Conscious Subculture

Origins of Movement


By: Juan Pablo Escorcia

(This text is an abstract of the working material of the Embodying Archetypes course. For more info on the course please visit: www.7session.de)

Movement is life. Life is movement. Our universe is always in motion and us by being part of it: We are always moving. To move we need bodies and bodies need to move. Through movement we get to know ourselves, others and our world.


If you are interested in expanded states of consciousness the subject of embodiment is key to being able to face the challenges of exploring new territories. Embodiment means body awareness. I’m convinced that conscious, diverse, flexible, healthy lives come from a conscious practice of diverse, flexible and healthy connection with our body.

The thing is that our modern culture favors our mind and intellect over any other perception tool we have. For most of us, emotions and bodily sensations have little importance compared to our thoughts. We live in a disembodied culture and this has a profound impact on the way we treat ourselves, on the way we relate to each other and the awareness of the impact our actions have in our environment.

Owning our Body

Although disregarded, movement, feelings and sensations are the first language that we use to get in touch with the world and with ourselves. We own a body, right? What does it mean to own a body? What are we supposed to do or learn with a body? How are we supposed to take care of it? Imagine you buy a car, but you don´t know how to drive; exploiting it to its maximum capacities. Is buying equal to owning? Or are there also some skills involved in owning a body? It´s my opinion that there are. There are some basic skills we all need to develop to properly own our body and live a conscious, embodied life.

As we all know, our body has the ability to heal itself from physical traumas and create a new balance — then why would it not have the ability to heal existential and emotional traumas? This document assumes it does, and it suggests that what we need to do to reclaim this power is rediscovering how to access these auto-healing mechanisms by listening, being aware and acting smart.

Specialization vs. Generalization

In spite of the limited amount of movement most of us (modern humans) do with our body in our everyday lives, our bodies have an immense capacity to move, heal, adapt and be flexible and creative. Adaptability is one feature that distinguishes humans from every other species. This ability to adapt to different contexts has a lot to do not only with our cognitive capacities, but also with how our body has evolved and supported our evolution process. Adaptability has to do with being generalists. This means being able to face any type of challenge and find our way around it.

Movers by Design

Humans are designed to be movers, but somehow this natural feature has been left aside by our culture which has prioritized our mental dimension. We have specialized in rational activities. If we compare the amount of hours our children are trained sitting down in math and language with the time they spend learning how to use their bodies we can understand better this process of dis-embodiment. In spite of all this training time, there is a popular saying that we use only 10% of our mental capacity. It’s my belief that in order to exploit all our remaining potential we need to reclaim our bodies and our emotions. I believe that the 90% we are lacking reside in those two domains. This paper aims to give some keys to enhance our awareness and abilities to own our bodies.

We are always training our body. But for what? If you don´t move you are training it for immobility. If you seat in front of a laptop for eight hours straight, you are training your body for immobility. Some of the questions to look at are how aware are we of our movement patterns? How aware are we of the impact our movement patterns have in our lives? How to create or strengthen a movement centered life and a conscious movement culture?

Inner Movement

When talking about movement, this paper not only refers to physical movement. It talks also about inner movement. To achieve an integral perspective of ourselves we also need to look at feelings and bodily sensations. Our body is constantly being ignored although we find our greatest treasures in it. The instincts that preserve life, our rich emotional bodies and the vast ocean of our unconscious all reside in our body. The connections our body has to all these different levels of perception is intuitive, but it has been forgotten. I believe that what we need to do is reclaim our generalized perception of ourselves. To move means to heal. To consciously move that is. It’s about finding a balance between outside movement and inside awareness.

What is Movement?

When you feel the urge to move/do something, do you know where this urge is coming from? Are you aware of how this drive is translated into movements? What mechanisms need to be activated and where do these impulses come from?

Recently I attended a seminar that had to do with relationships, love and sexuality. As in most of the workshops I attend or offer, dance was a central part of the work. In one of the dance sessions I had a really intense experience. I realized how my heart was not only connected to the movement of my arm and hand, but how the movement of my body was being guided by my heart. This was not a thought, my mind was blank; it was an intense feeling. This realization was followed by a deep sense of awareness of my body and a feeling of gratitude for the possibility of movement. Afterwards, this kick started a reflection process about where movement is coming from and which impact its origin has in the experience and the outcome of the action.

Embodied but unaware

I realized that it doesn´t matter if we dance, do our asana practice, shake hands, brush our teeth, play sports, have sex, get out of bed, write, meditate or pee: We are embodied, but we are not always aware we are. Why is that?

When my brain started to dissect the experience and ask questions the first one that came into my mind was: what is movement? This is a huge question that can be answered from many different perspectives. There are biological, physiological and political movements. There are also military, musical and art movements. A movement can be a trend and it can be used to show progress or change in any situation. Movement is a concept that is used in many different ways and is not easy to define. I believe movement plays an important and versatile role in comprehending our reality. In our reality, if you think about it from a cosmic perspective, everything is in movement.


For the purpose of this paper I will focus on the movement of the body and how it is connected to the emotions and thoughts. In this context a useful definition for movement would be: a “change of place or posture” (http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Movement). This simple and deep definition is centered in our body and it involves action. Action can be seen as movement as well and also as the result of a movement or a series of movements. When talking about movement it is important to differentiate an action from a re-action. Although when we move, we move, there will be a difference in the outcomes when we consider the origin of each specific movement.

Let me give you a common example of reaction: I wake up and I feel a known sensation in a specific part of my body. While being still in-between worlds I react to this sensation and move my body commanding it to go to the bathroom and pee. I re-act to the bodily sensation, make a decision because of it and move my body towards the bathroom.

Now let’s differentiate it from an action with a different example. I’m arguing with my 8 year old son who hits me because of the anger he´s feeling. My first impulse (reaction) is to hit him back. But normally I manage to consciously stop this reaction. I breathe and realize the counterproductive effects of it. I then decide consciously to act. This can mean listen to him/ask him something else/share with him how I feel/hug him. Why do we react how we do? And why do different people react in different ways to the same experience?

Multilevel Awareness

“Acting and reacting” have to do with the ability to learn. When we are learning to do something we are usually fully present in the here and now. For example, when learning how to ride a bicycle we are present because we know that the minute we lose our presence we may fall. The interesting thing about our learning processes is that once our skills to ride improve, the actions and movements required to ride loose its quality of presence and move back into a different place of our consciousness. This multilevel quality of our consciousness is a really important feature that allows us to multitask.

