Tantsuyoga Flower Round Learning by Three

Three who have seen the Flower Round video join to learn it in three stages.
    1. Watch the video together up through the still pond. If any do not understand the language on the video and the text of these instructions is in a language you understand, pause the video before each of the seven celebrations to read the description and the principles that are listed below. While watching find the three gates on your own body.
    2. Work as a team with open eyed run-throughs of the Flower, the Round, and the Still Pond, helping each other learn the roles and holds and find the most comfortable position, including how to adapt, if needed, to a massage table. There are three roles in the round, the holder, the held, and the guide. Each has a turn in each role. One of the team (or a fourth) can read the text that accompanies each run-through. If there is a fourth, they can sound a chime at each number that follows the first in the run-throughs and at the same place in the silent Flower Round. Otherwise, whoever feels ready initiates each transition. If there is no chime, the guide taps the shoulder of the one being held in the seventh celebration, signaling them to move forward, and again when it is time to change roles.
    3. Go through the whole Flower Round in silence without interruption.
Preparations

Notice how the participants in the video sit on Zafus, the round cushions used in meditation. Sitting on their edge keeps the curve in their lower back. Most backs tend to collapse sitting on a pillow or soft cushion. If you don't have Zafus try firm cushions, or towels kept rolled with rubber bands, until each finds one that keeps their back comfortable and tests sitting on it in the Tantsuyoga back cradle position, their left knee on the floor, their left foot tucked in as close as possible, their right knee raised. Set aside a quiet space on the floor or outside covered with a mat, if needed. Have extra cushions and a pillow for the head in the Round. If a condition in anyone's knees, hips, or back, makes it uncomfortable to stay on the floor, set a massage table up for those they hold during the run-through to lie on. Have no music playing that would interfere with connecting to the breath and the movement within.

Run-through the Flower
    1. Sit close in a circle on the front edge of your cushion leaving space for your left foot to tuck all the way in as your left knee drops to the floor. Lower your raised and folded right leg over the thigh of the one to your right. Join your three right feet, sole to sole, the root of the flower. Move closer if needed. Raise both arms. Lower your left arm over the leg to your left. Lower your right arm over the arm on your leg, hands not touching. You are a water flower being moved by the currents around you that, being from every side, pull you out of any repetitive movement. Do not try to synchronize your breathing.
    2. Slide your right hand back to hold the arm under your arm, half way between the wrist and the elbow. Press the arms you hold towards the center where the three hands clasp, the bulb of the flower being moved by the waves on the surface.
    3. The waters start gradually rising, higher and higher. When the water has lifted you to the highest the petals open. Arms straight, the hands reach back to the floor to support arching back.
    4. To come out roll to your left. The first to be held lies on her left side in as fetal a position as possible on a pillow that leaves space behind it for the holder's knee. The holder sits behind her.
Run-through the Round

The guide dedicates as much time as needed to help the holder find a comfortable way to sit and makes sure the holder
    1. is centered between shoulder and hip
    2. is as close as possible with the lowered left knee behind the head, his foot tucked in close to his cushion
    3. has the right knee raised without stress, the leg contacting the base of the spine.
Once his position has been checked, the holder places his forearms on the body gate and the top of the shoulder. The guide checks to make sure one is in the indentation behind the trochanter without pressing bone and the other is in the softest place at the top of the shoulder. Before sitting down the guide asks if the holder would like to see if he would be more comfortable sitting on the front edge of his cushion or on additional cushions. If yes, the guide tries additional cushions. The guide makes himself comfortable on a cushion to the holder's left, close enough to guide with his left hand if the holder needs help to clear the shoulder in the second hold, or the breasts in the third. The guide's raised right knee braces his arm as his hand is placed on the lower back and he asks where and how much pressure the holder wants. If a holder is uncomfortable on the floor, the three can move to the massage table when it is his turn to hold.

Adapting to a table

If any of the three need to hold someone at a table they should be the first to hold. If a second also needs to hold at a table, they should be the first to guide. Then all three will be on the floor in the last turn, ready to join in the still pond. The one they hold can lie on the table close enough to the edge for their back to be contacted (but not pressed against). The table needs to be adjusted beforehand to the height needed for the holder to stand or sit at. The guide can bring their right knee up onto the table to support the one being held and use both hands to support the holder.

Run-through the Still Pond
    1. Sit as close together as possible in a still pond, left foot tucked in front of you, right leg over the leg to your right, your back straight. Straighten both of your arms alongside your hips, your hands open on the shore of the pond. There are no currents. This is a still pond. But the earth vibrates under your hands, a hum rising up without ever opening your mouth.
    2. The hum stops. The silence that follows slowly lifts your arms to the surface where the left crosses over your heart and your right over your left to meet, palm to palm, the hand coming from the heart on that side, held together by some inner force, a lotus on the still pond.
    3. It is not the water that lifts the hands. This is a still pond. It is the light, the light that opens all the flowers, that draws you up and shines on your petals.
    4. Move just far enough back to no longer touch those on either side. At this final place in the silent Flower Round, your eyes still closed, the deeper you drop into the emptiness at the bottom of the breath, the more you will be still connected to those in this circle, the higher whatever drew you up out of the emptiness the first time you held someone, will draw you up into a point of light, light that pours back down into the emptiness, an emptiness you can stay in as long as you want.
The Silent Flower Round

Decide who will be the first to be held in the round, and who will be the first holder and go through the whole Flower Round and Still Pond, eyes closed except when you are the guide and when you are getting into position to hold. Once you give feedback to where and how the guide’s hands provide the best support (something you can request changed later) your eyes stay closed until you, too, have been held.

