As a person who shudders at the sound of the word ‘exercise’, dance and Laughter Yoga®, has become an integral part of my meditation practice and also doubles as my self-care regime. That’s the “fitness box” ticked. Don’t tell me that it's exercise and I’m in!
Dance as Meditation
As a meditation teacher and lecturer, one of the most frequent comments I hear from people is “I can’t meditate, my mind doesn’t stop”. I can feel their frustration and get the sense that they really want to be able to meditate in a way that comes naturally to them.
People have the perception that meditation is about having no thought, being very still and sitting cross-legged with their fingers in a mudra position. It can be, but it can be so much more.
There is a meditation practice for everyone, it’s just a matter of finding what you like and what suits you the best.
With all forms of meditation, your intention is an important part of the ritual so it goes to say that it’s also an integral part of your dancing meditation practice. Why are you dancing and what do you want to achieve from the practice and bringing your full attention to it.
Being clear about your intention, you are able to get the most out of your practice whether it is going with the flow and allowing yourself to be moved by the music; being mindful of the body as it occupies the space around you or how it moves in response to sound. Perhaps you dance to connect with your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual body. It doesn’t matter what the intention or theme, bringing mindful awareness or focus to the practice is the key.
The Benefits of Dancing Meditation
This is an exciting time for meditation and it’s resurgence across the world, with the increase in body awareness practices such as yoga, mindful movement, Laughter Yoga® and dance. If you have trouble sitting still or have excess energy, then dance meditation may be right up your alley. Here are some of the possible benefits:
- Improves balance and spatial awareness
- Supports psychological wellbeing, as well as your mental functioning
- Moves chi (life force energy) through your body, improving circulation and may support the release of energy blockages
- Relieves stress, anxiety and overwhelm
- Improves your overall self-esteem and self-confidence
- Increases your Happy Hormone serotonin which regulates your mood, prevents depression and makes you feel a greater sense of joy
- Brings you into a deeper connection with yourself
Trusting Your Body
For me, dancing meditation brings me joy, laughter and good feelings. I’m usually smiling from ear to ear and the feeling of euphoria stays with me for the rest of the day. I found that I can’t hold anger, anxiety (or any negative feelings for that matter) whilst I danced. Being able to let go of control and allow the music to flow through me which entices my body to simply move with the energy of the music.
My body knows how to move, so I let it. It’s like controlling the breath in meditation, there’s no need to, your body knows how to breathe.
There’s a real sense of freedom, my heart opens and flies in all directions – overwhelming joy flows through my veins and it changes my entire day especially when I’m being challenged.
So, Let’s Dance!
- Body Awareness Dance – an excellent way to develop a deep connection between your mind and your body. A beautiful mindfulness practice, allowing you to really get to know your body by making space for your body to speak to you
- Sacred Dance – the dance of intimacy, the dance of self-love. Dancing to the I AM of all that you are on all levels of being. This can be such a graceful dance and then at other times be aggressive as you honour all elements of you
- Ecstatic Dance – also known as ritual dance, is dancing to achieve altered states of consciousness. This is usually through dancing to themes such as the lunar cycle, the equinoxes, gratitude or anything you want to embody. This form of dance is much more powerful as part of ceremony or ritual
- Free Form Dance – all the different styles of dances may include free-form or structured dance yet free form encourages a real sense of freedom and liberation which I have found has led me to profound awareness’s and insights about my ego-self
- Car Dance – excellent for heavy traffic as it assists you to avoid impatient behaviour and road rage. Car dancing usually includes loud singing to 80’s music. (I also sing completely out of tune at the top of my voice – let me tell you, I haven’t sounded better than in these moments. You know the feeling!)
Remember that the most important criteria about Dance Meditation is setting your intention. Now, I invite you to bring your full attention to it. We have so much to be grateful for!
Use dance to express your gratitude for life and in those moments when you are struggling to connect to your grateful heart, ask the energy of your dance to reconnect you. Enjoy!
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