Once we learn how to ride, we ca do it while chewing gum, talking, etc. This means that once a skill is learned it becomes transparent and moves into the back side of our consciousness. If this mechanism of transparency didn´t exist, we would need to focus all of our attention in the action of riding and the movements required to do it just as we did when we learned it for the first time. Once we learn an action becomes a habit. Once an action becomes a habit, our awareness of it decreases. Most of the time when we are reacting we are not fully conscious in the present moment. Instead we are letting old learned habits/patterns take control of ourselves and move us.


The reality is that most of us are usually reacting possessed by habits which work in a subconscious level, preventing us from being here now. This can easily turn into toxic patterns and/or addictions. We all know how strongly rooted our habits can be.

In almost everything we do, there is a mixture between reaction and acting, the only thing that differentiates them is how aware we are of our reactive habits and how aware we are of our power to step back and look at them –and then to consciously decide if and how we want to act.

Here is where owning our body, developing the skills to be embodied come in handy. Our body brings us into the present moment and if we are aware in it, we will be able to recognize the feelings, sensations, thoughts that are inhabiting us and then consciously decide to follow them or not. For that it is important to realize that movement can originate either in our minds, our heart (emotions) or our body.

The skills to acknowledge the origin, decide how to act and knowing how to use our body to grow and evolve are the main topics of the Embodying Archetypes course that I am teaching.

About the author:
Juan Pablo is a life coach, Biodanza teacher, real life yogi and entrepreneur. He is currently living in Berlin where he delivers trainings, workshops, and sessions related to movement and human consciousness. For more info on his work please visit: 7sessions.de

For more info about the Embodying Archetypes course:



[VIDEO] Pablo teaching Biodanza at Ecstatic Dance Berlin



The Power of the Circle

Bildschirmfoto 2015-07-05 um 15.35.19

By Juan Pablo Escorcia

To sit in circle, breathe together, become aware of our own place in the community and recognize the power that is present when we are conscious of our bond: This is one of the most powerful experiences we will ever have. This simple act makes us feel safe, connected and part of something bigger. It fosters the sense of belonging which is directly connected to the herd instinct.

This article is about nothing new, surprising, shocking or revolutionary. It’s my take on something so simple that we, or at least I, often overlook. It’s about being in circle.

“Being” in circle?
One of my oldest and dearest memories is sitting among my parents and their friends in a dark night under the stars while on holiday in Colombia. I don´t remember how old I was, where exactly we were or if my sisters were also there.  I have no clear image of the moment, but what I remember vividly is the feeling of protection and safety brought on by this simple act. I remember the way my body felt warm, happy and safe as I heard the laughter of the grown-ups while they enjoyed each other’s company.

Since the beginning humans have gathered in circle to feel complete, secure and connected. The circle is a powerful archetype/symbol that can create an experience of expanded consciousness. It emotionally translates into feelings of trust, tenderness, compassion and braveness. The circle has been an archetype/symbol of completion, the feminine and masculine energy coming together, the sun, the moon, totality, wholeness, original perfection, the Self, the infinite, eternity, and timelessness, among others.

By sitting in circle we can see and acknowledge every other person gracing the circle with their presence and open up to embrace a grander image of ourselves: Our figure is reflected in the others pupils. Our ancestors knew this and constantly practiced sitting and dancing in circles to connect, create and strengthen the sense of community (. Our children when growing up do it intuitively as well, even if they haven´t consciously learned it. But somehow as adults, the practice of sitting in circle and/or the awareness of its power gets lost in the everyday life.

For me there is a difference between sitting in circle and being in circle. The experience of having surrendered our ego to serve the community while at the same time expressing ourselves through it, has a powerful emotional and physiological meaning which strengthens the bonds we have to our peers. This experience is best achieved when being in full presence with one another. Being in circle doesn´t necessarily happen every time. It requires intention, presence and mindfulness to embody the power that being in circle represents.

Intention, Presence & Dance
Of course you already knew, or at least intuited the power of intention and presence to give meaning and deepness to any act we do. Intention is the purpose we give to our actions and depending on it the same action may feel and be totally different. Presence is being here and now.

A great example of the importance of intention and presence is to dance. When I dance I do it for different reasons:  to have fun, to learn a technique, to connect with people (and if there are women I like, this can be especially sweet), to feel free, to inspire my son to dance, to connect with my inner energy, to become one with god (or at least try), or sometimes just because my body needs to move. The same body acting (moving) in a similar way, with the same music and in the same place will have a different meaning/color and of course a different outcome, depending on my intention and presence.

Examples like this are everywhere: when having sex, sitting down to meditate, staring at somebody’s eyes, having a drink, meeting colleagues, etc. The experience and the outcomes will depend directly on the intention we set and on how present we are. Intention will give power to our vision and presence will support us to commit to make this vision come true. For me intention and presence go hand in hand with the transformative power of the ritual of being in circle.

When trying to be in circle, our ego sometimes gets in the way. I have nothing against ego, we need it to affirm ourselves, but sometimes it gets in the way of experiencing connection and surrendering to the community. Our ego doesn´t particularly like to surrender. This is especially true in corporate contexts where more often than not, competition, individuality and self-interests are presented and embodied as values. In my experience, sometimes the challenges that we face to create a shared, safe and trustful environment by agreeing on a common intention and staying present to follow through, are just too big.

How people and systems normally behave
I have coached many teams from a wide range of clients that range from large multinational corporations to academic institutions, NGO´s and public institutions. It doesn’t matter if you work for a family owned company in Kampala Uganda, a Finish NGO, a Houston-based oil company or IT start up in Delhi, every institution holds meetings.

I view corporations, institutions, and organizations as systems, which behave in a similar manner (or at least try) to living organisms. What I mean by that is that the parts that constitute the system need to be acknowledged, taken care of and seen in order to interact well with the rest of the system. The actions of the individual parts of the organism will impact not only the other constituent parts but also its surroundings. Corporations, for example, affect, positively or negatively, not only the people who work there but also the surrounding community. At the end, we live in a world of interactions, where individuals, and collectives affect each other constantly.

