Let’s talk : Youtube channel, dance & changes in my life

I have no ulterior agenda for this post.

I just believe I need to write my thoughts down.

I’m experiencing changes in my inner spirit. I’m sure we are in an ever changing state called life, but I have noticed the changes becoming more stark in the last few years.

I don’t know if age does that to you, or just knowledge.

You may or may not agree with certain thoughts, but this is a candid blog post where I share my personal opinion.

I made two big changes a few years ago.

I started reading and started travelling.

A lot.

Two best changes in my life.

A few years ago I started reading a lot of books. I was never a regular reader before, forget a voracious one. This is an interest that developed over the last few years somehow.

I think reading is a double edged sword. It makes you wiser, smarter, develop more insights about the word, give you an opportunity to dive into the world of knowledge that this universe carries. The more you read, the more you realise how less you know.

But that also makes you question the things you had been doing so far, and wonder if half of them feel silly now in hindsight. Or if you feel like you are growing out of it.

Same goes with travel. I am just blessed with getting opportunities to get out and travel. All the situations conspired for me to travel so much and I’m so grateful I got an opportunity to savour each of those travel escapades.

I got opportunities to travel abroad, to some stunning places in the world along with solo trips to unbelievable places in India.

Travel taught me how beautiful this world is, and how VAST this world is.

But it also taught me that humans are similar. They have the same heart that pumps the same kind of blood, we all have the same emotions.

Anyway, for those following my journey so far, I became a professional dancer a few years ago and started a Youtube channel.

I used to make a lot of Bollywood videos at that time. And I actually enjoyed Bollywood music and dancing to it when I was 23.

I realise I don’t enjoy the latest Bollywood music much anymore. I don’t know why that is, but I’m not able to feel fascinated by Bollywood music like I did when I was 23. I believe it has a lot to do with having exposed myself to art from across the world, right from the beautiful performances in Paris to the Edinburgh Fringe festival. I felt like I belonged there. And it felt like I had so much to learn.

A big part of my soul just felt like it hydrated itself after feeling thirsty for the longest time.

Its funny but I remember every moment of those performances, those holidays so vividly. My soul just spoke to me and said “I feel like I’m at home finally”.

I find myself not being able to teach dance on the music that I have stopped enjoying. The whole process is just difficult and cumbersome to my spirit. I love folk music, independent artists across India and the world. I love all of those, but I find myself fighting the process of trying to choreograph on a mainstream latest Bollywood music. (I still enjoy songs from before, but have not found the inspiration recently)

I believe that people want art that is created out of the need for creation. And that there is a niche audience for all kinds of art in this country.

I also know that popularity in this country wants more Bollywood dance covers. More dance covers on the latest songs within a week of the song release and ace the Youtube numbers game.

I’m sure you know how it all works. And there is nothing wrong with it, nor do I judge anyone gaming the system (in fact I applaud them, if they have the drive and motivation to push themselves to keep making dance videos after dance videos and still keep the motivation whether they enjoy the music or not.

I have personally started finding it really cumbersome to play the social media race game, I believe art is to be created out of real creativity in the mind, but when there is the pressure for it to become a mass production to please audience, some folks can do that really well, but some buckle under pressure and start stifling their creativity.

I’m the second kind.

I’m not saying I will never dance to Bollywood music, but I want to let it flow organically.

I enjoyed doing certain things creatively at 23, but to expect the same from myself when I turned 32 two weeks ago would just mean we are looking at stagnation. And stagnation has proven never to be good for anything.

Oh yes, on that note, I turned 32.

I can’t believe it too.

I am blessed with pretty good genes I’d think, and I follow a great diet and regular exercise plus I smile and laugh a lot, and I’m petite in my frame so I don’t really look my age.

But one thing I have learned with age and about India.

That age shaming in India is REAL.

I find it hilarious because I am considered young every time I get out of India, and 32 is considered still in your prime of your career, whereas in India 32 is considered ancient.

I find it hilarious because I wonder if this conditioning is what causes a lot of our late 20 somethings and early 30 somethings to stop enjoying life, stop dressing up and working out just BECAUSE they are OLD according to Indian standards.

Gujarat has been the best example for me. The number of times I’ve been asked whether I’m still pursuing my studies or got asked what college I am in right now, and the mistake I make of telling them my real age is the biggest sitcom like experience. Once they realise how old I am I am told things like how I should have been having a husband and a kid by now that also goes to school. I’m sure I’m going to ask someday whether the government scheme that is giving away rewards for “Who produces the child first gets the best prize?”. I believe motherhood is a personal journey. I could have been 18 and had a child, or I could be 37 and have a child. This bias of one is right and the other is wrong is beyond my comprehension.

