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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Most Luscious, Nurturing, Feel-Good Thing You Can Do

The Most Luscious, Nurturing, Feel-Good Thing You Can Do in Bed, On Your Own

And I'm not even talking sex. (Well maybe. Just a little bit. Later.)


What is the one thing that you can do on your own, in bed, that sends a totally relaxing and soothing feeling up your spine?


It's the same thing that I wrote about a few days ago, leaving you with a bit of a "cliff-hanger."


Because, as I asserted in my last post, many of you already know this!


The real surprise is, many of you already know this - and you might even be new to Oriental dance!


Believe me, I am more than surprised. I am amazed. I am totally blown away.


When I learned this "little secret" - many years ago, as I was writing Unveiling: The Inner Journey - it was news to me.


Infinity sign coded by Charles Petzold


The person who "clued me in" on this movement was Diane Richardson, whom I mentioned several times in Chapters 14 - 16.


The really important thing about what she shared?


It's that the insight didn't come from a member of the Oriental dance community. It came from someone who was skilled in the mind/body healing arts. (Diane now does something called HeartMath.) My students who already knew about this movement were practitioners of Reiki, yoga, deep tissue massage, and related areas.


So what is this one thing?


It's the movement that we dancers call the "Figure 8," done with our hips.


I've looked at a number of YouTube vids purporting to teach the (vertical) Figure 8, and have only found one so far that is trustworthy - click here to see a Figure 8 tutorial. Just watching this dancer, you'll see how the Figure 8 activates - actually massages - the sacral area. Beautiful!


(Be careful if you're looking at various online clips; some focus on a horizontal Figure 8; that's nice, but not what we're discussing here. Others show a Figure 8 that starts "top to bottom"; this is sometimes called a Maya. And surprisingly, just changing the direction of how the movement is initiated makes a huge difference. For best energetic benefits, do the "classic Figure 8" - start going down-and-out, then up. And no matter what anyone tells you, try to keep your feet on the floor!)


Enough of the technical hints. The real question is: Why is this movement so important? Why is it more than just one of the many basic "belly dance techniques"?


The answer - as I shared in Unveiling: The Inner Journey - is:


She [Diane] pointed out that Oriental dance is built on a natural undulating and flowing movement that connects our entire spine, from our cranial vertebrae down to our sacrum. In addition, she helped me to sense a very subtle and naturally-embedded "figure eight" motion at the base of my spine. ... All that we are doing, as we dance, is to tap into these innate, natural rhythms, and magnify them into a dance. (pp. 410-411)


So, the Figure 8 movement in Oriental dance:

  • Taps into a subtle, naturally-occuring rhythm in our sacral area,
  • Activates the physical and energetic components, and
  • Induces a sort of "energy wave" that travels up our spines towards our heads; essentially initiating a form of cranio-sacral massage.

To the best of my knowledge, doing a physically-correct Figure 8 movement is entirely safe, given that a person has no physical or neurological conditions that would make this movement difficult. (If the reader has any doubt or questions, he or she is advised to consult a medical professional first.) Also, to the best of my knowledge, while well-done Figure 8's gently encourage both cranio-sacral release and (somehow) produce a "feel-good" effect, I don't believe that this movement alone will cause release of kundalini energy. As a reference, in yogic teachings, the kundalini energy is stored as a "coiled serpent" at the base of our spine. When we do the Figure 8, we are gently activating life-force energy, but I don't believe we'll have any danger of arousing kundalini.


The Figure 8 does, at least in my experience, seem to relate to an overall group of intrinsic motions from the cranium down to the sacral area. Healing professionals are learning to sense and work with these rhythms in a healing modality called cranio-sacral therapy. I have personally experienced cranio-sacral therapy treatments, and found them safe, gentle, peaceful, and healing.


I like to do Figure 8's in bed, because then gravity is not working on my sacral area. It is freer to move. And because this movement is gentle and relaxing, it will sometimes help me sleep easier and more restfully. And the relation to sex? Well, if we release our sacro-iliac area, and in fact mobilize our entire pelvic region (and Oriental dance movements help us with just that), then we are much more likely to have pleasure, right?


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