The Song of the Body:
Global Physical Expressions
Toward the Sacred
Sara K. Schneider
this experiential workshop, we inquire with our bodies, as well as our
minds, into ancient practices designed to bring about a sense of
surrender and to promote insight or an experience of the divine.
Beginning with practices of
surrendering to the Other, we try on bowing as it may be executed in
the secular Japanese context, and foot washing as a Christian practice
of hospitality and humility. With our feet, we study pilgrimage,
comparing our own experience with that of the Muslim hajj to Mecca. We
conclude with a playful contemporary dance-drama that we create,
re-interpreting the mirthful and fun-poking medieval Dances of Death,
invoking yet another type of surrender, this one to our own sense of
the myriad ways one can whimsically play with or mischievously trick,
tango with or seduce death. Additional exercises drawn from global
spiritual traditions are also explored actively.
In the process, we find that the
experience of surrender is one not of terror but of considerable joy,
not of heaviness but rather of fleetness of heart as well as foot.
In all cases, we connect these
culturally embedded practices with the ways in which, in contemporary
Western culture, we may surrender, both physically and in other ways,
to others, ourselves, and a sense of the divine. Journaling and
thorough debriefing allow participants to integrate their experience
within their home spiritual practices. Movement is gentle and easily
adapted; participants of all physical abilities are welcome.
anthropologist, professor, and author of three books on body and
identity, as well as the monthly e-zine Skin in the Game, directs the
Center for Bodylore and Learning, linking public
education about global cultures with the professional development of
teachers, healthcare professionals, and clergy. She can be reached at
Cost for weekend workshops at Esalen includes tuition, lodging,
and meals, as well as movement classes during one's stay.
The cost depends on accommodation type; "standard" accommodation for
the weekend workshop, for example, costs $670;
more economical options are also available.
Please contact Sara at
firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
or to schedule workshops at your retreat or conference center.
materials © Sara K. Schneider 2012