There are obviously a lot of evolved souls around who understand that a life different from theirs is not necessarily a bad life.

This city might not have seen many 30 something year olds wandering about independently , so I don’t blame them as well.

At the end we can always lead by example, and show them there are different ways of leading the world.

On that note, I can see that it is raining outside and I’ll finish my warm cup of green tea.

Also, on a separate note, I have been consuming a plant rich diet in the last one week and my energy levels have spiked. What that taught me was whatever diet you follow (vegetarian, non vegetarian, vegan etc), if one can include a lot vegetables and lentils in their daily diet they can see muscle recovery and increased endurance. More about this in another separate post.

Love,

P

Purpose in life – Step 1 : Self Discovery

Have you ever felt “stuck” in life?

Ever felt like you look back into your past and wonder “But I think I knew what I was doing back then and I’ve suddenly forgotten what I am doing now”.

For the past many months I have been pondering upon this subject. I feel like I have reached a point where I have forgotten a little bit why I am doing what I am doing. It’s not like I don’t love the things when I do it, it’s just the feeling of “okay but what is the purpose of all this. Is this even making a difference after all?”.

Its ironic that I switched my career in my 20s, from finishing with an engineering degree to working in an analytics company for eight months before deciding to switch to dancing full time. If you asked me then whether I knew what I was upto, the truthful answer was, no. No, I did NOT have any idea of where I was going with this, but it just felt so right at that time I went ahead with it.

And there were indeed a few things I learnt about myself in the last eight years in this journey that I would call Self Discovery. (more about self discovery and identifying what my purpose in life is continued in part 2 of this blog later)

  1. Nothing gives me greater joy than being in a dance class. Of all the moments that I look back in the past, the ones that stand out as proud memories and almost achievements for me are the classes I attended and learned, and the classes I went to and taught. I have NEVER NOT enjoyed a class honestly. So that I know was an achievement as a part of my self discovery. This includes classes where I have come out exhausted, and sometimes not having given my best performance (and some really sub par performance practices too). I would procrastinate sometimes before going to a class or conducting one I’d admit, but the second I can push myself to attend one, I come out happy and satisfied. Always.
  2. I love health and wellness. Everything about it. Yoga, pilates, nutrition, food. I was 12 when I got my hands on the first book about “Foods for good health” that my mom had purchased from a second hand clearance book sale for herself. And thanks to her, I also got my hands on my first book of yoga by Dr. Phulgendra Sinha. There was a reason I gravitated to reading about health , fitness, wellness and nutrition. Kids pick their choice of reading, and non fiction attracted me more. And that stays even today. There was a point where I had started thinking if I try and stay healthy and look good only for Instagram or social media or because my job demands so. But then I realised that on a daily basis, I do all the things to strive to be healthy even if no one knows about it. Even if it is me on my yoga mat all alone, where no one in this world at that point would even know if I am actually working towards something or just sitting aimlessly waiting for something to happen. I work towards knowing how to be mentally, spiritually , physically healthy.
  3. Having an environment where I can nurture and be nurtured gives me great joy. Nothing more precious than coming back home to people you love, your pets, your kids. Especially if your personality is the nurturing kind. I believe I have a very strong nurturing aspect to my being. Be it cooking for someone, or playing with my pets or even rescuing dogs and cats on the road, or even putting makeup on my mom. For women (and men) that have this extremely strong nurturing aspect to them should always look for ways to create an environment that lets them do just that.
  4. Financial stability is important to me indeed, but not at the cost of doing something that is just not “me” . This career just like any career in the arts always comes with its “trends”. During some phases you get ten event calls each day and you reject eight of them and pick your two favourite, but some phases of time you sit back wondering with crippling self doubt if you are even good enough and where is it that you are going so wrong that you are not getting the events that you want or need. I’ve been on both sides of the extremes, phases where I’m close to burnt out with work and phases where I’m depleted of work, and what I’ve learnt is that its all temporary. Both success and failure. But since humans come with a negative bias mindset, we just focus on the negative. And what I’ve come to a realisation is that I might not actually be able to enjoy my art till I have a solid plan of my finances. And no, I still need not take a job I absolutely do not like to make that happen, and neither do you. I’m sure in this world of growing economy there is just enough and more places for each of us to make our mark and figure out finances. The secret to this is Multiple sources of income. So if you are into events, multiple sources can be teaching, online courses, maybe tapping into writing as a part of your subject, video content making and so on.
  5. I love movement. Skating, playing basketball, doing yoga, taking a walk, dancing, running, anything that makes my body move I feel like I’m being true to my real sense of self.

More about purpose in life and self discovery continued in the next blog post.

