Working with Zahava created a soft openness and delicious awareness of my inner strength, balance and beauty.- Isabella, Massage Therapist, Yoga Instructor, Health Coach
I can happily say working with Zahava was one of the most profound spiritual journeys I’ve had the good fortune of experiencing in my life.- Diana Ferrante, Women’s Empowerment Leader, Intuitive Advisor
Zahava's work has returned me to the natural state of being my most loving and most beloved self. - Emily Tepper, Receptivity Coach & Craniosacral Therapist
This was exactly what I needed to rebalance myself. I was able to release the week’s stress and gain confidence in being the clear minded and moving bodied me that I want to be. - An overworking teacher
Zahava gave me the nurturing excavation tools to my inner realms that have been yearning to moan, be touched, to be remembered, honored, revered, and celebrated.- Jennifer Maeve
This work not only supported me grounding in my own feminine experience, but it translated into my work as a coach--allowing a new depth of connection with my clients and their own sacred and sexual journeys.- Dana, Certified Life Coach
Thank you for holding and creating such beautiful space for my own feminine to unfold and reveal herself to me through my body.- Elizabeth Joy Mueller, Business Coach & Intuitive Guide

heart opening

Power & Surrender: More than “Getting Off”

I received the most exquisite gift this summer during my East Coast tour.  Joyce came to my workshop, Pelvis Basin of Power & Surrender, in Washington, DC.  The letter she wrote me after brought me to tears.  This, THIS, is my greatest hope for people to experience sexual energy for healing ourselves and our society.  Thank you Joyce for coming into my life, for journeying so deep, for writing these words, and for giving me permission to share them here.
Dear Zahava,
I never knew that this kind of work would be “for me.” I always thought it was kinda “out there” and untouchable.  But you got me right into the body, connected it with science, education, and paired it with feeling and things unseen.  I experienced a huge shift for myself not just in my pelvic sensation but a deeper connection to purpose beyond just me.  I had no idea how potent my passion and conviction for humanity is (that people feel safe to be in full self expression.) Honestly this workshop connected me to my calling. For years I have felt lost in the grind of “paying my dues” and “climbing the ladder” that I forgot who I am, what I love, what’s important to me.  In the workshop I reconnected with my original love, my clarity, my passion for service.
Usually I walk around the streets of DC with a kind of anger or “fed up” ness burning in me. I resent the people around me and how they take up the whole sidewalk, how people on bicycles do whatever the heck they want, how cars never yield. I hate the pace, I hate the rush, I hate I hate… that’s the cloud I usually have when walking around the city. Yesterday there was a shift.
I showed up to the Smith Center for the Healing Arts and was a bit nervous, but more curious than anything. I enjoyed every aspect of the workshop, from start to finish. I loved that we spent plenty of time doing introductions…name, how we heard about it, what we expect or how we’d know that we “got” what we needed by the end. I remember sharing that I originally registered because I felt disconnected from a part of myself. Last year I stepped into clothes free life, and with that clothes free yoga. A number of more tenured women in the clothes free yoga world have this whole power goddess thing about them, and I didn’t get it, I was like, “what is a goddess? all this talk about beauty and blah blah blah” I didn’t feel like I was like them, didn’t feel feminine, didn’t feel expressed in my full self. I love that you offered for consideration that sometimes people think about things in terms of femininity and how women “need” to get in touch with it, but that I might consider that maybe it’s OK to be masculine. I also appreciated your note that, in a bigger context, you named the workshop the way you did, [Pelvis Basin of Power & Surrender] because you didn’t want people to get hung up on masculine / feminine” and whatever stories they have around those concepts. That point freed me up to not “try” to get what I thought I should get out of the workshop, but to be open to whatever comes organically.
All of the exercises and conversations we did were a huge help to me, the dancing, hip opening, sound and breath work as well as the discussions on anatomy and how the body integrates and works.
I know people talk about the tailbone and sits bones in yoga, as they did in my teacher training this past year, but I’ve never actually taken my fingers, woven through my cheeks, and literally TOUCHED my tailbone with my own fingers! It took me a while to find it through all this ass!!! Your help was much appreciated, as I finally located it and was like Eureka!!!