Communicating effectively
One of the key skills that teams ask for or need without knowing it to reach a new level of performance is to conduct effective meetings. This means communicating effectively about objectives, figures, numbers, tasks and responsibilities. It also means acknowledging the presence, energy, creativity and opinions of all present. It also means co-creating a shared vision (intention) of what they want to achieve and have the courage to set up agreements, and follow through with presence to achieve that vision.

To say this is relatively easy, but to actually embody it and make it part of the organizational culture is a big challenge. It means learning how to create a safe environment where people can communicate and share their opinions openly, without fear or anxiety. It means learning how to create a space where people feel part of something bigger instead of feeling separated, attacked and competing. Contrary to popular belief, many organizations have already acknowledged the importance of addressing the human aspect of teams to effectively achieve the expected outcomes, and have a positive impact in the well-being of collaborators.

But I still see teams and systems that act without acknowledging the human aspect of being together. They fail at recognizing the person that is behind the title and tasks they perform. The problem is that if organizations intend to achieve a concrete outcome without strengthening the bonds and nurturing the sense of community, the individual commitment of their employees won’t be as strong and will lack the necessary passion to pursue and achieve the desired goals.

I’m writing about organizations, because 2 of every 3 people work in such an environment. Humans have always felt the need to come together and most of us now do it to produce goods and services. The intention of building community is hardly there in our everyday life. Our post-modern societies don´t encourage that feeling of togetherness as much as individuality, competition and independence.  We are taught that relationships are there to provide services and that money is the mean to ensure everyone wins in the interactions. Somehow this method works to foster economic development and growth, but now we know that when we only relate to others in terms of an economic interchange, it has a devastating impact on human relationships and the environment.

Let the herd instinct be heard
The herd instinct, as any other, cannot be denied or suppressed; that´s why in every generation there have been people who recognize the power of the circle and have used it in a conscious way to foster community. But somehow I feel that today´s mainstream society is far away from embracing the power of human connection through being in circle.

I believe that the seed of consciousness is inside us and that trusting our instincts is the key to unlocking our hidden wisdom. The herd instinct is for me is one of the most important aspects of life. It’s the sacred impulse of coming, being and staying together. Community living is a trend nowadays in the circles I frequent. I know people who after thriving in some of the most exciting cities in the world have decided to move back to the countryside to live a simpler life among similar-minded people in communities. Other circles practice Poliamori as a mean to connect and expand love. They believe that love is an infinite energy that can be lived through many people. This is another way to practice sitting in circles.

The eternal circle 
Many people are now really interested in shamanism. One of the things people interested in Indigenous wisdom always do no matter which tribe you are with, is that they will always sit or dance in circles. The power of the ancient Indian wisdom resides on its simplicity. And circles are always present as a powerful symbol of togetherness.

As for my work, in Biodanza we always start and finish our dance sessions in circle. We do it as a metaphor of being together as co-creators of the eternal dance of community. I always work with the circle as a symbol of being together, complete and integrated.

In corporate workshops, AA meetings, group therapy, kindergartens, women and men groups and in many more contexts circles are everywhere, we just have to open our heart, set clear intentions and be present to connect.

What is our challenge?
If you have gotten this far into this article it’s because you recognize the power of being in circle. So let me ask you, how often are you in circle? With whom? And where can you bring it to foster a feeling of togetherness?

This is a call for mindfulness and action. What I’m about to suggest is so simple that you may think that it’s not worth trying, but I challenge you to do it at least for one month. Every time you sit in a circle together with people (to work, eat, drink, dance, etc), do it with the firm intention of using that time to connect and bond. Actively speak up and share your intention with the people you are sitting with and see what their reactions are. Invite them to be present, to share their intentions and create a common vision. I have done it with different crowds and I´ve been amazed with the impact a shared intention and active presence have on a circle and the lessons that each person takes with them.

Let us reclaim the herd instinct and use it to foster the new communities we as species need to assume our responsibility of guardians (not owners) of this planet and of every living being.

Further reading recommendation: circleway.org/circleway.html

What is your own experience with the circle? I would love to hear it in the comments below.

About the author:
Juan Pablo is a life coach, Biodanza teacher, real life yogi and entrepreneur. He is currently living in Berlin where he delivers trainings, workshops, and sessions related to human consciousness. For more info on his work please visit: 7sessions.de

Biodanza workshop with Pablo, Sep 24, 2015 at Ecstatic Dance Berlin, where we always have an opening and a closing circle.


VIDEO: Biodanza workshop with Pablo


Stop Trying! Now & No Self

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By Pascal de Lacaze-Duthiers

We hunt wordly pleasures, quest spiritual growth and go on with our lives, immersed in ideas about ourselves and the world. We try to make sense, remember, conclude, anticipate. But what is now? And who is perceiving that? And who perceives the answer to that? No self. Here. Right Now.

STOP! Ok, read this first paragraph and then stop. Stop looking at the screen and take a few deep breaths. Look around. Touch something. Feel the sensations. Let that become the center of your attention for a few moments.

Did you notice something? A sharpened perception? Or was it hard to focus your attention on the present moment? If you are like most modern humans, you were probably distracted by the monkey mind: A thought, a question, a memory, a belief, a judgement. Not to mention the cornucopia of distractions the modern world has in store for us.

The Monkey Mind
The restless monkey mind often hinders us from being present. No big deal. Life goes on, right? How does your life go on? If you consider yourself somewhat aware of how you lead your life, you probably try to attach meaning to what you do (I do that).

Well, let’s stop making sense for a while. Why? Because when we constantly try figuring things out, we not only leave the here and now. We leave our bodies, too. Meaning we dwell in a head space. Not feeling our temple of flesh and blood, breathing shallow, the mind wandering. When we keep running, can we be with what is? No. Can we witness the beauty on our way? No.

Stop and arrive
Paradox: We move so fast and never get anywhere. But when we stop, we can arrive. Where? Here. Maybe you read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle (or tried to read it and never made it all the way through, like me). He is stating an obvious truth and how detached we are from it: We can’t be anywhere else but in the present moment. Are you yawning? Well then STOP reading and do something more useful with your life than reading boring stuff on the internet!

