Shibari as a key to the unconscious mind

Our minds have countless and mysterious ways that occasionally activate during our life in an unconscious way. At this post we’ll aim to find the way to unravel the emotions and energies that appear in our unconscious mind behind any Shibari Kinbaku session so we can share them with you.

During the initial level classes at KinbakuMania Shibari Dojo we’ve been teaching some particular aspects of Shibari Kinbaku, specially about the way we understand, practice and teach Shibari. We feel them so crucial and foundational that we felt appropriate sharing them here so that people reading this page would be able to enrich their Shibari Kinbaku appreciation.

We’ve always related our Shibari Kinbaku approach as intimately bound with the communication between rigger, shibari partner and spectators. We also mention that this kind of communication defines the type of energies involved in the Shibari session form that moment on.

In our humble way of viewing and understanding Shibari Kinbaku (the way we live it), we feel that a communication is established between model and rigger that exceeds our conscious perceptions even before that very first moment when the rigger holds the rope. Archetypical desires and behaviors, conscious or unconscious memories, and the particular way our minds perceive that moment then start to activate in the whole session.  We have just opened a door that may lead to a whole new world where sensations may emerge, even when we would perhaps be unaware of them, or even when those sensations aren’t related with the kind of shibari session we have planned.

Keeping that in mind KinbakuMania Shibari Dojo puts a special emphasis teaching about proprioception (the perception of ourselves). We also focus in developing riggers’ fundamental skills to be able to perceive those sometime subtle (almost undetectable), sometimes evident, signs.  We aim to build riggers’ empathy to be conscious of what they are provoking on their partners.

From the very first moment a rigger plans any shibari activity he/she must be able to perceive the energies he/she will be dealing within this “here and now”.  This oriental “here and now” philosophical concept is foundational to develop the Shibari Kinbaku perception so we can have a conscious session. People may change their mood at any moment. Both rigger and rope partner may be in some mood today. Maybe tomorrow or ten minutes later something may trigger a mood shifting. Triggers may be completely unrelated and involuntary. Something like a song, a color, some special smell, any image (real or verbally described), a specific word, a name, a memory, you name it… may provoke a shift. They may suddenly trigger a state of fear, rage, sadness, uncertainty, anxiousness, blues, etc we have to immediately take care of.  It is very important in our Dojo that riggers acquire the ability to be conscious of that mind shifting in the case that happens. Moreover it requires also proprioception as it may appear both in riggers as in their rope partners, being as important one way or the other.

During a shibari kinbaku session a varied type of energy exchanges may take place between riggers and their rope partners depending on their individual moods. You may find so varied energies as playfulness behaviors, defiant partners that want to struggle through the ropes, or totally submissive energies, people may be in a blue mood, people lost in an inner journey,  or just curious, etc. There are several types of energies we must be extra careful if they appear, such as fear, sadness, phobic attitudes, distrustfulness, among many others…

It takes some time and training to develop the skills to recognize those different moods in your rope partner. Sometimes they may give you subtle clues, or may appear out from nowhere in our intimate self in a sudden and you should be able to react accordingly without panicking.

The rope itself, they way we use it, the way we move our hands, the intention of our movements, the simple touch of the rope over the skin, our breathing pace, our body position, our verbal and/or nonverbal language, the lack or excess in rope tension, the lack or excess in our contact, your gaze or the lack of eye contact, where your attention is, etc….  are always being evaluated in a subconscious level and related to any kind of binding, contact, or memories of our lives. Those memories that have been unconscious until then may emerge due to that what that whole shibari session symbolically presents to our unconscious mind. That scene may trigger any memories related to other real or symbolic bonds we have had in the past of our lives either with your rope partner, other people, or with ourselves. Memories of missing contacts with important beings in our lives, craved hugs, the way someone gazed to us, the perfume in the air, the sounds around… everything becomes a potential trigger for our unconscious minds.

In some cases it may take a while, some long time before rigger and partner get to know each other in that intimate way. Rigger and partner may then start to be used to detect that subtle mood shifts as soon as the first sign of them appears. This is something often seen in that special chemistry some long term rigger – partner couples show. The key for that symbiosis maybe in that important pre and post session dialogue they keep and where everything is clarified and agreed.  Sometimes that dialogue is forgotten or underestimated, or they get bored by the routine. When verbal communication is underestimated or neglected stress appears and that would lead the couple to break up.

We teach this crucial communications aspects from the first day at KinbakuMania Shibari Dojo.  The way you handle your rope, the way you uncoil it is one of the first ways to influence the space and the unconscious mind of the person you’re about to play with. The way your rope partner stands up (or sits), the position of his/her arms, the pace of his/her breathing, your gazes, your body language, your muscular tension, can tell us a lot about your and his/her state of mind.  You can rapidly relate if that person is in the ancient “fight or flight” archetypical program we use almost everyday,  or if we can build a scene from confidence and trust.

In our humble point of view the beauty of Shibari Kinbaku, the beauty of that confidence that both parts may show through ropes has little to do with the kind of structure, acrobatic position, or contortion they can achieve or the fancy photo they can upload. Instead, it has a fundamental background on “how” we do Shibari. It’s intimately related to what we communicate through ropes, to what that special and magical moment drives to the spectators.  Then as we evolve and train our hands, both our technical and perceptive abilities grow within us. At that special moment and with all those skills we may be able to accomplish those shows where communication through rope, art, spectacularity and the background scene would melt in a whole.  It’s then when we feel we are celebrating the beauty of Shibari Kinbaku.

One thought on “Shibari as a key to the unconscious mind

  1. No hay lugar a dudas que las cuerdas son un instrumento para el autoconocimiento y para conectar con la otra persona…Un sutil intercambio de energias que generan un feedback antes, durante y despues del proceso de la atadura… Un proceso capaz de llevar la mente a un nivel donde el jucio esta de más y solo fluye el sentir en tiempo presente vivido a maxima intensidad … En el silencio de las sensaciones, emociones compraridas.

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