Review - Shamanism at the Dome

7th March 2009

(Other reviews)

Teacher: Biljana Lipic

Class Date Weds 25th Feb 2009

Class Type Intermediates

Location: Boston Pub (upstairs), Dartmouth Park Hill, Tufnell Park, London (map)

The honesty bit

The class was busy as normal, and the guest-teacher, Biljana (regular Teachers, Hiba and Rene are currently away in Buenos Aires) had us stand in a large semi-circle.

After the formal introductory speech, on who, why, where, when, she began the class by asking every individual to introduce themselves and let everyone know "how they were feeling". Strange I thought, and looking round, most were taken aback by her style.

She was not accepting the 'formal' "Fine Thank-You", but after what we really 'felt' like, be it mentally or emotionally.

After 5 minutes or so, everyone was keeping it real and the responses diverse from one extreme to another "Nervous", "Excited", "Angry", "Overwhelmed", "Tired", "In Love", etc, etc. We all played the game, (honesty) and it felt great.

Knowing Me, Knowing You - Aha

After the individual introductory session, she later explained that it is essential to go through the exercise of 'confronting' how you are feeling to enable you to achieve several aspects or attributes desirable to have in AT:

  1. Get into the present - Get into your space. The 'stuff' or emotions we identified are in fact in the "present" and not floating in an outer space.
  2. Focus on the now, know yourself:
  3. Be aware of your surroundings
  4. Be consciously aware of your partner (whilst maintaining your awareness)

Thus, confronting you, what your feelings are, is better than running away or escaping from it. In hindsight, a bit like a scene from an AA meeting, if anything, sharing with "strangers" personal feelings, was a good ice-breaker.

Going Back to Basics

The second part of the 'warm-up' involved fundamental AT ideas.

  • Walking: As we stood, nervously as to what we might be asked to do next, we were encouraged to think about the floor "until you 'feel' the connection between the floor and your feet". For best results i.e. firm ground contact requires one to remember about "being in the present" and reaching in to one's inner self, mood, emotions.
  • Our Axis: Soon after this, we created figures of eight, swaying hips gently and easily the other basic principles were soon in play. Well, speaking for myself, my axis was clear, my bottom gravitated towards the floor (naturally I might add) and dissociation was happening without thought.

It all felt 'natural' and good. Biljana's aid - some imagination required here

  • Your hips are a bucket containing water
  • As you sway from side to side, the water is swirling around, and as it does, the centre is visible and clear. The centre is representational of your 'axis'
  • Try keep the water in the bucket - no spillages please!

Well, it was certainly entertaining! I could have sworn I heard murmurs in the room, mimicking the 'water' swirling around in the buckets! Guess people just got well into the zone eh.

The routine lasted close to half an hour I'd have thought, but it was well worth it. It may have been just me, but that mood of the class was different, and I am convinced this was created by the transparency and vulnerability of everyone in the room.

More information:

- Betty Smith, 7th March 2009

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