Dance of Shiva Movement Lessons
Now that you've learned the basic Dance of Shiva positions, you can next learn the basic dance of shiva movements.
I'm going to teach the movements using both arms at the same time. However, you can always break them down and do them one arm at a time.
Cyclic Dance of Shiva Movements
The first four Dance of Shiva movement pairs are all cyclic. You could think of them like the four seasons. When repeated each of these movements "cycles" the arms through four different positions.
Before I go further, I'll define a Dance of Shiva movement.
- A single dance of shiva movement joins any two positions.
- A series of movements takes the arms through a series of positions.
The most basic of movements is the Forward-Forward movement. (If only using one arm then it is simply the Forward movement.)
Repeat this movement four times and it takes you through four different positions.
For the Forward-Forward Dance of Shiva movements there are two series.
- The first one includes movements that connect positions where both hands are horizontal.
- The second series of movements connect positions where both hands are vertical.
Forward Forward Dance of Shiva Movements, Series 1
Stand with your hands by your sides.
- Feet are parallel, hip or shoulder width apart and parallel.
- Knees can be slighty bent.
- Have your weight even on both feet.
- Pull your head back and up to lengthen your neck. At the same time allow your chest to lift and open.
1-1 to 2-2
The first Dance of Shiva F-F movement joins 1-1 to 2-2.
Start by moving the hands to position 1-1 (as learned in the position practice.)
- From 1-1, spread your shoulder blades even wider. Use that movement to begin moving your arms forwards.
Keep your palms facing upwards.
- As you arms move forwards, gradually lower your forearms so that when they are horizontal at the same time as they are pointing forwards.
- From this position, gradually draw your elbows out to the sides and move your hands towards your belly.
- Allow your shoulder blades to move inwards a tiny bit. The feeling is like your elbows are sliding outwards along a wall behind you.
Finish with your elbows pointing outwards. The hands end up in position 2-2, fingers pointing inwards.
Repeat this a few times while focusing on feeling your shoulders, then elbows then wrists and hands.
Keep your ribcage open.
2-2 to 3-3
The next Dance of Shiva F-F movement joins position 2-2 to 3-3.
From the resting position move your hands to position 2-2.
- From position 2-2, move the top of your shoulder forwards and down so that your shoulder feel like its rolling forwards. Use this action to turn the arms so that your hands and fingers point back. "Wipe" your fingers across the corners of your waist. So that your fingers end up pointing rearwards
- Move your elbows outwards so that you can clear your waist without having to bend wrists or fingers.
Keep your palms facing upwards.
- Move the fronts of your shoulders downwards even more as you swing your forearms out to the sides.
- To complete the movement, roll the front of your shoulders inwards as well as downwards. But keep your chest open as much as possible.
- Make your fingers feel long.
Optionally you can straighten your elbows in position 3-3. But keep your palms facing upwards and your fingers pointing outwards.
(For more on the muscle control required for this Dance of Shiva movement, read about the pectoralis minor.)
Relax and then repeat.
2-2 to Modified 3-3
In the modified dance of shiva 3-3 position, the elbows are straight. This can affect how you move from 2-2 to 3-3.
The steps for moving from 2-2 to modifiend 3-3 are:
Move shoulders forwards
Rotate forearms so that fingers point backwards.
3-3 to 4-4
For the Dance of Shiva movement from 3-3 to 4-4, it is very difficult to keep your palms facing upwards. So I'm going to suggest a slightly improvised move. Rather than trying to keep your palms facing upwards, you can allow your palms to face slightly outwards and upwards for most of this movement.
From position 3-3 gradually straighten your wrists and turn your forearms so that your palms face slightly backwards. As you swing your arms forwards and upwards your palms will face outwards and slightly upwards.
- Move the upper part of your shoulder back. Spread your shoulder blades. At the same time allow your arms to swing forwards and inwards and upwards.
- As your arms come in front of your shoulders, turn your palms so that they face outwards and upwards.
- Keep your shoulder blades spread and lift them as you lift your arms in front of your face.
- As you lift your arms over your head, turn your palms so that they face upwards and your fingers face inwards.
Point your elbows out to the sides as you arrive in position 4-4.
Rest and then repeat.
4-4 to 1-1
The Dance of Shiva movement from 4-4 to 1-1 is relatively simple.
- Starting with your hands in position 4-4, rotate your forearms so that your fingers point backwards and then out to the sides.
Keep your palms facing upwards as you do so.
Practice these shivanata movements individually to begin with.
Then add the movements together; first in pairs, then triples, then practice them as a series starting from each position in turn.
Neil Keleher is a Systems Design Engineer with a bachelor's degree from the University of Waterloo.
He has taught yoga for over 22 years. He specializes in anatomy related to proprioception and movement.
He illustrates his own anatomy articles.
His classes focus on improving body awareness while at the same time building strength, stability and flexibility.