The SpiritANML Workshop, Saturday July 5th 2014
Hosts: Ellie + Cloudy
What an amazing evening that was! After a year of conceptualizing and imagining and putting together ideas, we finally took SpiritANML from just a dream to something real and made it into an interactive gathering that left people blissed out and creative. Fusing ecstatic dance, embodying the animal spirit, meditating and chanting left people in a blissful flow that we hope ripples into other areas of their lives. Creativity is making something from nothing, so it was not only amazing to let our ideas out in conceptualizing and then making this workshop, but seeing the effect it had on people, the looks on their faces and the movements that only they can come up with being on full display for all to see and be inspired by.
For me it’s nothing short of a miracle to to see people come out of their shell, leaving their self-judgement and shyness behind. This past Saturday night, we didn’t need a drink to get us dancing, we just needed to walk in the door. Every inhale we took as a group breathed life into new ideas and set free the mind, body and soul.
The evening’s exercises started with a slow and deep Kundalini Kriya for Creativity delivered by Ellie. Set to spacey ambient electronic tunes of artists like Stellardone, we journeyed to a deep part of ourselves, heightening our intuition through a series of colorful and serene postures. We activated the “Creative Trinity of Chakras” - heart, throat, and third eye, or as Ellie calls it, the “passion, expression, and vision” points that are the major energetic centres of creativity.
After a deep relaxation with a beautiful track by Hammock, the pace started to pick up as we moved on into the next phase of the workshop - animal ecstatic dance. If you observe nature, animals don’t have the same filters and blocks to creativity that us humans do. They are unreserved, not caught up with superficial priorities or what others think of them and are in tune with their raw, primal, intuitive and creative essence. We emphasized that creativity is not only art - it can include coming up with new and creative ways for dealing with things in your life. When an animal’s environment changes, they change with it, intuitively and creatively. So we began to dance our way through the animal kingdom, one by one, calling upon the spirits and mimicking the moves of different animals. After a good soar, hop, and howl and swim, we set off one of my all-time favorite activities of the evening: the SpiritANML dance off. Through a deep guided meditation, we helped each person find their spirit animal and two at a time, they dove into the middle of the circle and battled out with their best animal dance moves, testing strength, style or mind power. With almost every pair we had the most bizzare and unique match-up, like eagle and eancing dragon. It almost resembled Brazilian capoeira and it was inspiring to see the creativity and interaction that was born out of this dynamic exercise.
We then paid tribute to the last animal on the list - the human. Not the civilized kind, but the kind that is unfiltered, unbound and fully unleashed. Playing with the human form with abstract and freeform dance moves, we showed passion through and compassion for our hands, feet, ribs, skin, and every single intelligent cell that makes up who and what we are.
What came next was a kind of spontaneous exercise. Since we spent most of the ecstatic dance portion vocalizing calls from the animal kingdom, it came turn for the “call of the human”. We lay on our backs in a circle to relax from the sweaty, messy primal dance jam and one by one, began to add a layer of sound using our bodies. Whether it was singing or chanting or making beats by rhythmically stomping or banging hands and feet on the ground, everyone had something creative to contribute, layering the song with our personal touch one by one as we went through our circle. Only one word can describe it: empowering. Each one of us on our own may be good, great, or just average at making music, but with every person adding something big or small to the mix, the joint effort made a physical human orchestra.
This marks the first, but definitely not the last of our anticipated ongoing project to unite the worlds of art and yoga. We need to be expressive, we need to be free and as Osho wisely said, those who are creative are closest to God.