Recircling II: The Subtel Body | Research

With the support of the GVL scholarship, I conducted theoretical and practical artistic research on the topic of subtle energy. The research serves as a preparation for the future dance production – "Recircling II: The Subtle Body", which will follow the piece "Recircling" which investigates the notion of energy from the perspective of physics.

My inquiry into yoga, both on theoretical and practical levels, is at the core of this research. In order to dive deeper into the subject matter, I entered a yoga teachers’ training programme and will certify as a teacher in May 2022. In the first block of the training I have already gained important insights into the energetic anatomy of the body. According to the yogic tradition, the energetic system of the human body consists of the following elements:

Chakras are so-called energy wheels that initiate and regulate the flow of energy in the body. There are seven chakras located along the spine that regulate energy in the corresponding regions of the body. If a chakra is blocked, disease can result from the energetic blockage.

Nadis are energy channels that carry energy through the body. The central Nadi, called sushuma, which goes from the pelvic floor to the crown of the head, forms the central energy channel along the spine. Pingala Nadi runs to the right of Sushuma Nadi and ends in the right nostril. This nadi is associated with the male energy. Ida Nadi, which runs along the left side of the spine, represents the female energy and is connected to the parasympathetic nervous system.

In general, there are approximately 72,000 other nadis that permeate the body and supply it with the subtle energy.

Prana & Kundalini

Prana in the yogic tradition means “life energy” or life “force”. Interestingly, it also means breath, basically equating breath with energy. Prana is said to be flowing through the Nadis and regulated by the Chakras.

Kundalini is another type of energy which is said to be based in the pelvic area. It stays dormant until it is activated through certain practices, or a spontaneous awakening event. Kundalini is described as divine feminin energy, which, when activated, moves up the spine through the central Nadi, culminating in the crown chakra in the top of the head – the moment of awakening.

Choreographic Inquiry

One of the goals of yoga is to consciously control and balance the body's energy circulation through certain positions (Asanas), breathing exercises (Pranayama), energy locks (Bandhas), and certain hand postures (Mudras). The intention of “Recircling II: The Subtle Body” is to explore these techniques through the lens of choreography.

  1. Asanas Exploration

The first task is to explore the Asanas by treating them as dance vocabulary, experimenting with various movement dimensions and compositional tools. Here are some instructions for an improvisation session:

  • Start by practicing the sun salutation sequence on the spot. Repeat it five times, gradually increasing the speed of the repetitions to get warm.

  • After the 5th repetition, start playing with the spatial dimension of your movement: you can change your orientation, use the movement to move in space.

  • Experiment with the temporal dimension: you can execute the movements either very fast, or very slow, or anywhere in-between.

  • Start adding other Asanas to your vocabulary and try to combine the movement in a flow.

  • Pay attention to your breath. Amplify the movement that is produced while you are breathing.

  • You can start changing the form of the asanas, deconstructing them, searching for new forms.

  • Play with repetitions and loops of movements and movement sequences.

  • Open your focus to the space and start relating to other dancers: mimic, contrast, lead, or follow.

  1. Exploring the energetic states

Another way to explore the subtle energies would be by tuning into the energetic frequencies of the seven chakras and observing the states and intuitive movements that will arise. The chakras are said to have different frequencies, each of which has a corresponding color and sound on a physical plane. For this exploration the space will be transformed by the light of different colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Each color will symbolize a phase in exploration dedicated to a certain chakra:

  • Red: root chakra.

“Visualize the root chakra at the end of your spine. Start humming, feeling the vibration of your voice and send the sound to your pelvic area. Let the color of the light in the space affect you. What movement arises in you? In your legs, in your pelvic area? How does it affect your whole body? When you observe yourself move in a new and interesting way, try to repeat it and remember the pattern. What energetic and emotional states arise while you are doing it?”

  • Orange: sacral chakra

“Visualize the sacral chakra, bringing your attention to your lower belly. Continue humming, sending the vibration a bit higher this time. Let the orange light penetrate your skin and influence your state, your movement. What movement arises in your belly? How does it translate into the whole body? What energetic and emotional state arise while you are doing it?”

  • Yellow: solar plexus chakra

“Visualize your solar plexus chakra, bringing your attention to your belly, just beneath your ribs. Continue humming, sending the vibration to that region of your body. Let the yellow light penetrate your skin and influence your state, your movement. Start initiating your movement from your solar plexus. What movement arises in your body? What energetic and emotional state arises ?”

  • Green: heart chakra

“Visualize your heart chakra, bringing your attention to your ribcage and to your heart. Send the vibration of your voice to your heart region. What vowel is corresponding with the heart chakra frequency? Let the green light penetrate your skin and influence your state, your movement. How does it make you want to move? How does it make you feel? What is your energy level?

  • Blue: throat chakra

“Bring your awareness to your throat and imagine the blue wheel of the throat chakra there. As the sound originates in your throat, how does it transform as you move your conscious awareness there? How does the blue light affect your mood and energy? How do you move in this state?

  • Indigo: third-eye chakra

“Visualize the spot between your eye-brows, bringing your attention there. Continue humming, sending the vibration of the sound to your forehead. Initiate your movement from that area. How did your sound change in response to the change in the light? What movement arises in your body? How does your energetic and emotional state shift?

  • Violet: crown chakra

“Visualize the crown chakra at the top of your head and let the violet light enter your system. How does it make you feel? How does it make you move? Send the sound and the vibration you produce to that area. What kind of movement manifest? What kind of state?