The work we did at the end also made a huge difference for me. I remember that before demonstrating you set an intention, and I was like WUT?! Set an intention?!?! I’ve never set an intention before doing this. I’d just do it.
After taking in the demonstration, I felt really full, like there was something weighing on my heart. And so when it was our turn to work, I lied there on the floor, not really sure what to expect or what I’d feel. But I set my intention on the thing that is most important to me for humanity, that people feel safe and free to live in their true self expression.
I thought everything I would feel and experience would be strictly in the vaginal canal, but no. I rocked my pelvis about a bit, and then when you began to cue deep breathing into the belly and chest, and that’s when I started to unleash. I could feel a kind of energy rising up through my belly, and it almost felt like my ribs were gonna crack open as I breathed deep and expansive in my chest. My eyes began to flutter uncontrollably, which they’ve never done before in my life, and as they fluttered I saw flashes of 2 specific people in my life who had shared some very deep, very personal, very secret things about themselves with me. And as their images flashed so potently in me, I breathed deep into my chest, my heart exploded, and my body went into full outburst and I saw like a kind of gold river break out of my head through the crown and gush all over these 2 people, like a blessing on them to just be who they are, freely. I cried and screamed in release. I felt like I was quaking the walls with uninhibited blessing for those 2 people.
It was so amazing to me that this kind of energy could be used for more than just “getting off.” I’ve never set an intention like that before, and I thought it would be weird. But actually, I felt this amazing experience where I reconnected with my deepest passion in terms of what I want for humanity, that this experience and expression could be more than just about me. That’s what floored me, that it could be more than just “Joyce getting off” Rather a complete commitment and intention for something great and to channel my energy so powerfully and shoot it out of my crown in a golden river flooding those people with a kind of love. I felt like I reconnected to my ministry, to my passion, to compassion, to something greater than myself, to causes.
Afterwards, I found myself walking the streets of DC without resentment. Rather, I saw the people around me with new eyes, with compassion, with love, with good will and wanting only the best for them. I’ve never walked the streets here this way. It was amazing.
This morning I spent some time just kind of being with myself. I thought about what we did yesterday, and actually set the intention to be with myself, to feel my body, to be who I am. I never do that. It caused a significant arousal for me, which I didn’t know was possible, and then I had a kind of creative spark that has fueled my productivity at the office today.
It seems like I’m starting to feel more like a myself that was buried deep down. I feel more connected to something powerful inside and more fully expressed as Joyce.
So thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, for providing that space and opportunity. I hope you have a great evening and safe travels to wherever the road goes next!
Tons of hugs,
Joyce

Emotional Intimacy ~ Sacred Discomfort

I’ve spent a lot of my life believing that people are busy and I’m lucky if I get their attention because other things are more important than me.  I grew up as an only child, latchkey kid (came home to an empty house and my parents got in late.)  Now I live in New York City, where the rhythm of life often means I don’t see dear friends for months.  So this story started to really feel true.  I believed it’s safer not to need other people emotionally because they aren’t emotionally available.

The incredible men in my life have started to crack open this story.  They have been vulnerable enough to need me.  They have pointed out when my “independent feminist persona” comes out as a guard to shield my heart and push them away.  And it often gets expressed as “I’m busy.”

Cracking this open has been uncomfortable.  It feels awkward when I don’t know how to receive what I’ve asked for.  Why do my eyes dart to the ground, my breath stop?  Why do I back off my requests or suddenly leave the room because staying feels too vulnerable?  And when I come back in the room, and he’s there looking into my eyes… how do I release my pride… because being right is so much less fun than being loved.  I wish I could write the answer.  All I know is that when I breathe and I remember he loves me, the discomfort feels less relevant.

