Omega Institute Tensegrity Workshop - May 26-29, 1995
Part III - Saturday, May 27 - Tensegrity Instruction
by Corey Donovan
At 9:10 am, Kylie asked, "How did you sleep after that most disturbing lecture?" The Chacmools were in yellow and white. Kylie said their group had talked the night before about the overall quality and sobriety of our questions, which seemed to have impressed them. (Keeping in mind, as she said, that, "We are all assholes." )
She told us they wanted to start with a statement Carlos Castaneda wrote. Each of the Chacmools read a portion of this statement, beginning with Kylie:
Introductory Statement by Castaneda
"Over 25 years ago I wrote my first book about don Juan. The teachings were developed in the eight following books, the latest of which was in 1993. Now we would like to present Tensegrity." (Then an explanation about Tensegrity much like on the first video.) The historical problem with the terms "sorcerers" or "sorcery" are that "they have malignant and terrifying connotations." Castaneda opted for the terms "man of knowledge" or "seer." Ancient seers allegedly found movements for sobriety and seeing. Don Juan's group taught the disciples four different lines of ancient magical passes. "We kept them secret until eight years ago when we decided to start amalgamating them." (Then a statement about chacmools and naguals essentially from the video.) "It took seven years for the Chacmools to amalgamate the four lines of magical passes to transform them into something that could be used by anyone. Well being and inherent strength are the heritage of anyone." (Then a statement about dualism between the self and energy body, and how sorcerers worked to transform the energy body into a replica of the physical body, and vice versa, similar to the statement on the first Tensegrity video.)
Castaneda decided that "for this workshop" he wanted the Chacmools to "switch gears" and present new movements that they will cover in a second video. (Castaneda claimed "there are 28 more videos.") The Chacmools concluded by telling us to "trust the intent of the Nagual" and that we could "hook into it and let it carry you someplace else. We don't know how it works. Sorcerers see the energy and know that when they do x, it affects the energy."
We began with warm up exercises. First we did shoulder rolls--all the way forward and all the way down and back--first with the right shoulder, then with the left, and finally both shoulders at the same time.
For the second warm up, the Chacmools had us rotate the right arm all the way up, letting it fall back "like a dead weight" all the way down and then back up, eventually doing this movement faster and faster. Then we did the same movement backwards. Then the same movements with the left arm.
For the third warm up, we were instructed to place our feet fairly close together, and to lower the chin to the chest and exhale, keeping the shoulders relaxed. Do this a second time, then very slowly raise the head, and look all the way to the right. Make the chin touch as far as it can to the right shoulder, and exhale. Raise the head slowly, turn it, and move to the center. Then all the way to the left. Then again lower the head toward the left shoulder. Exhale. Raise the head slowly and look to the center.
Another warm up they claimed eases the body directly into Tensegrity includes a vibration that creates "an energetic explosion" or "impact" that "facilitates contacting the energy body." To "facilitate this impact" in the warm up, they used "component movements from longer passes." The leg position was to start with heels together, then turn the left heel outward. Keeping the toes in place, move the heels back and toes slightly in. Flex the knees, which are out just slightly, with trunk and shoulders relaxed. Do a "controlled hip shake," bringing the right hip back while your shoulders go to the left (and vice versa), causing the hips to shake with a slight jolt.
The final warm up is an ankle rotation: Heels in and then out with a little hop. Exaggerate. (They said this movement helps tighten the area at the back of the thigh "where we carry our personal history.") The toes act like a pivot; the heels turn out at a 45-degree angle, and the toes are about four inches apart. Then hop up bringing the heels in and toes out. The feet should go to the same places each time.
Now we were ready to start the series of magical passes they had brought for the day. They explained that "minor passes" work specific areas, while "major passes" work the "total energy body." We were told to do them in the specific sequence given, although in doing them ourselves we might spend more time, or do more repetitions, on a given one, "for whatever reason."
