For goodness shakes! Shaking is one of the most fundamental methods of releasing tension. But more than just that, it is an old shamanic tool that is associated with both ecstasy and healing. Do not underestimate the power of shaking. If there is one thing (right along with swaying) that anybody should be making an everyday habit, it would be shaking. Before, after, and/or during random events throughout the day, incorporate shaking to it. Allow shaking into your world.
Shaking is when an impulse and/or shock is repeated over and over like a current.
At first, one can try simply relaxing the body and bouncing the knees as if they were balls. Or by lifting up on the balls of the feet then knocking the heels to the ground, you can get your bodyquake. Or one can keep stomping in succession to wake up the spirits as if the earth were like a heart trying to be revived (like in CPR). Allow the body to shake from the vibrations.
Once one has experimented much with the standing shake, experiment further to quadrupedal and other forms your body can sustain and move in. Use arms and feet and/or whatever else against the ground to create the pulse that makes the shake.
Rich qualia examples grounded in shaking: (1) trembling from being cold or scared; (2) orgasmic contractions; (3) washing machine; (4) a child’s temper tantrum; (5) champagne bottle being shaken and then being opened.
Exercise 1: Big to Tiny Shaking
Go from large shaking and gradually get the shaking down to the tiniest of vibrations to where to the outside perspective, it may seem like stillness. The trick is to keep the tiny vibrations going steadily. Though it may be a good idea to feel the pulse coming from the ground, it may help also accentuating an initiator also at the knees.
Exercise 2: Breath of Fire
The breath of fire is a kundalini form of shaking caused by rapid in and out breathing either through the nose or from the mouth. One can feel the shaking spreading out from the lungs or in the deep lower belly and reverberating throughout the body. It also causes heat in the body, hence the name breath of fire.
Let us emphasise the relaxed body. Extremely nurturing and great for butoh is the floppy body. The floppy body is a body being shaken by something else while one is passive or floppy (one can even think/feel dead or asleep). Executing the floppy body with the entire body is great, but one can also isolate different parts such as the hands, essentially bringing the floppy hands.
Excellent qualias to capture shakes/floppy body: (1) a corpse being catapulted; (2) a child trying to wake up a gummy worm; (3) a puppet whose puppet master’s hand has a seizure; (4) electricity in the ground.
Exercise: Throwing Body Parts
Each body part will be thrown off of you. You can begin with the hand. You throw your hand across the room (you even hear it smack against the wall), but it grows back and you throw it again over and over. Do the same for the forearms, shoulders, head, chest, and the rest of the body.
Connection to Trauma Release
“Shaking or trembling, which comes from the limbic brain (the part of the brain that holds emotions), sends a signal that the danger has passed and that the fight-or-flight system can turn off. They are literally finishing the nervous system response to release the traumatic experience from the body.” – Beth Shaw¹
In animals, a natural shaking/tremoring often follows a freeze, fight or flight. These are survival mechanisms. The difference between the animal and the human comes with how the freeze, flight or flight ends. Animals (if they are not eaten) will immediately release the tension via some form of sporadic movement (shakes or convulsions), while humans will have the tendency to keep the tension trapped in the body, provoking trauma. This is exactly what Peter Levine’s work is about in his book Waking the Tiger.²
¹ Shaw, Beth. When Trauma Gets Stuck in the Body. Psychology Today. Oct 23. 2019. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-the-body/201910/when-trauma-gets-stuck-in-the-body#:~:text=Shaking%20or%20trembling%2C%20which%20comes,traumatic%20experience%20from%20the%20body.
² Levine, Peter A. Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma : the Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences. Berkeley, Calif: North Atlantic Books, 1997. Print.