Tips for Sustained Spinning from the Masters
This week we take a cue from the Order of the Whirling Dervishes to explore just what exactly keeps many hoopers coming back for more.
"The stars form a circle, and in the center we dance." - Rumi
The Sama, or meditative whirling, ritual is just one part of the mystical branch of Islamic Sufism we know as the Whirling Dervishes (Mevlevi). It is a stunning ceremony of worship that has long inspired my imagination and certainly my hooping.
Based on the belief that the "fundamental condition of our existence is to revolve," those who whirl as part of their Sufi spiritual practice do so in order to "intentionally and consciously participate in the shared revolution of [all] beings."
The spiritual practice of whirling is rich with history and symbolism, assigning layers of meaning to each segment of what is a carefully and deliberately organized religious ritual.
But as legend has it, it didn't start out that way. The whirling tradition is attributed to renowned 13th century poet and Sufi master, Rumi.
It is said that Rumi, discerning the name of God in the rhythmic sounds of the gold hammerers in the street, began spontaneously spinning, arms outstretched, in celebration.
Mevlevi Whirling Dervishes begin their training in early childhood, slowly building their amazing ability to whirl continuously for extended periods of time without experiencing dizziness.
If you already practice sustained spinning in your hooping whirling may feel somewhat familiar, but you should still start very slowly and increase your twirling times in small increments each time. I recommend practicing extensively without your hoop at first, and then when and if you desire, add in your hoop later.
Ready to give it a try? Here's how!
Over time, whirling can direct your understanding of what you feel in the hoop, what connects you to it, and what you celebrate there.
Dervish orders practice whirling to intentionally connect with what they perceive as the natural but unconscious revolving nature of all things.It is, in other words, a conscious attempt to close the distance between the human mind and intelligence in order to participate in the"shared revolution of all beings."
The seven centuries-old Sema ceremony is rich with beautiful and meaningful symbolism, which I encourage you to explore about at WhirlingDervishes.org.
Hooposophy articles authored
by Lara Eastburn
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