Lifting Your Spirits

 |  November 24, 2010

As if riding an invisible horse, Deborah Knight swings her entire body back and forth and up and down all at once in one smooth, continuous motion. She makes it look so easy. Limbs dangling loose, head rocking rhythmically to and fro, hips energetically shaking and both feet planted solidly on the wooden floor. These movements are meant to shake awake the energy at the base of her spine.

“It is an energy that we all have inside us. Usually it is quite low, but the shaking works it up. It can be overwhelming since it’s going up your spine and up to your head, and you might think: ‘Wow, am I ever going to get out of this? I can’t even walk to the toilet because my body won’t stop.’ But actually, if you take a step out, you can,” she says.

Seven people of mixed ages are vibrating along with 49-year-old Knight, who’s leading the Shaking Meditation class this Thursday at the Cat House. They are dressed in light clothes to prevent too much sweating while they shake down to the monotonous bass streaming through to their ears. Every time the club-like music fades out in between two tracks on the disc, the humming buzz of murmuring voices becomes audible: “Om swastyastu ratu bagus.” The group repeat this mantra, which loosely translated means ‘welcome, my good soul’, over and over again.

For the first-timer, trying to stay upright as every part of your body is uncontrollably flailing about, you are likely to feel somewhat awkw- ard.The encouraging smiles from theother shakers around do help though. “You shake very strongly in the beginning. Usually we have trouble making first-timers really do this, but it is very important, because it is this that will awaken the energy. When it starts rising, it starts to really shake your body for you instead of you making the effort. It is an incredible feeling,” Knight says.

Reaching the state of spine-energy-born, effortless shaking during a session with Knight will probably take you anything between 20 minutes and never. If your legs start cramping and you’re panting like an old horse, the key is to keep shaking through this, too.

When the energy is first moving, it should break through any physical, mental or emotional blocks you might have stuck in your body as it works its way up your spinal cord. Depending on what the energy bangs into on this journey, your shake can bring up feelings of ecstasy, sadness, anger, physical pain or joy. “You can get amazing laughter that comes up right from the pit of your belly. It feels like your mouth isn’t big enough to get out all the laughter that’s inside of you,” Knight says. Self-healing is a big part of the shaking meditation, and Knight stays fit by shaking every day. “For me, the amazing thing about the shaking is the way it’s just lighting you up. I used to be sort of melancholic, but that’s completely changed. It brings up your energy so much,” she says.


Shaking Meditation at Cat House

• Cat House, down Soi 3 Sirimankalajarn Road, runs seven shaking sessions through six days every week.
• Each shake stretches through two hours, including 10 minutes of relaxation afterwards and 20 minutes to shower.
• Non Thais pay 100 baht/Thais 50 baht per class.
• For further information, check out ‘Shaking Meditation Chiang Mai’ on Facebook or write Deborah Knight on