Love,

P

Looking Back at Old Blogs

‘ What do I want from life?’ is a question I have asked myself this question for a very long time now.

And to find out answers I went back to my old blog I maintained from 2008 – 2014. Just to see what it was that I seemed to want from life back then. Link below for those who want to dig into the younger me. (I’m amazed at all the vulnerability I let myself pour into blogs when I was younger, I’m so much more guarded about things I let out in public now)

http://priyakumarnitb.blogspot.com

How did I forget how amazing it was to maintain a regular blog and talk about your life and your priorities on a regular basis so that you could go back to it and look at how far you have come?

A few things on my ‘Wish list’ from all the way back to 2010 (9 years or more) and more were :

  1. To get the split (wrote this in 2012) – Never realised but I managed to get not just the right side split but also the left split pretty easily. Felt like time did half the work and I was just half as consistent (had I been totally disciplined I might have achieved that even before)
  2. Get a dance troupe and perform in National and International shows – I wrote this down in 2012, and it just so happened that I managed to get some fabulous dancers through my journey in Piah Dance Company and performed in a lot of shows across India. Also, working with Daksha Sheth Dance Company gave me some opportunities in the UK and France and I’m so grateful for the same. Also, how can I forget my stint at National TV with Zee Dance India Dance ? Never knew that could happen back in 2012. But it did. So thank you stars. Its been great so far. And I’m filled with gratitude.
  3. “Can I leave my job and become a danseuse” (September 2009) – I asked myself this over a blog in 2009 when I watched Rama Vaidyanathan’s performance. This was still while I was in college, and eventually I did work in a company for eight months and then did quit my job and become a danseuse. Funny how life seems to listen to what your mind wants, right.

And that brings me to 2019. What do I really want from life now, at this point? What are the things that make me happy and give me a strong sense of fulfilment?

First, good health. I might be a little more biased because I’ve had this annoying cough and mild fever that has been around for more than ten days and I’m beginning to get impatient and can’t wait for this to heal soon.

More about this very soon.

Note before I end this post – I bought a bottle of Dr. Braggs apple cider vinegar to heal my cold. I did not mind the taste at all, and I’m hoping to see a difference and see my cough heal soon.

Love,

P

‘You Can Be Anything You Want’

Have you ever felt a sense of self doubt creep in?

Self doubt is this very interesting phenomenon. The first mild burst of self doubt creeps in, that makes you question whether what you are doing is even right, and once you stop taking initiative, and stop working hard, you go even further away from the goal you wanted to accomplish in the first place. And then after a long time battling with self doubt and letting it win, you almost get convinced that the self doubt was right. Self doubt knew you would not achieve something in the first place.

Anyway, my day started okay-ish but I went into anxiety mode pretty soon after that. I blame Instagram for that. (On a separate note, I’m wondering if I even need Instagram or am I good with Facebook only along with Youtube, since all my business till now has come only from Facebook / Youtube, but another day for that discussion).

So I did everything to keep my anxiety at bay. Took a short nap where I questioned my anxiety, took a few deep breaths, you know the drill (if you have ever suffered from crippling anxiety at any point in your life).

And then I did my 25 minute HIIT workout, where I did skipping for almost half the time (my brother introduced me to skipping and I feel like I have got so much better in just three days now).

Took a shower, lathered my face with some rosehip oil (great oil), and had fish for dinner. All helped , but to a certain extent.

I was still left feeling anxious.

And then I took a decision. Best decision I took all day.

I messaged my friend Pradeep Kumar. (a separate post on just how grateful I always have been, my equation with this friend is such that I can call him or message him even at 2am and he will always tell me something wise, wise beyond his years, and I’ll get a fresh new perspective to things once again).

He talked me through my anxiety, and said one very important thing that I had forgotten.

And I’m going to tell you that, because I’m sure he wants as many people to know about this.

He said the following words

Whatever you are feeling, just understand that it is all valid, the fears, the doubts. You are not abnormal, and a lot of people feel this way.

But just remember this one line every time you doubt yourself.

YOU CAN BE ANYONE YOU WANT in this world. And in this country. You have all the qualities in you to make that happen.,

Pradeep Kumar

He reminded me that everyone has immense power within them. We have the power to get everything we want, and once we know what we want next we can work towards it.

Its bizarre, but my anxiety levels dipped to an almost zero state, and I decided to write this blog post to thank this human being, and to pass this same wisdom to others that he passed to me today.

Just saying thank you, Pradeep. You are a total macha.

September, 2013. The day you came for the Bandhani Photoshoot
Ripple Meeting, 2009 , MANIT Bhopal

Focus On You

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I was reading this interesting book about relationships the other day. Relationships with ourselves, relationships with people around us, relationships with our parents, relationships with our audience as an artist and most importantly, the relationship with ourselves.

