What is Shakti Dance?
Shakti Dance® is the Yoga Dance, merging Shakti and Shiva; the individual “drop” with the all-embracing “ocean” of awareness.
As a form of yoga, Shakti Dance® uses flowing, rhythmic organic movements to harmonise mind, body and spirit. Combining, breath, movement, mantra and mindfulness, we are returned to our true nature ~ tuning the body as in instrument to express our essence, with original creativity and authenticity. Shakti Dance® is a unique Yogic System with a distinctive method and practice, created by Sara Avtar. It consists of a series of innovative techniques, combined in Eight Phases, implementing insights drawn from Yogic Philosophy and the practice of Kundalini Yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan. Similar to Kundalini Yoga, Shakti Dance® fuses breath, motion and mindfulness, to expand and merge with infinite Being.The system of Shakti Dance® stimulates the awakening and embodiment of organic Principles of Harmonious Movement, and brings the Flow of Prana in mind and body into harmonic resonance. This harmonisation activates the ‘Creative Spirit of Shakti’, allowing ‘Wakeful Being’ to shine forth, for full expression of your potential.
In Form: Shakti Dance® is a unique and harmonious blend of Flowing Asanas, Rhythmic Breathing, Energising Dance Exercises, Free Dance, Relaxation, Still Meditation, and Mantra Movement Meditations (Celestial Communications & Mantric Choreographies).
In Essence: Shakti Dance® practice cultivates the free, organic and creative expression of inner being. It massages and liberates the body and mind from blockages, relaxing stress – opening out into peaceful wakeful spaciousness and a gracefully flowing life.
“The soul is reflected and expressed through our dance when we are in most intimate contact with that Being that animates us.” ~ Sara Avta
What does a Shakti Dance class look like?
The system of Shakti Dance® has a unique and distinctive methodic development through 8 Phases that can be found in a Regular Class. These Phases, specific to Shakti Dance®, combine energetically to activate the ‘Creative Spirit of Shakti’, opening out into a peaceful wakeful state of Yogic Union.
A Session of Shakti Dance® Flows through, and is Characterised by these 8 Phases:
1. TUNING IN
~ Connecting with the Creative Source and Inner Guidance
A class starts with an opening mantra, accompanied by a sequence of hand movements (mudras). This opens the space, connecting with the creative source and the luminous presence of the inner teacher to receive the teachings.
2. SHAKTI FLOWING ASANAS
~ Opening Pranic Currents with Flowing Yoga Asanas
Organic, rhythmic and flowing floor stretches/asanas, coordinated with the breath, open and deeply relax the body, releasing stress and blockages. The mindful movement sequences gently work to extend your range of movement and increase body awareness. This phase is very meditative, grounding and nurturing. It brings the practitioner ‘into their body’, warming up muscles and increasing flexibility. Essentially, this phase opens and increases the flow of prana-shakti through the body’s energy channels (nadis).
3. STANDING EXERCISES
~ Charging the Magnetic Field with Repetitive Standing Exercises
After opening up the pranic-flow, the class moves into energising, breath-related standing exercises that open the chakras, rebalance the 5 elements and charge the pranic body with increased vitality. The energy released in the previous phase is now increased and distributed throughout body, using rhythmic standing movements and repetitive dance steps from different dance genres to different styles of music and tempo – mostly accompanied by yogic mantras. These standing exercises work with the body’s natural geometry and mechanics, adhering to principles of harmonious movement, e.g. the rebound force, surrendering to gravity, giving impulse from the navel, lifing through the bhandas and opening lines of stretch.
4. FREE DANCE
~ Spontaneous Movement Meditation
Having calmed the mind and accumulated charge, the practitioner is now quite literally propelled into free dance by the inner currents of prana-shakti: “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, Aug 09). In this stage, the innate creativity of each individual is given free reign. When the dancer surrenders completely, the dance becomes an expression of the innermost being, prompting natural healing.
Lying in Shavasana (corpse pose), the phase of relaxation calms, harmonizes and consolidates the stimulation of different qualities of energy in the previous phases. Here, the rhythmic pulsations of body, mind and spirit are given space to integrate while releasing residual tension.
6. CELESTIAL COMMUNICATION
~ Mantra Synchronized with Meditative Movement
A Celestial Communication or Mantric Choreography is a movement meditation that realigns and balances the energy field. It may be done sitting or standing, and is generally practiced to a Kundalini Yoga mantra in Gurmukhi (or sometimes a Sanskrit mantra). The repeated symmetrical movement sequence becomes a focus that stills the mind and creates harmonising patterns of waves within the aura. These meditations can be very profound, are enjoyable to learn, and create a powerful group matrix when practiced in a mandala.
7. STILL MEDITATION
Space is now given to return to the stillness within (Shakti merges back into Shiva), to enjoy the fulfilment of emptiness, following the satisfaction of self- expression. This is the opportunity to bathe in the regenerative spaciousness of Source within.
A simple and specific mantra, combined with mudra movements is chanted at the end of the session, bringing inner and outer worlds into balance, while creating a protective auric shield around each participant.