School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion
Issue: September 2011

Bringing the Dance Back Home
By Roland

Sometimes I must admit that I feel very envious of Susannah &Ya’Acov; not of their possessions, good looks, dancing or teaching skills but of their ability come up with catchy and appropriate titles for workshop with a seemingly effortless ease that I wish I had. Titles like ‘Way of the Dancing Warrior’, ‘Rock My Soul’ or ‘Dancing with the Heart of the World’ which both encapsulate the content of the workshop and very memorable, are all titles that I wish I had come up with.

And now they have done it again with ‘Bringing the Dance Back Home’ which is the title for the new webinar series. It’s a title which evokes the notion that Movement Medicine is not just about something that you can do out there – in the world outside your normal environment in a workshop or class setting, but is also something that you can practice in your own living room. And at the same time it leaves the reader wondering what is meant by the word ‘home’ in this context.

With the Movement Medicine community spread out in over 40 countries across the world we have been searching for different ways in which we can bring people together. To a certain extent this newsletter and the Movement Medicine Facebook Group can do this. However we think that the webinar offers will fulfil a very different function. Home becomes not just the place where we each physically live but also evokes the place where the heart of the Movement Medicine resides. After all, the workshops are there to support us to bring the freedom and creativity of the dance into our day-to-day lives.

Each webinar will be structured as a proper teaching session and participants will be encouraged to clear a space in so that they can dance. In some places, people have told us that they intend to make an evening of it at a friend's house or even book a hall where they can all dance together with Susannah and Ya'Acov's guidance. We're excited about the potential the webinar format has and we hope you can join us for the first session  (Sunday September 11th at 8.0 pm UK time) which by the way, is absolutely free.  This is a change of date caused by a ferry mix-up which has left Susannah and Ya'Acov stranded in Jersey

To enrol for the first session click here. This will take you to the enrolment page. Scroll down and then click on the registration button. The password is “Move!” Don’t forget to include the explanation mark (!)

If you want to sign up for the whole series of session we are giving people the chance to do this at the reduced price of £25 up till Sept 12thplease click here. This will take you to a PayPal site. (you do not have to have a PayPal account to use this service, instead of logging in click 'continue checkout' and fill in the form). From the 13th September 2011 the price will be £35. You will need to sign up for the free session on the 11thSept separately.

Any problems with the signing-up please contact Roland on 00 44 1803

Talking of catchy workshop titles, many years ago we ran a workshop entitled ‘The Death and Resurrection Show’. We really like the title but in the end felt that it might offend some religious sensibilities. It’s a shame as it was a great title. We are still running the same workshop but now it is called theBurial Ceremony.

There is still a chance to book for this workshop which will be led by Ya’Acov 14 – 21 Sept at Orval in Belgium. This is one of the most healing and practical rituals that we offer. If you would like to read about other participants’ experiences please clickhereTo download an application form clickhere. For any questions please contact Roland 00 44 (0) 1803 762255

Facebook. We learned recently how some dancers in the Movement Medicine community disliked Facebook. Conversely, at about the same time the Movement Medicine Facebook group page seemed to undergo a change with many more people regularly submitting and commenting on posts. If you want to join the over 800 member of the community who are members, just look up Movement Medicine on Facebook and send a request to become a member.

Apprenticeship Programe. The deadline for the second batch of applications for the next Apprenticeship Programme has now passed and there is now a very large pile of application forms waiting for Susannah and Ya'Acov to read through. As for the last Apprenticeship Programme there were many more applicants than we have places for and this will inevitably lead to some disappointment for those who do not get a place this time around. By the way, we've brought the beginning of the third Movement Medicine Apprenticeship Programme forward so that it will now begin in 2014.

