The Dance of Shiva

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A Guide to Learning, Creativity and Balance

The Dance of Shiva is a practice with many potential benefits.

The ebook (pdf/mobi/epub) explains the positions and movements Dance of Shiva and how to learn them. Optional videos can make learning the movements a little bit easier. 

Why might you want to learn and practice the Dance of Shiva? 

Create Physical Balance

Physically it offers the chance for you balance the left and right sides of your upper body. 

If you habitually tend to use one arm because of the nature of your work or sport or other activity, dance of shiva can help you to balance the sides of your upper body. 

Imbalance isn’t necessarily a bad thing but too much of it may lead to problems. 

If you are already noticing the ill effects of too much unbalanced activity, dance of shiva may help you in returning to a more even keel. It may also help to prevent excessive imbalance in the first place.

Neurological Balance?

Because the brain controls the body, balancing the sides of the body with an exercise like dance of shiva can have an effect on the brain. 

Because the movements are clearly defined and very close to the limits of most peoples range of movement, improving your ability to do the movements may create changes in the brain, particular in creating balance between the corresponding parts of the part of the brain that controls your muscles and between the corresponding parts that sense your muscles.

Another way that dance of shiva can affect the brain is that there is both an imaginary component to the dance of shiva as well as a real component. 

  • The imaginary component is the arbitrary positions and movements that make up the dance of shiva
  • The real component involves feeling and controlling your body as you actually do the movements. 

With Dance of Shiva you can practice thinking clearly (that's the "imaginary" aspect). You can also practice sensing and controlling your body in real time (the "real" component). These could be thought of as "complementary" aspects of the brain and dance of shiva can be used to exercise them both.

It's Easy To Teach Yourself

The difference between dance of shiva and other movement practices like tai ji is that each movement and position is clearly defined and easy to recognize. And because the movements and positions are so clearly defined, it’s very easy to self-teach. 

This isn’t to say that dance of shiva is a “better practice” than, say, Tai Ji, but it does lend itself particularly well to self-learning.

There is a proviso though. 

(There is Some Memory Work to Do Though!)

You have to memorize the basic positions and movements. 

And that’s actually another benefit of the dance of shiva. It gets you used to memorizing and can be used to demonstrate that memorization isn’t really that difficult. 

In addition, memorizing something like the dance of shiva builds a framework within your brain. That framework can be used to store further knowledge about the dance of shiva and in turn, helps in providing a framework for the retrieval of memories.

Get into the Flow Mind State While Learning

Yet another benefit of the dance of shiva is that the movements are very easy to break down into practice sets, and if you’ve memorized the basic positions and movements, it is very easy to practice these sets from memory. 

The benefit of practicing from memory, as opposed to practicing while looking at a book or while watching a video, is that you can focus on doing the movements instead of thinking about how to do them.

That's when you can get into the flow.

Rather than wondering which move is next, you know which move is next, and if you have problems with that movement you can focus on finding a way to do the move as easily as possible. (A Key to "Flowing" is not worrying about mistakes while you are practicing. )

Providing Yourself with a Container for Your Expression

If there aren’t problems, then you can focus on making the moves as smooth and fluid and as cool looking as possible. But instead of empty “coolness”, this will be real coolness because by being present (not thinking) while doing the moves you are expressing your true self at that moment. 

It doesn’t matter in this case if the movements are perfect, what does matter is that you are expressing yourself using the movements as a vehicle for your expression.

Creativity is...

Yet another benefit of the dance of shiva is that it teaches you how to play within a set of limits (you could think of the positions and the movements between them as "limits") so that you can be free within them.

One way to define Creativity is that it is the ability to work freely within a set of limits. 

Without limitation there is no creativity, unless you use creativity to first create the limits within which you want to play within. And that perhaps is the ultimate benefit of the dance of shiva

Even if you only understand and practice a few movements of the dance of shiva, you can benefit from that practice if you take from it the understanding and ability to create limits, and recognize them,  so that you can play within them.

The Ebook (all you really need)

The Dance of Shiva Ebook provides a look at all possible movement combinations. 

  • It includes movement maps with a picture of each arm position for a set of movements. 
  • And it includes movement tables for all movements. 

These are simple grids of sequences of movements. As you get more comfortable with the movements and positions, the tables provide a quick reference for each set of movements.

The Videos (Designed to Make Learning Easy, and Priced To Inspire You to Do the Work)

The optional videos are divided into four main parts.

Series 1 is a follow along series that includes arm and shoulder warm-ups, plus a gradual introduction to the positions and movements. The initial focus is on learning to feel particular parts of your upper body to make learning and doing the positions (and movements) easier.
Series 2 is a reference series for the positions using one arm.
Series 3 is a reference series for the movements using one arm.
Series 4 (which itself has three parts) is a series of videos that shows the me doing the movements with the movement and position designators displayed at the side.

There are a lot of videos, but they are all relatively short, generally between 1 and 5 minutes long. Videos are Mp4 format and can be streamed or downloaded.

If downloading, the VLC app is recommended for viewing on either Mac or Windows systems.

(Note movement name abreviations: F=Forward, B=Backward, T=Transquarter, C=Change, CT=ChangeTransquarter, CF=ChangeForward, CB=ChangeBackward)

Video List, series 1

  • shiva0 01 horizontal position intro with warm up
  • shiva0 01a both hands horizontal
  • shiva0 01b make spine feel long
  • shiva0 01c forearm rotations for elbow awareness
  • shiva0 02 warm up and improving left right balance
  • shiva0 03 the four vertical positions
  • shiva0 04 self-correcting
  • shiva0 05 sequencing the positions for easier practice
  • shiva0 05a repeating the first quadrant positions with elbow awareness
  • shiva0 05b practicing the other three quadrants
  • shiva0 06 The 64 positions of the dance of shiva
  • shiva0 07 dance of shiva movement goals plus giving the positions names
  • shiva0 07a one of the goals of the dance of the dance of shiva
  • shiva0 07b giving names to the positions
  • shiva0 08 forward and backward movement with one arm
  • shiva0 09 f-f with right hand 0 positions ahead
  • shiva0 10 f-f with right hand 1 positions ahead
  • shiva0 11 f-f with right hand 2 position ahead
  • shiva0 12 f-f with right hand 3 positions ahead
  • shiva0 13 b-b with right hand 0 positions ahead
  • shiva0 14 b-b with right hand 1 position ahead
  • shiva0 15 b-b with right hand 2 positions ahead
  • shiva0 16 b-b with right hand 3 positions ahead
  • shiva0 17 intro to transquarters
  • shiva0 18 some shoulder awareness exercises
  • shiva0 19 t-t with both hands horizontal
  • shiva0 20 single arm transquarter notes
  • shiva0 21 t-t with both hands vertical
  • shiva0 22 t-t with left hand horizontal
  • shiva0 23 t-t with left hand vertical
  • shiva0 24 intro to F-T and T-F movements
  • shiva0 25 F-T q1
  • shiva0 26 F-T q2
  • shiva0 27 F-T q3
  • shiva0 28 F-T q4
  • shiva0 29 F-T and T-F note while balancing on one foot
  • shiva0 30 T-F q1
  • shiva0 31 T-F q2
  • shiva0 32 T-F q3
  • shiva0 33 T-F q4
  • shiva0 34 Some shoulder warm up combinations
  • shiva0 35 Introduction to the Change movement and combining it with the Forward move
  • shiva0 35a on learning to self check
  • shiva0 35b change with one arm alt
  • shiva0 36 The Change movement using one arm
  • shiva0 37 F-C q1
  • shiva0 38 F-C q2
  • shiva0 39 F-C q3
  • shiva0 40 F-C q4
  • shiva0 41 some simple tips for learning
  • shiva0 42 a note on movement combinations in the context of the dance of shiva
  • shiva0 43 C-F q1
  • shiva0 44 C-F q2
  • shiva0 45 C-F q3
  • shiva0 46 C-F q4
  • shiva0 47 intro to C-C and CT-CT
  • shiva0 48 C-C q1 and q2
  • shiva0 49 C-C q3 and q4
  • shiva0 50 using transverse abdominis for better left right balance
  • shiva0 51 CT-CT q1 and q2
  • shiva0 52 CT-CT q3 and q4