Our fast paced, capitalist, technological modern civilisation, determined by it’s history and culture, is based on NOT living in the moment. And if the lazy slackers among the readers (I am one of you), now cheer „yeah, we should live in the moment! That’s what I always say!“ STOP! Stop using the concept „live now and don’t think of tomorrow!“ to justify that you’re not getting shit done (if you wanna write killer blog copy you gotta drop that „shit“ like it’s hot. Other four letter words do the trick as well).

Nonetheless: Mindful, nonjudgemental awareness of the present is good for your health. It reduces stress, boosts our immune functioning, reduces chronic pain, lowers blood pressure and even helps patients cope with cancer (source: psychologytoday.com/articles/200810/the-art-now-six-steps-living-in-the-moment).

There is no I
When trying to make sense of what’s going on in our lives and in the world it doesn’t help us much either, that we cling to the idea of being someone. Isn’t the notion that we are a person just a cultural idea? “Could you as an entity actually be a fiction?” asks life coach Leo Gura in this video (watch 3 min, starting 39:11).

Believing we are a someone results in being overly attached (I am). Attached to our egoic ideas about our selves, others, the world. Attached to belongings, status, looks, talents: „I am, I can, I have“.

„I don’t give a shit!“
We are attached to images others project on us and what they think about us. Sometimes we try to wipe that off by pumping air into our lungs, making a loud and clear claim: „I don’t GIVE a shit!“ (that exclamation gets a nice aggressive egdge if you strongly pronounce „give“).

Nice try. I believe: The louder we say this, the more it shows our attachement and the need to deny it. And why DO we give a shit about what others think? Because we judge ourselves – and WE ourselves judge others (I do that). We’re used to judgement and judging. Hilariously helpless we claim: „I don’t judge“. Why do we need to say it, if we don’t do it? We fucking do it! (Ok, here it’s actually not exactly four letters, but it’s still a four letter word. You get the point.)

The pain of being seperate
We think we’re separate, which causes lack of compassion (and lack of compassion causes more separation). That’s why we judge and fight each other – and therefore can’t be close. Theoretically we know: We would be more compassionate, if we felt the connection to others. Compassion causes less pain. It actually heals the pain. “When people are mindful, they’re more likely to experience themselves as part of humanity, as part of a greater universe”, explains Michael Kernis, a psychologist at the University of Georgia in this article.

We see ourselves as separate from everything and everyone else (the duality of perceiver and perceived). But aren’t we in the end just part of external reality, part of all phenomena, like everything and everyone else? Because who is the I that believes it’s the one perceiving an external reality? Who’s perceiving the I or the idea of the I? And who’s perceiving the answer to that? In the end, there’s no one there, really.

Uncomfortable is good
If what you read, makes you feel uncomfortable, good (ME? Judge others? NO!). If you project some sort of anger on the author, like „What does he know?“ „Why is he telling me what to do?“ „Why is he saying ‚we’? He should speak for himself!“ Good. Why is that good? Because it means, something in you is resonating to what I say. And when something resonates with you, you are in a dialogue with it.

Sometimes ideas resonate with us, because we understand they have something important to tell us. But the repercussions of that idea for our lives would be just too radical if we wanted to follow it. So we reject it (I do that). It’s because we realize: A powerful idea can raise the stakes and it would be hard to live up to that and change our ways accordingly. We just have no means to reconsile some progressive ideas with the way we lead our lives.

We try to feel good
Deep down we know we live below our potential, so we need to find ways to feel good about ourselves. That’s why most of us rather have high opinions and good feelings about themselves (I prefer that; at least that what I show others). We don’t want to look where a core pain is tapped and the truth is unconvered. The truth and pain of being seperated from it all. So deeply human – and humanly deep. I have a lot of empathy for that. And nonetheless little understanding.

No need to try – title, duh! – to remember ourselves: We are one with all creation. Because our limited rational mind is of little use in trying (!) to grasp the source of existence (why does existence exist?).

If we make a habit. To inquire the moment. And whatever is perceiving it. We can reconnect. To the source.

Be mindful: Free the monkey!
Don’t get me wrong: We can’t just chill all the time, we need to think and plan, because we need to make a living. But don’t tell me, we never have time to stop everything for a moment. Then we can escape the idea of a time sliced into seconds, divided in past, present and future – constructing a cage for the mind to jump around in like a monkey on speed. Let’s cultivate some loving kindness and free that poor exhausted monkey.

Does anything here resonate with you?
Leave your comment below.


About the author:
Pascal de Lacaze-Duthiers is a musician, dj, blogger, yogi & co-organizer of Ecstatic Dance Berlin. He realized the importance of radical self inquiry for personal growth and spiritual development through his experiences with body psychotherapy and emotionally committed relationships (which are a “people-growing machine”, explains the renowned Dr. Schnarch in this video). Pascal’s favourite techniques to connect to the present moment: Drumming, dancing, yoga, breathing.

Our Workshop Addiction

By Juan Pablo Escorcia

“The very moment you dispel your finite consciousness and feel that you are the all, that you are the whole world, that you are an Infinity; when you realize that,  then you become whole and the bodily disease, trouble, anxiety is dispersed, dispelled, evaporated.” Swami Rama Tirtha  

My two worlds
I have clarity on one thing. I do what I do because I want to change the world, I want people to be empowered and free so they can make their own decisions and learn how to unleash all their potential. I’m tired of seeing myself, and all of us only as consumers/producers, and letting those two behavioral patterns become the purpose of our lives.

I move between two worlds that have different costumes and beliefs but that in my opinion complement each other. The “Conscious Community” that attends yoga, shamanism, dance, meditation and any other ceremonies of awareness and mindfulness. And the Corporate Community, that consist of people that work in organizations that attend technical trainings, teambuilding and leadership workshops among others.

Radically different
Although some people belong to both communities in general terms we are somehow divided in terms of awareness, mindfulness and behaviors. I’m not saying one is better than the other, I’m saying that the awareness and behaviors of each community are radically different from one another.

Every time I attend or teach a dance, yoga or meditation workshop, a shamanic ceremony or a coaching program, I´m amazed by the levels of connection and awareness people there achieve.

It doesn’t matter if the retreat is held in Europe, America, Africa or Asia, every time I see the way the community feeling is nurtured and cared for I renew my faith in humanity´s present and future. But it’s my observation that once the music is over, the connections are lost and everybody starts behaving the same way as always.