Self esteem is defined as “the confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect.”.

The funny thing about this word is that it stems from the sense of self. So technically, it is only our own responsibility to nurture our self esteem.

Yet, sometimes we forget that it is only our jobs to make ourselves feel worthy of everything we have in this life.

There is a reason why they call it “Self” esteem. Which I shall accept with the bitter pill, that it starts with you and ends with you.

I have been looking after myself immensely well in the last one week (or at least I’m trying to) because my self esteem took a major hit. Reasons are unimportant, but it is what it is.

It took me a week of struggling to get my routine in order, push myself to exercise daily, combat a high dose of fever and body ache for two days and feel absolutely miserable about myself, and then push myself to work towards my goals along with a LOT of reading, and that helped me really evaluate my thoughts. I almost took a trip to Jaisalmer thrice this week, booked a train, packed my bags, but did not finally go.

Okay, so here I was feeling low. Did I even want to feel low? Did I have the power to make myself feel whatever I want to feel? Or was I laying the power in life’s hands to make me feel the way I wished to feel?

Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you this.

There is nothing more empowering than taking those reigns back in your own hands, and letting YOU be the master of your self esteem, and not let life drift you away in any direction it wants you to.

So I started thinking about this, and that led me to think about what these beautiful things are that I wish to do in my life to grow as a person, grow as an artist and an entrepreneur and do all the things in this wonderful life that I can.

I made a small list of the things I want to do sooner than later, and how if I can focus all my attention to making these dreams come true, there would be no space for anxiety.

1. Start the Yoga Training Syllabus as suggested by ‘Light On Yoga’ by BKS Iyengar  –

This is a 300 week syllabus, which constitutes the next 6 years of my life. Which sounds FANTASTIC !!! I started this yesterday as my day 1, and even though I believe in my head that I actually can do yoga poses, I wanted to follow this structure as mentioned. And my god, it is NOT easy !!! How does a simple tree pose end up being not as easy was a reminder to me not to underestimate things that ‘seem’ easy. This is my first week and I’m totally looking forward to the progress. Gosh, and its amazing, the feeling of having accomplished every day , one at a time.

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2. Learn Acting 

I have been thinking about this forever, but I feel like now is the time I can actually do something about it. Whether it is workshops I can go to wherever I am, or online courses, along with self practice, I have always felt I can emote. It’s a dance thing I guess, even though they are different they sort of go hand in hand. I’m looking up acting workshops and theatre groups I can join and attend small introductory workshops to get my acting skills better.

3. Become a Public Speaker

Another one on my bucket list for the longest time, I have this urge inside where I want to practice and get better my public speaking skills. Again, something that can go hand in hand with the acting, dancing, creating events. ‘Public speaking is a waste of time and energy’ said no one ever. This means looking for toastmasters around, or even starting with creating more talk videos on my Youtube channel, because I’m sure I’ll get better with time (once you make 50-100 videos on ANYTHING, you just automatically get better, that is the simple nature of repetition)

4. Create an Online Curriculum for Bollywood / Indian Contemporary Dance 

Truth is, we do not have a curriculum right now. Nothing is structured at the moment in the Bollywood and Indian contemporary dance field since it is very fluid and ever changing, and also is essentially an influence of different other kinds of dance forms. But then what if someone who does not know Bollywood or Indian Contemporary or Folk dance wishes to dance? And wishes to learn this in a structured manner? Is it possible to create a rough structure around it to help all those around the world who probably wish to learn Indian contemporary /Bollywood Indian style in a slightly structured manner. This again would combine my stage camera skills (which would get better with the acting classes), public speaking (as I would have to break steps down in a tutorial) and my dance skill (that I already am good at). Plus, after seeing the structured syllabus in Yoga in book ‘Light on Yoga’ by B.K.S Iyengar , I am absolutely convinced that a structure could help a lot of people far and wide.

5. Accomplish daily goals and not let emotions get the best of you

Emotions happen because we are human. And its human nature to feel emotions. And more so if the emotions are tied to other human beings. Irrespective of how life treats you on that front, one cannot forget the sense of ‘self’ (this blog is a reminder to self of the same), and hence having daily goals to keep yourself physically fit, mentally relaxed and on top of your game. Let emotions not get the best of you, because the power to make yourself better lies only in your hands.

I have a video coming up today evening on my Youtube channel describing the top 5 things I have started doing in my daily life and how it has impacted me on a personal level and my well being.

I shall share the link of the same below.

I hope you have a great day and let this blog be a morning reminder to you.

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right” – Henry Ford.