Summer Long Dance 2012 We have been to see a new site in Dartmoor National Park and are very hopeful that that we can hold the next Long Dance there. The site is very beautiful and while we will be sad not to be using the EarthSpirit Centre and the land at Bartlett's Farm any more we believe that the new site will provide a better venue. One of the things we are excited about is the opportunities it offers to those with children to be there and have their kids looked after by Chris Salisbury and his team from Wild Wise. Wild Wise run outdoor events and story telling for people of all ages.

Coming up shortly:


TheInitiationworkshop 23 Sept – 2ndOct is now full but it is likely that places will become available. Application forms are availablehere. Contact Roland 00 44 (0) 1803 762255


7 - 9 Oct. Ya’Acov will be teach TheWay of the Dancing Warriorin The Netherlands. Cotnact Frank +31 71

10 Oct. Both Susannah and Ya’Acov will teach aMove!evening in London. Contact Alex +44

15 – 16 Oct. Ya’Acov will be teachingArc of Time. Contact Alex +44

On the same weekend of 15 & 16 Susannah will be teachingSourcein Berlin Contact: Kathrin +49 30

On the last week of October Susannah will be in Bern, Switzerland teachingArc of Time. Contact Katriona +41 33 676

Wishing you an abundant Autumn harvest!


Letter from Susannah
By Susannah

Dear everyone,

I hope you are well and have had a good time surfing the waves of what has been, for me at least, a strong and catalytic summer. My parents, having been robustly healthy all their lives, have both been in different hospitals with different ailments, and so we saw a lot of them this summer, supporting as we could. The gift for me was through this, and through being with them at a time of crisis, I was able to see more of who they are as people and meet with them more deeply.

It was a real gift for me to be there to hold my mother’s hand in hospital as she lived through the pain, one breath at a time, and to hear her speak about her choice to live fully as long as she lives, whether that is long or short, and her clarity that she is not in a battle with her illness, it too is part of life. Though she is clear that she is choosing life, she is surrendered to what life brings. I appreciate her wisdom and depth. I shared many tearful moments with my Dad, feeling our love for my mother, his wife, and the gratitude that we could all be together. What a joy to see him get better day by day, and to witness his love for my mother, his vitality, humour and joie de vivre as I never have before. And it was another gift to feel me and them being supported by Ya’Acov, to feel the family love grow stronger.

The love and support and prayers from their friends and our friends has been very beautiful and strong. My mother describes it as feeling as if she can lie back in a hammock made of rainbow threads, each thread a different prayer. There have been Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist prayers said for them. They have both made strong recoveries, so I guess rainbow hammocks of interfaith prayers must be good medicine!

Thank you to those of you who have been sending your love and prayers. It’s been another lesson for me in the connectedness of all of life, and that I do not and cannot “do” anything alone. I am part of it all. We are part of it all. And we all need each other.

This awareness of mortality and the fragility and vulnerability of life has brought into even more poignant awareness for me how precious each moment, each person, each breath is. It’s so easy for me to forget to live that in the hustle and bustle of all the seemingly important things to do. How precious physical health is, and what a gift it is to be able to dance and move and experience the pleasure of being alive in a body! And how beautiful it is to be able to love and be loved. This summer I have experienced how the possible proximity of death can support us to loosen our masks and come to what really matters. Of course that is the point and possibility of the dance too. So, without going near a dance floor, you could say that I found the intimacy of the dance with my parents this summer. And I am very grateful for that, and that they live and are recovering in health, and the dance of this dear relationship can go on.

And on the theme of the teachings of death, Ya’Acov is leading the Burial Ceremony in beautiful Orval in the Ardennes in a few days (14th – 21st September). Of all the ceremonies I’ve ever done, my first burial ceremony, in France at La Val Dieu many years ago, was one of the most profound. I dug my own grave, and was ‘laid to rest’ in it. I heard the people speaking about me in the past tense. I heard the soil going on top (there are clever ways of doing this which leave space for you to move and breath!), and then I felt, surprisingly, utterly safe and held, able to rest in the arms of the earth. It was a profound befriending of death. Then I started to look, from this perspective of the grave, at the life I had lived up until that point, and to see also the life I had put on hold, that was “in waiting”- not yet lived. This was a profound confrontation with the reality of my life. And then, I asked death for another chance, I made my pledges about what I would do if this was granted. It was, and I emerged from the grave to the sweet, sweet dawn, everything shining with the dew and tears and gratitude for life.

