A Shakti Dance class
A Shakti Dance class is usually about 90-120 mins, and consists of different phases that combine to cleanse and awaken the pranic body, so that the practitioner can access and enjoy the Spirit of Shakti. Following the principles of Patanjali’s yoga sutras, there are usually 8 phases in a session, mirroring the 8 limbs of yoga, or ashtang element which yoga is founded on:
1. Tuning in
A class starts with an opening mantra called the Adi Mantra accompanied by a sequence of hand movements.
This opens up the space and connects us to ‘Guru’ (Higher Consciousness) to receive the teachings.
2. Shakti Stretching
Rhythmic and flowing floor stretches are coordinated with the breath to open and relax the body, releasing tiredness. This phase is very grounding and brings the practitioner ‘into their body’, warming up the muscles, increasing flexibility, relaxing and opening the energy channels in the body and increasing the follow of prana in the nadis (energy channels).
3. Shakti Standing Exercises
The class moves into energising standing exercises that open the chakras, charge the pranic body and balance the 5 elements and flows of energy in the body. The energy that was released and stimulated in the stretching is now increased and distributed around the body with rhythmic standing movements and dance steps to different types of music styles and tempos, mostly yogic mantras.
These standing exercises adhere to principles of harmonious movement (e.g. the rebound force, surrendering to gravity, opening lines of stretch) and work with the body’s natural geometry.
4. Free-Flow Dance
On reaching the free dance stage, the practitioner is literally led by the flow of energy that has been created and is able to dance without the ego-mind being in control: “It’s a very relaxed feeling when you come into the flow. There is no fear that something has to be in one way or another way, or that it could go wrong. It’s just whatever comes.” (Sara Avtar Olivier, Aug 09). In this stage, the innate creativity of each individual is given free reign and when the dancer completely surrenders to this the dance becomes an expression of the soul and a natural healing process occurs.
The rhythmic pulsation of body, mind and spirit is allowed to integrate while releasing tensions. We spend a few minutes lying on our backs in Shavasana (corpse pose), allowing time to consolidate the energies accummulated.
6. Celestial Communication and Mantric Choreography
A celestial communication or mantric choreography is a moving meditation. This may be sitting or standing and will usually be done to a Kundalini Yoga mantra in Gurmukhi (but also sometimes to Sanskrit mantras). The repeated movement becomes a focus that stills the mind and creates harmonising waves within the aura. These meditations can be very profound, are enjoyable to learn, and create a powerful group matrix when performed in a mandala.
A moment is taken to return to the stillness within (Shakti merges back into Shiva), to enjoy the fulfillment of emptiness following the satisfaction of self-expression. This is the opportunity to bathe in the regenerative space of Source within.
We use a simple and specific mantra at the end of a session with mudra movements, so that inner and outer worlds are brought into balance, and a protective auric shield is created around each participant.
Click on the links below to see some Shakti dance in action below: