The Benefits of The Dance of Shiva
Three possible benefits of practicing dance of shiva include:
- balancing and strengthening the shoulders and arms,
- learning to learn,
- and boosting your creativity.
Strengthening and Balancing the Shoulders and Arms
Physically, dance of shiva uses 8 positions for each arm. These positions strengthen the wrists and shoulders near their ends of range of movement. The movements between the positions further strengthen them.
Because the positions (and movements) are clearly defined, doing them it is easy to detect imbalances between the arms. You can then work towards balancing them.
In this age of smarter devices and the possible advent of AI, learning to learn is more important than ever. (At least that's what I think.)
Dance of shiva is made up of clearly defined positions that in turn define the movements that connect them. It is thus easy to break down dance of shiva into smaller elements, and it is also easy to recombine movements into larger elements. In terms of learning, the ability to break down dance of shiva and practice little bits at a time is something that we can apply to anything that we want to learn.
One aspect of learning effectively is that you can practice small enough chunks of dance of shiva movements. The idea is to make the chunks small enough that you don't have to think while practicing. You practice till a movement is learned, then you learn the next bit, then you glue the bits you've practiced together. In this way you not only learn the movements, you practice flowing (not thinking while doing) at the same time.
Applying this to learning other things one aspect is learning to create clear definitions so that then you can not only break what you are learning into smaller bits, you can then practice small bits at a time. But make the bit small enough that you don't have to think while practicing. There may be problems in the chunk you are practicing, but because the chunk is so small you can focus on that single problem.
Becoming More Creative
Creativity is another idea that Dance of Shiva can help with. It started with smooth spiral movements. You could do these movements in a forwards or backwards direction. But by breaking each spiral into four positions each, there is now the possibility of joining points that would otherwise have been missed. The idea of breaking things down into elements creates possibility. It creates.
While practicing dance of shiva, you might start of with forward and backward moves. After a while you exhaust the possibilities. so what is next? You then learn transquarters, joining non-adjacent positions.
Simply put, by creating clearly defined positions the possibility of new movements is created. To create new movements either add more positions or change the positions you are using.
My Own Experiences
I find myself in my own yoga practice and in my classes constantly coming up with new ways to do the same exercises just because of this idea of clearly defining actions and then choosing how I combine them. And that came from the dance of shiva and practicing different movements and combinations of movements from different clearly defined positions.
As for the idea of breaking things down to learn them, I actually picked that up from learning to paint Chinese characters. However, Dance of Shiva is important in this regard because you don't have to be interested in painting Chinese characters in order to practice breaking things down. Dance of Shiva provides an easy to learn context so that you can practice breaking things down.
Basic Cyclic Combinations
Dance of Shiva Cyclic movements have to be repeated four times in order to return to the start. Cyclic movements with one arm include: Forward, Backward, changeForward and changeBackward (F, B, cF, cB).
This set of videos includes basic combinations of these movements: F-F, B-B, F-B, B-F, cF-cF, cB-cB, cF-cB, cB-cF.
It includes 16 videos of 2 minutes or less, each one focusing on one of these movements.
Here's a preview.