Contact Improv and Vipassana

The following is transcribed from B.K.S. Iyengar. It describes the level of awareness one should cultivate in their yoga. It describes my experience with practising vipassana. On the rare occasions that I can maintain this awareness while dancing, the dancing is most rewarding, soft, subtle, fast but gentle.

Starting on page 28 of  “Light on Life”: Awareness: Every Pore of the Skin Has to Become and Eye.

“We think of intelligence and perception as taking place exclusively in our brains, but yoga teaches us that awareness and intelligence must permeate the body. Each part of he body literally has to be engulfed by intelligence. We must create a marriage between the awareness of the body and that of the mind. When the two parties do not cooperate, there is unhappiness on both sides….We are developing such an intense sensitivity that each pore of the skin acts as an inner eye. We become sensitive to the interface between skin and flesh. In this way, our awareness is diffused throughout the periphery of our body and is able to sense whether in a particular asana our body is in alignment….This is different than seeing with your normal eyes. Instead you are feeling, you are sensing the position of your body…This is how you begin to bring awareness to your body and fuse the intelligence of brain and brawn.”

Iyengar goes on to talk about, “Relaxation means release of unnecessary muscular tension in your body, which also allows firmness of the inner body and serenity in the mind….We will return to the subject of pain later and discuss how one can come to see it with equanimity, firmness, and serenity.”

S.N.Goenka talks extensively about these concepts during the 10-day vipassana retreat. As does Wilhelm Reich in his words, “Tension masks sensation.” S.N.Goenka puts it another way, “If you do not feel sensation everywhere then you are not remaining equanimous.”

How you get there is your business. So long as you are cultivating awareness and equanimity, you are practising vipassana. This is the core of Contact Improv that distinguishes it from any other dance form. It is movement from a place of authenticity, acting not reacting, remaining aware and relaxed.

This is the work that we do at Leviathan Studio. With respect for this work you are asked to leave your other healing practices, crystals, energy work, chi kung behind. We like the energy in our home the way it is and are not interested in your desire to change it. Please ask for permission to engage in these other modalities or take outside of the studio.