,,,left her body on 4 April 2021.
As a child Navanita discovered meditation in movement, running with the animals, sprinting on the athletic track, and dancing in the bush of her native Australia. As an adult she became a professional in physical education, creative dance, fitness instruction, and she was trained in the method of Talking to the Body/Mind, inner dialoguing, trauma work, and embryology.
Navanita was highly trained and very well educated in embodied dance and movement. She developed her own training which included the thorough study in Integrative Bodywork and Movement Therapy. That work draws on the principles of Body-Mind Centering© and offered a way to see the Body Map. All of her education and training however, never spoiled that inner child who was always ready to run with the animals and dance in the garden.
I think that one reason Navanita was able to heal herself, and be a tremendous healing force for others, is that she knew how to listen. She knew how to be in silence and tune in. That is one reason I loved to be with her; I always felt seen. It’s a basic part of healing. She once said, “The body has a wisdom connected with the soul. The knowing from within is something much bigger than the mind knowledge. To trust it and follow the body we learn and practice how to listen to it.” Navanita knew how to listen to herself and to others. She knew also how to channel energy into celebration.
Occasionally I helped Navanita with promotional material for her workshops and trainings. Two years ago, for one training she wanted to advertise, we arranged for a work meeting in her garden. She began the meeting by saying simply, “I’m going to dance this information.” She got up from her garden chair and started dancing and speaking and creating a whole performance art event. I got my phone out, turned the camera on and recorded it, and that became the source material for the advertisement of her training.
We were able to meet as like-mindeds for moments like that, partially because of my background in theater and performance; we had the common vocabulary and understanding of sourcing movement and expression in experiential truth. In that way, her promotion for her work came directly out of her danced truth. It was an absolutely brilliant, spontaneous performance art that was at the same time a brilliant promotion for her training.
The other thing I was able to share with her in the last year was my gluten-free buckwheat pancakes, which notwithstanding her rigorous diet, she was able to enjoy.
I don’t know anyone who was more authentic than Navanita.
She was authentic and spontaneous in her dance and that is simply a wonderful quality. And she had an innocence that had nothing to do with seeing the world through rose-tinted glasses.
Navanita was grounded in the clarity that comes from seeing and accepting what is in its totality. Some years ago I recorded a video interview with her where she spoke about the accident that happened in India many many years ago. It was a very severe accident where the bus she was riding in left the road and turned over several times tossing her body around like a ping-pong ball inside.
She said that she “woke up” some meters above the bus looking down at the wreckage and her own broken body. She described the space as being crystal clear and having nothing to do with physical or emotional pain. It was simply a clear seeing. When she finally entered her body again, she said, it was an introduction to a world of pain that she slowly, over the next months and years, worked with in her healing process.
In that healing process she used inner dialoguing, Talking to the Body and various other tuning-in methods of being with her own body and healing herself. It’s not so easy to heal one’s own broken back. Particularly not after hearing what all the doctors she saw told her – that she would probably never walk again. The word dance never even came up in the conversations, it would’ve been a cruel joke.
But dance was indeed what she forged out of her reality through her own totality, through an unwavering commitment to healing.
She approached this last round of pain and bodily affliction with the same unwavering commitment to finding where the thread of celebration lay, and how to hold it. Just a few weeks ago, friends met in her garden to sing to her on her 64th birthday. She was effervescent as usual. But the healing of the cancer was not meant to be.
Her leaving the body was a culmination of a life lived in celebration. And the expression of that celebration through dance.
Navanita was not physically dancing in the last moments of her life. But her spirit was. And I dare say still is. Tears are in my eyes as I write this, equal part sadness and joy.
I love you, Navanita.
This is how Bhadrena remembers Navanita from Pune 2:
Courageous soul, dedicated to her own healing after a horrendous accident, laying in bed for months, splayed wide open with irons and shackles (so to speak) and her spirit light, oriented to a positive outcome and accepting support in a gracious way.
