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Shakti's Sacred Dance Workshops

Shakti is ecstatic to be back on Kaua'i and is offering 2 classes on ancient sacred dance in celebration of her return:

The workshops will be held at the Bodhi Tree Yoga Studio in the Dragon Building. Suggested donation is $10/class or $15 for both classes. For more information, please contact us at shakti.dance@gmail.com.

Shakti Bellydancing     

Sacred Dance and the Chakras - Shakti's Manifesto

Chakras are major energy centers in the body that are of vital importance in mediating the connection between mind and matter, body and spirit, consciousness and movement. They are also of vital importance in many medicinal practices, which hold that if energy is flowing through the body correctly, then the body will tend to heal and repair itself. Interestingly, advanced mathematical fields such as fractals and chaos theory strongly support this hypothesis. They establish the existence of self-stabilizing systems that can be infinitely complex and yet consistently return to predictable, stable patterns (or "energy levels") when acted upon by a disruptive outside force so long as the energy is allowed to flow freely through them.

In Eastern Medicine, when the energy pathways within the body are clear, properly organized, and flowing cleanly, maximum vitality is achieved, which leads to health and healing.

The 7 major energy centers that run up the center of the body are called the 7 chakras. Chakra is an ancient Sanskrit term meaning "wheel [of light]", which refers to their role as whorls of energy that transmit and focus various subtle energies through/into the physical plane. Sanskrit is a language dated back to 1500BC from the area of the middle east that we now think of as India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran. This is the same geographic region and time frame from which much of the middle-eastern dance ("belly dance") that we now practice arises.  In a culture where women were rarely taught to read or write, much of their sacred knowledge was stored in movement and textiles, and could be absorbed through direct practice. The practice of isolated, controlled movements in geometric patterns throughout the torso is that which we currently know as Ancient Mideastern Dance. When we extract the core wisdoms and patterns of ancient Mideastern Dance from its (relatively recent) performance-oriented trappings, we rediscover a very ancient and powerful energetic yoga specifically designed by women for women as preserved from mother to grand-daughter over thousands of years.

There are 7 chakras traveling from the top of the head to the base of the spine. 

bellydance chakra 7 The 7th chakra is at the crown of the head and corresponds to our connection to god, the universe, or the divine.
bellydance chakra 6 The 6th chakra is located at the point often referred to as "the third eye". It relates to our ability to see clearly, not just physically, but also to understand situations clearly and "see the big picture". In Western medicine, it lies directly over the frontal lobe of the brain, which controls much of our "higher brain" functions.
bellydance chakra 5 The 5th chakra is located over the voice box and is related to the ability to express oneself and communicate.  
bellydance chakra 4 The 4th Chakra is located over the heart and is related to love and compassion
bellydance chakra 3 The 3rd chakra is located over the solar plexus. It relates to our willpower and metabolic health.
bellydance chakra 2 The 2nd chakra is located in our lower abdomen over the womb and other female sexual organs. It relates to our sexual health, as well as the health of our kidneys.
bellydance chakra 1 The 1st chakra is located at the base of the spine. It relates to our base animal instincts, fear, and self-preservation.

By performing balanced isolations at each of the 7 chakras we can stimulate, clean up, and begin regulating our energy flow. A mature person's body has typically found certain patterns of movement that it is comfortable with. Rediscovering unfamiliar, long-unused directions and locations of movement can require great focus and concentration, but once a student has mastered moving each of the 7 chakras in every planar direction, enormously powerful health effects can be achieved. Moreover, clearing the energy pathways re-opens the student's connection to their soul, their divine source, and allows the reasons that they chose to incarnate to re-establish control and connection with their physical existance. In effect, it washes out the detritus and facilitates rediscovery of one's true self and life purpose. 

When working with new students, I typically begin by introducing them to "easy" movements. An easy movement is simply one that is similar to a movement performed frequently in every day life. We just refine it and draw our attention to it. As the student progresses, we begin introducing locations of movement &/or directions of movement that are unfamiliar. The confidence and visualization skills gained by mastering the "easy" movement typically allow the student to learn the more difficult movement. By the time a student reaches the advanced level, she can perform certain isolations at every chakra and has developed an advanced ability to get specific areas of her body to move in any pattern she visualizes. This is the crucial building block that allows the student to begin performing all planes of motion at every chakra.

I believe that this practice of isolations at the chakras is a core wisdom of bellydance. The potency of its physical and energetic effects is enormous, allowing the advanced practitioner to perform a good deal of energetic and internal regulations. For example, there exists a specific, very advanced move which I call the "fountain of youth".

"I have discovered the fountain of youth. It lives at the base of my spine."

There is substantial overlap between the energetic practices of authentic traditional mideastern dance and the Internal Martial Arts of Tai Chi and Qigong. The patterns are different, and it is notable that once a practitioner of Ancient Sacred Mideastern Dance gains enough control to pass arbitrary patterns through her chakras, the patterns thus mediated have truly intriguing (and varied) effects. My current principle process of discovery is the effects of mediating different patterns in this manner. I have found this to be a fairly high-voltage experiment, so approach it cautiously. I will say that some of the best feeling patterns I have found have been those that I've copied from traditional mideastern textiles, especially rugs. To illustrate the range of flexible experimentation that this language of movement allows, putting the "Communication Master Key" through my chakras in Angel script was also a world-opening experience. Of course, that's some pretty fringe experimentation, so I've also taken to studying Traditional Asian Internal Arts patterns with skilled instructors having impeccable lineages.

The form that I teach was given to me as the basis of a mathematically complete (and extensible) lexicon of movement. While my classes focus on "safe" movements known to have highly positive developmental effects, the geometries that I teach form the basis of a language that can be used to allow energy to flow in any pattern that the student envisions. Unlimited, she is free to experiment with form while training her body to understand and communicate in a complete language of movement that can be used to learn traditional forms from other lineages in depth with surprising rapidity. It is much like understanding tonal resonances before going on to discover the meaning of specific words: having the basic knowledge accellerates and deepens future learning.

Other Mideastern & Sacred Dance Class Topics


Cinnamon Phoenix offers Mideastern and Sacred Dance classes in Kaua'i, Hawai'i
For more information, please contact us at: shakti.dance@gmail.com
(808) 635-0688