Shiva Nata – The Dance of Shiva
Transitions from one Asana or Vinyasa to another one are accompanied with the movements of the arms or legs. In general terms, these movements are variations of Vinyasas, as they are synchronized with the breath. But these do not form any particular group of Vinyasas, which is a functional element of the «Universal Multilevel Vinyasa Algorithm», but they comprise parts of these Vinyasa groups used when transiting from one Asana or Vinyasa to another one.
Such arm and leg movements may be done with a number of similar options. For example, if standing upright, start to bend forward with the arms raised above the head and lower the hands onto the floor. During this move, there are a minimum of three optional ways of how the arms will move: forward and down, to the sides and down, and back and down.
In addition, there are a number of special breath exercises that are accompanied by similar movements of arms or legs. The arms are associated with the chest by means of muscles, and the legs are associated with the abdominal cavity, and both participate in the breathing process. This means that breathing characteristics largely depend on the trajectory and movement characteristics of the arms and legs in breathing exercises.
Unfortunately, in many Yoga schools with many progressive technical elements and methods, these movements are performed with extreme simplicity, primitively and without exaggeration. But at the same time these movements largely determine characteristics of energy flows in peripheral channels, it is still necessary to study the main dynamic principles of the limbs and their impact on breathing characteristics. That is why it is important to introduce the nature of such movements into the practice of Yoga, and to make conscious all the movements with arms and legs made during training. This increases the effectiveness of breathing exercises by using specifically selected movements with the arms and legs.
Analyzing a theoretical model of the moving arm or leg, attached to a tentatively immovable body, we can see that these movements may be performed in one, two or three planes. Single-measured movements are performed by «directly» extending an arm or a leg. Double-measured movements are performed by their “plane” ones. And triple-measured movements occur when performing «three-dimensional» spiral movements.
In this connection, there are three groups of limb movement: linear, plane and dimensional.
Theoretically, when performing purely linear or single plane movements, the elements of the skeleton are required to be driven by a single muscle or by several parallel muscles set in the same plane as the direction of the movement. But, since the human body is constructed so as to provide movements in different directions, the limb controlling muscles are attached to the elements of the skeleton at different angles. And observing the natural dynamics of the body, one can see that almost all of its movements are effected by the operation of muscle groups rather than by individual muscles. When a particular movement takes place, the load is completely or partially transferred from one muscle to another. This is accompanied by changes in the angle of the application of the driving effort. Therefore, natural movements can rarely be purely linear or single-plane (only within a short track). Most often these occur upon the abrupt relaxation of the muscles when a particular part of the body falls freely.
To make the technique of liner or single-plane movements more sophisticated and natural, they should be complemented with specific motions that make the movement three-dimensional. So for example, linear bending (unbending) of an arm (leg) may be effected in a «whip-like» way or be rotated around its axis. And in a single-plane radial movement of an arm (leg), it can be simultaneously rotated around its axis.
Compared to linear and single-plane movements, three-dimensional spiral movements have a number of benefits and positive qualities. Firstly, these are the most natural and balanced movements. Secondly, they are performed in three planes and their trajectory consists of both linear and radial motion moments, and subsequently, this implies the ability to perform and control these movements also. Thirdly, three-dimensional spiral movements cover almost all-possible positions «within the Marginal Mobility Circle» of the arms and the legs. This allows one to control this space and link any points inside this space between themselves. Fourthly, performing such spiral movements employs all muscle groups of the arms, legs, shoulder and hip girdle, which results in powerful and comprehensive strengthening effects during training.
Since movements with the limbs include overcoming gravitation, there is a relationship between the force lines of the Earth’s gravitational field and the «inner energy flows». According to the «action equals counteraction» rule, the upward movement of the limbs against the gravitational force relates to actively overcoming energy flows. Or it is possible to say that the active component of the gravitational force is transferred to the channels of the arms and legs. And on the contrary with moving the limbs down, on the gravitational force movement, the activity of energy flows decreases. For all that the activity of gravitational force carries out the work of falling down the limbs and a passive anti-flow is filled in the energetic channels of the arms and legs.
Continuous spiral movements consist of two complete counter-directional sine curves. Therefore, performing such movements sets a series of alternating active and passive fragments of the energy flow. These energy impulses purify energy channels and balance the circulation of energy inside them.
Synchronizing spiral movements of the limbs with the breath creates a constant and intensive energy consumption from the surrounding space, translation of it through psychic-energy structure channels, and accumulation and radiation into the surrounding space.
Such spiral motions were widely used in early Buddhist practices. Initially these were the elements of the Dance of Shiva, a Yogic art which develops conscious control, coordination and the potential abilities of the body, without specialized application in life.