The Seven Celebrations of Union

The following is included for those who don’t understand the language on the video. Stop the video at the beginning of each celebration and read the following. Once the potential for celebrations are introduced in the first stage, they do not need to be referred to again during the next stages, the second which focuses on position and the holds, and the third when no one is told what they should be feeling or celebrating in the silence. The same texts will be used while demonstrating the round to groups.

1. Union Within

The holder sits as close as he can, one foot tucked in front, a raised and bent leg supporting the base of the spine. One forearm in the indentation alongside the trocanter, the other at the softest place at the top of the shoulder, the two arms maintain a gentle constant pressure throughout which allows them to be pushed apart each time she breathes in. His eyes remain closed.
Tantsuyoga brings the movement of water and Watsu's engagement of our whole being onto land and beyond. Yoga means union. In each of our seven holds in this one position, we celebrate an aspect of union. In Watsu when we float someone at our heart our breath is drawn up each time they breathe in and get lighter on our arms. Here, it is when our arms are pushed apart. In both we stay in the emptiness at the bottom of the breath until we are drawn up through our core. Drawn up this way our body and heart centers become one. Their union, the union within, is the union celebrated in this first hold. Being drawn up this way a deeper and longer lasting engagement is established than synchronizing our breathing by watching someone which begins with a separation and ends when we look the other way. Once established, this engagement continues as long as we hold someone.
2. Union Within the Other

The holder reaches out and, without using his hand, lifts the arm and lays it over his right leg. The holder's right arm returns to where it was. His left arm reaches over the shoulder and leans into the upper corner of the chest.
In India this hollow, and the one alongside the trocanter, are considered gates where the spirit enters. We call them the Heart Gate and the Body Gate. Instead of holding from the outside so that our arms can be pushed apart, in this second hold we lean into these gates, into where someone’s Body and Heart Centers are continually balancing. In this hold the union within the other is celebrated. Sometimes movement rising within us joins in this celebration. Up to this moment, instead of hands, which have a direct connection to the brain, the holder has used forearms which have an easier time coming from the Core. Now that the Core is engaged the hand can be slowly drawn from the Core to its first place.
3. Union With Another

The holder's hand comes to rest on the Heart Center. The holder's other arm continues to lean into the Heart Gate. That arm is folded the way it is when we hold someone to our heart.
Connecting from the Core, with our own heart engaged, what is celebrated here is our union with another. Instead of movement, in this hold, Union is often celebrated in stillness. Tantsuyoga realizes the basic principle of Zen Shiatsu that Watsu brought into the water, that of being not doing.
4. Wholeness

While the right hand stays stationed on the Heart Center, the other hand comes into play as, taking the stillness with it, it is slowly drawn to the biggest hollow under the occiput, the Mind Gate.
Here, holding body, with our leg still at the base of the spine, and heart and mind, we are holding someone's wholeness, that which is greater than the sum of the parts, with our wholeness. Celebrate wholeness, the union of body, heart and mind.
5. Moving from Wholeness

He firmly clasps the shoulder between both hands and, engaging his whole body, each time he breathes in, moves up and around counter clockwise, a spiraling that after three or four breaths brings the arm to rest on his open held out hands. .
Celebrate moving from wholeness.
6. Ascension

He weighs the arm’s lightness. It changes with the slightest movement. As the holder breathes up his spine, it gets lighter. The higher he breathes up the higher it rises. After three or four breaths, he slowly lowers her arm, laying her hand down in front of her and places his hands lightly on her spine, behind the Heart Center and the Body Center.
The rising into light celebrates Ascension.
7. Absence

At the sound of a double chime the one held moves just far enough away to be lying in the same position but no longer touched. The holder's hands stay where they were. If the chime hadn't been heard, the holder's hands move back an inch and stay.
Whatever they are still holding celebrates the union of absence.
Expanded Flower Rounds

If you enjoyed celebrating union in this Flower Round, celebrate it further in our Expanded Rounds. In the first lesson learn to celebrate it on both sides and in a Finish with one at the head and one at the feet. In the second expand the ascension of the arm into a dance and open the side as the Guide becomes more engaged. In the last expansion freely dance the back and the leg. Each expansion was fully developed and tested in several 2 to 3 hour class periods. You can learn the full expansion in our classes, or three can learn them together. All are on the DVD: Tantsuyoga and Tandem Watsu. Utube videos and instructions for each can be accessed one at a time starting with the first expansion:

First Expanded Flower Round Lesson

Tantsuyoga Gatherings

Gathering to share Flower Rounds and Circles of Celebration can be done almost anyplace. The simplest way to start gatherings is when three, who find a place in a park where they like to meet to explore the Expanded Flower Rounds, announce that in that place at a certain time others can join them in Flower Rounds or Circles. Depending on how many show up, they lead them through a Flower Round or a One Flower Circle. If none arrive they explore the expanded Flower Rounds. If they continue offering them and more start coming, some of those returning may help to regularly offer the gatherings. The One Flower Circle creates a safe container that is perfect for park gatherings.

Presenting the One Flower Circle

Below is a link to instructions for presenting the longer Flower Round Circle. The presentation begins by demonstrating the seven holds while one of your team states the principles in each. Then your team, sounding a chime, leads them through a quick open eyed run-through of the round. Then they are ready, after you demonstrate the flower, to start as flowers of three in a circle and continue through the rest, in silence, eyes closed. The team joins them in the still pond and the final circle. These steps and the profound state they lead people into has been perfected and demonstrated with countless groups around the world. Help us bring these celebrations of union to everybody:

Presenting the Flower Round Circle

©2013 Harold Dull