Over the past few weeks many people have asked me, now what is this Conscious Dance thing you do? I decided I better write a quick blog explaining what I’m up to as I get ready to start my beginner’s series on Friday in case someone out there needs to be there and didn’t realize it yet…
Conscious dance is a mindfulness practice not terribly different in its purpose from yoga. You will often find these two practices housed in the same spaces. There are currently over 100 flavors of conscious dance and another will likely be born before I finish this article. The reason there are so many is because each teacher brings forth their unique transmission of awareness through movement. Amidst these many teachers, there have been influential masters of this art that have touched us all. Through their lifetime of work, they tapped into universal truths and made them apparent and accessible to beginners and advanced dancers alike. This ability to give access to the deep work through a word, a look, or a ritual is what sets masters apart and creates powerful transmission of awareness from teacher to student. If you’re called, there are living conscious dance teachers that can take you straight to the heart of matters, if you’re ready to go.
So why the dance? Well the truth is, it’s what humans do. We’ve danced forever. Before our hairy ancestors even had words, humans danced to communicate about their hunts. Every single human is a dancer. Put on a beat and watch what a young baby does. They bop. They laugh. Humans in movement have access to ecstasy. I’m not talking about the peak experience kind. That can be sort of confusing for folks. Alan Watts, one of my favorite philosophers, defines ecstasy in a gorgeous way. Ecstasy is the sensation of surrendering to vibrations and sometimes to insights, that take you out your so-called self. In defining it, he contrasts ecstasy to being-uptight. Ecstasy is most simply the opposite of being uptight. What I have found is that there is no faster, more efficient way to get out of my ego-bound head and into the ecstasy of being present in my body than a beat. I swear. You put one on and I start to reflexively move inward towards that free, baby self, bopping and laughing.
I have to be honest though, this work isn’t all gumdrops and kittens. Trauma has the ability to freeze parts of bodies. The body really does remember each traumatic event and it stops us from being free in both movement and in our daily lives. As a physician, I think it is the deep healing that I have witnessed in myself and others through this practice that has led to my desire to teach. Part of why dance works so well as a healing modality is, in movement or the lack of it, we learn about ourselves. We see our unconscious patterns. We dance our patterns all over the place. For example, it took me years to be able to move in “weird” unconventional ways because I was trapped in a performance and perfectionism. It has taken even longer to loosen up my hips. They are still holding hurts that I am working on. Luckily, this dancing thing has no finish line. It is instead a lovely spiral that offers us continually, a path home.
If you would like to join us, the link to the Beginner’s Series starting Sept 14th @745pm is below. Please feel free to email any questions.
The Dance, art by Rassouli
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