Musical Shape Shifting- Exploration of Teaching Modalities

To be at one with Self we must have, and be at home in our own rhythmic archetype.  We must be able to move with the flow inherent in our internal rhythms.  Our early relationship with rhythm begins in utero where we are soothed with mother’s heartbeat, the pulse of her blood flow, even her speech and movements. Without strong early rhythmic connections, there is a later disconnect from body and mind, and therefore poor mental and or physical health.  Without unconscious, subliminal, essential rhythmic connections there is inner chaos, and often pain.  When we have a weak internal rhythmic archetype, we have difficulty accepting the ebb and flow of life. It’s like trying to ride out the ‘perfect storm’ on an inner tube.

Anyone struggling with ongoing chaos, or physical pain will find that exploring rhythms and movement may be powerful tools to re-create balance and health.  Working a Practice with greater physical repetitions, adding more chants, especially call and response, along with rhythmical Pranayama can re-wire the brain, creating calm from disconnect.  Even when not in pain, these tools are healing, serving us all to take have more courage for the next step, to move beyond fear with greater belief in our abilities.

Studies done in Germany with a repetitive movement called, TaKeTiNa, created by Reinhard Flatischler and his wife Cornelia, have been proven to heal pain through collective movement and sound processes.  “Flatischler discovered that in those moments when the participants felt synchronized or “at one” with the rhythms, the whole group reported that their pain went away.”*  Observing Sufi dervishes take a group into deep trance through collective movement and sound was the original inspiration for Flatischler’s work.

Kundalini Yoga, ShaktiYogaDances, along with Folk dance, tribal dances, even Modern, and ballet, especially where repeated movement patterns, accompanied by drums and, or rhythmic chant, are wonderful events where we become connected to the whole, and in turn to a more expressive, joyous Self.  Exploring ways and means to fall in and out of  rhythm, to call and respond, to connect breath and sound to body, to share in ritualistic patterns of movement and music offer Yoga  another vibrant healing possibility.

Done with intention, the aware teacher without, and within, can re-discover and restore archetypical rhythmic relations to the body, which unearth inherent parts of Self.  The re-wiring of pieces that went missing in childhood, either through physical or mental pain, can return and grow vibrant, alive in being re-connected, and out of dis-ease.  The drummer calls, we respond.  It is an ancient, familiar sound of our archetypal rhythmic force welcoming wholeness.

*TaKeTiNa-Welcome to the Other Side of Your Brain.

dancing the drum, drummer Martin Case, with Samantha; photo by Will Ceurvels

Pose With Seasonal Energies

Asana: The Asana this week is to let your Practice dance.  Become a joyous Monkey-Dancer in July’s ShaktiYogaDance.  Find a drummer and listen to a new heart-dialogue within yourself.  Go take a Tango lesson letting the rhythmic pattern of your feet instill exciting visions, walk down the street, snapping your fingers, doing a loose ‘Two step.’  It’s all good, and leads to greatness.

Astrology Notes: This week is the last of a long spring-early summer of difficult, opposing, cross purpose energies where we have felt pulled and pushed inside, and out.  At long last, we may be calm enough to enjoy watery Cancer’s nurturing, emotional drive, and sensitivity.  Highly intuitive, often self-sacrificing, loyal and sentimental, Cancers love to protect those they care for, and because many they love have been going through a rough time, it’s been doubly difficult for them.  Time to release the worry, step back and …dance!

Ayurvedic Notes: The main qualities of Pitta are hot, sharp, liquid, oily, and light.  Having an abundance of Pitta Prakriti means that you deal with these qualities throughout your physical, emotional, and mental bodies.  They are your strengths and weaknesses.  During hot summer months, we all, whether of Pitta Prakriti or not, deal with balancing these qualities in some way.  The sharpness can manifest as a sharp, keen intellect, or a sharp tongue.  The heat might be a strong, hot metabolism and appetite, or a bad temper, or heartburn.  The liquid may be seen in excessive sweating, or stomach acid from pushing too hard.  The oily lends softness to the skin but can also lead to acne, or manipulation, such as a snake oil personality.  Remember ‘like increases like,’ so create the opposite, especially in the hot summer months.



I wish that I could be swirling, twirling, chanting, diving with you my sweet sis.

Jennifer Cooper

I am completely fascinated by rhythms, chanting, dervishes and their healing powers. Did you see The Boston Globe’s article on Light Movement Therapy? I first learned of this from Kate. It seems to be connected on some level.

Colin Steele

This post reminds me of a couple of things:

First, a story I heard from a Wampanoag Indian on Martha’s Vineyard a number of years ago. He said that in the tradition of his people, young men are taught drumming as their connection to the Earth. Whereas women are seen as automatically being connected to the Earth by virtue of being child-bearers, men are perceived to need to be taught how to feel their own spiritual connection. Thus, men learn to drum as a way of expressing and connecting to the Earth’s heartbeat. In the tribal conception of the sacred, the genders are thus made symbiotic: the child-bearing women need and honor the men’s expression of the heart-rhythm of the world, and the men likewise honor and acknowledge their need for the women and their creation-mirroring child-bearing.

2) On dervishes: I spent last fall in Turkey and got a chance to see whirling dervishes in Konya, just down the road from the tomb of Rumi. Samantha is absolutely correct to note that dervishes use rhythm to enter trance-like states in search of transcendental connection to the sublime, I’d add that the dervishes always spin with their left palms cupped downward towards the Earth and their right palms cupped upward towards Heaven, a position that is meant to enhance the physical and spiritual connections between Heaven and Earth that are “conducted” through the dervish’s spinning. Dervishes also see spinning as a different and transcendent kind of life, and express that symbolically through their clothing. They begin their practice shrouded in the black cloak of the grave, which they then cast off as they begin to actually spin. At the conclusion of their spinning, the dervishes shroud themselves once more before departing. Though not specifically having to do with the rhythmic nature of their worship, these physical cues attendant to the dervishes’ practice are outward manifestations to dervish and observer alike that the whole purpose of the exercise is to achieve a super-human freedom and connection to the sublime through their (rhythmic) practice.

3) Finally, a quick physiological note: there is now some speculation that many non-traumatic injuries (especially those usually termed “over-use” injuries like runner’s knee, tendinitis, etc.) are due not wholly to joint/muscle/tendon issues but rather to tight spots in the fascia, the hard white tissue that covers the muscles. Studies are increasingly pointing to correlations between tight spots in the fascia sheath and the kinds of “nagging”/over-use/pain-inducing injuries that many of us (particularly non-flexible, linear-activity Westerners) are accustomed to dealing with. Where the fascia tightens up, it is receiving less blood flow (the rhythm of the body), and doing yoga — or, presumably, rhythmic exercise — helps loosen it and re-start pain-relieving blood flow. Depending on the type of pain they confronted, I would not be at all surprised to learn that the TaKeTiNa participants’ re-discovery of their bodies’ internal rhythms awoke and refreshed their fascia, cartilage, tendons and ligaments, the tissues of the body that are least-well supplied with blood to begin with and thus most susceptible to becoming tight and painful when neglected and thus starved of even their relatively minor connection to the bio-rhythm of circulation.


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