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There are many ways of inducing trance states. These workshops offer the following possibilities:

Active Trance:

Trance Dance

Contact Improvisation

Breathing techniques (e.g. Holotropic breathing of Stanislav Grof)

Giving massage

Chanting of mantras

Passive Trance:

Receiving massage

Guided fantasy

Deep relaxation

Trance can help to regulate the free-flow of energy in the body, releasing tension and thus enhancing the capacity for natural living pulsation. To fall into trance has a liberating effect and can result in finding a new sense of being - a spiritual dimension may come into play here because deep trance states can lead to a temporary loss of ego or dissolution of the sense of self. For many people this can be an ecstatic experience, to feel themselves as a "part of the whole" or "at one with all". This is the experience so often described by spiritual masters and shamans, attainable through meditation, fasting, vision quests, psychedelic substances or other shamanic practices. It results in a feeling of belonging, of "coming home".

The party generation, the thousands of young people who regularly go dancing all night, often depend, for endurance and euphoria, on the consumption of doubtful substances which may constitute severe health risks. These workshops offer the possibility of getting high without drugs. Through trance the body's own chemistry can produce a natural high; endorphins and dopamine can be released, the re-uptake of serotonin can be inhibited.

States of trance can be a counterbalance to the endemic compulsion to be active and productive in our western societies where success, wealth and work are held in such high regard. Trance and its practitioners tend conversely to be treated with derision and branded as eccentric or just plain lazy. Within many ancient tribes however, the regular practice of trance inducing rites and rituals is not only highly developed, but it is also seen as essential for the maintenance of bodily and spiritual health. The San or the Bushmen of the Kalahari are avid practitioners of trance and have a deep understanding about its benefits. Worthy of mention is the fact that many ancient tribes who hold trance in high regard, are peace loving peoples without armies or the hierarchy to maintain them. Stress-related illnesses are virtually non-existent amongst these peoples.

 

© 2004 Robert Bennett

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