Clare and I sometimes like to plan our classes. Sometimes we don't. Today's class was planned, but then it started, and I'm pretty sure we hadn't written down the exercise that emerged. I guess that's what happens when you move with someone for a long time, movement arises from our shared history and bodily experience, in our case, contact improvisation and healing modalities.
So our first movement experience of the day was a contact/stretch/healing flow that started to juice us, squeeze us, using rotational, spiraling forces on skin and organs, following lines, and giving and receiving intentions to be present and release tension.
When we received our first and only participant for the day, we shifted into a more 'formal' experience of class, firstly using a Body and Brain technique, of tapping our puku, and then our organs and meridian lines to heat ourselves, and warm up our kidneys, and then moved to a sounding/vibrational experimentation of our chakras through the vowel sounds. I experienced this exercise during my work with Louise Potiki-Bryant on Charles Royal's farm, creating the Te Karohirohi work that happened there during 2010/11. Erina Daniels lead this offering, and it is one that I have come back to again and again for myself as a way of invigorating my body in a fully three dimensional way, and allows a deep sense of listening at the same time as sounding.
I invited us to experience five of our chakras, root, navel, heart, throat and third eye/crown through five vowels, u,o,a,e,i, in that order from bottom to top. As we sounded each vowel, in different tones and notes, we used our hands, and then moved our bodies with the sound, both on the spot and through the room, to wake up, release tension, and bring greater awareness to each area. Each vowel and chakra became stacked upon the others, and all sides of our bodies were breathed and vibrated.
We then experimented with improvising through the room with any vowel or chakra that felt appropriated or needed. Lastly, we came close together, sounding into the space between us, creating a soundscape of vowels and tones, listening, spacing, leaving, sounding into the air, finally moving the sound up, down and around each of our bodies to completely activate our selves inside and out.
With these fully activated bodies, Clare started an M and B style section of the class that worked on techniques of preparation for handstands and inversions, opening up our side bodies, strengthening lower bodies, co-ordinating and confusing ourselves between sides, and stacking organs and chakras upside down.
This was leading towards finding spirals through the body on the ground, rolling from limb through torso to limb, with guidance from two others. She invited us to feel the softening of the organs through each spiraling movement, with the intention of not to have the greatest 'stretch', but to have a greater sense of connection and ease in our bodies, that at each moment there is a line of spiral through our body that is created through the support and tone of the organs. This delicious experience of a familiar exercise was noted to be much easier after the opening of our bodies that had been done through the class leading up to this time, as opposed to it being experienced as more of a 'warm up' exercise.
Our final play was to see if we could take this spiraling into a contact exercise, with two people spiraling over and under each other, each trying to complete the task of the original exercise with as much integrity as possible. Seriously good stuff! Thanks Xin Chen for participating in today's movement styles.