Structure – Daily Dance Training At Home

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The last three days of mine have been spent in sincere daily training in dance. And I feel like my body is slowly getting to

This is the consolidated plan that I have followed from Day 1 to Day 6 of my daily dance training.

Motivation was an issue before every single session I must admit, but making lists of the training I needed to do every single day helped me get to work. I managed to train for roughly 3 hours of the day, which was spread over 4 hours as I would take a break to eat a snack and drink some green tea and get energised to resume training.

I have been using two of my favourite apps to get this right :

  1. Forest : This is a brilliant time keeping androiForest-App-Screenshots-1200x709.jpgd app, that prevents you from looking at your phone. The use of the app is very simple. You grow trees for every time duration you succeed in not exiting this app .Think of it like a social media stopper, where you put the timer, it grows its trees for any given amount of time you have given it, and then you actually go do the work while the tree grows. If you exit this app before the time interval you have assigned, the tree burns. I use it as a Pomodoro, which means I use it for every 25 minutes and then I take a break for about 5-10 minutes (Pomodoro suggests 5, but 5 has proven to be very less for me so I take 10)
  1.  Insight Timer (meditation app) : I have had a few people who have actually asked me if I have invested in this app because I keeppromoting it so much. And the truth is, I wish I had. This is by far the most beautiful meditation app I have seen. I have followed their guided meditation courses and their daily meditations which are categorised for work, relationships, sleep, anxiety, relaxation, spiritual, music, happiness etc. It is unbelievable this app and I have even earlier declared that this app changed my life and helped me calm down on an everyday basis. I installed this app in September 2016 and never looked back since then.


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In terms of my training, I have divided my daily dance training into the following categories.

1.Warm Up

I been mixing up initial warm ups with some basic stretching, a little bit of on the spot jogging and jumping jacks, some yoga flow which includes some Sun Salutations or Surya Namaskars , and going to some quick strength training sessions from this Youtube channel called Fitness Blender. There are three main workouts which are quick, intense and give you the necessary strength training you need before you start working on your dance technique.

These are

  1. The 10 minute ab workout by Kelly
  2. The 5 minute glutes and thigh workout
  3. A round of their chest workout (which is great for arms as well) (which take about 4 – 5 minutes for me)

(attaching one of their links, you can find their other links by clicking on this one and exploring their channel)

2. Dance Technique 

This is a combination of the dance techniques I need to work on for the particular week/ month. This week I have been working on getting the basics of my pirouettes, working on ankle strength and preventing sickling of the feet, getting my tendu, passe and releve  correctly, getting the art of leg holds and slowly going into a pirouette with a leg hold (which shall happen only in time) and then working on my elevations. Which means higher jumps, which can help me in creating more heights during my choreography. Which is the next thing I do. There are a few youtube channels online that give you some great dance insights, you can follow them to get an idea. But it always works if you can get a class or two of that actual class (like I’ve taken an intensive Ballet basics class, so that really helped because the teacher corrected certain basic leg movements and mistakes that I did). Ideally, going to every class to train is best, but training by yourself after getting a decent knowledge about the subject I would say is a very close second best. Sometimes as good, because it gives you the time and space to reflect upon how your movements can be made right.

3. Dance Choreography

For this week I have been focussing on practicing Bharatanatyam adavus that get the body to sweat enough and brushing up and practicing to finesse one of the thillanas (Poornachandrika Thillana in Adi Tala) taught by my teacher Smt. Minal Prabhu. Next week onwards, I shall add a thillana full run along with probably creating a choreography. Lets see.

4. Special Tricks For Performance Practice 

We all love these special moments during a dance piece where the dancer leaps up into the air and does something no one imagined that would be done in a piece. These are called tricks. Since I am an Indian contemporary dancer and choreographer, I use influences from various genres right from modern contemporary to ballet, Bhratanatyam to body percussion,martial arts to Indian folk like Garba, Bhangra, lavni, kalbeliya etc. My movements are generally very Indian inspired but I take a lot of influence to get the extensions of my body through modern contemporary and ballet.

Currently I am working on my leg holds and hip opening exercises to get a perfect middle split.

5. Cool Down

The best part of the day. My training is officially over. This week I have been listening to all the soundtracks of the movie Interstellar while I cool down. This is where I do some yoga stretches, open and relax my body and let it calm down for the day. I try and meditate for about 5 minutes at the end of the session, but skip it sometimes if I am too hungry and can’t wait to go binge on food.

I have managed to train at home for the last six days and have not given up yet. Which is a great sign.

