Shanna Mitchell, a student at the International School of Shiatsu, was invited to share some shiatsu energy exercises with a Philadelphia community program called The Listening School Project. She sent us the following article and photos/videos about the experience.
The Listening School Project is a part of a larger #ROOTEDinSW program which is a joint effort between Bartram's Garden and Philadelphia Mural Arts. The project is designed to encourage community connections to art, nature, and each other. The Listening School has been developed/nurtured under the leadership of Katie Bachler who took the idea to local youth in SW Philly and partnered with them to learn and share through a mobile art station/information booth. As a part of the program, the youth are offered classes and workshops to learn more about connecting with art and nature in the environment around them.
They take what they learn and go out around the neighborhood to talk and share with people. They do this by travelling the neighborhood with a cart loaded with info, art supplies and plant samples (mugwort is their favorite). They talk with people about connecting with nature, using local plants as medicine, creating art... And now Do-In!
In addition, community members are invited to create a piece of art and/or share a story about how nature, art, and other topics curated by Katie and the youth impact their lives. All of the collected stories will be put together in a culminating compilation which will then be shared with the community.
It was so great to be invited to spend time with them and share some of the things I've learned from Saul, Lynn and the other awesome folks at the Shiatsu school. We talked about energy and practiced the bouncing Chi building exercise, Do-In, the proprioceptive floating exercise and the "Ahh" "Suu" & "Mmm" chanting. Afterwards they made some art reflecting how they experienced the energy in their body.
It was a really great experience for me. I'm excited for more like it! Everything was really well received and I think the exercises will be great tools for them to have under their belts. They had some great feedback seem eager to practice and share what they learned. I'm excited to check-in with them over the coming weeks to hear about their experiences taking this new information out into the community. I'll be sure to pass on any updates.