I recommend this work to anyone with an interest in coming to more focus and appreciation in their life, and Ya’Acov as a wonderful, experienced and wise guide for this sensitive, deep work.

Which brings me to my other big gratitude for the summer. Ya’Acov and I have had a beautiful time of deepening our love, for which I am very happy, grateful and moreish!

I’m looking forward to the next adventures which begin already tomorrow with our very first webinar! Maybe see you there!

Sending you and all the planet love in these challenging, poignant times, and wishing a rainbow hammock for us all!



Back on the laptop and back on the road
By Ya'Acov

After a summer of subtle changes and simple adventures at home, we are back on the road again and beginning another term of teaching. As we began this past weekend in Jersey, the leaves on the trees outside had already started to turn from the fresh full greens of the summer to the wild oranges, yellows and reds of the autumn. The weather too has been a perfect blend of summer and autumn. Beautiful sunsets on the beach followed by strong winds and rain.

As I am writing now, staying at the house of the mother of a good friend, the song of the sea and the breaking of waves is accompanying me. I love the ocean and I always have. I used to go and sit on the beach with my dog when I was a boy and contemplate the mysteries of life. If I don’t get enough time by the sea, I’m just not myself. And so it’s been lovely to have time to watch the waves and hang out with Susannah with nothing to do. As we watched the sun set over the sea on the last day of our holidays, my old early September friend sweet melancholy descended as some kind of ‘going back to school’ leftover. This time, however, there was a difference.

As Susannah has written about in her article, her parents have both been in hospital over the summer. For the most part, in our modern culture, we are rarely aware of the cycle of life and death that we are part of. Since the very first time I worked with shamans, death became a strong presence in my life. I was taught in many ceremonies to ‘make friends with death’ and to ‘ask death to be my teacher.’ Next week, I will run the burial of the warrior ceremony again in Orval. As is usually true for this workshop, numbers are small. It seems that the idea of digging one’s own grave and spending the night in dialogue with death is perhaps one step too far for most of our participants! I don’t blame anyone for that. Why invite the presence of death into our awareness before it comes knocking by itself?

One of the mini-adventures we had this summer was a dream workshop that we participated in and blessings of blessings, it took place in our own living room! We found a teacher whose name kept coming up and we both felt attracted to working with him. We invited a few friends over and very much enjoyed receiving some beautiful dream teachings from a Tibetan dream yoga perspective. Why mention it now? Well, in the story that was so beautifully weaved for us by our new teacher, he told us that for the Tibetans, falling asleep is much like dying. We were invited not to fall asleep but to try to abseil gently into sleep so that we could keep our awareness awake as our bodies fell to sleep. We were told that the lucidity that one can achieve in practice through dreaming is a wonderful practice for dying (and therefore crossing the bardoes) lucidly. I’ve always been a fan of dreaming and lucidity has come and gone for me for years in my night time adventures. To have a teacher again guiding us has been a beautiful addition to our daytime adventures and we are enjoying this new approach to dreaming very much. In essence, abseiling into a lucid dreaming state is very much how I might have described my own experience of the burial ceremony and the deeply moving and transformative conversations I was able to have with the reality of my own mortality that followed. What a difference to my life that ceremony and the many other burial ceremonies that followed it made to my life. Death has the habit of focusing us on what truly matters and since that first grave I dug in the hot sun and baked earth of La Val Dieu, I have been very much focused on what matters most to me in my life.