Earlier I thought I’ll give myself a break day, maybe a Sunday or a weekday, but for now I am thinking I shall continue this till it becomes closer to a habit. And then we shall see how to structure a break day. Currently I am giving myself a break day to enjoy food and chocolates. I might relax that to being able to eat a square of chocolate at least every second day (because as someone has said, life is short, can’t not have chocolates on a regular basis).

More on my training and what I eat everyday in my next blog.

Until the next time,

Love,

P

Salsa Socials, Self Training Experience, Soulflower Essential Oils

Day 2 & Day 3 Of My Training

As you know from my posts before, I resumed my dance training at full force after I got back from my UK trip.

My training has been going on pretty well. Dancing, body conditioning and training.

They say day 2 is bad. I say day 3 is always the most difficult.

Training by yourself for six hours is quite a task, mainly when it comes to motivation and the grit to be able to push yourself every time the body feels the need to relax instead of going that extra step forward.

But training by oneself is equally rewarding if one is able to push the limits of initial lethargy, sore muscles from the previous day and just a general lack of motivation that one might have before one starts training.

The body increases a sense of self awareness and self correction when one is training on their own. Usually I’ve had my formal training with dance instructors and wonderful teachers, and because of that I ended up being not as driven to train on my own when I was not around them.

But since I am in another city now, a city where my teachers and peers from my city of Bangalore are not around, I have realised that I need to be my own intense teacher.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I never trained by myself. I’ve trained by myself a decent amount in the past, but I always felt like I never gave myself that extra push to learn things right like I would do during a class with peers and a teacher.

It’s always the small details that one slowly begins to realise while dance training by ourselves, since one has to choose to be their own teacher when training on their own.

For example, I am working towards not dipping my head (or eyes) too low during Bharatanatyam items (the key is to look not at your foot, but towards the floor three feet away from where you are standing). Or for the fact that I have a serious case of sickle feet every time I do any contemporary dance technique, and the sickle feet is the reason my pirouettes are just all over the place.

I’ve been blessed with having the most fantastic dance teachers to correct me and my mistakes. But I feel like when I get to be my own teacher, I end up correcting myself for things that no teacher would have noticed. Because they are just the most little things that almost go unnoticeable to anyone else’s eye.

I’ve been on with my “No junk” diet . Its been three days now since I ate any junk . Even the dark chocolate in my fridge is waiting to be eaten by me. I’ll reserve this luxury for Sundays. And tomorrow is a Sunday. So works perfectly for me.

Ahmedabad has a very good upcoming Salsa social scene happening every Friday at the JW Marriott Hotel, Ahmedabad. Led by Jayvir Mehta of Furor Ahmedabad, this Friday Salsa social scene is what I thoroughly enjoy. That was also the reason why I was not able to blog yesterday, I got back late and just decided to sleep.

Salsa socials was not really my thing till before I came to Ahmedabad. I don’t really even know why. I feel like I missed social dancing while I was in Bangalore somehow. But as they say, its all about the now.

Anyway, after my day 3 today I’ve felt insanely exhausted. I guess the body is getting used to training intensely each single day now.

Amidst all the exhaustion and grit of my training, I managed to give myself a reward break. I had ordered a couple of essential oils from Soulflower, and they arrived today.

Its the most beautiful eco-friendly packaging I have seen. I ordered the Rosemary lavender hair oil (which already feels brilliant, I just applied some), Rosehip oil, Grapeseed oil, castor oil, olive oil and some charcoal soap. They were kind enough to send me some samples of their Rosemary lavender shampoo bar along with the Sweet rose soap. I shall do an unboxing video or stories on my Instagram account (even if I have cheated and already starting using the Rosemary Lavender oil) and show you what is what, and what each oil is beneficial for.

Time for me to drink a nice hot cup of chamomile, read a little, fill my gratitude journal and hit the bed.

Until tomorrow.

Love,

P

No Junk Food Day & I Resumed My Dance Training

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I resumed my dance training today.

And I feel fantastic.

I trained for a total of five hours today. Out of which I must have taken about an hour or more just to sort out some of my old CDs that I needed to refer to for practice.

Shall I be completely honest with you?

I feel like over the past one year I always felt like something was needed to be done in terms of my dance and I was not doing it. I never figured out what it was.

And what it really was was to have a daily plan of what it is that I need to do in terms of my daily dance practice.

And when I say dance, I mean dance. I think usually I would have ended up doing more yoga or some form of cardio, which is great for my flexibility or even strength, but never laid as much emphasis on having a daily dance technique / choreography practice.

I don’t know about you, but the truth is sometimes people who dance for a living also slack off. And they slack off and get to work only when a show is close by or while rehearsing and practicing for the next performance.

But what about the time in between shows? What some might refer to as “down time”, I think is supposed to be training time, technique revising time and then getting your body back into form (and ideally better than the form that the body was left in around the previous show).