Why do we “fall back”?
As a business consultant having worked with hundreds of different organizations and teams I recognize the same pattern of good will to come together, change, improve and create a new level of awareness in organizational groups. The great statements and agreements that are reached during the workshops can be inspiring but sadly, according to my experience, most of them are disregarded once the teams go back to their offices.

I see this pattern in myself as well. After the retreat, workshop, seminar, certification, etc is over, I go back to my everyday life filled with joy and expansion, but sadly after a while I sometimes see myself falling back into old toxic patterns that I thought where left behind. I know that I’m not the only one who has had this “falling back” experience, that it’s probably normal due to the spiral nature of evolution. Sometimes we go back in order to move forward in a more conscious way.

Both the conscious community and the people who work in organizations seem to be addicted to the experience of the workshop itself. They seem to enjoy saying I went to this, I did that, I certified myself in…. but despite all of their work most of them fail to bring the desired changes into practice.  Why?

Practice, practice and more practice…
Let me venture two hypothesis to explain this phenomenon. The first and more reassuring one is that we humans need practice and recurrence to actually let our comprehension transform into new behaviors. This means for example that in a workshop I recognize (become aware of) an old pattern that affects my relationships with women. This awareness is great but it´s not enough to say that I have learned how to change and relate to women differently. It only means I’m aware of it. To change the behavior I would need to consciously start training myself to do things differently when I’m with women.

According to this explanation the only thing we need is time and recurrence (and maybe support form a teacher, coach, guru) to let the changes happen. I recently wrote an article on how to embody your practice that has tips on how to bring your awareness to the level of behaviors. Check it here: http://www.theyog.com/dance-2/how-to-embody-your-practice/

This is the way things are moving right now. And don´t get me wrong, I see them moving. More people are more aware of the need for change in more parts of the planet. But do you think that at this pace we will be able to make the necessary shift in consciousness before our planet and/or society collapses?

Are we all addicted?
The second explanation is a little bit more provocative. I believe that there is a great number of people that are addicted to the workshop experience (retreat, program, etc). I have learned how to recognize those professional participants, which despite what happens during the workshop experience always behave the same way afterwards.

Why? Because most of them feed themselves from the energy of love, respect and community feeling that is present during the work but have no clear intention of changing. Why should they? If they feel nurtured and happy after their attendance? This one is like any other addiction where we just act in spite of our own will just because we are used to those actions, because we feel good afterwards until the effect wears down and we need another dose of workshop.

Where are we failing?
In any case I believe there is a big problem that most of the workshops are not facing. I’m talking about the lack of coordinated action that is required for us to change the world.  What I mean is that although conscious retreats have multiplied in the recent years, politicians and the big corporation tycoons (and their teams) are still the same ones and they behave the same way, just looking out for themselves and their personal interests.

And although the number of conscious people attending different programs is increasing, the world is not getting significantly better because we as people lack the leverage to push changes or what’s worst, the interest to make the decision-makers behave in a different way. Most of us seem content about being able to do a head stand, meditate long hours or experience the power of a sacred plant.

Who´s responsibility is to do something?
These times are really exciting. You may agree with me when I say that we are in the threshold of a big change in consciousness and awareness. This article intends to be an eye opener and invite all of you to act, to bring your comprehensions into actions, to find the way to act in a coordinated way to push decision–makers to act differently.

It’s my belief that we as conscious people need to become more engaged in politics and economics, need to bring changes to our offices, need to talk with everybody about the need of change and the importance of personal responsibility.

This is not too big for you. Everybody can get engaged. Just think about it the next time you meet your neighbors or family, when you decide not to vote in the next election or not attend the neighborhood demonstration. We are all in this together, whether we like it or not.

I believe we are the generation called to transcend the egoistic/individualistic way of living. It is up to us to actually make it happen by bringing what we learn in workshops into “real life” and make it happen.

What is your own experience? I would love to hear it in the comments below.

About the author:
Juan Pablo is a life coach, Biodanza teacher, real life yogi and entrepreneur. He is currently living in Berlin where he delivers trainings, workshops, and sessions related to human consciousness. For more info on his work please visit: http://www.7sessions.de

Biodanza workshop with Juan Pablo on Sep 24, 2015 at Ecstatic Dance Berlin


VIDEO: Biodanza workshop with Juan Pablo


Looping Music – When the One comes around


Eli Salzman at work (photo: Ben Jammin)

How a Singer / Songwriter was changed by a pedal

By Eli Salzman

The beauty of live music—and especially improvised live music—is that we have to untie ourselves from the anchor of our preconceived ideas and dive naked into the stream of time, ignorant of where the water takes us.

When that downbeat comes around, we are either there or we are not. And if we’re there … well, what a place it can be. In the words of Doctor Seuss,
Oh the Places You’ll Go!

It was the seduction of such discovery that hooked me into playing music at an early age, starting with piano, adding guitar a little later, and always singing. The infectious moments that popped out when I played gave me a kick that grabbed mind and body like no other. I’ve been chasing that moment ever since. And after I was introduced to the strange and wonderful art of looping, my musical path was twisted around (and ’round and ’round) in a particularly special way.

Where the Circle Starts
I got my first looping pedal in 2002 and something flipped over inside of me. More than multi-track recording—which you had to stop and start often to layer the tracks, and more than playing with a band—which relied on others’ musical ideas, looping directly connected me to an uninterrupted and evolving creation.

You stomp a pedal to record a short musical phrase, you press the pedal again in rhythm with the phrase and BINGO it starts repeating seamlessly as if someone was playing it live over and over again. You press another pedal to layer another phrase on top of that, and so on and so on.

So I would untie from my usual ideas, stomp the looping pedal, jump into the stream of the music….and this time the stream went in a circle. If I left it there it would just be a broken record: funny at first, then eventually annoying and boring. Aha! So there was a demanding urgency here too. If I wanted this circling stream to spiral away from the skip in the record, I needed to add something new. And boom!….the possibilities exploded open.

Some of my original loops, done in mono-phone on my first little pedal. These were just root ideas that were further developed and added to later.


