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.

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 only change from what is shown on the video is the sixth celebration which now introduces the movement as water and the ocean within. The restis 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.

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 afew breaths brings the arm to rest on his open held out hands. .
Celebrate moving from wholeness.
6. Ocean (formerly called ascension)

The right arm is brought to a still point on the holder’s open held out hands. Only the micro-movements that never stop moving sre still moving. The guide holds the holder’s hara from both sides and is just as still. As the holder breathes up his spine, the guide’s right hand slides a little up the holder’s spine and the arm floats a little higher. Without lowering the arm between breaths, the higher the holder breathes up his spine, the higher the arm floats up through an ocean in which we celebrate the ocean within, the whole that is greater than the sum of all the movements within. The arm floats up to its highest. The holder slowly moves the arm in all the ways an arm floating in the ocean can be moved. The arm is freed from the ways it is used to control, from its responsibilities, from all it has had to hold onto. The holder appreciates how much is being surrendered, with joy and care, and avoids any bends or twists that would take the arm into an unnatural position and avoids repeated circling or any other movement that is more a doing than a being with. He lowers the arm up over the head. Avoiding repetitive movement or massage like strokes his forearms and/or hands find their way through the ocean to wherever they are called, from the shoulder to the leg and back. The ocean is expansive. Rather than pushing into places they join the ocean’s opening whatever is under the hand or forearm. The Guide’s forearms and/or hands accompany with oceanic opening moves on the holder’s back. The holder's hands come to rest just bhind the body center and the heart center. The guide's hand come to rest behind the holder's centers. Stillness
7. Absence

At the sound of a double chime (or a ting ting spoken by the guide) 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.

©2013 Harold Dull