When it comes down to it, I love living here on earth. I love the adventure of it all. I love the art of life. The way the moon and the water dance together and the way the currents cross, creating racing white horses of foam as the tide turns. So, there we were, watching the sun setting, our summer holy days coming to a close. I was feeling closer to Susannah than ever before (and still amazed that love is truly a never-ending adventure that just takes us deeper beyond depth). We had just said goodbye again to our son and his girlfriend as they headed off up the coast on their own adventure. It was a perfect evening. For the last hour, we’d been watching some masterful kite surfers playing in the wild Atlantic surf. As the sun began its final approach to kiss the horizon good night, a young surfer went out into the growing surf. We both hoped that he was wasn’t suicidal as, to our eyes, the ocean looked like she was in no mood to play. But he too was masterful and we both watched in amazement as he dived under the waves and with impeccable timing, arrived quickly in the place he wanted to be. He rode wave after wave with such poise, strength and finesse. What a dance! What courage in the face of the unpredictable rise and fall of the ocean! And guess what I found myself thinking? I found myself asking if I could manage that. I wondered if I would have the courage to commit to that vertical drop down the face of the wave. Earlier in the day, I’d had my first go at paddle surfing on a big board. I fell off again and again before I finally caught a wave. Well, I say I caught it but it was more like it caught me! And looking down the face of the wave and clueless about what came next was quite a moment. Needless to say, I lost my balance and fell into the white water. The wave was strong enough to tumble me a few times and the board and its sharp fin dangerous enough to have me protecting my skull! But part of this year’s dosage of autumnal melancholia was the realisation that what those kite surfers were doing and what that young surfer on the sunset shift was up to may well and truly be beyond me. I am noticing a shift and some parts of me ain’t that delighted!

Some of our best friends are in their mid 60’s. They’ve been complaining about the rigours and demands of growing old (with great humour!) since we met them. Well, here I am, in my late 40’s and just getting the first whiff of what they’re complaining about. I don’t want to lose my strength. I don’t want to wear glasses when I’m typing but guess what? I am! And more than that, much more than that, I don’t want to lose touch with my beloved Susannah, our son, family and friends when death comes calling. And yes, as the years pass, death comes little bit by little bit more into focus. The thought that I might just fall asleep when I die and lose contact with those who I love is driving force enough to have me practicing lucidity with new determination. And the dance certainly helps. Dreaming lucidly is of course a practice for living lucidly which is practice for dying lucidly. And who knows, digging those graves and beginning the long conversation with the impermanence of this body may just help a little too.

Well there we go dear dancers, this is this year’s last invitation to pick up your shovel and dig and as the leaves do their autumn jig, look at your life with the help of death’s benevolent presence. I wish you and all of us a fine abseil into autumn. I’m looking forward to all our projects this Autumn beginning with our first webinar, and including trips to Belgium, Holland, London, Cape Town, Israel and Switzerland. We also have the second module of our first teacher training on the horizon and that means a whole juicy crop of Movement Medicine teachers and facilitators stepping out into the world to share their love of the dance, maybe with you. May your harvest be rich and your preparations for the winter kindly. All power to you dear crazy dancers and dreamers of the MM community. I hope to see you soon I on some dance floor or other.

Ya’Acov. September 2011.

After Vision Quest

By Kate Lawrence

Everything speaks of the forest to me:
The trees my bones, stones stack the dense meat of my body,

Leaves twine my hair and moss whispers against my cheek.

My eyes are stone circles unblinking in the sun,
My breath the wind tumbling over the hilltops,
Brook-water my blood,
The earth breathes me in and out, cradled.

I am bones found in bracken,

The wonder-spark of the gold moon rising,
The soft call of the constant stars,
The peep of the fox, winking over reeds,
My heart in the curve of that hill

The next Movement Medicine Vision Quest will take place 8 - 15 June 2012 .