So what has been happening that revolves around my dance practice routine?

Since the time I moved from Bangalore to Gujarat, which was about a year ago, it was an obvious shift in adjusting to the new environment. Now what happened was that, my environment changed but most of my work is still in Bangalore at the moment. So that ended up involving a lot of travel back and forth. Which resulted in not eating right, not following a routine.

And to be honest, its not really the travel as much as losing motivation to just dance.

I believe now that it is totally normal to lose motivation sometimes.

Even for the things you love.

But remember it is always temporary. And it comes back sooner or later.

So I began my training today , focussing on getting my basic pirouette stance right.  Now I tend to have a sickled foot most times, and that needs work. Training my brain to not bend at the outer ankle. I accompanied that with some middle split  practice, some leg extension work, a decent amount Bharatanatyam adavus and practicing a Thillana that surprisingly I still remember to a large extent. Not bad for a training day resumed after a holiday.

Oh also, I managed not to eat any junk food for almost 24 hours now. Sounds like very little, but my fridge has a stock of a lot of chocolates and I am trying to reward myself with a small chocolate square only over the weekend as opposed to daily. Let’s see how that goes.

They say day 2 is always the hardest. I say day 3 is the worst. Because all your will power gets used in the first two days and the body looks for all the worst excuses to relax.

If the next few days go well and I manage to blog about it on a daily basis, I will put up the links I am using for help and will go a little more in detail about how I practice and what techniques I worked on on that particular day.

I’m off to my second cup of chamomile tea and some water and hope that I get some good sleep earlier than yesterday and slowly sort out my jet lag (I slept by 3:30am yesterday, better than the previous night where I slept at 6am because my mind was just confused about when to sleep and when to wake up).

Till the next time.

Life Updates!!!

updateS

I hope everyone reading this is doing fantastically well.

It feels like ages since I just sat on my desk and typed. Typed the same way I would chat with a friend or a close one.

So I decided that before I go to sleep today I will blog. Blog about all the things that come into my mind right now. In no particular order.

Just an update to the world about where I am, what I have been upto and what is going on in my life right now.

I just returned from this absolutely spectacular trip to Edinburgh, United Kingdom yesterday morning. I spent about twenty two days meeting lots of people from the arts industry, attending some beautiful performances at the Edinburgh International Festival 2018. Right from productions like Love Cycle : OCD Love and OCD Chapter 2 by the L-E-V Dance Company, from one of the most genius cross collaborative visual dance art productions called ‘Cold Blood’ by the Kiss and Cry Collective (Michelle Anna De Mey and Jaco Van Dormael) where I just could not stop crying with joy, to Akram Khan’s XENOS that moved us so much that we came back home, still reeling from the emotions the performance gave us.

I hope to write a separate blog post about the Edinburgh Fringe Festival because I feel like the trip deserves a separate blog post of its own so that I could share pictures and share all my experiences in detail.

I got back yesterday and did my sleep thing. You know, the thing where I don’t sleep enough before a flight, and then once I take the flight and return home, I feel just so jet lagged that the body is absolutely confused not just from the actual “jet lag” but from the fact that surviving on three hours of sleep and then bits and pieces of sleep during an aircraft leaves you not being able to comprehend what is day and what is night. So you sleep. Sleep till you are bored of sleeping. And then you wake up and feel hungry.

And after this whole 24 hour cycle of the sleep-hunger-sleep-thirst-sleep, I feel absolutely rejuvenated ready-to-conquer-the-world starting today.

Someone correctly pointed out to me today that whenever I focus on my work, I tend to focus more on being fit rather than work on my technique on a daily basis. And you know what, he is absolutely right. To be fair to me, I think I worked on techniques on a daily basis before I moved, but I feel like the last few months have not been concentrated on techniques as much as I would want to.

But you know what they say, sometimes you need some very wise person to tell you the thing that you need to tell yourself.

And so I have decided to sincerely start working on my dance techniques on a daily basis. And write about it.

Because I know that I would genuinely love to document all those techniques and lessons I can work on, especially after hitting a temporary pause mode on my technique work.

Apart from this, I am meditating a lot compared to the last time I blogged. So maybe my brain cells have actually changed and you might just be reading the blog of a completely different person now.

Just kidding.

But I must admit, discovering meditation has been one of my biggest life achievements yet. Mastering the art of meditation is something I am far from achieving yet, but I have thoroughly realised what a difference it makes pre and post meditation.

This is it for now. Its 12:23am here in Ahmedabad at my parents’ house where I am staying at the moment and I think I should go get some sleep. So that I am ready to start working on my dance techniques starting tomorrow morning.