1. Pulling Energy with your Feet (a.k.a., 'Fluidity Foot')
This is a minor pass. (Taisha allegedly learned it from Emilito when she was "in the trees.") The pass has two sections. "We want to feel the pressure on the ankle bone, just outside the foot, bringing abstract energy from our ankles down to our toes." First part: with the left foot pointed toward the left shoulder, put the right heel in the arch of the left foot and then move the right foot forward about a foot and a half. Lift up the toes with the right foot, then rotate the toes inward, putting pressure under the ankle bone. Then lean to the right with the shoulders and upper body. Hold for a count of 10. Repeat with the feet in the opposite position.
Second part: starting with the feet shoulder width apart and both feet pointed forward, step forward with the right foot. Bend the left leg so that the weight is more on the left, keeping the right leg straight. Then raise the right toes and rotate the right foot inward, twisting the foot until you can see your arch. Then lean in to your left. Repeat with the left foot. This should be done a couple of times, first on the right and then on the left, counting to 10 each time. (They suggested this was one pass "you can sneak in while waiting in line, since people are unlikely to notice.")
2. Stellar Hatch
A "major movement." Start with feet apart and head down. Visualize "a ball of energy below the ground for a count of six." Then bring the ball of energy up and "hook it to the chest" with a head movement, consisting of bringing the head forward, up, down and in toward the chest. Then bring the head back and allow the ball to rise "to the top of the luminous egg" (just above the head), on a count of six. Then bring up the left hand for leverage, and strike down with the right (palm vertical, thumb in locked position). Then strike down with the left hand in the same way. Then bring both hands up all the way above the head and unscrew a hatch at the top of the luminous egg by turning first to the left and then to the right, back to the left and again to the right, and back to the left and again to the right (for a total of six movements). "Watch the ball rise up through the hatch, heading up toward infinity, lowering your hands as you watch." Then drop the head again, visualizing the ball of energy coming down and splashing on the back of your neck. "Inhale the energy from the ball by raising and lowering your shoulders" (with arms down) three times. Then raise both hands all the way above the head again to "screw the hatch closed" by turning six times, starting to the right. Then bring the arms down and hold the head level. Make another "hooking" action with the head moving from back to forward. The head then looks down again to "visualize the ball of energy going back into the ground between your feet." Then "reabsorb the energy" by doing the "gill movement": breathing three times, with arms down, hands moving out and up only from the wrist. Then bring the head back up to look straight ahead.
In this movement we were told we were using, or accessing, "the bottom of your own energy field." (We were also instructed at this point to, "Keep internal silence while doing the Tensegrity movements"--focusing on the movements helps one do that.)
3. The Step of Power
Minor. With all the weight on the left leg, pull the right up and place it forward, fully extending the right leg with toe up and heel down on the ground. Then pull up the leg again, bend the knee, and extend it all the way to the back, with toe down and heel up. Move the leg all the way from the hip. Do this several times and then repeat with the left leg.
4. Drawing the Width of the Energy Circle
Minor. With all the weight on one bent leg, extend the other leg facing forward. Then bring the leg to the side (so that "it knows this point") and then move the leg all the way back (with left foot aligned with the left shoulder), and continue in the same way, moving forward to back nine times. "Think of the leg as extending all the way from the hip, and use the entire leg, from the hip downward. You are drawing a line of energy." The foot should remain flat on the ground (easier on a hard wood floor). "Keep the moving leg straight. The moving foot should point forward until it reaches as far as you can get it to the rear of your half circle, at which point it faces outward" (i.e., perpendicular to the stationery foot).
5. Making a Circle within a Circle
Minor. With the right leg slightly bent, and all the weight on the left, first make inward circles (meaning clockwise with the right foot) 10 times. Then change legs, putting all the weight on the right, and make 10 inward (or counterclockwise) circles with the left foot. Then reverse the feet again and make 10 outward circles with the right foot (outward is counterclockwise with the right foot), and then do 10 outward (or clockwise) circles with the left foot. The sole of the circling foot should remain on the ground at all times. The circles should all be the same size.
We were told that the inward direction "is for collecting energy," the outward is "for distributing it."
6. Axing Energy
Major. With the right hand out in front and palm up, clap the left hand into it. Clasp and lock the thumbs and make an "axing motion" up to the right shoulder and then down toward the left hip. Then circle the clasped hands around the front of the body counter clockwise, ending up by the right hip. With the right hand on the bottom with the right palm up, jolt out to the solar plexus (midpoint of the chest). "Give the jolt everything you've got" (Kylie claimed, "It takes effort, intent and command to call the energy body to us"). On the last strike, don't extend the elbows fully, always keep them slightly bent. Do as many as needed. Only do the pass on this side, don't reverse the position.
