What Is The
Evidence For Chakra Energization In Belly Dance?
Energy in Belly Dance, Part 3
Beginners", Nov/Dec. 2006)
by Anthea Kawakib Poole
Before we continue with “expanding our concept of
practice” as promised last issue, let’s recap our
exploration up to now of the emotional and mental attitude
changes many students encounter after a year or so of
individually empowering aspects of belly dance, often
exacerbated by the public arena of group class and/or
performing, are often hard for unprepared students to
handle. Teachers see students begin floundering through
unresolved conflicts and emotional upheaval that impacts
their study of the dance.
- Although many
students integrate and are transformed by this new and
powerful flow of creative energy, others give up the
dance, or shoot off in an unstable orbit through the
professional world only to crash and burn, sometimes
scarring others along the way.
- We noted that
the same phenomenon of “psychological
discomfort and social alienation” attends yoga
practitioners who (either mentally or physically)
cultivate torso-bound energy, so we’ve borrowed their
terms (chakra, kundalini, etc.) to describe and
visualize the unseen–but not unfelt–power unleashed by
the torso-stimulating movements of our dance.
wonder, if this is so, shouldn’t teachers attend to this
issue? Isn’t this important in the overall
educational consideration of the dance? Can we
effectively lead students without knowing where we’re
going? Is this so uncomfortable, weird, new,
that we prefer not to go there? (The irony is, as
we see re the yoga analogy, it’s not really new at all.)
respect and honor our dance traditions without being
stifled by them. Wisdom gained from experience, together
with our increased knowledge and insight should lead to
progress and development in our personal dance
experience; and eventually, the wider dance
community. However, if your teacher isn’t aware of
or talking about these issues, it’s not your place to
bring it up in class. Some of you may–in fact, will–surpass
your teacher in knowledge, experience, and ability; and
you may absolutely itch with the impulse to
“help her” with information she seems unaware of, but
while you’re in class leave the teaching to the
teacher. If you find articles or resources of
interest, kindly bring it up to her outside of class,
and then drop it.
from a recent search on "kundalini syndrome" in
Amazon.com's book section resulting in over two dozen
returns, it appears that awareness of this phenomenon is
making its way into our culture. It's likely to become
the next New Age fad - but our growth and understanding
can be hindered by looking for a faddish “quick fix”.(7)
No book, dvd,
or six-week course will teach belly dance OR
enlightenment. Maturity takes time.
Neither should mystical experiences (sometimes associated
with the rising energies) be a measure of positive growth.
Our egos can be trained to choose compassion over
selfishness, but they can also fool us regarding
our "spirituality" or "spiritual growth"!
Mariana Caplan writes,
"One dramatic example of ego as interpreter can be
found in the 'spiritualized ego.' Ordinary egos do the
things that ordinary egos do: continuously try to gain
the upper hand; act selfishly; lie, cheat, and steal a
little. But spiritualized egos have their own game: they
talk in a soft and spiritual tone; they create a certain
facial glow or aura that they learn to emanate; they
have 'intense' experiences regularly; they know the
dharmically-correct answer to every situation. Anyone
with minimal intelligence can take the dharma spiritual
teaching and manipulate it from an egoic perspective."(8)
is that those of you who go on to explore the “hidden
realities of the dance”, and chiefly, those among you
who hear the call to be a teacher, expand and uplift the
dance like yeast leavens dough, taking the time to fully
develop your contribution so it can nourish us all. I’ve
already seen some fruits of this “new” awareness begin
to grow, from seeds planted in the rows of tradition...
and while the harvest so far is small, my tummy is
smiling in anticipation!
(Continued in Part 4,
Expanding our Concept of Practice)
7. Greenwell, Bonnie; op. cit. p. 20: "There is a tendency
to avoid serious consideration of the demands for change
instigated by a spiritual life and the hope that
'enlightenment' is all accomplished in some nice, neat, and
all-inclusive meditation experience."
8. Caplan, Mariana; Halfway Up The Mountain, Arizona,
USA: Hohm Press, 1999, p. 146.
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