Lectures & Workshops
Yoga, Religion/Spirituality, and Dance Lectures and Workshops
Dancing the Body Sacred explores in a workshop setting how sacred dance and ritual traditions throughout the world bring the body and mind into a harmonious connection with nature and the cosmos. By contextualizing the body as a sacred site, the center point or axis mundi of life’s journey, and through disciplined, intentional thought and action, dance and movement have the potential to unify mind, body, spirit, and emotions and gain access to the transcendent, revelatory experience at the heart of every great religious tradition. Through a series of structured improvisational exercises and basic movement principles and themes developed from a variety of cultural traditions, including Japanese Noh, Afro-Caribbean orixa/orisha dances, and East Indian dance images, participants will learn how to listen to the rhythms of the breath, heighten bodily awareness and concentration, create more inner and outer space and expansiveness, and facilitate the integration of mind, body, emotions, and spirit.
The lecture component traces the historical and cultural processes of fragmentation and marginalization of the body in society and advocates for a return to the primacy of bodily knowledge and the revelatory experience. Drawing on a broad, cross-cultural perspective developed from Seidel’s life-long study of the role of movement in world cultures, this lecture discusses how bodily knowledge, with its silent, rhythmic memories housed in invisible libraries of revelatory wisdom, should be honored equally alongside bound volumes of science, philosophy, art, and scripture. The lecture and workshop, accessible to both non-dancers and dancers, position movement as the natural expression of the body in motion and as the essence of life itself.
Yoga and the Art of Meditation: Theory and Practice
Seidel teaches yoga, both theory and practice, from the perspective of a “science of life,” and as a philosophy of essential spirituality to guide the practitioner towards a more humane and integrated life. Her asana yoga practicum classes are taught with an emphasis on integrating the qualities of the yamas or ethical principles and mindfulness as foundational to a balanced life and a successful practice. Participants discover a greater inner and outer expansiveness and gain self-empowerment by fusing the special qualities of the heart, mind, spirit, and will inherent in the nature of the posture; thus, form is imbued with feeling and presence. Seidel has a long history of association with the Sivananda Yoga lineage having studied with Swami Vishnudevananda and Swami Chidananda in the l970’s, with Dr. Shyam Kashap (Divine Life Society in Rishikesh and Wisdom Wave, Inc.) for 22 years, and more recently with Swami Brahmavidyananda in Miami. While Seidel pays great homage to her Sivananda mentors and many other yoga teachers from different schools, she does not subscribe to a codified “brand, “style” or “method,” but rather approaches each class as a lesson in practical wisdom and bodily listening, gleaned from her life-long study of movement, the wisdom of the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and the Yoga Sutras, and her spiritual mentors, especially the world wisdom of Dr. Shyam.
Workshops include single combined asana/lecture classes, week-long, or sixteen week lecture/practicum classes. Introductory classes focus on a more generalized approach to yoga philosophy, while classes for the advanced practitioner or graduate student, provide an in-depth study of the Yoga Sutras.
Lecture Topics include:
- Sacred Sound: Tuning the Cosmic Strings of the Subtle Dancing Body
- Purusha, the Divine Self: Evolution Back to Wholeness
- DNA: Divine Nature in Action
- Klesas (Afflictions): Misery or Mastery?
Native American Religion, Ritual, Spirituality, and Dance
Lecture topics include:
- K’iche Maya Spirituality, Dance and Ritual in Guatemala
- Dancing with Tzijolaj: Transcending Cultural Boundaries of the K’iché Maya World
- Understanding Native American Religion and Spirituality: A Fugue of Five Senses
- A Vision for Seven Generations: First People’s Paradigm for Environmental Sustainability
As part of her doctoral work at New York University, Seidel researched the sun dance of the Oglala Sioux and studied with renowned Native American anthropologist Alfonso Ortiz. She has spent many years engaging in international exchange projects with indigenous artists in Latin American including Maya folkloric dance and music group Grupo Cultural Uk Um in Chichicastenango, Guatemala; the Schuar in Ecuador and Quecha artists in Ecuador. She teaches Native American Religion in the Department of Religious Studies at FIU.
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