Take a Step with Me
By Simric Yarrow

take a step with me

and let it be an awkward never-before step if it must

but take a first step giant leap onto a new planet

maybe it feels like one where the air oozes

medieval restraint, courtly gavottes and shy eyes

but dance a dervish arabesque anyway

and if your waltz freefalls into a poker-faced polka

find your inner dotty bikini

let this world’s warm eddies lift your fluttered lashes

there is a Harlem jive in every girl and boy

there is a child in every tight-hipped stone

(stones have their own low-down funky moves you know, but I’m sure ours are more fun)

loosen that tuxedo, do the barefoot tap

swing your heart over your shoulder and if

it needs to wail from some ancient pond

long obscured by water-weeds and ulcer-aches

know this dance-planet is a sanctuary

and the screaming-streaming is the first flow

the first burst-through bubbling of a spring

on its way to whirling mighty seas

turn your tutu

meet the dolphin-souls around you

feel the sonar-sounding salsa pulsing through your being

trampling demons into wine in a circle of connected flair

we’ll dance a dance to praise the dead

we’ll dance a dance to raise the living into bloom

shaking out the royal jelly in our belly

catching eyes and tossing them back agin in this

the rattle-rolling tangy tangerine tango country

the deep beat heart-heat bleating rippling with promise land

the extra-terrestrial no-shame game galaxy

the lead me backwards in stilettoes and surrender sister solar system

the bird-free on two feet together kingdom

the golden glory catch-me-if-you-can universe

take a step with me

and dance with us

towards yourself

Resovlng Trauma
This month's winner of £100 School of Movement Medicine workshop voucher

by Fiona Hodge

I have dipped into the workshops of the School of Movement Medicine for over five years and it has provided me with powerful tools to deal with the most profound and intractable problems. Real change hasn’t come quickly and it has required an open mind and heart, my own commitment, but above all the belief in the teachers and in the very possibility of change. In other words – FAITH.

The turning points arrived for me during the two years of ceremony and ritual. The audacious simplicity of dance meditation and ritual with the elements, opened a pathway to genuine healing. The expression of ‘vision quest’ – being alone and vulnerable, with nothing but mother nature to hold and protect me was quite literally a turning point of my ‘understanding’ and in my life.

One of the difficulties I seemed unable to resolve was the trauma that had infiltrated my life for over a decade, following my divorce, in which my two children were rejected and abandoned. No matter how many attempts to ‘buy’, ‘burn’ or ‘forgive’ I made – I was locked into eternal circles of sadness, anger, regret and bargaining. I was confused by my unwillingness to trash good memories. I was exhausted by balancing anger with forgiveness.

In December 2009 I participated in the ‘Alchemy of Stillness’ where I was invited to leave this emotional arena for the good of my whole family and to simply ‘let go’. As I danced and wept I was completely torn apart. The more I tried to unhook from ‘the attachment of this fundamental relationship in my life, the more pain and also love for this man I experienced (to be honest I just wanted to go home). I was hanging on to my husband as if my life depended upon it.

One cold frosty morning towards the end of this week, and all alone, I was overwhelmed by a desire to lie naked face down and on the grass outside. The contact with and smell of the earth allowed me to receive the healing of mother earth and this was both immediate and complete. In that moment my husband and I were completely absolved of our misdemeanours, forgiven, and with total compassion separated. This was profound and private moment, during the workshop, and yet not on the dance floor.

It is now eighteen months since the ‘Alchemy of Stillness’. My liberation from this unhealthy attachment has released me into new territories of emotional maturity and independence. Of more importance, I have observed my adult children to ‘move on’. I am disinclined to use such words as miracles. However, the impact of this most immediate, urgent and complete separation has brought peace to my family and I believe, to my husband as well. Although my work with the School of Movement Medicine has been gradual and incremental, this experience of private healing with mother earth was in a moment.

