From the beginning, all Birthlight activities have been in circles, both on land and in water.
Circles integrate teacher and students as equals. Teachers are leaders, who stand among their students rather than standing opposite them. This creates empathy and participation all around.
In circles, we are connected but we also have our own personal awareness in space.
We are all drawn to a central point but at any time we relate to our neighbours or to people opposite or diagonal to us. Circles feel warm. In circles, we can belong without being overwhelmed or threatened. We can choose how we take part. We can be more active and expressive, or quieter in our participation while all the time being fully involved.
Circles invite movement. Circles ARE movement. They are the primal form of tribal dance, as lines join and separate to create and dissolve circles in set rhythms, slow or fast, fluid or stomping. Chanting and dancing in circles are hypnotic practices that free our body-minds from their habitual patterns. Across world cultures, they are used to renew our connection with the earth, the spirit world, origins, the depth of our beings.
Even when sitting still in a circle group meditation, subtle waves are created as everyone finds relaxed positions. Breathing starts to become synchronised, ‘entrained’ from one person to the other. The collective energy of the circle supports each of us as individuals in a present moment of togetherness. ‘Movement in stillnes
Water, as a cohesive medium, deepens the feelings of friendliness and compassion we experience in circles. Oxytocin flows freely in aquatic circles of pregnant women and parents with babies. In water, waves, currents and counter-currents make Birthlight circles dynamic, both calming and uplifting. Whether we have our feet on pool floors or float together, the circular forms we create together are like mandalas, fleeting but deeply felt expressions of finding our centre in the world.
Birthlight teaching circles are intended to open and expand into spirals of group and personal transformation as we grow through life’s cycles. From conception to birth and beyond; from birth to the early years; from the portal of birth to the portal of menopause.
Circles and spirals, the forms of life growth on our planet earth, are inscribed in our bodies in many mysterious cycles that ancient religions sought to understand and map. When we create human circles, we enter more easily the cyclical time of myths and dreaming that our linear perceptions tend to hide. If we picture humans’ and earth’s evolution as an ever–expanding spiral of joy and wellbeing, then the embodiment of these forms is more than symbolic. It is truly life affirming.
During the Covid19 pandemic, geographical distance and isolation have interrupted our ongoing Birthlight circles of face to face local group practice. Yet, technology can facilitate the structuring principle of our circles. As we are drawn into virtual circles through our screens, connection can be nurtured both with people we already know and with others who join in. The ripple effects of these different circles of practice also create community as we each continue to integrate them in our home spaces, extending to the myriads of connection that we call ourselves. Online, the central points of our circles are less easy to grasp, but group practices of yoga are effective to help us all remain grounded where we are in unity, in the same way as voices in virtual choirs join to create wonderful music.