The 'Long Class' Experience
"This is workshop work.....!!"
[Kit Laughlin during a phone conversation with me sometime mid-2014]
The above quote happened during a deeply interesting and flowing phone conversation I had with my mentor last year. We were having one of our discussions that darted all over the place effortlessly: practical physical cultivation methods, stretching, strength and conditioning, dharmic topics, philosophy, etc,. It's a beautiful thing to have people in your life that you can communicate with unrestrained and completely naturally across all the things that are most meaningful in your life!
Kit blurted out this line "This is workshop work!" - and we both fell silent for a few moments, knowing something very important had just occurred.
The specific "This" we were talking about was the method of Stretch Therapy (the parent art of Physical Alchemy). Stretch Therapy occurs in a number of settings: private sessions, classes and workshops. Something Kit* and I (and others) have been aware of for a while is that there is something different, something very special, about experiencing this work immersion style in groups at a workshop level.
There a many possible ingredients in the creation of the workshop experience: space, duration (most workshops are 2-3 days - the bodymind warms up and becomes more plastic, more open to change), the 'tribal' aspects of doing an activity with a group of like-minded people is a supportive environment, the method, the teacher, the students - and so on.
Classes are fantastic, and have similar dynamics to workshops. But they are not as powerful as the workshop experience. Something I have been contemplating deeply since the phone-satori with Kit is: 'how can I make classes more like the workshop experience?'. Why? The closer I can get my classes to the workshop level of re-patterning, the more powerful they become and the more effectively and efficiently the methods can work for my students.
Hmmm, what elements to tinker with? I have chosen duration (to start with). We have been temporally patterned in a certain way in this society. Since high-school most of us are conditioned to do roughly 9-5pm, on 5 specific days out of 7. We are used to a lunch break of around an hour, with or without another small break or two. This is not a natural pattern, IMHO, but it is what we have to work with.
So, I have been testing out extended duration 'Long Classes' in my Physical Alchemy Experimental classes - see HERE. These are between 2 - 2.5hrs in duration.
The results so far are overwhelmingly in favour of this being a superior way to train the method in class format. It seems that for Stretch Therapy, after a hour (the normal duration for ST classes, and mos exercise classes) the body (nervous system and other soft tissues) is starting to get into a plasticity state slightly sideways to normal consciousness - a state where deeper change becomes easier to attain. The increased integration time and lack of haste facilitated deeper relaxation, too.
But how to implement this out of 'the laboratory'.. Luckily Cherie and I have already found a way to implement this new format of long-play physical immersion - we do it on Saturday! We are currently running these classes on alternating Saturdays at the Sydney Stretch Therapy studio.
I intend to run two classes per Saturday in this manner ASAP. Having experimented with this on myself and a number of my collaborators, it is obvious that this is the perfect way to run non-workshop classes. They even work wonders on one class per week (or even fortnight, which is something very interesting). This work is alive! It is a living art. I, and others, are constantly trying to evolve the method (which we already knows works so well) along the lines of effectiveness, efficiency and depth.
I am also contemplating an evening Long Class, if enough humans are interested. Doing this type of format in the evening has often been giving me and the other collaborators very deep and rejuvenating sleep, and being able to go home and sleep soon after aids the experience, in my reckoning.
Come explore the art of re-patterning your bodymind for increased movement quality, relaxation and suppleness. It's fun and it feels amazing!
Please PM me if you have any further questions about the methodology specifically or generally (firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join the Sydney Stretch Therapy facebook group for more class details, fun and community.
*HERE - also, for trainspotters, hard to see in this image but Kit is wearing his 'Resist Mediocrity' t-shirt.