The things I remember are not necessarily the orgasms.  They are the ways my beloved sees me.  He sees where I stop myself from receiving love and he gets angry at me.  It’s the most loving anger… because he’s actually on my side, he’s speaking for my heart.  He’s trying to get my fear to back off so I can receive his love.  The things I remember are not necessarily the orgasms, no, I remember where he listens from when he asks me how I’m feeling before and after the orgasm.

Pelvis: Basin of Alchemy for Dancers

photo by Monique Torok

My pelvis has been on a journey.  I asked her to externally rotate and lift for the better part of 20 years while I was immersed in ballet.  I didn’t know the energetic repercussions of these actions.  But I did know that I cultivated way more sexual energy than my personality was comfortable expressing at the time.  I also started having tendonitis in my feet.

Now I have no injuries, which is rare for someone who’s been dancing 30 years.  I now understand the connection of the feet and the pelvis.  I also have learned that the pelvis is a tremendous gateway to intuition and heart opening, not to mention the next generation.  I’ve worked with many sexual abuse survivors, pregnant women, midwives, sexuality educators, and I have witnessed the ability of the pelvis to alchemize wounds into ecstasy, pain into forgiveness, tension into trust.

This weekend I’m so excited to bring this work to the Theatrical Bellydance Conference!  We will be looking at the physical and energetic anatomy of the pelvis.  I am starting to call this the “psychic hokey pokey.”  Energy follows our intention!

I love sharing how the intricate muscles of the pelvis support our vital organs and weave with the same complexity as our facial muscles.  I’ve heard too often that “kegels” are about stopping the flow of urine.  But that would be akin to saying that facial expressions are like squeezing everything into a tight pucker and then releasing… and missing the nuances of happy, stunned, surprised…  We can move our tailbone, we can isolate the right and left halves of the pelvic diamond floor, we can lift and tilt our womb.  These deep gestures of the regenerative organs flood us with sensation, and sensation brings us into presence.

Our time together at the conference will be brief, as there are many incredible presenters sharing the day.  So I will be offering a longer workshop in the next coming weeks.  I’ve created this blog to gather your questions and comments so I can address them in the next workshop.

Love Making Dances Class

Last night we had our first Love Making Dances Class at Solstice Studio.

There is warmth in my body.  My muscles feel supple.  My feet are relaxed and held by the tremendous Earth.  I feel a profound innocence in our circle as we stand here with closed eyes.  We’ve been dancing the past 50 minutes and here in the silence between songs we are seemingly still.  Our breath is deep and in harmony with the rhythms we have just been hearing.  The taste in my mouth has become sweet.  My mind is clear and gentle with me.  My intuition is tuned to high and the things in my life that I desire to serve are present and simple… touch and move people to experience love and awe.

The music starts, Miriam Makeba sings with us through the speakers.  We sway our hips side to side and drop our heels down into the Earth.  We are harvesting from the land.  We could be transported from the inncense and latern lights in this manhattan Solstice Studio to the sunny artichoke fields of California, or the sandy gardens in Dakar, Senegal where I danced years ago.  This is the universal body bowing to the Earth and harvesting that which nourishes us.  I am not really “teaching” these steps.  I am remembering from one culture to the next, and pointing out the instincts we embody.  We know ourselves more deeply when we dance our dances.  Planting, harvesting, coming of age, courting, mating, birting, healing, dying… Love, makes all these dances for us.

I open the circle to ask the dancers why they have come.  A man speaks about watching the children dance at a party.  As he speaks he starts dancing, his excitement cannot be hidden.   “I want to be free like the child,” he says.

I look around the circle.  We are big kids here tonight with such laughter in our eyes.

Everything seems possible in this vibrant space.  The fatigue has dissolved.  It feels like a first date with God/Goddess. I am giddy.  I can’t wait to be touched and yet I am, every part of my body is touched by Life.

Bliss in the Sun

If you would like to join us Mondays in March at Solstice Studio, 8:30 – 9:45 pm, you can sign up here!  Drop ins are welcome.