For the past few years now i’ve been assisting in the Shake Your Soul® teacher trainings and as the most recent training is coming to an end and future teachers are trying to grapple with how to teach this method a discussion about the uniqueness of this modality emerges and I’m reminded by Dan* of some old understandings that I wanted to share with you. The difference between Shake Your Soul® and any other movement form is not just in how students experience the class but also in how the teacher experiences it. In fact it is the teacher allowing herself to be a certain way that makes it possible for the students to experience the deeper healing benefits of Shake Your Soul®. So what is “that way”? When teaching in general there is an expectation that the teacher will put her own needs aside, come out of herself and project her energy in order to “take care” of her students’ needs. In teaching Shake Your Soul® I get to ground myself in my own experience, I get to be me with my own truth. I’m not required to leave any part of myself behind whether it’s what I’m brining with me to class, what I’m feeling at the moment or my own inner dance. The way it manifests itself physically for example is that my visual attention is seldom focused on my students. This kind of soft gaze helps strengthen the skill of being separate and connected at the same time. I do not feel that I’m abandoning my students but rather making more space for them to have more of themselves. I’m modeling an example of self care that is very rarely found in our socialization process and I’m bringing forth the idea that you don’t need to completely disconnect from yourself in order to be with others. It’s very important for me to be able to master this ability to honor my needs and my experience while I teach and I don’t think that it would have been possible for me to have kept going for as long as I have if the experience of teaching wasn’t as healing and gratifying as it is for the students.
*Dan Leven, founder and creator of Shake Your Soul®