Video list, series 2 and 3

  • shiva1pos 01 horizontals f
  • shiva1pos 02 verticals f
  • shiva1pos 03 horizontals b
  • shiva1pos 04 verticals b
  • shiva1pos 05 horizontals t
  • shiva1pos 06 verticals t
  • shiva1pos 07 horizontal s c
  • shiva1pos 08 horizontal s ct
  • shiva1pos 09 horizontal s cf
  • shiva1pos 10 horizontal s cb
  • shiva2mov 1 arm h, 01 f
  • shiva2mov 1 arm h, 02 b
  • shiva2mov 1 arm h, 03 cf
  • shiva2mov 1 arm h, 04 cb
  • shiva2mov 1 arm h, 05 t
  • shiva2mov 1 arm h, 06 c
  • shiva2mov 1 arm h, 07 ct
  • shiva2mov 1 arm v, 08 f
  • shiva2mov 1 arm v, 09 b
  • shiva2mov 1 arm v, 10 cf
  • shiva2mov 1 arm v, 11 cb
  • shiva2mov 1 arm v, 12 t
  • shiva2mov 1 arm v, 13 c
  • shiva2mov 1 arm v, 14 ct

Video list, series 4

  • shiva3mc 1 3a cFcF Q1
  • shiva3mc 1 1a FF Q1
  • shiva3mc 1 1b BB Q1
  • shiva3mc 1 1c FF Q2
  • shiva3mc 1 1d BB Q2
  • shiva3mc 1 2a FB Q1
  • shiva3mc 1 2b BF Q1
  • shiva3mc 1 2c FB Q2
  • shiva3mc 1 2d BF Q2
  • shiva3mc 1 3b Cb CB Q1
  • shiva3mc 1 3c cFcF Q2
  • shiva3mc 1 3d cBcB Q2
  • shiva3mc 1 4a cFcB Q1
  • shiva3mc 1 4b Cb CF Q1
  • shiva3mc 1 4c cFcB Q2
  • shiva3mc 1 4d cBcF Q2
  • shiva3mc 2 1a FcF Q1
  • shiva3mc 2 1b cFF Q1
  • shiva3mc 2 1c FcF Q2
  • shiva3mc 2 1d cFF Q2
  • shiva3mc 2 2a BcB Q1
  • shiva3mc 2 2b cBB Q1
  • shiva3mc 2 2c BcB Q2
  • shiva3mc 2 2d cBB Q2
  • shiva3mc 2 3a FcB Q1
  • shiva3mc 2 3b cBF Q1
  • shiva3mc 2 3c FcB Q2
  • shiva3mc 2 3d cBF Q2
  • shiva3mc 2 4a BcF Q1
  • shiva3mc 2 4b cFB Q1
  • shiva3mc 2 4c BcF Q2
  • shiva3mc 2 4d cFB Q2
  • shiva3mc 3 1a FT Q1
  • shiva3mc 3 1b BT Q1
  • shiva3mc 3 1c FT Q2
  • shiva3mc 3 1d BT Q2
  • shiva3mc 3 2a TF Q1
  • shiva3mc 3 2b TB Q1
  • shiva3mc 3 2c TF Q2
  • shiva3mc 3 2d TB Q2
  • shiva3mc 3 3a cFcT Q1
  • shiva3mc 3 3b cBcT Q1
  • shiva3mc 3 3c cFcT Q2
  • shiva3mc 3 3d cBcT Q2
  • shiva3mc 3 4a cTcF Q1
  • shiva3mc 3 4b cTcB Q1
  • shiva3mc 3 4c cTcF Q2
  • shiva3mc 3 4d cTcB Q2
  • shiva3mc 3 5a cFc Q1
  • shiva3mc 3 5b cBc Q1
  • shiva3mc 3 5c cFc Q2
  • shiva3mc 3 5d cBc Q2
  • shiva3mc 3 6a ccF Q1
  • shiva3mc 3 6b ccB Q1
  • shiva3mc 3 6c ccF Q2
  • shiva3mc 3 6d ccB Q2

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