Loops!… I Did it Again
What started to happen was a change in my relationship to mistakes. Yes, when the downbeat came around, I was still forced to “be there”with something that helped rather than hurt the music. But the seamlessly repeating nature of the loop combined with the autonomy provided by the technology empowered me to trust the process more and get into a less cerebral and more active “zone.”I was less afraid of mistakes. So of course they happened less often, but when they did happen it was often an unexpected improvement. That seduction of discovery had once more hooked me!

Pandora’s Band in the Box
Although I had been a performing singer-songwriter  already for years with a couple albums released, my new musical autonomous zone of looping seemed allergic to the idea of creating a “product” for an audience. I looped primarily as a private creative outlet, sometimes using it as a tool for workshopping section of songs or vocal harmonies.

Years later my solo singer-songwriter thing had started to bore me. I had looked for collaborators to spice things up but nothing was strong enough to stick. I started delving into the much-improved world of making music and looping with computers, with the goal of having a very small and mobile—yet powerful—set-up. The possibilities had become immense.

With a laptop, a microphone, a small midi keyboard, and inexpensive software, I could be playing endless types of instruments and looping them on multiple tweak-able tracks along with vocals and virtual percussion drum kits of all styles, improvising grooves and songs and remixing them as I go. That spiraling stream of music now had many tributaries. Time to dive in again.

Some of my recent Laptop Loops. What a difference!


Outside the Box
It is such a blessing that looping has given me a unique, alternative doorway to the downbeat. I still love how it creates a very special environment for discovering unexpected ideas. And yes, especially with the powerful laptop ensemble at my fingertips it still provides a sweet shortcut around the stresses and annoyances of studio recording and collaboration.

But shortcuts can have their price. The time spent in my loop-cocoon is time away from the joys of collaboration. My resistance to the challenge of playing in bands had unexpectedly lead me to a great tool….but of course I don’t want to use that tool as a replacement or a crutch.

Since I was a kid my dream was always to find that band of musical soul-mates. And now the digital and economic climate has complicated the whole conversation about “putting a band together.”But in a world where self-sufficiency is king and it’s hard to tear someone away from their little iPhone-defined world for even a minute, I wonder if we really need another reason to not need each other.

Full Circle
As I look around at the massively diverse world of looping, I see a lot of amazing artists walking through the doorway of looping and pulling us into a musical experience none of us could have imagined. I also see a lot of people like myself who have found a wonderful creativity companion in looping, but have let that encourage a bit too much isolation and individualism.

I can only speak for myself and say that I am determined to somehow pull the bandwagon of collaboration back into the mix. But as that old childhood dream re-enters my timeline I don’t want to be a broken record. I need to add something new at the downbeat.

Diversity does it
So these days I’m doing a bit of everything. I still use looping for my own private bubble of creation. And I now perform with my looping set-up in a diversity of events and venues. And sometimes I run into the limitations of looping and just turn the pieces into a full studio recording project.

In revisiting my keyboard skills, I have ended up playing keys on other people’s live projects. I’m going to more jam sessions of different genres and collaborating with other composer/performers. I seem to be in a phase of trying many approaches (and also many genres) and pushing the edges of my comfort zone. Where this is all leading I am not sure. I guess I just need to untie from any concrete plans …

… and …


Do you dig live looping? Please leave a comment below!


Eli Salzman first dove naked into the rollicking stream of music in the late 70’s with an old stand-up piano and the Beatles Complete songbook. Since then he has been singing, songwriting, looping, recording and performing with many instruments. You can find him at soundcloud.com/elisalzman and elisalzman.bandcamp.com.


Enjoy a live looping & dj set by Eli Salzman on feb 26 at Ecstatic Dance Berlin.


Chanting – Hotline to the Heart

Bildschirmfoto 2015-02-14 um 04.19.40

Written by Alice Radha Hemmer (Yoga teacher and Singer)

Singing makes me feel so good: I still remember the moment after a yoga workshop, I felt great, then we all made our way back into everyday life. I asked how can I carry on what I feel now forever. The answer was music.

I am into music all my life but something about the spiritual music in the yoga world is different. There is something that makes you feel deeper and gives you a calm state of mind after: Chanting Kirtan.

Chanting the name of God with devotion is the easiest and fastest method of God realization. Kirtan opens your heart and connects you with the energy of love. In Kirtan we repeat the mantras in call and response so everybody has time to come into their own sound. Everybody can sing, everybody can join Kirtan. Singing has a soothing effect, it is a great way to calm the nerves and to positively transform emotions.

Through Kirtan a spiritual force is released from our core which purifies the mind and the heart. Kirtan can give us strength to dance with the difficulties of life. Every sanskrit word contains a powerful essence.

The Power of ancient Sounds
Music is Nada-Yoga, the yoga of sound. It lets the “nadis” (subtle energy channels) vibrate and cleanses them. Chanting a mantra releases it’s mental and spiritual energy. Sanskrit, the oldest human language, is called Devanagari, ”the language of the Gods”. It is formed from ancient sounds, the actual vibrations come from the object or action that will be used for the mantra.

Through repetition of a mantra we can gain control over the mind and feel the silence of meditation. Once the mantra has become easier, the repetition and increasing of the tempo leads to ecstasy. In this moment we can experience the oneness, being in ourself and one with all and everyone around. In the silence after, meditation can be experienced.

Chanting as an active Meditation
Singing mantras is a great way to meditate in our times. I believe that nowadays it is difficult to meditate in silence. To find peace of mind in singing and then to experience the silence consciously as well, is a very enjoyable experience. Chanting is a simple and effective way to achieve this feeling.

What are your own experiences with singing?
I’d love to hear it. Please leave a comment!


Want to sing Mantras in Berlin?
Enjoy a Kirtan at Ecstatic Dance Berlin, feb 15,  Sunday, 10 am


Want to sing Mantras in Malaga?
Come and  “Sing with Alice & Julio”.

Enjoy a video from one of our first get-togethers in Malaga.

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Gravity and Syncopation


Written by Pascal de Lacaze-Duthiers

Feeling a rhythm. You have done that before, right? If you read this, you are probably a person who frequently feels rhythms: You like to dance, you play an instrument, sing or maybe you just enjoy listening to music. I feel you might also like this little journey I would to take you on: To the land of Syncopation.

Imagine a bass drum. A nice house or techno bass drum hitting all four beats. You can hear it in your mind. Nod your head a bit, if you’re not doing it already.

