Updated: Jan 8
A blog about how I have integrated Whirling as part of my personal practice.
I always have loved the mystic and connecting movement as the physical manifestation of divinity, and so when my daughter was 8 months old and began whirling before she could walk, it was something I took notice to.She would use the end table to bring her self to standing let her head to fall to one side and turn Counter clock wise, for longer and longer each time. I left her and she turned for an entire children's album... the album was 38 minutes.....
I started teaching what I had learned and more importantly, what I had experienced spending hours and hours in a personal vortex in 2016. My primary 'technique" watching my baby-todler, babies and children aren't worried if they are doing anything "right" or "wrong" as we adults do. and I still use that body position in my technique today
Being very sensitive to Cultural responsibility I wanted to look in to my Egyptian Culture for their Mystic trance practices specifically rather than Turkish Sufi lineage....the most famous Sufi Whirlers of the Meldevi Order, followers of Rumi. (all though I recently learned I have some Turkish ancestors!!)The Egyptian Tannoura practices were still rooted in devotional Islam but they had another extension of it.The Tanoura dance or spectacle is a mystic, Sufi, folkloric Egyptian type of dancing. I was lucky enough to see the Tannoura Troup of Cairo perform Live in November 2019 and that also influenced my personal practice. It must also be remembered that Sufi practices originate from Islam, it is a gesture BEYOND the 5 pillars of Islam. A physicalization of their faith in a way... I hope to be able to communicate some thoughts of this soon, thoughts on the elements of religions vs spirituality . I am currently and luckily enrolled in St.Mary's University course Introduction to Sufism, taught by Dr. Syed Adnan Hussein.
Whirling became an element of my consistent physical practice, I would try different stepping patterns I had found online or in classes I had taken...or start my warm up with a Whirl. As I continued to study and research..... I found that it is Exercise #1 of the Tibetan Rights.....Check out the link and health benefits HERE
....... Now, about 12 years has passed and I can confirm through my own experiences that Whirling is not only a grounding practice, but it also cardio and warms me up very quickly in this cold climate I live in. I think the engaged core and centre really fires up the whole body- it's head to toe involvement! Also it is visually satisfying for the observer, which is the comment I hear the most ...
As is my work of bridging old ideas to modern people I wanted to bring this to more people for healing and enjoyment. I began to add a section of whirling to my yoga classes to see what would happen and how people would feel..... approaching it as " What happens to the human body when we whirl " not as much approaching it as a " Mystical Islamic practice".... Although I had grown up in an Islamic household I did not feel that gave a physical practice and nationality the only rights to something that could be healing for all.
I began to work on some contemporary Whirling for the stage..... And created a concept based on the Triple Goddess: Maiden- Mother- Crone of the Full Moon as performed with Monique and Laura as a part of Night Garden... a contemporary Bellydance Production That we performed at alderney landing in 2019, I received a Grant from Arts NB to create this and another choreography, as well as costume creation and development.
During the same time that we were working on our show Yasmina Ramzy, who was Laura's mentor contacted Laura and asked her if we would be interested to Host Hany Morgan, an Egyptian Sufi and percussionist who was doing a residency in Toronto.... the girls said YES and were able to learn directly from him, here in Atlantic Canada. And then it was super cool for Many to wave at me from the stage when I got to see him LIVE in Cairo!!!
And now, SCIENCE
One day with my Tannoura I wanted to test my limits- it's important to remember that that These practices are community based. And with most altered states they are intended to instigate oneness of the practitioner and the Universal consciousness.and it is advisable to have a spotter or sitter with you when you are pushing your limits..... *Stay Safe!
So, I started to whirl, and I kept going and going and going....... When I finally started to come out of the trance state I was a bit dizzy but not really, there was another sensation that I could feel deep inside me.....like physically deep inside like in the centre of my spine and brain........ wow, I thought...... I had sat down to really FEEL this weird feeling I had never perceived before. Being a dancer and Yoga Teacher I have had hefty anatomy training... and so I was trying to use my "internal" vision to 'see' what was happening to me.... I began to google.... Spinal Fluid spinning .... Spinal fluid and spinning.... can I feel spinal fluid ?.... I skimmed over medical journals and thesis until finally, I found a link to a video with a curious title....... : The Cerebral Spinal Fluid and the appearance of the "I Am" consciousness..... well I had never felt so justified, This is EXACTLY what I'm feeling....... I watched all of his videos, at the end of one of them he said "there isn't a lot of research out there on this..." hmmm, I thought.... and I don't write strangers on the internet often but I emailed Mauro Zappaterra about my experience, and HE ACTUALLY WROTE ME BACK!
He said Thankyou for this interesting messages and to please continue to document my findings. And here I am 4 years since my making contact to him, still documenting and doing this work. And so is he! Check out this exciting work of his.....
I have a couple of my Whirling Workshops up in my Patreon for Patrons at the $25 tier.. .that gives you access to recorded workshops, specialty classes as well as all my short and sweet tutorials filmed last fall.
Check out accommodate all budgets www.patreon.com/nawal