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Articles by URBhana | URBhana
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Articles by URBhana

Click here to view an article on our aerial dance opportunities recently featured on knoxnews.com.

One for the Bucket List by Angela Howard

Appeared in the September 2009 issue of Natural Awakenings.

I’ll always remember my first time flying on the flying trapeze.

After some time on the ground, sharpening my reflexes and honing my skills, it was time to cinch my safety belt, which was clipped into lines held by my facilitator. By the time I reached the platform, my heart was pounding – partly from the 24-foot climb up the ladder, but mostly from the anticipation of where this journey would take me.

My facilitators were with me the whole way, confident from their years of experience; they knew exactly what I was going through at every moment. Mind you, they were all buff, good-looking guys with gentle voices, trained in facilitating me with my personal transformation. I could not think of better angels to assist me in what happens to everyone on this configuration of poles, cables and ropes. They claim it creates a “high vibrational cortex.”

So there I was, toes on the edge. The edge is a place I’ve become familiar with through my life as a pioneer. I was a resident staff and faculty member at the Omega Institute, the largest holistic institute in the nation, where I had taken the figurative leap with many “out there” modalities for personal growth.

Now, perched on the platform, about to leap again, I was on the other side of a life-changing divorce and ready to discover my new life, my new me. I had an infinite number of life choices and no real clue where I was going or what was next for me. I was literally on the platform of my life.

My facilitator told me everything I needed to do, and when I needed to do it. “Let the trapeze do the rest,” he said.

Hmm, this required trusting – something I did not understand, this “taking care of the rest” business…

“Ready…HEP!” By the time that unfamiliar thought began to register, he gave the cue for me to jump. I bent my wobbly knees, hopped up, grabbed the bar, and took off – trusting. Something very new and different for me.

You see, the trapeze is mostly physics and timing. Especially in the beginning, you really don’t have to exercise much, except you rmind and emotions. I did what he said, and it worked! I felt great!

After my effortless dismount off the bar, I was gently lowered to the net. My thrill was immense; my legs were noodles from adrenaline, and the reception I got on the ground was tremendous. I cried. The metaphors swarmed in my head: “Stepping off the platform,” “jumping into the void,” and “trusting the angels” who had my “safety lines.” The entire experience was pleasantly overwhelming.

Then there was the “catch,” when I made a mid-air transfer with a professional catcher on the other trapeze bar. I had to release the trapeze bar and trust the timing as an “angel” catches me in the “void” – one of my greatest challenges, on and off the trapeze.

“Ready…HEP!” I reached out into emptiness, and two big hands grabbed my wrists. “I gotcha,” my angel said. I flew with my angel, who safely released me into the net. Trusting a man to be there for me while assisting me into my new life was a huge mental shift.

I don’t expect everyone to take it as far as I did, but I can guarantee that anyone who has taken that leap will have a profound transformation of their own. How could anyone be the same after such an experience?

Afterwards, I fell in love with heights and flight and dancing in the air. For seven years, I have facilitated people’s introduction to the trapeze, mostly at the Omega Institute in New York. For the past four years, I have trained and performed aerial dance across the nation, and I have brought this art form to Knoxville, my hometown. I’ve performed on silks (hanging fabric), single-point trapeze and the Spanish web (suspended rope).

I hope to have my flying trapeze team coming through Knoxville sometime in the near future. If you are interested in having your own trapeze experience, please contact me. It is a great confidence-builder and personal-growth tool for any individual or group. Heck, it might even be one of those things on your bucket list!



Intimacy Begins at Home: Build You Own Foundation for a Great Relationship -by Angela Howard

Appeared in the February 2010 issue of Natural Awakenings.

What is intimacy? From my experience, it is full openness between two people a willingness to be vulnerable and honest with each other at all times.

Intimacy, sensuality and spirituality are interwoven. They form the foundation of relationship. This foundation must be established close to home – with your own mind, spirit and body – before it can be possible with one another. Being intimate and vulnerable with yourself prepares you for a healthy relationship with your partner.

How do you experience intimacy with yourself? Tell yourself everything, hiding nothing, and, with each truth, accept yourself as you are. Whatever you consider your “dark side,” look at it closely and accept it. There’s an old saying, “If you can’t love yourself, then you can’t love another.” Accept this love from yourself – then bask in it.

One powerful way to experience sensuality and intimacy with yourself is to stay connected to your body, your communications system. Don’t be distracted by external stimuli. Your connection to your body and its constant messages can keep you in touch with your spirit and help you live more authentically.

Take time each day to be still and connect to your spirit, as you would take time out each day to touch base with your partner. Listen intently and compassionately.

Create a more sensual lifestyle by feeding your body’s senses with healthy pleasures of sight, sound, smell, taste and feel. Take a walk and truly feel the sensations…the sight of a glistening sun, the sound of a rushing river, the smell of rich, wet earth, the taste of a freshly peeled orange, the feel of the breeze against your skin. Lose your head and enjoy.

Through movement, experience things as a child does, transferring through into pure physical expression. It is affirming to acknowledge a need or feeling, and then to let the body express it. Sensations are heightened, leaving a grateful body, mind and spirit. If you tend to live inside your won head, then moving freely, without judgment or shame, can enhance your body/spirit connection, building energy and creating individual, expressive dance. You can let go and experience ecstasy with your whole self.

Once you have connected with yourself, you can truly connect with your partner. You have created you own emotions, so you are responsible for them; don’t project them onto your partner. This creates an atmosphere of safety, where truths can be openly revealed and fears can be seen with compassion. You and your partner can experience acceptance, forgiveness and love for yourselves and each other.

I encourage you to move freely and dance intimately and sensually with yourself. Experience ecstasy and then, when it feels right to you, share yourself with another. Happy Valentine’s Day!