Why do you feel it is your calling to teach yoga / dance?
By Keef Miles

I Know it is my calling to teach Yoga and Ecstatic Dance (Movement Medicine)
To Quote the classic song ‘Amazing Grace’:
‘Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a soul like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was Blind, but now I see’

I struggled though my 20s, lost in the wilderness of hedonistic chaos and agnostic uncertainty. In the background Yoga whispered ‘this way, this way sensitive soul’ and the dance revealed itself in drug fuelled ecstatic revelation. Eventually I found a dance that didn’t require chemicals, but lots of breath, water, movement and relationship (with all of LIFE). At the same time, I found a philosophical/spiritual practice that encompassed all aspects of being human, body, mind, heart and soul – it is called Yoga. The dance of yoga, the yoga of dance.

My primary dance practice became and continues to be Movement Medicine. My primary Yoga became and continues to be Anusara. I am deeply grateful to all of my teachers, especially Joseph and Lillian Le Page for giving me a scholarship to do my first Yoga Teacher training with IYT in the USA, Bernadette Ryder (for guiding me in the early days of my dance), Jonas Westring (for introducing me to Anusara), Susannah and Ya’Acov Darling Kahn (for inviting me to Apprentice with The School of Movement Medicine), Bridget Woods Kramer (for her ongoing inspiration love, support, wisdom and generosity in mentoring me towards Anusara Certification), and John Friend (for being such an inspirational and endlessly generous guiding light and loving leader of the Anusara global community). I also want to thank all of my peers, students, friends, family and all Beings everywhere, for being my teachers on this mysterious journey. In the mirror of thee, I see me. Namaste.

Without exaggeration, Yoga (especially Anusara) and Dance (especially Movement Medicine) saved my life, my heath, my sanity. Yoga illumined the path before me and revealed the beauty at the essence of my being. My life purpose was revealed on the yoga mat and the dance floor. I know it is my part of my Dharma, to teach these wonderful practices and I am committed to living them with love, truth and integrity. How could I not share with my friends, family and the wider world the joy, nourishment and fulfillment I have found on this journey. To teach is an honour, a joy and sacred responsibility, and I whole heartedly embrace the opportunity to embody the seat of the teacher, whilst remaining the eternal devoted student. I feel wonderfully grateful and utterly blessed to have found, or have been found by this Yogic path (which for me includes the Dance, like the Shiva-Shakti dance of Nataraj)

No longer lost at sea, I now swim joyfully, mostly, in a pulsating ocean of consciousness.
I pray that I may be able to shine a light in the world and humbly offer my heart and soul to support the awakening of my fellow human beings and encourage playful and respectful co-creative engagement with life, in this great mystery that is the cosmic dance of Shiva-Shakti. Loving the Lila (Divine Play), may I align with life and the divine and give my gifts fully in this life with humility, generosity, courage, grace and gratitude. May I remember the Universal (Being), find deepening self-acceptance and open to Grace again and again, so that Shakti may flow through me optimally, nourishing my life and energizing my Sacred Dream to serve in a sustainable and life-affirming way. May all beings everywhere remember the essence of their Being as Sadchitananda (Blissful Consciouness) and find the courage to live their dreams and Become all that they can Be in this life time. Remembering the sacred interconnectedness of all life, may we find fulfillment (love, peace, purpose and happiness) on this journey
Om namah shivaya. /

Invitation to Israel

Dear Dancers,

Inviting you to a very special workshop with Yaacov: The Way of the Dancing Warrior 16-19/11 in the Eco-Art village Nativ Haley-Israel

In this special place-from the bible days- you will have the opportunity to dance with the Israeli dancing tribe through 4 nourishing, exciting days guided by Yaacov-a very gifted teacher . Afterwards you can meet and travel in our tiny country which has many different cultures, tastes and smells. November time in Israel is the perfect time to be a tourist here ,enjoying our fascinating views and places.

For booking this workshop please contact

The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the School of Movement Medicine. Roland Wilkinson, Nappers Crossing, Staverton, Devon TQ9 6PD, UK Tel & Fax +44 (0)1803 762255 http://www.