7. Up and Down Blow of Energy
Minor. With each hand flat, palm pointing down, and the "locked thumb" bent in toward the fingers, bring the right arm up and hit down at about shoulder level. Then turn the hand up slightly and bring it downward again, striking down at about waist level. Then do the same with the left hand. Alternate right up, right down, left up, left down, right up, etc.
8. Amassing Energy
Minor. Start with the left palm facing up, fingers open and cupped, in front of the body. Then bring the right arm (also with fingers open and cupped) back and around. Then "strike" with the right hand just above the left (as though "cradling a ball" between the two palms). Continue, alternating hands.
9. Little House of Energy
Major. Start with the hands held out at about waist level, palms down, and thumbs bent inward. Bring both arms up and around to the back, with palms up, and then down to waist level, "with impact," to make the base. Bring hands up to eye level "to build the ceiling" (hands flip and make a "slice," with impact, i.e., moving quickly and stopping with a jerk). Turn the hands over, upward, and cross to make the roof, then down for the wall and then a final "slice" for the floor.
10. Storing Energy
Major. Clap hands together and strike out to the front (with "impact," allowing head to shake), keeping elbows bent, and with fingers pointing forward. Exhale. Keeping fingers pointed out, make a clockwise circle and end pointing straight down. Move hands straight up from there to about the height of your forehead, with elbows still bent. Then rotate the right palm so that it's facing the floor, keeping the wrist tight. Pull down, with impact, to solar plexus level, and then pull down and in close to the body, ending with the palms pressed tightly together, and with the right shoulder down a bit and the left slightly up to accommodate bringing the palms in close to the body. Hold and squeeze tightly in toward the body in this position to bring the energy into the body. (With each step above, relax for a moment before beginning each new movement.)
(Seeing that the audience's energy was flagging at this point, the Chacmools issued the following instructions for a "quick energy boost": Rub your palms together quickly and then place the palms on the face. Inhale and exhale a couple of times.)
11. Animal Step
Minor. Use the whole leg as much as possible. Bring the right leg to the back. Then do the same with the left leg. (The action is that "of a large beast pawing at the ground." Nyei admonished that the animal "is not a chicken.") Continue faster and more energetically. (This movement assertedly stirs up "earth energy.")
There followed a few questions about the movements (most of the pertinent answers to which have already been incorporated in the above descriptions of the movements). Kylie also said we were to keep these movements separate from those on the first video. "Castaneda says to do the movements in the sequence given. It is okay to pick up later, with a break in the middle, to continue and conclude the sequence." We then broke at noon for lunch.
Returning at 3 PM, Kylie announced that the original plan for a three-month long class in Los Angeles had been altered since "people from elsewhere who wanted to come had indicated that such a long time period would be a hardship." Castaneda had responded by deciding the workshop "could be done in six weeks, meeting nearly every night, with some weekend sessions." This workshop would include "lectures by each of the four disciples of don Juan," including Castaneda. On the last weekend, food would be served ("the Blue Scout wants to serve the food of don Juan"). They were also planning "a performance of Phantom Theater, written and directed by the two scouts," for the workshop. "Right now we are looking at a start date sometime in August."
In answer to a question about a rumor that a permanent site for teaching Tensegrity was to be opened, Kylie said it was "possible that we might in the future open up something in L.A. as an ongoing site for the Chacmool Institute," but that that wasn't yet in the works. She also claimed that some of the magical passes have "over 600 component movements." She reported that after the Tensegrity Workshop in Argentina, Castaneda "felt energetically that the weekend workshops wouldn't work for their purposes anymore. That's why we canceled the one planned for England (at which point Kylie acknowledged Simon from London, who was present and who had organized the now cancelled London workshop). A man asked the reason for offering the workshops now. Kylie responded that Michael Kraft at the Rim Institute had first suggested it, and that they "were all surprised when Castaneda, after digesting the proposal, agreed." They then proceeded to instruct us on the next six movements before we broke for dinner at 6 PM.