I also remember celebrating her liberation from the irons, when she rented a huge boat in Goa, and we all went for a sail to let go of the irons and give them to the sea.
Strong memories of dancing together or holding her, when in despair. She was never one to hold back her laughter or her tears.
She was living her life fully and totally and this is touching me beyond her presence in the body.
Her work developed in a beautiful direction, and she integrated knowledge and experiences in her teachings that were profound.
We found similarities in dance, movement and the stillness of my work and touched each other’s lives through differences and similarities alike.
Forever grateful for her contributions and forever hearing her laughter.
A few snippets from the article, My body is my best friend, Punya wrote about a course she took with Navanita in 2010
Navanita is so much part of my ‘closer family’ that we did not even count the years we had not seen each other. We just went on from where we left. As part of my homework before meeting I had read up on her bio and found out that she had been a sprinting champion. Of course, as sannyasins we rarely talked about our lives before joining the ‘club’, but it made perfect sense because in my mind’s eye I had always seen her as a ‘jaguar’, as someone who enjoyed the movement of her body to the max, and could hardly sit still (or be serious for that matter!).
On the Ranch we worked together in the foundation crew, pouring concrete into six-foot deep steel-reinforced holes, clad in cute pink outfits and scarves, a fashion invented by ex-model Hari Chetana to make fun of the heavy duty jobs we girls were performing. Her laughter was and still is infectious, and could be recognised from afar.
Articles in Osho News on Navanita’s life
- Power of love and the inner Mystery School – Navanita speaks on her bus accident and how she got in touch with her inner healing power – by Bhagawati (2011)
- Meet the Queen of Listening to the Body – …and yes, she is a vegan too, writes Veet about Navanita. Published on Veet’s Cuisine (2016)
- My body is my best friend – A taste of Navanita’s teaching about learning to remember to listen to the body and loving it! Interview by Punya (2010)
Articles about Navanita’s work
- All sickness is homesickness – Navanita shares case studies of her cellular healing work (2011)
- Whispering Cells… Happy Cells – Navanita’s cellular approach to healing (2011)
- Dancing from the heart in my feet – Navanita is reaching new depths and new heights in her work with movement and healing and shares some of the processes (2013)
- Bliss in the body – Navanita explains how to explore one’s body to find bliss within (2013)
- Making friends with the body – Navanita explains how to connect with your body and to stay present with your own bodily sensations (2014)
A quote by Osho on Dance
This quote from a discourse by Osho from ‘Nirvana, The Last Nightmare’, Ch 4 was played at Navanita’s intimate farewell on 7 April 2021.
In the East we have never thought of god as a painter. We have thought of god as a dancer. The dance cannot be separated from the dancer; the painting can be separated. That’s why dance is alive and painting is dead. Howsoever beautiful a painting, it is dead. It is separate from the creator.
The moment it is separate it is dead. It may have lived a life in the mind of the painter, it may have been alive when it was not painted. The moment it is painted it is finished; it is already a dead product. But a dance…
In India we call god ’nataraj’ – the god of dancers. You must have seen Shiva dancing. That is the eastern concept about god – a non-dual concept. When the dancer stops, the dancing stops. You cannot separate the dancing from the dancer. And dancing comes to a culmination, to a crescendo, when the dancer is completely lost in it – when there is neither a dancer nor a dancing; both are one… one movement of sheer energy and delight.
That’s why nothing can be compared with dancing – poetry, painting, sculpture; nothing comes close to it. Dancing remains the supreme art. And that is the first art that was born and that will remain the last art also, because dancing has some quality in it of life itself.
God is a dancer. He is not a creator in the sense of a painter; he is a creator in the sense of a dancer.
