Having just returned from a 3-day kayaking / camping adventure in the Copeland Islands near Desolation Sound with our good friends Sue & Dave (well, 4 days if you include the night we spent camped on our friends Bob & Maggie’s lawn!), my thoughts are still very much with the multiple ways we encountered and incorporated rhythm on our trip. As always when we spend any appreciable amount of time paddling together in our double kayak, I am reminded of how intrinsic rhythm is to our human functioning. The necessity of synchronizing our paddle strokes brings it into sharp focus, but if you think about it, you must agree with legendary Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart that our bodies really are “multidimensional rhythm machines” interacting with a multidimensional rhythmic universe on so many levels. In addition to the obvious rhythm of paddling, whether you’re in a double or a single kayak, there are the rhythms of the waves and tides, of sleeping and waking (without an alarm clock!), of the sun and moon as they rise and set. All of these are so much more present in our awareness when we spend the bulk of our days outside.
And then there are the myriad internal rhythms of which we are mostly unaware: heart rate, respiration, circulation, brain waves, digestion, neurotransmitters, hormonal cycles, just to name a few. The TaKeTiNa rhythm process provides an opportunity for our internal rhythms to interact with each other in ways that are outside our usual day to day experience. Through the simple actions of chanting, stepping and clapping in simultaneous layers of rhythm, our bodies get to encounter themselves in all the magnificence of their intricate webs of autonomous interconnected functionality. And best of all, our overworked thinking minds get to take a break and touch the possibility of inner stillness. Insights and new perspectives spontaneously arise as connections are made between various aspects of our interior and exterior awareness.
At our Yoga of Rhythm workshop in Edmonton last month, Richard was kind enough to share his thoughts and feelings about his experience of the TaKeTiNa process. Here’s what he had to say: