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How Chakra Energy Affects Belly Dance Students

Chakra Energy in Belly Dance, Part 2

(ZAGHAREET! "For Beginners",  Sept/Oct. 2006)
by Anthea Kawakib Poole

In the previous article we began exploring the subtler impact of belly dancing and performing, noting that both often signal a new phase of life for the student. We also recognized that our typical belly dance movements are similar to kundalini yoga and chakra-energizing exercises; and that the results are often the same: increased energy into or through the “chakras”. What happens next is anyone’s guess.

Blocking the Flow

When energy travels through the body, it sometimes meets blockages that impede its flow. Genevieve Paulson states, "Energy blocks are caused by locked-in attitudes or feelings or old emotional or mental scars. Poor posture and injuries can also create energy blocks."(5)

As Kurt Keutzer says concerning the effect of such blockages, (see Related Links), "There will almost certainly be periods of pronounced psychological discomfort and social alienation". There is also anecdotal evidence of physical discomfort as well.(6) When this happens in yoga, it’s called "kundalini syndrome" - a term used to describe how this new-felt energy affects those who are unprepared for it or who fail to integrate the energy effectively.

As I noted in the previous article, during my years of teaching (mostly of female students) I've seen students begin—after a couple of years—to manifest mental/emotional upheaval, in various ways:

So the “honeymoon period” is over, and (as some teachers put it) the students’ “real personality” is coming out; it’s a definite change, and an obviously uncomfortable time for them. Once I noticed it, it became easier to spot, but more and more puzzling; I asked other teachers and body workers about their experiences and was led to this esoteric subject. I didn’t come into this knowing about chakras, kundalini, etc., but it seems to fit the bill. So until a better explanation comes along that answers the question from a mind-body-spirit viewpoint--this will do.

So it would seem these outward manifestations show that the student is undergoing kundalini syndrome resulting from increased energy at these "blocks". Then doesn’t it mean that belly dancing mindlessly - without giving thought to the inner awakening of latent subtle energies - contributes to this behavioral and emotional "train wreck"?

Teachers should research this as they would any other advanced aspect of the dance; and then address in the classroom. As adolescents need to know about the changes puberty brings, belly dancers need to know about this phenomenon, what to expect and how to handle it. I’m sure some people will “tune out” this information as effectively as teenagers “tune out” their parents, but in any case at least some of them will understand why they seem to have run off the track, and that it’s not “just them”.

How can teachers and students achieve balanced growth of the mind, body, and spirit if we only concentrate on the physical—our material success, our image, technique, reputation etc.? The end result of that will be at best, unsatisfactory, and at worst, spiritually repressive and/or psychologically destructive. That’s not very “empowering” is it?!

Continued: Part 3: More Evidence of Chakra Energy in Belly Dance.

5. Paulson, Genevieve; Kundalini and the Chakras, Minnesota, USA: Llewellyn Publications (1998), p. 8.
6. Greenwell, Bonnie; op. cit. p. 233: "According to the principles underlying most body therapies, blocks in the physical body are related to areas of stress or holding due to a contraction that occurred during a past trauma. Bodies contract in response to pain, both physical and psychological, and we develop rigidity and tension through holding contractions, or by repeatedly responding in particular ways to unpleasant stimulus."

Related Links:
Kurt Keutzer’s kundalini FAQ:

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