OVERVIEW

Momentom derives its name from “om” moments – moments of introspection and stillness – with “momentum” – expressions of exhilaration. Our program uses a fusion of yoga and circus arts, practices tailored to channel these two sentiments, in a way that realizes the connection between the two, and their implications for one another. We believe that it is within the balance of movement and meditation, of self-inquiry and self-expression, where we realize the fullest expression of ourselves, and that such a balance serves to bolster self-efficacy, social capacities, and general well-being.

MOMENTOM METHODOLOGY

Our program is designed to be a holistic practice, drawing upon disciplines and insights across a number of fields. The methodology is based within four core frames of reference.

YOGA

Classically understood as the union of body and mind, we teach students to use the abilities of the body (breath, movement, and sensorial and spatial awareness), to achieve a stillness of mind.  We elaborate on the traditional 8 limbs of yoga (see Table 1) to focus on self-awareness and acceptance of our natural state.

SOCIAL CIRCUS ARTS

Social practice that fuses traditional circus arts with play, allowing for the creative evolution of this art form, where conscious collaboration creates original and innovative artistic concepts.

CONSTRUCTIVISM / INTRINSIC LEARNING

Constructivism learning happens as a result of the student reconciling his / her own values with the content being learned, so that, making connections between the content and the student’s individual identity becomes crucial to learner empowerment.  Intrinsic learning, similarly, is a style of learning where the experience of learning is just as important as the knowledge itself – again we emphasize making the learning experience relevant, meaningful, and exciting.

MINDFULNESS

The idea of paying attention, on purpose, and without judgment, to one’s inner experiences – feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations – within their outer, everyday experiences.  Mindfulness philosophy acts as an overarching principle that is applied both within yoga and circus arts practice.

THE EIGHT LIMBS OF YOGA

The Asanas are just the tip of the Yoga Iceberg!
There are eight traditional limbs of yoga, which we explore below.
Momentom dares the delve into the depths of self awareness to bring out the greatest expression of ones self.

Yamas & Niyamas
:moral principles, imperatives, and philosophies of yoga

Platform for discussion in an arrangement of a circle; address moral philosophy and culturally relevant issues

Practices for present orientation
Enhance focus / concentration
Enhance physiological capacities

Pratyahara
:withdrawal of the senses

Asanas
:pose

Traditional posture for skeletal alignment
Preparation and muscle activation for all circus disciplines taught in the course

Cultivate inner perceptual awareness
Still the mind on single point for complete absorption
Enhance focus and concentration

Dharana
:intense focus

Pranayama
:breath

Practices for present orientation and refinement of the mind
Enhance focus / concentration
Relax or stimulate

Body and senses reach a state of complete relaxation alongside alertness of the mind
Mind and intellect cease and there is only the experience of consciousness

Samadhi
:state of oneness

 

THE FIFTH ELEMENT: THE CIRCLE

A fifth, honorary frame of reference integral to our approach is the graphic of a circle, which we take to represent a centre amidst its surrounding, connected edges. We channel the centre through the practice of yoga, building awareness and confidence here, before exploring our physical and mental edges by pushing boundaries with circus arts. We employ mindfulness rhetoric throughout the course, emphasizing the principles of present orientation, body awareness of self and other, and connection, thereby encouraging students to recognize the process by which the self integrates into and impacts the larger entity. This allows us to return to our concept of the circle as connection, this time between the individual at centre and its place within the wider community.

CIRCLE AS SELF

Centre as inner awareness;
Edges as external abilities;
Focus on the spatial awareness between the two

CIRCLE AS COMMUNITY

Centre as individual self;
Edges as communitiy;
Focus on the spatial awareness between the two

STRUCTURE

The curriculum is loosely based upon a 12 class model, and taught according to three sequential sections:

INDIVIDUAL
weeks 1-4

The course begins with an introduction towards the cultivation of a mindset of non-judgmental awareness of self, giving students a chance to explore their own thought patterns, physical and mental states, sensations, resistances, and energetic bodies.  We focus on the 8 limbs of yoga, the core themes of mindfulness, and the introduction of conscious playfulness in circus arts.

OTHER
weeks 5-8

The second aspect of the course focuses on interactive work – having already established the effectiveness of the self, we turn towards what the self can offer when in collaboration with another.  Always beginning with an emphasis on tuning into the self first, we experiment with partner acrobatics, partner aerials, trust exercises, and partner yoga.  The underlying philosophy of this portion is the idea that, when we accept what our partner has to offer us, and they accept what we have to offer them, we can realize greater potential and greater achievements.  An example of this is the idea of enabling an other to “fly”, as in acro-yoga (see figure 3).

COMMUNITY
weeks 9-12

The course culminates in a free of charge and voluntary community performance.  Students are encouraged to create their own artistic sequences, and join with other artists in the community – whether music, visuals, movement, martial arts etc – allowing the students to be creatively fuse their newly acquired abilities with their own unique passions that constitute their own individual identities beyond the classroom.

The performance thus serves to highlight local and cooperative interdisciplinary arts, and students are encouraged to create the performances based on themes that are meaningful and inspiring for them and for their communities.  We also take the time here to infuse the practice and performance with ideals of gratitude, love, joy and acceptance.

TARGETS AND PEDAGOGIC PRACTICES

We target 8 different capacities with our program, which fall under both cognitive and affective dimensions.
We use different disciplines within yoga and circus arts that correlate to each specific capacity.

YOGA

CIRCUS

FEAR

Inversions
Arm balances
New postures
Anger-inducing postures

Play: Eye-gazing
Taxi Driver
Hugs
Aerials: Drops, climbing

COORDINATION

Movement with breath
Inversions with breath
Movement with and without drishti (gaze)
Pratyahara: spreading awareness across two senses at once

Brain gym
Poi exercises

BALANCE

Arm balance
Balance postures
Meditation on balance as a sense (of centre)

Slack line
Handstand

CONNECTION

Breath
Drishti

Dialogue platform
Partner acrobatics
Performance

CONDITIONING

Alignment of self through breath / posture retention
Counter-weight partner yoga

Acroyoga
Partner aerials
Apparatus conditioning

CONCENTRATION

Eka-grata (single pointed focus)
Meditation
Drishti
Intention

Inversions
Juggling
Hula Hooping

INTER-CONNECTEDNESS

Group / partner asanas and weight sharing
Circle sequencing – relating back to working together, using interactive and timed individualized sequences

Dialogue using circle platform
Trust activities
Acroyoga

PLAY AND NON-JUDGEMENT

Intention in yoga and meditation: using the intention as an anchor that draws back when thoughts become scattered

Self-expression
Clowning