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Author Topic: Why do whirling dervish's not get dizzy?  (Read 6895 times)

Offline siasl

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Why do whirling dervish's not get dizzy?
« on: 29 April, 2015, 01:49:31 PM »
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Offline antonymous

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Re: Why do whirling dervish's not get dizzy?
« Reply #1 on: 29 April, 2015, 02:49:05 PM »
Dizziness is controlled by the vestibular system in your upper inner ear. Within the vestibular system, there are three canals that contain fluid called endolymph, as well as sensory nerve cells that look sort of like little hairs. When you move your head, the endolymph resists change in motion and lags behind, stimulating the nerve cells. Those cells send messages to the brain, telling it which way the head moved.

Dancers tend to get around this problem by keeping their eyes locked on a fixed point and whipping their heads around when their neck can’t turn any more. The result? While the rest of their bodies are spinning, their eyes trick the brain into feeling like they’re standing still. In this case, the endolymph doesn’t have a chance to move around and alert the nerve cells to tell the brain that the head is spinning.

 Figure skaters do typically get a little dizzy, but a lot of training means they are usually able to ignore the sensation and carry on as normal, without the audience ever noticing.
http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2014/01/figure-skaters-dont-seem-dizzy-spinning/

https://youtu.be/AQLtcEAG9v0
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Offline siasl

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Re: Why do whirling dervish's not get dizzy?
« Reply #2 on: 29 April, 2015, 09:17:16 PM »
That's why I mentioned whirling dervishes as they don't move their heads

Offline antonymous

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Re: Why do whirling dervish's not get dizzy?
« Reply #3 on: 29 April, 2015, 09:55:31 PM »
That's why I mentioned whirling dervishes as they don't move their heads

Like the ice skaters then - they get used to it with plenty of practice.
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Offline P-Kasso2

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Re: Why do whirling dervish's not get dizzy?
« Reply #4 on: 30 April, 2015, 09:58:46 AM »
My old biology master when I was a horrible little 12 year old said that Whirling Dervishes do indeed move their heads...they give imperceptible tiny flicks of the head, not enough to be seen but enough to stabilise the fluids in the inner ears' Labyrinths.

He went on to tell us that Dervishes also kept their eyes firmly closed...thus saving the brain from trying to make sense of continually changing visual data...and so avoiding the feeling of nausea which is in itself one of the major causes of dizziness.

Of course, head flicking may have been more prevalent among Dervishes when I was a kid than it is now . On balance, I think Ant has got it exactly right.
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Rashid Patch

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Re: Why do whirling dervish's not get dizzy?
« Reply #5 on: 16 November, 2017, 08:35:13 PM »
I trained in the Mevlevi dervish "Whirling" beginning in 1979, and began turning regularly in the Mevlevi "Sema" rituals in 1981.  First - the dervish does NOT fix their gaze on any object while they turn. This is totally different from dancer, who "spot" their eyes or head on an object while the body turns, and then move the head / eyes once each revolution. The dervish keeps their eyes open, unfixed. The "biology teacher" quoted was completely wrong.

How do the dervishes avoid dizziness? Well, some individuals do have a problem with dizziness at the beginning of the training. (I never had that trouble.) Dizziness, however, is a very small part of the difficulty of the practice, which is very physically strenuous. For example, in the "Sema" ceremony, the arms have to be held up, outstretched, for about 20 minutes; then a short break of less than two minutes, then arms stretched up another 20 minutes - this is repeated 4 times. Try holding your arms up, straight out to the side, while facing a clock. See how long you can last! The steps of the "whirling" are also very precise, and strenuous - and must be kept up continuously for long periods, without variation of speed or rhythm; any alteration of rhythm can cause the "dancers" long skirt to fall and wrap around the legs, tripping them and causing a serious fall. It's hard work!

The dizziness problem is actually minimized if the speed of rotation of the dervish is smooth and continuous - no slowing down or speeding up. A stable rotation speed allows the balance sensors of the inner ear to accommodate to the rotary motion. It is only when velocity or rotation vectors keeps shifting that the instability triggers dizziness. Turns done smoothly do not induce dizziness; martial arts practitioners practice for this, especially in some of the "inner" schools - Aikido, Tai Chi Chuan, Ba Gua.  I had studied Tai Chi Chuan for some years before taking up the dervish "turning", and I never felt dizzy while learning the practice.

Vision creates a different sort of difficulty. The eyes are not fixed on anything, so objects in the visual field move across the retina without stopping. It takes some getting used to - it is a different way of seeing, whcih requires growing new neural connections. The process can take some time - weeks or a month or two - but when it is complete, there is no problem with being aware of your surroundings. In the course of the "Sema" ritual, the dervishes have to be able to maintain their spacing while they turn, and in some cases may be moving in complex patterns on the floor. If they approach each other too closely, their whirling skirts may collide and tangle about their legs, unbalancing them or even causing them to fall. Long practice prevents this from happening during the formal ritual - in almost 40 years, I've only seen collisions maybe three times, and only once a fall - and that was someone very inexperienced in the practice.

Offline P-Kasso2

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Re: Why do whirling dervish's not get dizzy?
« Reply #6 on: 23 January, 2018, 01:55:05 PM »
I know that Rashid Patch's fine answer is a couple of months old, but somehow I missed it at the time.

I just wanted to say very very  Gd_pst to Rashid if he is still looking in. I hope he is. We need more whirling Dervishes on IA.
"I live in hope"