Later, Boddhidharma exported them to Shaolin, and on the basis of these movements applied martial art techniques were developed with the use of one’s own body and various weapons: a sword, a pole, a spear, etc. These techniques became the perfect means for developing the functional abilities of the body, increasing the organism’s energy potential, the controling and coordinating several «sectors» of various body parts at the same time.
It should be noted that having a weapon in the hands promotes an increase of density energy flowing through arm channels, and more intensively develops the strength and endurance of the fighter. But there is another side of using weapons in training: it reduces the requirements to the twisting capability of the joints.
Therefore, the Far East schools of martial arts allowed practitioners to exercise with weapons only after many years of practicing base exercises without any weapons.
Some of these exercises have become widely known today, for example «rotation of cups filled with water» which should not be spilled during radial spiral movements. In the Ancient Dance of Shiva, however, such cups contained oil and wicks, which were burning throughout the dance. And in rotating the cups no oil should be spilled, and the fire should remain burning.
This dance, performed against the background of starry skies, made an inexplicable impression…
The Dance of Shiva uses sixteen principally different basic movements and sixteen positions for two arms. And this number may be neither larger nor smaller.
The helix always has a central axis around which the rotation is effected. When rotating a cup, its upper surface and the palm should always be in the horizontal position, whereas the spiral movements should be around the vertical axis. In this event, the rotation of the cups is done simultaneously, as if in two parallel horizontal planes, and are connected by diagonal fragments of the transition movements from one such plane to another. Therefore, such spiral movements are called «horizontal».
At the same time, such horizontal rotation of the cups consists of two continuous radial movements along spiral trajectories: ascending and descending. Performing such exercises results in the integration of the upper and lower horizontal subspaces.
There are several levels for the practical learning of these movements. But, at the very beginning, it should be noted that the difference between these levels is not in physical complexity. It is in the level of control and coordination, as well as in the ability to follow a preset program for a long period of time, without being distracted. Then, faultlessly changing from one movement to another, performing them with technical perfection. But on the physical level, the complexity of these movements has little difference.
Transition from one level to another requires knowing a greater number of various combinations of these simple movements and supplementing linking movements, which correspond to improved coordination of the arms and legs. And the ability to avoid being distracted for a long time, and faultlessly follow a preset program corresponds to the increased level of controlling various positions of the arms and legs within the «Boundaries of the Marginal Circle» of their mobility.
Mastering the first level is sufficient for introducing the nature of such movements in Asana, Vinyasa sequences and breath exercises. But the first level will not be sufficient for the purposes of special development of control and coordination. Therefore, two development levels in this direction are considered below.
When analyzing the Dance of Shiva, it is required to understand from the very beginning that the word dance is applied provisionally, based solely on the external features of this phenomenon. It is necessary to imagine what happens with the energy body in the surrounding space during the spiral movements with the hands and cups. First of all, a spiral is a three-dimensional sine curve. And, as it is known from physics the movement of the energy media, e. g., electrons, along a spiral conductor creates an electromagnetic field. In this event, the electromagnetic force acts along the central axis around which the spiral movement is effected. Similar phenomena occur in the space around the human body if a man performs spiral movements with his arms or legs. In terms of physic science, such movements are accompanied with a definite movement of the life energy through the channels of the arms and legs. There are respective forces operating along the central axis, around which such spiral movements are performed, which interact with the surrounding space. The pulsating change of the ascending and descending directions of such spiral movements, with the cups being continuously rotated, causes such forces to pulsate and reverse.
Gaining experience in controlling energy flows opens many abnormal abilities. But, despite the temptation of mastering them, it is important to always remember the main purpose of this practice.
Despite the powerful energy-related effects occurring during the Dance of Shiva, these movements cannot be directly compared with Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Zong Shin, Kung Fu and other martial arts of Chinese, Vietnamese or Japanese heritage. It is important to remember that in these techniques, the main accent is made on the development of the energetic results connected with the feeling of movement and the accumulation of Power, and on the development of the strategic and technical qualities of a fighter. But in the Dance of Shiva, the main accent is made on the development of the multi-sector control of the body’s controlling structures, the increases of the speed of the controlling processes, and the forms of the new algorithms of transcendental links in the consciousness. These new links increase the power and generation of the bio-processor.
Of course, these controlling processes may be developed for special purposes through various exercises without the participation of the physical body. For example, the development of mathematical thinking, playing chess games and modern computer games leads to such narrow and lopsided development, and for some people, this narrow and one side development will possibly suffice. But the Dance of Shiva, however, allows the preservation of harmony in the developing of the body and Spirit. Since the body’s physical abilities are more easily developed than the spiritual abilities, the tasks of conscious control in the Dance of Shiva are rather simple compared to the tasks which may be required in purely «conceptual» practices. But, at the same time, these tasks correspond to the real level of the instrument (the body). Here one will never face the situation when the Spirit is ready to fly but the weak body is not even able to crawl, because there is balance between the Sky and the Earth, between the evolution of the ideal and material.