So I taught four Shiva Nata workshops this week.
Doing Shiva Nata at Rally is always entertaining, especially the first class.
That’s because we typically see a huge range of familiarity with the practice, from people who have never done it and have no idea what it is to people who teach it regularly. And everything in between.
At this particular Rally we had six Shiva Nata teachers alongside total beginners. People who practice with the DVD but never done it with me, which is very different, and then people who have only practiced with me. And a mathematician. Yay!
Anyway, my job is to make sure that everyone gets thoroughly and deliciously scrambled, and that we all have crazy fun doing it. Or at least that we meet our experience with sweet presence, to the best of our abilities.
Here’s what class looked like this week.
To provide extra mind-meltingness for people who already know what they’re doing, I taught the positions completely out of order.
And I didn’t give any numbers as reference points. Instead, I asked them to come up with words that described the things they wanted to feel at Rally.
The words they came up with were as follows:
- Glee (vertical 3)
- Safety (vertical 2)
- Strength (horizontal 3)
- Curiosity (horizontal 1)
- Excitement (vertical 4)
- Effortlessness (horizontal 2)
- Belonging (vertical 1)
- Passion (horizontal 4)
Next I taught them about sequences: what it means to move sequentially forward and backward to create a spiral loop. And how you can start that sequence from any of the four points.
Then we did all CONNECTION SETS between horizontals and verticals and vice versa, but impossibly ridiculously fast. It sounded kind of like this, but imagine Alvin and the Chipmunks because that’s how fast we were doing it:
I’m curious about belonging! I’m curious about safety! I’m curious about Glee, because I have no idea what happened in the last episode! Being curious is exciting!
Effortless belonging, effortless safety, effortlessness makes me gleeful, I’m effortlessly excited! Strength in belonging! Get stronger through safety! Strengthen your glee! The strength of excitement! I’m passionate about belonging, passionate safety, passion and glee, and passionately excited…
I belong in my curiosity, I belong effortlessly, I belong to my strengths, I find belonging in passion! I feel safe when I’m curious, I find safety in effortlessness, I am safe and strong, yay safety and passion!
Gleeful curiosity, being gleeful is effortless, glee is my strength, glee and passion! I’m excited about being curious, there’s excitement that can be effortless, get excited about how strong you’re getting, excitement leads to passion!
Then when we stopped giggling, we put it all together and did some sequences. I let them invent starting positions. Also we danced to Cake, and I may have improvised and thrown in some other levels for extra brain-breaky power.
And then we shavasana-ed with intention.
Wednesday we came up with new words!
To replace the old ones, and undo those patterns.
This time the category was nouns or verbs that describe things you might find or do at Rally.
And once I was positive that they’d erased the old words, we brought the old words back and combined them.
But we also added NUMBERS. But with a switch! Instead of the horizontals being 1-4 and the verticals 5-8, we reversed it!!!
I am so nefarious! They were so delighted/mad! It was so great!
All of our heads broke a dozen times. Also we pretended that we were the Count from Sesame Street.
Von Clew of Belonging!
Two Safe Buttmonsters!
Three Gleeful Cabooses! Cabeese? Sadly, no.
And Four Wheels of Excitement!
Five Curious Bubbles!
Six Effortless Movements! Just like in a sun salutation!
The Seven Strengths of Selma.
Eight Passionate Naps! Ah! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Haaaaaaa!
Then we did a bunch of math.
Because of the number-switch, if you take what would normally be 2:5, it becomes 6:1 instead. Which is ALREADY confusing enough.
But then we gave that number FOUR different names — calling it 6:1, 61, 6 and 7.
Can you guess why?
And then we did some Flip-its. I have to say, it was pretty brutal. By which I mean we were all thoroughly bewildered by the end and also everyone had about seven hundred epiphanies that day.
They were really good sports. Sparklepoints to all of them!
Oh and of course we danced to the sexy robot song, because it’s a Rally tradition and we couldn’t not follow tradition.
Thursday. Class #1.
I taught this class in a pig hat. That’s a story for another time.
We sang a sea shantey while doing Level 1 verticals and then horizontals, at a fairly moderate clip. What most people would call “fast“.
Then we did Level 1 to a recording of a much faster version of the same sea shantey.
Then we did Level 2 to an INSANELY fast recording until our brains fell off.
Then we did freeform Zombie Shiva Nata, which involves being fierce and unpredictably growling, roaring, stumbling and scaring. It’s harder than it sounds. We’ll do it at Shivanauticon, I promise.
Then a long shavasana which felt like zzzzzzzzz-flatline-no-thoughts-emptiness, and then we did a bunch of stone skipping and went back to playing.
Thursday. Class #2.
Shiva Nata with my Guns N Rollers. I can’t even tell you how much I love training skaters.
They wanted to do colors, so we did, starting with the verticals and then the horizontals. They got to choose/invent any colors they wanted.
V: purple, black, pink, orange
H: turquoise, yellow, white, red.
We reviewed theory. We reviewed legs. In motion, of course. We tried to imagine pulses of color with each position. We played with using color in our imaginary force fields.
Then, just to make it harder, we added numbers to the colors. But we did it the way you would in roller derby.
When a ref calls you out for a penalty, it’s by color of uniform and then number. Black 2! Red Eight! Red Eight is Cadillac. See?
Like that. A little Level 1, a little Level 2.
Then we did it to the Clash.
Then we did it super slow to sloooow music, with legs high and lots of core work, and they had to think of ONE color each time we cycled through it.
And then I let them collapse in a heap and we did some resting and a bunch of stretching, and it was beautiful.
I figure even if we only erase one mental block each time, by the end of the season they are still going to be ROCKING IT. That’s the plan. Go GNR!
I mean, it’s not even slightly it.
I didn’t get a chance to go into how we challenged ourselves and made it harder.
Or how much we laughed.
Or how many incredible realizations we had and how many patterns got rewritten.
But it was a fun week. Extra-scrambly!
Are you mixing it up? Good. MIX. IT. UP.
Blowing kisses to all the shivanauts. Happy flails.