dancing as a couple helps you acquire skill sets which help you beyond the dance floor. There is first of all, an awareness of  the need for balance that needs to set in when two individuals are dancing together.The  energy of  the movement that one does, automatically gets transferred unto the other  as a reaction. Secondly  a natural awareness of  the grace required of movements  comes to play in every response . The body frame of the dancers  completes  and conveys the attitude of the dance so the posture of the body the relaxed shoulder, the confident look and ability to stride ever so gently makes a person a keen observer  of  their inner state of mind  for it to be their guiding  light for their projected  image during the dance  . So  with every movement that  is  executed , there is learning  and acknowledging  of personal abilities and improving upon them as and when required. 

But to truly enjoy and  revel in the dance  itself , a Couple moving together , must clearly  strive to understand and acknowledge the other’s ability and disability and must  try to move within the parameters of your partner’s capabilities .
Now when one reaches such a level, where one is able to  accept adjust their dance movement  sensibilities  to the partner’s  movements or hesitations, and yet create visual delights ,one has reached another milestone in dancing as a Couple. 
Delighting in each others creative expressions  ,helps in  creating positive atmosphere   for your self and those around you   and this is just one of the many powerful  changes in  outlook  that  dancing together brings forth .  Couples dancing together can create energy from within and that energy reflects on each partner’s mood and enhances their self image.  S imply put the aura created by perfect movement i.e. precise timing and relaxed buoyant movement of partners dancing in tandem bring’s forth a special treat to the viewer as well as the dancer itself.

TOUCH - Therapeutic Values of Social Dancing

                                TOUCH - Therapeutic Values of Social Dancing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               I have often realized that as we teach so many students from different backgrounds, they all, in fact each of them have given us back something very special indeed. We have felt happy and touched by all the warmth they have given to us.
Now personally experiencing that as a dance educator , I feel many a stressful situation can be averted , dissolved or tackled if there is consistency in practice and a positive approach while learning to dance.
It is always entirely pleasurable to teach the one who is keen and trusting than force your patterns of movement to a reluctant learner. So a Couple that learns together must have the will and desire to learn with the same amount of eagerness.
For me as dancing is a way of life. I believe there is grace and poise is everything around us. In stillness too there is a movement that begins before the break of silence. Every organism moves and is dancing to the tunes of nature. When we harness this nature’s energy through movement we can account for the transfer of energy that takes place as we dance together. It accounts for that feel good factor once the dance actually begins and also that lasting movement of happiness and high that occurs after the dance. I almost at times feel that each feeds on the other’s energy and is helpless without the other. There is so much balance coordination and poise in each movement done together with the feeling of energy from within as you move as one and slicing through the wind gently and forcefully now and then as per the tempo of the dance itself.
Besides the good amount of endorphins generated by the individual, the dancers end up in a much lighter and relaxed mood, at once their spirits are lifted marveling at the sheer beauty of that which was accomplished by them. Such is the power of Dance – especially  Social Dancing …………so do get ready to have some fun and learn a life enhancing skill soon.


Welcome to the world of Social Dancing…..

Welcome to the world of  Social Dancing…..

Want to learn Latin &Ballroom dancing well you are not alone. There is a wave of interest which is reaching a new high with Bollywood movies bringing in world music to commercial cinema. The trend is definitely international and what with movies addicted audience wanting to learn everything the stars do on screen, there is a huge surge of interested people wanting to learn these international social dance forms & styles.

I have been teaching various Social  dance styles for a decade or so and I can clearly see a shift from typical jhatka matka dancing in the movies to a plethora of international dance styles of different countries. The interested student wants to explore and is ready to learn these different styles of dancing and adapt an attitude to suit it too. I must thank our movies for this as I have myself encountered various people who had no idea about the dances I taught and have innocently albeit ignorantly asked whether ballroom dancing has anything to do with a ball… Such was the interest in these styles a few years back where only a select few couples would come to learn maybe to dance during Christmas and New Year parties or on a wedding occasion. Well now the scenario is radically shifting with husbands wanting top learn to tango or a waltz to surprise the wife, a mother wanting to pair up with her son and daughter and learn the social graces which are very much a compulsory syllabus if you are learning ballroom dancing.Infact its very necessary that you check whether you are also taught dance floor manners by the teacher you plan to learn from as that would hold one in good stead throughout one’s life in every aspect of their lives whether its social behavior,posture or simply better body alignment as its very important to teach holistically incorporating self awareness.

Nowadays there are a number of children and young couples wanting to learn innovative steps like the salsa dips and tricks or the evergreen jive just for fun. Then there are the professionals who have stressed out lives and want to seriously connect with their partners over the weekend learning a new skill together and try to get back the good old times with a jig on the ballroom dance floor.

Whatever the reason, it’s really inspiring to teach such enthusiastic learners and the more they are the merrier it is on the dance floor. Also one gets to learn new styles just by observing different people move differently to the same steps and patterns as per their individual ideas of styles. It’s been a fantastic time for me so far  finding myself in the midst  of it all  and learning to evolve over the years and clearly its getting better with the years passing by .And with Bollywood films going truly international in dance styling there is a positive trend in it with more students interested in learning these styles at my dance class….. The going is definitely getting better!!!……