NEW: "The Flight of the Turtle" mindfulness course
“The Flight of the Turtle” is an eight-week mindfulness course. It is a version of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program developed by John Kabat-Zinn (which I also teach, you can check it out here). I'll explain a little later where the turtle comes from. But first, a few words about the concept and structure of the course.
In the space of eight weeks, we shall look into the mechanisms of stress and ways of managing it. You will learn how to interact more skillfully with yourself and the world around you so that you can navigate through challenging experiences in your life with minimal aftershocks.
But the main emphasis is on the regular meditation practice, which consists of two modules, namely static "formal" meditation of awareness, and dynamic dance meditation.
The difference between this mindfulness course and the standard MBSR program is in the format of the dynamic module. The classical program is based on a set of "mindful Yoga" exercises (specially adapted asanas), whereas in “The Flight of the Turtle” we practice dance improvisation called Akasha.
Akasha is an expressive, embodied (from the word "flesh", body) form of meditation. Rooted in ancient spiritual movement practices, it also draws on the modern understanding of how we perceive change. In this dance, we observe the flow of movement; the link between music and movement, movement and inner state; we learn to recognize automatic reactions to external events and to our own thoughts; we explore the feeling of connectedness with other dancers (even during online classes). These techniques open up our inner reserves of physical and emotional intelligence.
At the same time, Akasha is a means of self-expression and communication. But unlike language, it is not linear. While in language there is a sequence of sounds and messages, in dance improvisation everything happens at the same time. It can reveal both the conscious and subconscious, which are often out of sync with each other.
You don't need to be able to dance in order to practice Akasha. It’s a natural dance that lives in each of us, as nature’s gift of the body to co-vibrate with melody and rhythm. Once you give yourself a permission to move outside the censorship of consciousness, the dance comes to life. Habitual movement patterns, postures and gestures give way to spontaneous plastique. The mind steps aside for a while, making room for the body to speak out. Through physical sensations, our mind gains access to the projection of the lived experience, to its wide emotional spectrum, from moments of bliss to childhood dramas that catch up with us in our adult life.
Akasha dance reveals the nature of triggers that provoke our thoughts, emotions and moods. It allows us to cultivate the necessary internal resources to accept the past and, if need be, change our attitude towards it. We learn to be patient and friendly towards ourselves and towards others. We become free to travel "light". To fly…
Have you seen a sea turtle, which is a rather clumsy creature on land, literally “flying” in the ocean? Imagine for a moment that you have overcome the force of gravity that consists of your stereotypes, rigid attitudes, judgment and self-judgment, mistrust in yourself, resentment, perfectionism, perceived monotony of everyday life - all that heavy shell that can make your walk and your whole life clumsy.
Imagine letting go of the disbelief in your own ability to take off, and finally you are flying against all odds. You can feel the coolness of the sea and the vastness of the sky. The sky is now not only above your head, but also under your feet, in every cell of your body, filling you with lightness. You are finally free to choose your destination and flight route.