Introducing the On-Beat
If we move to a bass drum beat like that our body often performs a slight up and down or back and forth rocking motion or a combination of those: after coming down on the bass drum, our muscles bring us back up – before we go down again on the next bass drum. Like a natural swinging motion: Moving up (between the drum beats) and down (on the drum beats). These beats that cause us to move downwards are called on-beats. Due to the heaviness of the drum sound and because of gravity pulling our bodies towards the earth on each beat, the on-beats feel naturally emphasized.

The Off-Beat: Launching ramp for your Dance
Now, you hear an off-beat in your mind: A tambourine sound (“ksh“) or a hi-hat  („ts“) – exactly in the middle between the bass drums. If you like to dance, you probably know that feeling when all over sudden the off-beat REALLY gets you bouncing. This is because we hear the off-beat sound exactly when our body is on the way up into the air.

The message of that sound: „Right now you are in an upward motion, away from the earth into the sky“. Your body instantly becomes conscious of this part of the movement and starts to anticipate it, using the off-beat as a launching ramp away from mother earth. The whole movement feels more balanced, since the upward motion now has an audible cue that reminds us: Up we go!

Feeling it
If you want to experience the off-beat in your body right now, do this: Slowly speak „1 2 3 4“. Nod your head on each number. Repeat, steadily keep on going.

Now speak the word „and“ between the numbers as you keep on counting: „1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and“. In relation to the nodding motion of your head, you say „and“ as your head moves back. That’s how the off-beat gives you awareness of your body moving away from gravity. The off-beat literally makes you high. A beautiful variation of this exercise: Do it while you walk. Count on every step and then start speaking „and“ in between steps. Once you do that you are on the highway to the land of syncopation.

If you have read this far, you might ask yourself why I’m telling you all this. In my personal experience, as a musician and also on the club dancefloor, I found that consciously feeling the off beat gives me more freedom and intesifies the whole experience. As a listener, dancer or player. It’s Just like becoming aware of your breath (also a rhythm!): Once you give it some focus, it gets deeper. „Where attention goes energy flows“ (James Redfield). Needless to say that in group of people the experience is even stronger.

It’s all in your mind
Depending on which culture we come from and what music we listened to, our ear is trained to hear certain rhythms in a certain way. But how we interpret rhythm is by no means is fixed. Especially if a sound is out of (known musical) context, like a random clicking sound for example from a metronome, you decide consciously if it’s on beat or off beat.

Listen to a short demonstration with metronome to know what I mean

So, of course, is it possible to screw your mind and hear a rhythm – consciously and unconsciously – totally different than it is intended. Percussionists will know what I mean. You could perceive a techno bass drum as the off-beat and an off-beat hi-hat sound as the on-beat.

The concept on-beat / off beat is very profound, I would even say it’s a law of nature. And speaking of nature we can use all kinds of analogies for the realm of rhythm: For example mother earth symbolizing the down beat and the moon the off beat.

We’ve only just begun
I would like to add that on our excursion to the Land of Syncopation we’ve just passed the border and had a small glimpse – there is a whole universe to explore: For example if we divide the tempo in half, what happens? Every second on-beat is now and off beat relation to the half time feel. The planetery analogy: The earth is not only the base for the moon, it itself revolves around the sun. Now that we’re getting all cosmic it’s probably time to reveil the truth: There is no Land of Syncopation. It’s a Galaxy. At least.

What do you think? What are your own experiences with gravity and groove? With beats in music and dance. Feel free to leave your comment below. Also, if you would like me to explore this subject more I’m happy to do a whole series on this (I have to warn you that it could get very nerdy!). 


Want to play with RHYTHM, MOVEMENT and VOICE?
On feb 12 Pascal will facilitate a Body Bhajan workshop at Ecstatic Dance Berlin.

With simple body percussion and chanting the group has fun grooving as one.



ANOTHER BODY BHAJAN VIDEO (German Kula Celebration 2011)

The Lower Self – A No To Life


Written by Sophie de Lacaze-Duthiers (Body Psychotherapist & Life Coach)

“I am better than you”
“My way is the only way”
“I will never trust”
“I have what you want but I will never give it to you”
“I will force you to give it to me”

Sometimes it can be very hard to admit that we do have this kind of negative thoughts and intentions – especially if we are yogis, spiritual seekers or consider ourselves conscious in one way or another.

Charged with Negativity
The above attitudes are expressions of the evil side of life force that is within all of us. Hidden in the darkest corner of our soul, the lower self possibly has more control over our life than we imagine. It is highly charged with energy containing all the negativity we have felt as a child when our basic needs weren’t met: To be loved unconditionally and nurtured on a physical, emotional and spiritual level.

If the little one does not get a deep satisfaction, it responds with anger and grief which is often not accepted by the caretakers. That’s how we learn to suppress our spontaneous feelings at a very early age. As a result, the lower self is still a part of our adult personality. It shows its face in subtle ways like arrogance, passive aggressive behavior or more overt through hatred, revenge, jealousy, envy or cruelty. We are very creative with this!

Defense against Pain
These negative reactions protect us from the immense pain that lies beneath the negativity resulting from our unresolved wounds. This defense mechanism aims to avoid painful feelings but at the same time blocks pleasure and joyfulness. The lower self grants us specialness and control over life at the cost of real intimacy: As long as we deny and thereby disown our negativity, we can’t access the true core that in its essence is love.

The notion that our true nature consists of pure love resonates with many spiritual people. Unfortunately, they tend to take a short-cut to oneness which doesn’t work, if they haven’t fully owned their negativity. Behind a superficial smile, an exaggerated gentle voice that purrs wise words, there might still linger some hidden shadow that needs to be integrated before we truly can embody love or oneness. Our spirituality remains shallow and ungrounded as long as we are separated from our negativity and the creative power that lies within.

Pleasure of Connection
If we want to shift those destructive patterns we must be willing to admit, feel and take the responsibility for the part in us which gains negative pleasure from sabotaging deep fulfillment. In this process we likely experience old suppressed emotions such as anger, fear and grief. When we are able to feel the pain of separation, we can eventually experience the pleasure of connection: To our core, others and life itself. If we have the desire to expand and live from our full potential, we need to look at our lower self ego and learn the lessons it is trying to teach us.