12. Pyramid of Energy
Major. Start with feet apart and knees slightly bent. Inhale, swinging the arms inward and up over the head and out, ending with them hanging against the hips on the exhale. Repeat this movement three times. On the fourth inhale, end with the elbows out to the sides and the hands palm down (locked thumbs), with the fingers nearly touching, against the solar plexus. Exhale while performing the following seven movements, which represent the building of a pyramid: (1) move the hands up and out in a 45-degree slant from the front of the body near the solar plexus so that they are about on a level with the chin; then (2) move them down the front slant of the pyramid so they are again on a line with the solar plexus; then (3) move them back along the bottom of the pyramid so that they are again resting against your body at the solar plexus point; then (4) move the hands back up in a slant as described in step 1; then (5) changing the position of the hands so that they touch along the side of the thumbs, bring the hands down along the sides of the pyramid to its base point; then (6) bring the hands back up along the sides of the pyramid to its apex again (thumbs touching); and finally (7) bring the hands back down along the sides of the pyramid to its base point. Then rotate the hands into a "C" to grab along the back corners of the pyramid and thrust the pyramid out from the body. Then inhale and raise the arms and place the pyramid on the shoulders, ending with elbows out and fingers pointed in on either side of the neck. Inhale and exhale three times in this position with the elbows rising up with each inhale.
13. The Sorcerer's Breath
Major. Start with the right hand pointing down the right leg, with the last three fingers bent at the knuckle. Follow with the eyes as the right hand first goes over the head vertically and lands on the lower back above the tail bone. Then the left hand, in a fist, goes toward the right side and horizontally around the body and to the back, crossing the other hand at the wrist. Exhale, and bring head forward, looking out toward the horizon. Then bend over, and raise arms up slightly from their position against the back as you inhale and exhale twice. Exhale and follow with the eyes as the left arm comes back horizontally to a position against the front of the body, and then the right hand comes back vertically to the same position, crossing at the wrists near the solar plexus. Then slowly straighten and stand up. Inhale, moving the arms above the head slowly, rotating the hands so that the palm side is facing outward, and stretch completely. Open the hands and exhale, slowly bringing the arms down to the side. Cross arms at the wrists over the chest. Inhale and bring the right hand up to the left, over to the right, and down at about chest level, while the left hand goes up to the right, then over to the left, down and back to about chest level. Inhale and push the arms out toward the front in a round motion, "like a paddle wheel" (your hands being the paddles) three times. (Inhale one-and-a-half times and exhale for that half and another whole motion.) Then repeat the whole movement from the beginning, this time starting with the left hand pointing down with the last three fingers bent at the knuckle.
[At this point, in answer to a question, Kylie made a brief, impromptu speech, saying that "the aim is that we change ourselves, giving up our irritation and anger at others, and desire that others change. Seeing there is no hope in a daily life of anger, mistrust and suspicions, we work to master our own energy. The best gauge of whether it is working is to stay in the workforce and see if the person who always bothers us so much is still bothering us as much" (and not just whether we've "controlled our irritation mentally, but checking to see if any irritation remains in the body"). "The warrior's way is not about getting something, it's about getting out of the way. We are compelled to share this material with you because something in us changed as a result of the practice, and there is nothing special" about the three Chacmools. There is only "each of us and it." If we want it bad enough, we can hook onto it. "This is our own solitary flight. We're not a group, and yet we're all hooked into the same intent. What we must achieve is a solitary impeccability; what others think and their judgments are irrelevant."]
