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Kundalini Dances: Interview with Swami Yasodananda

November 3, 2009 by Lightwaves

Yasodananda-2-This summer, Yasodhara Ashram added a new workshop to it’s summer offerings.  Developed by Swami Yasodananda, a long time devotee of Swami Radha’s and a student of classical East Indian dance, participants explored and reflected on the sacred dance of the Kundalini Mantras.  I met with Yasodananda on the deck of Mandala House at the Ashram one beautiful August morning to learn more about her process of developing this sacred dance and the workshop itself. (Note the slide show at the end of this article)

I asked Swami Yasodananda about the thread from the first inception of the dance for the Kundalini Mantras to the workshop held in August at the Ashram, where 17 participants learned and reflected on this sacred dance.

Swami Yasodananda: It was an amazing process for me! I was drawn to the mantras of the Chakras of the Kundalini System but I was trying to figure them out intellectually and wasn’t getting anywhere. I thought if I put them to dance I would be able to connect with them and get out of my rational mind. Classical Indian dance has been practiced for centuries in Temples and I have experienced its power through my own practice. So I thought well ‘why not try and see what happens.’

So I started with the first chakra in 2003 and for months I reflected on the mantra, trying out some movements, and then it came together. Over a period of five years the process got easier except when I came to the sixth Chakra. I thought, “I can’t do anything with the sixth, it’s too esoteric” (laughs). Swami Radha Krishnananda was teaching the dance in Spokane and the students asked me, “when are we going to learn the sixth chakra dance?”  So I decided to develop the dance for the Ajna Chakra and surprising to me it came together so fast!  Somehow I had this concept in my mind that the sixth chakra was just too difficult, but in fact it was very simple. In the workshop I had planned to do only two movements of it but then we just kept going and it came together easily.

The first, second, and third chakra dances are more complicated, like life when we’re going through our issues and struggles. And then it starts getting simpler- the fourth was easier, then the fifth, which we didn’t finish but the sixth chakra dance was right there for everyone.

For me this whole process of developing the dance and then seeing how it came together in the workshop is how life is so precious.  We are given energy to use and we have choice in how to use it and that is portrayed by the dance of Siva and Sakti and the dancers somehow understood that.  Some of the participants voiced an understanding of this energy and how powerful it is while also expressing the need  to balance the two forces.  Siva is not necessarily what he appears to be, and neither is Sakti. Even though Lasya is soft, there’s a tremendous strength and power behind that softness. Siva who dances the great Tandava is extremely powerful and then there’s this different kind of of energy, a spark, that comes from Sakti.  I feel it in my body when I dance, articulating it is a little more difficult. Something was coming through the dancers during the workshop, that combination of the Tandava and Lasya and it can be a personal life study on what that actually is.

What does the dance mean to you?

To me it’s about the preciousness of the energy I’ve received, the preciousness of life and the interplay of forces between Siva and Sakti.  I can choose how much I bring in of one and another and the dance helps me to balance that.  It’s not conscious, but when I do the dance as a practice I feel a change within, I’m more balanced or centered.  I could go into the dance feeling a little off and then by doing it several times I feel like I’m back to center.

As the course ends how does it feel looking back at the beginning of it and seeing where it’s come?

Well, I’m inspired!  I was feeling a little uncertain about taking this dance out to different places.  After being here it’s a real confirmation to me that the dance can be used as a tool for going into the Kundalini system and it can be a very effective reflecting tool.  Different people responded in different ways, some were commenting on the physical, others were going into the symbolic and it was working for them, so I feel great about it.

What’s the next step now with Kundalini Mantra Dance?

We’re going to be planning a whole outreach program to see where there are areas where I might be able to take this dance.  Some of the possibilities are the San Francisco Bay area in California, Utah and Calgary, AB.


  1. so beautiful. i wish I had been there.

    Comment by palma — November 5, 2009 @ 6:15 pm

  2. I was there and it was beautiful.
    Still is.

    Comment by susanna — September 14, 2010 @ 10:41 pm

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