Annunciation Creativity with Denise Levertov and Martha Graham

An energizing backbending practice in honor of the Queen Bee, re-framing "productivity" in work as inspiration and openness

This class reframes the uptick of springtime work energy as openness to inspiration (breathing in spirit). Of all the springtime religious holidays, the Christian scene of the angel visiting Mary is the only one whose protagonist is a woman. We will borrow Denise Levertov's picture of Mary's courage in "Annunciation," bolstered by some loving tough talk from Martha Graham, as inspiration to stay open to any nudges about our calling this spring. What are we being asked to begin, to undertake? We will coax the awakening energy via backbending, balanced out by a mystery pranayama (breath practice) woven into the movement sequence.

*Pranayama hint: Mary is known as the Queen Bee in the Christian tradition!


-a 60-minute yoga-based practice guiding you through an embodied exploration of poetic language

-a music playlist lovingly chosen to capture the poem's ambiance (crafted to match the arc of the physical practice, so you can choose to practice with music)

-a link to the poetry, and a short reflection capturing the most striking phrases, themes, and imagery.

-a distilled skeleton of the sequence (poses, breath exercises, and visualizations) for your reference

In an embodied approach to language, the goal is to generate a spontaneous, authentic experience of a poem that you can hold on to (or, if you're a teacher, one you can share)! When we linger with poems not with our rational "thinky" brain, but with a more primal gut layer of our being, we can absorb their truth and beauty deeper into the psyche. When poems live there, they pop up more regularly in our everyday lives, suffusing our days with new meaning and presence. And isn't this the goal behind any practice?

*Available 48 hours upon registration

Your Instructor

Katy Hawkins
Katy Hawkins

Katy Hawkins, PhD, is a professor at Bryn Mawr College, Creator of Moving Poetics, and Director of Shiné: Mind/Body/Spirit in Philadelphia. Moving Poetics courses represent the culmination of her 27 years of teaching, in universities (Comp Lit and Gender and Queer Studies) and in her work of the last decade, teaching poetry through somatics. This cutting edge pedagogical inroad to critical thinking incorporates the urgent need for mind/body integration among students today.

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