More infos to group size
none, as long as everyone can see someone who can lead the dance
Is participant experience relevant?
It's okay if participants haven't seen the inside of a classroom in years.
Physical trust needed
Mental trust needed
10 minutes – 60 minutes
Experience level of the facilitator
routine as participant OR professional facilitator
Number of facilitators
Ideally 4. Only 1 is necessary.
Best when done outdoors, on flat ground, with bare feet
CHARACTER OF THE METHOD
Level of activationcalming
Woo-Woo Level – How touchy-feely is this method?
From 1.Rationalist-Materialist “No feelings here, folks.” to 5.Esoteric-Shamanic Bleeding Heart:
A contemplative movement exercise inspired by the Cherokee prayer dance called the Dance of the Directions and by certain Tai Chi forms, this non-strenuous activity is balancing and connecting.
ALTERNATIVE NAME OF THE METHOD
Dance of Cycles, contemplative dance, Dance of Directions, Cycles Dance
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
Directions Practice is a movement-based contemplative approach that honors each of the cardinal directions, as well as the cyclical nature of the universe and our lives. It has a tendency to balance the energies within someone and can be offered as a blessing to a place. The dance is done at the pace of the group, everyone following whomever is in front as the group rotates to face each direction.
Directions Practice was created by Artmonks Neva Cockrell and Betsy McCall as part of the Art Monastery.
Much inspiration was provided by the Dance of the Directions (taught only by holders of the Cherokee lineage, whom you can find through the Sunray Meditation Society website) and the Dance of the Seven Directions developed by Joel & Michelle Levey as part of Wisdom at Work.
Start by facing east and take a few minutes to do a standing meditation. Feel your feet on the ground, supporting you. Sense, intuit, or imagine the energies of the earth spiraling up, around and through the bottoms of your feet, up through your legs, rising upward. Sense, intuit, or imagine the energies of the sky spiraling down, around and through the top of your head, falling downward. These energies spiraling up and down through and around you, and you stand shimmering amongst them, the meeting point between sky and earth.
PREPARATION (excluding materials)
Directions Practice is a movement-based method that you can engage with every day.
Start in a standing meditation facing east.
Take three swipes to clear the energy from the direction you are facing.
1 Begin facing East
Connecting with the East, lift your arms and gather the energy from your sides and from above.
Turn to face the South (to your left), opening your arms and heart wide.
Lean back in a stance of honoring the East.
Gathering the energy from all around,
2 Repeat for South, West, and North
Repeat the above movements facing each of the directions.
3 Repeat the whole cycle three times.
4 Completion with the Earth
The fourth time you come to face the East, make some gesture of completion, such as a bow. Silently turn to face each direction once more, making a gesture of completion, acknowledgment, and gratitude.
5 Completion with the Practitioners
Turn to face "our shared center", forming a circle with everyone who has participated in the dance. Place your palms against the palms of the people standing on either side of you. Feel your connection to these people, and feel that connection run through the whole circle, connecting every person. Then everyone slowly back up, extending your arms as you do, and let your middle fingers be the last point of contact as you let go. Feel how you can maintain energetic contact even after physical contact remains no longer.
Trainers for this method can be hired here:Art Monastery artmonastery.org
Anything else one should know about this method?
The method is available to everyone, regardless of physical mobility. What matters most is the attention and intention of the dancer. The movements can be as large or as small as feels good to each person in the moment.