Here is my story and how I spent six months in silence and received a divine message that changed the course of my life in a way I couldn't have imagined.
When I left my corporate career and luxurious lifestyle of jet-setting weekend getaways and high powered global meetings, it was to follow the path of becoming a yoga teacher. I felt the Universe speaking to me through the people around me and the message was to leave my job and move to India. What? Yes... and many thought I was crazy.
My "Yoga" mission took me to the Himalayas trekking for a month and then down to a South Indian ashram where I did volunteer work and set up a yoga spa and ayurvedic healing center and a scholarship program for 2,000 under privilege children. It was a wonderful, life changing experience... and then...I went into silence.
As part of the my yoga teacher training, it is traditional for each student to do one to two weeks, sometimes up to one month, of silence. When they told me it was time to go into silence, I figured it would be two weeks. However, when two weeks came to a close, they told me to stay in silence (for an undetermined amount of time).
I could write an entire book just on the six months of silence alone, not to mention the total of five years that I spent in India during my "Yoga" mission.
During what ended up being six months of silence, while sitting in meditation one day, everything started to vibrate. As I opened my eyes, everything had become a blur and in this vibration a voice spoke and said "Ecstatic Dance is The New Yoga."
After receiving the divine message that Ecstatic Dance is the new Yoga, I had to wait until I came out of my silence to figure out what the heck was "Ecstatic Dance." I knew what dance was, as I grew up as a 4th generation dancer. My mother and grandmother were belly dancers and yoginis who raised me as a dancing yogini, so that part of the message I could grasp. For me, I had not really heard the word "ecstatic" before except in college in reference to the club drug, ecstasy (MDMA).
I knew this divine message from God was not telling me about the club drug ecstasy, so what did "Ecstatic Dance" mean? When I pondered upon the word ecstatic, I thought, is this a real thing? Is it possible to become ecstatic without drugs? And if so, what would that be like.
During the six months of silence, I was doing powerful Kriya and Kundalini yoga practices that ramped up my energy so much that I eventually experienced states of ecstasy however this was after doing 17hours per day of meditation and practices every day for months.
After coming out of silence, I was able to research "Ecstatic Dance," and came to find it is a modality of conscious or spiritual dance. "Wow! How cool is this," I thought. I had no idea how I was going to experience this new found thing called "Ecstatic Dance," and then a miracle happened.
A women came to stay at the ashram where I was living. She noticed me during my six month of silence and wondered about me and my journey. At the same time, I saw her at the ashram and noticed she was struggling and wondered what her story might be.
When we got to connect after my silence, she shared about her struggles and why she was at the ashram and how she had been healing since being there. I shared with her about my silence and the message I received and that's when my life changed, yet again.
The women was a fully trained Ecstatic Dance teacher who studied with Gabrielle Roth, founder of 5Rhythms which I later found out was the most prevalent and widespread form of Ecstatic Dance in the world.
This women opened my eyes to every aspect of the practice, shared the philosophy, music and teachings. She guided me through a beautiful Ecstatic Dance practice along with other women at the ashram. She imparted her wisdom and I am forever grateful for this angel who gave me my first training.
Off to Germany... Shortly after my first Ecstatic Dance training, I was off to Germany to visit some yoga friends and experience Munich and Bavaria which I'd not yet been. Upon arriving in Germany, my yoga friend I was staying with asked me if I wanted to go to an Ecstatic Dance night club. This was another "Wow" moment for me.
Ecstatic Dance night club... When we arrived at this "night club" it turned out to be an enormous dance studio, the biggest one I've ever seen. It had a second story that looked down onto the first level, so the ceilings are two stories tall and the space feels like an upscale club except very different.
I immediately felt at home when we walked onto the dance floor with about 200 people who were all dressed like yogis, international travelers, cultured and conscious people... the people I had met on my international travels and yogic studies all in one room, dancing!
I was even more "at home" and impressed when I saw the DJ was a women! "YESSSS!!!" I thought to myself. She was playing all the music that I loved and much of the music that the 5Rhythms teacher had also shared with me. Being a DJ myself, all of this resonated with my entire being in ways I was still to discover.
During the dance, I took a break to get a drink. They were serving teas, waters and even wine, not many were drinking wine but it was still cool to see they were offering it. My friend and I grabbed some waters and headed up stairs to sit down on one of couches and enjoy the dance from above.
As we walked up the stairs, it hit me! All of a sudden I could feel a strong wave of ecstasy begin to roll over my body, it was so powerful I honestly thought, "did someone slip something in my drink."
The ecstasy that I felt, was so powerful I had to sit down at the top of the stairs and begin to take deep breaths. I told my friend what was happening and asked him if he thought anyone could have slipped me something. He said, "No, it's the energy." The energy in the room was so powerful, without even trying to get to an elevated state, it spontaneously happened.
At this point, I was utterly without a doubt convinced this was it!!! This is what the whole "yoga" journey was all about.. including leaving my corporate career, the five years in India, teacher training, hundreds of hours of volunteer work, and six months of silence was all to lead me to this!
I thought, if something so simple and fun could give me this much joy and bliss in such a short amount of time that, it was definitely worth exploring further.
My journey with dance lead me to many forms and modalities of Ecstatic Dance where I studied, practiced and trained in Kundalini Dance, 5Rhythms, Contact Improv, Contemplative Dance, Authentic Movement, Soul Motion, Dance Church and many more.
With all of my training and deep experience, I created my own studio where I offer classes, workshops and trainings. I host teacher trainings and retreats where people come from all over the country.
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
After being a yoga teacher for many years and then finding Ecstatic Dance.
Ecstatic Dance is a way for us to heal through pleasure. -Star
Following my passion, today I love empowering others to experience, learn and teach conscious and spiritual forms of Ecstatic Dance.
You can find me at my beautiful retreat center in South Florida by the ocean called JaiStar Studios where we hold ongoing trainings.
Namaste, Star XO