Then let me say it in another way. God is not a creator but creativity… a dynamic energy. The moment you say creator, he is dead. The very word ’creator’ has a full-stop in it. Creativity with an open end, tremendously moving and moving and reaching to higher and higher peaks…
The animals are a dance of god. The trees are also a dance of god. Humanity is also a dance of god, reaching higher and higher. God is moving faster and faster – more mad, more fast, getting dissolved into his dance.
A buddha or a jesus is the ultimate of his dance… where the dancer is so completely drunk and mad that he has become the dance.
That’s why I say that if you live life in its dynamism you will come closer to god – because he is still dancing. Don’t say that he created the world – he is still creating. Otherwise how do the trees go on growing? How do the flowers go on blooming? Every moment the world is being renewed. Every morning fresh life is released.
Anasha and I always called Navanita, “Running Deer.” She and I interacted a lot in Pune 2 and I witnessed her passion and work unfold as she began giving classes, groups, and then trainings. Jaime says it so eloquently and lovingly when he describes her and her work with Dance. Anasha was very much involved in her healing process after her horrendous bus accident (I was in Japan at the time)… We celebrated with her when she got all of the metal out of her femur and pelvis – and tossed it in the ocean in Goa… I am thinking now and feeling Niten… and Brother. We send you so much love and witnessing energy. You two are really twin rays… Running Deer, we love you and celebrate with you!
Anubuddha and Anasha
Thank you, beloved Navanita, for dancing with us in an ocean of love and joy and space and connectedness. Love,
The room at Inlaks where Navanita was healing after the bus accident was full of sunlight… She was very clear about the journey with her body, as if each limb, each bone was a beloved child – and she would describe how they had passed the night, how she had taken care of them, and how they had responded…
Her tender, loving and playful attitude to her own body was such a precious teaching.
Joyful to share that voyage in Goa to send those huge pieces of metal, that had been a part of her body for so many months, into the ocean.
Now the rest of that amazing body is rejoining the elements…
I love you, Navanita,
Forever playful searching around for the message that the body always gave. Sharing and showing how to really tune into this precious gift we have been given. I will always remember your joyous shout out as you arrived on our verge the last time I saw you. What joy you brought to the world, to all of us and how you have helped so many of us really listen to our bodies.
You changed my life and so many thousands of others through the work you shared with us. What a treat it was that you visited us here in Australia those last four years and brought us your joy and your teachings.
I will always remember the first time I danced with you in the barn in Pune and all those dancing with the master meditations you facilitated.
So much love, joy, laughter and ecstasy you brought to this world. Love you Navanita, forever in our hearts,
Working under your guidance was a treasure,
seeing you in Goa always precious.
Your smile forever present in our hearts.
See you soon.
Hi, Lovely –
big cuddle-in-the-universe –
this is the best party!!!
Yes, you are.
As I bow down
To the universal laws of life and death
I met your smile
Braveheart — you are so strong in this.
Whatever you decide
Whatever life decides
It’s now a call for freedom…
And in its pain and its bliss
We are all together.
Wise women, vulnerably strong.
many unborn dances surround you like a halo,
waiting to be born into the world.
May you take this beauty to the next level,
My dear friend…
so now you set yourself free.
How often have you reborn yourself
I wish that your last dance is an easy one,
melting into gold.
Surrounded By the whispering voices
of those who love you.
Braveheart, yes, you Are.
I love you,
you wise woman with the shining eyes of a child
I hear – your giggling laughter forever in nature.
I remember hanging out with Navanita in Basel. She was such a cutie: sparkling, inspiring and loving.
Thinking of her with gratefulness.
May her soul travel on in peace.
She will live in the hearts of her friends forever. 💖🙏
Hans Stefan Schmidt (Sw. Anand Plavan)
Navanita – inspiring in so many ways!
Even beyond being in the body.
I have learned a lot with you and through you in almost 30 years! Big THANK YOU!
I remember you saying, must be more than 10 years ago, when you came out of a Tarot Reading you received, somewhat overwhelmed: “Whoouw… I was not aware what a powerful cookie I am!”
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