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Posts from the ‘Practices’ Category

Back Roll: the Basics

The curve prepares itself in me.

Rousing Back Roll
Back Roll is a basic piece of my daily practice. I have done Back Rolls since the Sufi get-go with Adnan. He loved them. He would start crossed legs, put on some rousing, boisterous Iraqi drumming, roll back to Shoulder Stand then forward to crossed legs. We followed him. We were a large group, all snuggly pie-pieced into one another on raying blankets. We’d hike forward on our blankets, cast a quick glance over our shoulder to avoid crashing into someone else, and roll back. He’d go on and on, and we with him. Somewhere along the way as we picked up speed, he’d reach out a hand to the sound system beside him and turn up the music–fuel on the fire. The energy built, more force, more speed. Back Rolls were easier done faster because of momentum. Our backs found the perfect rocking curvature until the rise to standing was almost inevitable. Some days we rolled up into a jump then back down to shoulder stand, a wide lively pendulum, like being on the swing set on the playground.

Gentle Back Roll
These winter months I do a different version. I sit crosslegged and rock forward and back gently on my sitz bones which are like little rocking chair rockers. It is a small motion. My psoas shifts my viscera and buttocks press along the rug under me. I go slowly for a while, watching my spine responsively arc into a curvature, my weighty head dropping forward then righting. I feel like a sailor on a sea swells. The curve prepares itself in me. At some point, I roll back effortlessly, hovering briefly on the wide upper back fascial pad where my shoulders are tightest, my feet and legs hover in space high above, their weight funneling down to press my resistant shoulders into the ground. Then I roll back, bending forward into the shadow my body casts over crossed ankles and folded calves. My hands have caught my knees in cupped palms, elbows akimbo. Sometimes I hang forward here, feeling my buttocks and outer thighs lengthen, my low back and my outer ankle open. Because one leg is crossed forward of the other, I know I’ll roll back again to return with the other leg in front, stretching both sides equally though my body’s inherent asymmetry will make the stretch feel like another body-world. Gradually, after several passes, I feel my shoulders wake up. Sometimes, I stay in Shoulder Stand. Sometimes, I roll up and down for a while. Sometimes, I grab my toes, stay on my back, my legs partly or fully extended, like a baby or like a baby bear, and use the floor under me as a rolling pin, smooshing my skin and sinews and fascia and fluid and all the flesh. I love this.

 

 

This piece contains an excerpt from my new book, ‘Dancing into the Deep: When Dance is Your Meditation.’  Coming soon!


I am delighted that you are with me and appreciate your sharing these writings friends. Thank you!

My work and writing are sponsored by Dervish Society of America, a nonprofit organization helping people realize their human and spiritual potential by honoring their body and its movement ways using evolutionary Sufi Dancemeditation practices. Thank you for your gift. It’s tax-deductible! DONATE

 

 

‘Move with Me’ Welcome Kit

We are about to have a lovely month together doing the most precious, evolutionary activity on this earth—cultivating relationship with self, with Self, with body, all that body is, and with the Beauty & Mystery. Read more

Move with Me ~ Dunya Online in March

Fresh new video sessions—one a week for four weeks in March—of beautiful, deep Dancemeditation for you to do anywhere on your time. I also include valuable support extras to cradle the motion. I have been thinking about this for a long time. How exciting that the time has arrived! I look forward to this new way to be together moving in our Truth. Thank you for joining me!  – Dunya

“There are times when god stops the clock and I am suspended,  frozen in time. There is something about the suspension that provides a necessary contrast to the relentless motion of everyday life. Thank you for helping me be in stillness in motion, and watching the body’s intelligence emerge and communicate through the mind. These times are golden, as they are so hard to find, yet they tower over the details of everyday life, large and expansive.”  – Casita Negron Wild

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Leading and Following

Observing is a good way to learn. Listening with stitched lips, wakeful eyes, and quivering ears brings magic into your life.” —Fatima Mernissi, Moroccan feminist scholar, Dreams of Trespass

Leading and Following—powerful, powerful, powerful—is fundamental to Dancemeditation training. It quiets the monkey mind. It teaches us how to hear the Divine. Big claim, but true.  Read more

The Rosebush and Rapid Method

My Sufi teacher taught Shattari—the Rapid Method. It was a wild ride! This is the spiritual lineage of Dervish Dancemeditation. Embodied spiritual development moves us quickly and fully through the stations of spiritual path. This is because it is embodied, and body truth is not the same as mind truth. Bodies are complex, ahead of any game the mind can devise. The body’s doorways to the mystical center are infinite, swift and full. Read more

Inviting Curves

Emailing with friend, Maggie, about the recent Dervish Dancemeditation weekend in Asheville where 5 Rhythms is regularly practiced—she mentioned that she loved Lyrical—I wrote this in agreement: I find the Curvilinear Flow—my preferred descriptor for Lyrical (the 5 Rhythms aren’t actually rhythms but textures)—is certainly my native movement habitat. Since it benefits the entire fascial system, if I had to take one movement arena to a desert island, it would be Curvilinear Flow. I shot that off in email, then afterward got to thinking about verbal cues for movement and what they invite. Read more

Breast Practice

“Path is a matter of continually being kicked out of the nest.” – Pema Chodrun

One day, nestled in the stalks of the Shasta daisy, I found a tiny neat nest of slender twigs stitched together with spider threads with three speckled eggs. One was a dud but the other two hatched. At first the babies were grotesque; dark-skinned, big eye bulges sealed shut. Yellow-rimmed beaks gaped whenever the leaves of the daisy stirred no matter what stirred them, and thin pink rib skin hammered out helpless, helpless.
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Gravity & Breath

Earth—what we are on. Sky—what we are in.
Earth is gravity. It is constant.
Sky is breath. It is cyclical.

During winter months in NYC, I teach a stellar Tuesday morning group. We’ve been working together for a number of years so I can go wherever the flow takes us. One morning last March, midway through the session after a long period of moving, they lay resting, all eyes closed, while I was watching the room, feeling my way through it. Were they sleeping? Reflecting, or struggling quietly? This was good, this internal chewing inside their beings. Read more

Bone Watching

A week or so ago, Nannette, Ric, and I got together for a much-needed impromptu Dancemeditation practice on Cape Cod. I had been feeling stressed and overwhelmed and was very grateful to be spreading out my blanket, getting down on the floor. With the neutral Kerala Dream as soundtrack, we settled into an easy going Opening Sequence. Once we were relaxed, I said:
Practice: Bone Watching
Close your eyes. Move any way you feel. Let’s focus on the bones. Watch your bones as you move. The soft tissues will actually move the bones, but when you pay attention to the bones instead of the muscles, you’ll draw attention to the part that is ‘being carried’. Let your soft tissues carry your bones. Let your bones ride along. Read more

Magic Roll

I’ve been traveling a lot and, while having a Dancemeditation Room is preferable, it isn’t likely. But I’ve had plenty of space to do Simple Side-to-Side Rolling. This is pure magic! It completely refreshes my spine, hip sockets, and organs, and wakes up fascial communications. It doesn’t take much space, or a special space. Any relatively clean rug will do. I throw down a thick blanket that is clean and I’m ready to go. For time, this works at ten minutes but may seduce you into going a lot longer. Also, this is an excellent practice to do if you are a guest since it will not weird out any host anywhere. Very useful! Read more