On a windy, winter’s morning a couple of years ago, I headed to my “Saturday Church.” With neither a steeple nor a sermon, this is a different kind of church.
It houses wood floors, bare feet, sweaty women in tank tops, and beats blasting from Beyoncé and Sia.
It’s where I seek refuge at the end of each week to shake, clear, punch, and, above all, DANCE, things out.
That morning, however, I was neither as bright-eyed nor as clear-headed as I was used to feeling. My former fiance and I had separated–rather explosively–a couple of weeks earlier; and, on that Saturday morning, the world felt radically different, as did my place in it.
My hands were shaking. My vision was blurred. And my emotional body felt fragile, as if ready to crack into a million, tiny pieces in any moment.
Like a robot, I dragged myself out of bed, through the familiar routine of teeth brushing, dog walking, and lemon water drinking. And, finally, I drove myself to Church.
Assuming my favorite spot in the front row, just left of the teacher, I willed my body through the warm ups, the high intensity songs, and, finally, the cool down.
I forced myself through Church that morning, just as I was forcing myself through every moment of my days at that time. The primary focus was to stay alive. To get up each morning and to keep moving. Because we only fail when we stop getting up.
After class, feeling a new tidal wave of grief rising up from inside me, I hurried to my car and called one of my spiritual teachers for support.
I shared that I was just coming out of my favorite dance class; and, in response, he asked a question I will never forget.
“Did you dance over your grief, or in it?” he inquired.
I answered, “Over it,” and paused before continuing, “I’m not ready to dance in it yet.”
It’s been almost two years since that morning. Years filled with months filled with many weeks of going to Saturday Church. And, each week, I understand more and more what my teacher meant when he asked if I had danced “in it.”
But, before I go on, let’s pause for a moment. I need to come clean about something first.
I haven’t been practicing much yoga these past couple of years– at least not like I used to. I feel that this is important for me to share, as one of the primary focuses of both my personal and professional lives for the past twenty years has been yoga.
Things are shifting for me now, as I’m more intentionally returning to my roots in dance, which was the great love of my life from the ages of three to twenty.
The reason why I’ve returned to dance in a bigger way is that yoga has felt too tight, too linear, too small for the bigness of feeling that has been moving through me these past couple of years. I’m a different woman than I was on that Saturday morning, and dance has provided me a home to stretch, thrash, and reach into new dimensions of my being.
Dance has helped me to unbecome “Sara” so that I can become who I truly am.
No matter how large the feelings are that are moving through me, dance provides an outlet to express them. Vigorous leaps. Sharp stomps. Sensual snakes. Flowing arms. Wild explosions and soft flutters. Every part of me can come alive and find a place to be in whatever’s arising when I dance.
While I still love yoga, and it will always have a place in my life, I’m appreciating the power of dance to help unleash so many dimensions of our womanhood that are otherwise hard to move or express. Because of this, going forward, I will be including more intuitive, expressive dance in the events that I teach.
When I watch women practicing yoga, even when it’s “women’s yoga,” I see that they’re practicing “above” what’s really alive in their bodies and souls. It’s extremely rare to see a woman practicing yoga “in” the real inside of herself.
Let’s explore this more deeply together. Let’s really look inside to see how congruent our outer movements are with our inner worlds.
I look forward to getting wild with you. Sweaty with you. Quiet with you. Exuberant and expressive with you. I looking forward to dancing “in” the fullness of our lives together– in all their splendor and horror.
This is something I’ll be teaching more about in the SHE Yoga & Meditation Teacher Training in Thailand this February, as well as in the three, short retreats that I’m teaching here in the U.S. between now and the end of the year (outlined below).
If you’re ready to shed some layers and unbecome, in service of discovering and expressing who you truly are, I hope you’ll join me. What an exciting time this is to be alive as women!
Diamonds are made from pressure. Rather than feeling pushed, pulled– and, sometimes– crushed by the demands of your life, learn to be both strong and luminous, like a diamond. Use whatever pressure you’re under to bring forth all that’s unique, brilliant, and indestructible within you.
During this half-day, silent women’s retreat, we’ll bring clear, loving attention to whatever inner and outer struggles you’re currently facing. Using the wisdom of the Buddha, the sensuality of the Goddess, and the unconditional love of the Divine Mother, you’ll move through layers of fear, doubt, criticism, and worry to land inside your strong, luminous heart.
Let’s gather together to get still, steep ourselves in nourishing silence, and imbibe unconventional teachings that empower us to tap into an inner, feminine power that we’ve always doubted. Within a compassionate circle of women, you’ll hear dharma talks (tailored for the feminine soul) as well as practice women’s yoga (yin & flow), meditation, and creative group practices.
Softness. Strength. Confidence. Sensual deliciousness. Radiance. You’ll leave feeling alive with all of these. Because the world desperately needs us — and it needs us as our strong, diamond selves. Now more than ever.
RED FEATHER LAKES, CO
Calling all women who do too much! This silent retreat will support you as we head into the holiday season by seeking refuge in the good company of like-minded women. Autumn is the season to simplify, let go, and cultivate gratitude for all that life brings us (the blessings and the challenges).
Since the inevitable hustle and bustle of this time of year can leave you depleted and disconnected, during this retreat, you will access the inner resources you need to stay rooted in yourself throughout. Together, we will practice seasonal yin and flow yoga, insight meditation, journaling, and feminine spiritual practices. You’ll leave feeling fully at ease and at home in yourself, your vitality, and your wise-woman knowing.
WEST STOCKBRIDGE, MA
For women at all levels of yoga and meditation experience.
As a woman, you are innately attuned to nature’s rhythms, but your busy life can keep you disconnected from your deepest power—your inner wisdom. Join Sara Avant Stover to practice yoga, dance, meditation, journaling, and feminine spiritual practices. Through silence and the magical container of a women’s circle, uncover, trust, and heal your connection to your intuition, which Sara calls your SHE, by:
- Surrendering into winter, a time for gestating, becoming still, and learning to be comfortable with all that’s uncomfortable
- Clarifying your New Year’s dreams and extracting wisdom from the year you’ve just lived
- Fortifying your physical and emotional immunity to safeguard health and happiness in the year ahead.
Return home feeling replenished and reunited with your natural ease, vitality, and wise-woman knowing.