14. The Seer's Window
Major. Begin with flat palms, thumbs tucked in and crossing the hands in front, bring them out (with a "zing"), to a point at waist level a little more than shoulder width apart (sort of like the umpire's signal that indicates the player is "safe"). The Chacmools described the motion as "like spreading out a large piece of paper." Do this three times. Then with hands apart at more than shoulder width and facing forward, move the right hand across the bottom ledge of the window until it touches the left hand, and then bring it back to the starting position. Do this three times, first with the right hand, then with the left hand, and finally again with the right hand. Then rotate the hands so that the palms are facing each other and bring them up inside the window (to about the level of the chin) and down, repeating this motion a total of three times. Then rotate the right arm around, bringing the hand back to the same position but now with the palm facing out to the right at about eye level. Do the same with the left hand, so that the palm faces out to the left. Now trace again the sides of the window down and up three times. Then rotate the hands so that palms are facing up and raise hands, crossing arms, to trace the inside top of the window three times. With hands apart, at either top corner of the invisible window, start with the right hand and trace the inside of the window from the right to the left and back again. Do the same with the left hand, and then once more with the right hand. Then place the hands on either corner of the bottom ledge of the window and lean over to look out of the window for a count of 10. (When looking out the window, we are "looking into infinity.") Then move back to an erect, standing position, feet together, with hands at the side, face forward, and shout "intent" nine times (the accent is on the second syllable).
15. Local Application of Energy
Major. With elbows bent and tucked against the body and both hands up, palms facing forward, thumbs locked, start with the right hand and make a small "parry" across the front of the body toward the left side. Do the same with the left hand toward the right, and repeat with the right hand, for a total of three parries with each hand. Then make three larger parries, again starting with the right hand, to about shoulder level, moving the hands out farther to the front. Then with a one-finger-pointed hand (as in the Sorcerer's Breath, with the last three fingers bent at the knuckle) move each hand up, holding the other at the side with elbow bent. Start with the left hand, and alternate, three times, inhaling as the hand goes up. Then with a two-finger-pointed hand (with the last two fingers bent at the knuckle), raise the right hand up, inhaling, and exhale bringing it down. Do the same with the left, and alternate, for a total of three times with each hand. Then with the right hand moving up again, grab "the energy" at the top of your reach with the two pointed fingers. Curl the two fingers inward, "like scooping ice cream" with your fingers, and bring the arm back down. "This should be done with a lot of tension being felt in the arm and scooping hand." Do the same with the left, and alternate, for a total of three times with each hand. Then bring the hands together in front of you and lace the two fingers together. Apply this energy to the midsection (or elsewhere on the body, "as you choose"), by opening the hands and making three strokes of the open palms across that part of the body.
16. Elbow Crank
Minor. Beginning with the right hand with palm flat and pointing upward, thumb locked, "shoot" the hand out toward the front with the elbow bent. Then bring the hand up and make it into a fist (with thumb pointing to your right and the fingers facing your body). Rotate the fist and turn it inward and then down, with the elbow coming up. Then push out with the left palm across the front of the body to the right, as you bring the right hand around to the back of the body. (As the fist moves down, the back of it faces your left and the thumb faces toward your body until the fist is just at the side of your right thigh. The left hand pushes toward the right fist, but never actually touches it.) Then bring the left hand around and back to the left at waist level, and shoot it out, palm up, "in one fluid motion." Then do the same movements as described above, reversing the hands (i.e., open the right fist and bring it up in front with palm facing forward as you bring the left hand up into the fist described above).
17. Slicing Energy
Minor. Starting from the normal "horse" stance, feet apart and knees slightly bent, shake out the hands and then, using a flat palm, with locked thumb and fingers tightly together, the right hand slices toward the front below the waist, while the left hand at the same time, in a "natural" motion, goes behind the back (the hand in front slices parallel to the body, while the hand in back ends up perpendicular to the body). Shake the hands again and alternate with the left striking in the front and the right in back, for a total of six times with each hand, shaking the hands out before each strike. Then do six more strikes with each hand, starting with the right, with no shaking in between.
Instruction Conclusion for the Day
"Energetic finale" before ending at 6 PM Saturday: (We were told, "This will not be on the second video.") Kylie commented on the Animal Step pass we had performed before lunch, saying that they had found that it was "particularly energetic" performing it there at Omega because "we were doing it right on the ground, stirring up the energy there." [The only way to accommodate so many people doing movements at Omega had been to erect the temporary, large white tent over an outside area.] So as a finale to the day's instruction, they had us again do the Animal Step "to really bring up the energy," and then the Shaking Pass "to disburse the energy." The Shaking Pass is a progressive shaking of each part of the body, beginning with each foot, culminating in a general shaking and trembling motion [I suppose much like at old time "revival meetings," also generally conducted under temporary tents].