Posted by: Shira Taylor Gura | March 10, 2013

On Mindful Touch


Over the past 2 days, I participated in an intense CONTACT retreat on Hannaton (led by a fellow kibbutz member).

What I hadn’t anticipated is that the exercises that we would do together would open my eyes to a new way to practice mindfulness…

Through touch.

CONTACT is a “modern dance technique in which points of physical contact provide the starting point for exploration through movement improvisation”.

The focus of the practice is to literally maintain a point of physical contact with your partner throughout your entire “dance”.  (It is hard to describe, but if you go to youtube, you’ll find some wonderful examples.)

During the retreat, I practiced pivoting, rolling, sliding, leaning, pushing, falling, lifting and even some acrobatic techniques.

Not by myself.

Always with another human being.

And, although I’m still slowly learning to understand the essence of this practice, I can say one thing for sure.

To practice CONTACT, you must be completely present.

Because the moment you lose your attention (which happened to me a few times over the weekend), you lose (literal) “contact”.


As soon as the 2-day intensive retreat ended and I entered back into my “real” world, I realized how little physical contact is in my life.

How many missed opportunities I have, everyday, to be truly present with another person via the modality of touch.

In empathy.

In happiness.

In a greeting.

In sorrow.

In love.

In friendship.

In respect.

In laughter.

In gratitude.

Living now in a society where touch and warmth is very much part of the culture, I’ve decided to begin to be more conscious with practicing mindful touch.

(So, for those of you in my vicinity… Watch out.  If you receive a random hug from me, you’ll know why.)


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