But first, some Chamomile tea (which helps you sleep by the way, so the insomniacs that are reading this right now, I highly recommend buying a packet and seeing how it makes you sleep like a baby)

And some meditation.

Till the next time,

Love

P

P.S – I am sharing a link of this fantastic dance video I did for Indian Independence day in the middle of the forests just outside of Edinburgh and I survived the cold despite dancing bare feet. Music by the amazingly talented Simon Thacker, who was kind enough to prepare this music at such a short time so that the video could be up on time.

If You Ever Get Anxious, Read This

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 3.47.20 pmThe other day I was sitting with my diary, or a journal as I’d like to call it.

That journal is my daily gratitude journal / daily diary entry / the outlet to express myself about things that I might not be able to talk to anyone else about.

I decided that I would introspect more about who I really am as a person and what is important to me. And what does a successful, fulfilled life mean mean for me.

I thought I’ll get answers straight away, I must admit. I always believed I had enough self awareness to be able to discover who I was almost immediately.

Looks like I overestimated my skills. Or maybe not.

For some reason I was able to list down a lot of little things in life that give me joy and happiness, but was not able to pin point that ONE thing that would make me feel like my life is fulfilled. Did that mean that maybe a real fulfilled life doesn’t really have this ONE magical thing one should do but rather a series of little joys that help sail and live through this journey called life?

I was speaking to someone over Facebook chat yesterday. I happened to comment on her post on the same day of her looking at my Youtube channel for dance video ideas. She told me something I did not think consciously, but that sentence resounded in my head and I decided to note that down before I forget it. She said “Spread the joy of being alive”.

You know something, what I’ve slowly learned about life is one needs to stop worrying about happiness that “one day” and focus about being happy NOW.

If you are happy naturally without any effort right now then you are sorted. But if you feel anxious and need to address your anxiety, or rather get rid of it, here are a few things you could do (that I personally do) :

  1. Meditate : I cannot stress the importance of meditating. I actively started meditating about one and a half years ago and I have never looked back since. I try and meditate at least once a day. And on the days I go without meditating, I can see the difference. In fact not just me, my friends and close ones can also see the difference. If you need to get some peace in life, irrespective of just how bad you think your life might be right now, meditation will help.  I use this guided meditation app called Insight Timer on android phones. It is a free app and is perfect for anyone who wants specific topics to meditate on. My account handle on the app is via my email priya.kumar.0707@gmail.com. You can add me there and we could meditate together 🙂
  2. Gratitude Journalling :  I have been really on and off about this for some reason. I resumed gratitude journalling about three days ago mainly because of the same anxiety attack I talked about. And its strange, but every time I end the journalling I am either almost in tears or just genuinely filled with gratitude towards the people that matter to me. Just get a pen and a diary, make it a point to write the top 3 or 5 things that you are grateful for today.
  3. Fake It Till You Make It : This is probably the BEST advice anyone could give anyone. I know this works. If you don’t feel confident but want to become one, just start acting as if you are the most confident human ever made. And the brain almost gets attuned to the fake confidence and mistakes it for real confidence. Mission accomplished !!! I am really trying to incorporate this into my daily life, and even if there would be times where one would falter and things would fail where you cant fake anymore, the key is to get back up and get going again till you genuinely start being that person.
  4. Talk To Someone About Your Problems & Ask Them For Help : Because sometimes our minds make a much bigger deal about a problem than it actually is. Talking to someone you trust always helps this situation and makes you feel better by the end of the day.
  5. Daily Affirmations : My best friend Aditi told me about this. I had a weird anxiety attack one day, so I pinged her asking advice about what I could do to make myself feel better. She said there are these daily affirmations that help conquer the biggest fears, so she asked me to write my affirmations down and the most important part…. Read It Out Loud !!! Initially I thought that might not really make a difference but the truth was that by the time I was reading the affirmations out loud, I was already feeling better about myself and about the reasons that caused me anxiety.
  6. Engage in Activity That You Always Wanted To Do : And do not delay it. I do that a lot. My creative urges would want to make the next vlog, or the next dance video or just the next candid talking video. But I would keep putting it off till I “feel better”. But the truth for all of us including me is that we WOULD feel better once we push ourselves to engage in the activity. So bring out those colours if you have always wanted to paint, get your camera out if you love photography, and note for me – Go make the next damn dance video because I’ve been wanting to for the longest time. Just Do It!!!

 

I also must admit, I absolutely hate it when I start something but don’t continue it after a while, so typing out this blog has been one of my things on my to do list. And guess what , I did follow my own advice of point (6) . To add to that, I shall go ahead and finish my choreography so that I could shoot the video tomorrow.

Till the next post,

P