De-Armoring the Body with Core Energetics
A very powerful way to work with the lower self is to include the body. The “NO” to life expresses itself in contracted and “stuck” energy. This causes chronic tensions and energetic blocks in the system. Through awareness, breath, movement and authentic expression we open up these blocks. This allows our energy to flow freely being available for us to make lasting changes in both our inner world and our outer experience of life . This approach is practiced in Core Energetics – a combination of body psychotherapy and spiritual development: One of the methods I use in the healing work with my clients.

How does this resonate with you?
Please share your thoughts, feelings and experiences in a comment below.


Healing Sessions and Groups
Do you feel drawn to explore what keeps you from living a fulfilled life?
Sophie de Lacaze-Duthiers supports you with clarity and dedication on the path to your core.

For individual sessions contact Sophie via email: sophie@blisspractice.org

Next group session: Heilkreis – Dare To Be You – Berlin, starting June 2
Next weekend workshop: Verbunden und Frei Sein – Gottsdorf, June 4-7

Biodanza – A modern Ritual

Pablo performing the Biodanza "Tiger Dance"
Pablo performing the Biodanza “Tiger Dance”

Written by Juan Pablo Escorcia (Biodanza teacher and Coach)

While standing in front of the huge pyramid of Kukulkan in the Mayan city of Chichen itza in the south of Mexico, where the Mayan god descends from the top of the pyramid in form of light, I understood a little about how the Mayans lived their lives. They followed the organic rhythms of life, and celebrated every aspect of them by performing rituals that bonded them with nature and as a community.

As I was marveled by the magnificence of those ancient structures and the magical way that the sunlight creates beautiful figures, I got to think about the way I, or we all live our lives. What are the rhythms that we follow? How do we honor those rhythms? How do we celebrate our bond with nature?

Berlin’s Rhythm
Living in Berlin, a city with a frenetic pace and endless opportunities, these questions were not easy to answer. I’m a student of human behavior, and my studies are conducted in everyday situations. A vouyerist some may call me, since I love to observe the way people interact, the movements of their body, the gestures of their faces, the rhythm of breathing, the way people behave when they not aware that someone is looking.

After many years of observation, I realize that in Berlin most people live their lives following the rhythms of the BVG. I know I’m generalizing and being very simplistic, but most of us design our days and nights making sure that we catch the U-Bahn or the Tran or the bus; we run from one place to the other trying to get there early, to leave on time, planning ahead, working so much so we can then feel useful because we produced or consumed what was expected from us. What we expected from us.

If we think of these routines in terms of dance, we would see people who live their lives that way, always in a frenetic techno dance that never stops. Silence is something that is not only not appreciated, but that is scary because they have gotten used to the frenetic (techno) way of life. And don´t get me wrong, I have nothing against techno music, but as with anything else, if it’s not combined with something else, after a while it becomes boring and meaningless.

Lack of Rituals
One side effect of the Berliner (post-modern) frenetic way of life is also the lack of rituals. This is not a Berliner thing, is all over the world. Besides birthdays, marriage and baby showers, we don´t have any other rituals that bond us as a community. We have lost the connection with what’s sacred. I’m not talking about religion, I’m talking about spirituality in the broader sense of the word. Especially we lack rituals that connect us with nature.

Besides than “using” nature most of us don´t feel connected or part of a living planet. I believe that the emptiness most of us feel, that the sleeping problems that a lot of people have, have to do with the lack of sacredness in our life. So, how should we find space in our daily routines to connect with what’s sacred? Who to find sacredness in ourselves?

So far I haven´t described anything new to some of you who are also vouyerist, that are conscious of our connections with other human beings and with nature and that also feel the lack of sacredness in everyday life. Before I said that Berlin is a city with never-ending opportunities. And here are many that will re-connect you with yourself and nature. I’m specially drawn to those who use movement or dance to do the trick.

Dancing City
In my opinion, Berlin is a city that dances. I’m not talking about the huge club scene, I’m talking about techniques that use dance and conscious movement in a different way. So far I´ve danced freietanzrituale, contact/improv, 5 rhythms, authentic movement, vinyasa flow and some more that create joy, connection and pursue transformation. I really appreciate the freedom and connection that can be achieved through them.

But there has been one that has really fulfilled my needs of freedom, connection and sacredness; one that has taught me how to open my body and my soul to whatever life brings, that has taught me responsibility to create and design my life following my own internal rhythms and where I have learned how to listen to nature´s cycles and live my life in an organic way.

Biodanza – The Dance of Life
This system was created in South America, a subcontinent that is all about dancing, with the clear purpose to contribute to human evolution. It uses dances and bodily exercises to reconnect people with their own potentials, so they can find in themselves the possibility to live happy and meaningful lives. After 70 years of being created, Biodanza has extended itself and now there are schools and practitioners in more than 50 countries and of course there are several groups here in Berlin.

Biodanza moves away from fitness centered or eroticized dance techniques and proposes a way to deepen the search for authentic movement and coherence in life. From individual dances, to pair and group exercises, Biodanza is the ideal choice for people who enjoy free dancing, real connection, great music and the power of metaphors.

Through the constant practice, I´ve learned how to put my mind at ease, listen to my body, allow myself to be moved by my emotions and find the deep connections that live inside of me between instincts and spirituality. This multi-layer work will broaden your experience of being alive inside your body and open new possibilities of connection with yourself, with others and with every living being.

Rituals of Freedom
Biodanza is the dance of life and joy. Through conscious movement and profound moving metaphors, in each session we will discover what can be learned from Affectivity, Creativity, Vitality, Transcendence and Sexuality. Each session is a ritual of freedom and a complete transformational experience that nurtures the seed of authenticity and awakens the courage to live life to the fullest.

For me it has been the way to recognize what´s sacred inside of me and reconnect with the sacredness in life. I’m still running to catch the bus as most of you are, but I do it without losing perspective on what’s important, on who is important. Thanks to my regular Biodanza practice I have been able to open space in my everyday life to enjoy myself even when things don´t go according to plan. Now I flow being aware of the importance of being well rooted in order to be able to fly high.

Does anything here resonate with you? Do you have a movement practice that lifts you up? Please leave your comment below!


Want to try Biodanza?
On september 24, 2015 Pablo will lead a 1h Biodanza workshop at Ecstatic Dance Berlin.


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