School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: February 2012
Dancing with strictly no fluff!

By Caroline Carey

My publisher recently asked me to write an article about the benefits of dancing, purely for Joe public! My publisher is a little more ‘straight’ so to speak than myself, despite being a very worldly kind of guy, he just does not have the same approach to spirituality as I have, me being a dreamer and all that.

So within my article I was to stick to the benefits of dancing and absolutely no angels, feathers or fluff. Fine I thought, especially if we want to encourage people from many walks of life to find the healing we know so well from the dance practice. Not that I am in any way a fluff kind of gal, but I must appear that way to some!!

So I began to look into all the benefits of dance.

Well.... It’s done as performance and as recreation. It can be done in a club or behind closed doors in our living rooms. There are many classes we can take part in and there seems to be no amount of opportunity awaiting us……should we so desire.

Sometimes though I hear people say, “I used to love dancing!” “Oh but I don’t do it any more because I am far to busy, too many kids, too fat, too old, can’t afford it” or the infamous one, “well I just don’t do that, or “I’ve got three, even four left feet!” My answer usually to all of this is ‘what utter rubbish!’ Not meaning to be rude...BUT

It can take very little time to switch on a piece of music and begin moving your body to a beat. As soon as this process begins, our cellular structure begins to change. Literally. We are beginning to engage in something that is primal, that has its roots in some of the most ancient and even sophisticated, ritualistic and profound forms of healing, art and spirituality.

As we begin to move our bodies in this way, no matter what it looks like we are accessing our innermost freedom. It does not have to look any particular way, no matter what they told you at school, it does not have to be particular steps or even be in time to the music. We can be dancing deep within our own bodies, quietly massaging our innermost secrets, or stretching our bodies to their fullest as the music lifts our spirits and carries us to the most passionate of our dreams. The important thing is that you are moving your body in the way you wish to move it to that particular beat of the drum, or that particular melody. That is freedom at its most fundamental.

The body responds by interacting with the music, not being controlled by it, but simply creating a relationship with it, a bit like being with a lover.

They move together and express what ever needs to be expressed in that moment. Sensuality, sexuality, breath, motion, sound, expression, it is all given to the dancer. We begin to give ourselves to this being, allowing it to take over and be whatever it needs to be.

There is no need for controlling it. It does not need to be held in place or form.

As the body finds its way and we give it more and more permission to be just as it is, we are unfolding the truth about who we really are.

On a physical level dancing keeps us fit and increase's our stamina. It helps us look and feel younger. Our skin becomes clearer and we remain supple and well toned in our muscles. How good is that? And if we are doing it at home it won’t have even cost us anything! That has to be the best beauty treatment ever!

We become more balanced in our life, you know left brain, right brain stuff, well one begins to work as good as the other and even the vital organs inside us start to function better and become well oiled and moist. A bit like an engine really, left too long it goes rusty, so we oil it, take care of it, clean out the cobwebs and bobs-your-uncle or hey presto! smooth running engine, carburetor and spark plugs firing at their very best!

On an emotional level, we are able to release the old and held in emotions that we did not even realize we were holding on to. Exhaust fumes no more! Those same old grumbles, the ones that make our shoulders heavy, that create a frown on our face or a slump in our walk. There is no more or very little frustration directed at our partners, children or the dog. We are able to clear some of this old debri’ away, with a good old shake of the hips, a stamp of our feet and a few swinging leaps around the living room, it will soon pass us by. We may find ourselves crying because our heart begins to open and guaranteed those tears will become tears of joy if we dance long enough. Nothing like the water works to do their trick of washing and purification. Stagnant water never tasted good. The therapist can take a few weeks off from the boring moans and complaints of how everything is unfair and nobody understands us because we are now feeling alive and liberated from the pressure of being a stuck-in-a-rut, human-being or ‘doing’ as they say more readily these days.

Our mind interestingly enough starts to empty out its garbage of thoughts about useless rubbish, that it seems to want to churn around like an old cement mixer and our head may feel a little lighter of its load, we may even start to laugh more.

Then we come to the world of art and beauty, to creativity and the sheer wonderment of what our body is able to do. If it can really make us feel this good in our life and about ourselves, imagine what else it can do for us!

Dancing long enough can change the cellular structure of how we look.Our facial expressions will change and we will begin to have a different aura of beauty around us. A light will shine within us that will permeate our surroundings. People will be drawn to us, wondering what this new-found energy is that we have discovered for ourselves. Of course we may wish to keep it to ourself, after all why share it. But they will persist because they know something’s up and that they are missing out on something very vital, liberating and intriguing. Of course they will be afraid at first because undoubtedly it will change their lives and not every one wants to change their lives, do they?

They may need to stay in their own comfort zone and any idea of changing is just not going to make them feel easy. But of course we will know that in order to really grow and to find more freedom, more peace, more happiness, this tool we have found is the key, we have it and ultimately we will be extremely willing to share it. For a while we may even try to convince others they should do it, but there will be no need of convincing, just our own radiance will be enough to draw them in.

Oh and dancing is also a great way to avoid things like osteoporosis, heart complaints, depression, poor circulation, stiffness in joints, back ache, headaches and many, many more complaints that the human body can be prone to.

And one scientific proven fact; the only physical activity to offer protection against dementia is frequent dancing, also a proven fact is that dancing frequently offers 76% possible reduction of all degenerative diseases studied, that is cognitive or physical. There is a re-wiring that happens when we dance, not going back to the engine here, maybe more like the electricity we live with. Wire up the house wrong and there are problems ensuing, keep it all in order and we will live safely and in harmony with its source. This kind of dancing I am talking about is not to be confused with dance where we have to ‘know’ the steps, this is dance that you make up your self as you go along, that is very important, it is free-style, which means you have to make decisions, in the moment. It is the decision making that effects the mind making it re-wire itself correctly.

Lets not forget the de-stress factor and increased serotonin level, which can be really useful especially if you are a dreamer and even more so if you depend on none alcohol, non-drug induced fun!!

We also learn to breath much deeper and because we sweat we don’t get so many spots!

If an entrepreneur could bottle it, they would make a fortune!!

p.s. did I mention loosing weight? In a one-hour session we can burn from 250 to 400 calories. Need I say more? No fluff just good common sense :)

If you'd like the addition of angels, please read Ms'Guided Angel, published by Rex and MyVoice publishing.


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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the School of Movement Medicine. Roland Wilkinson, Nappers Crossing, Staverton, Devon TQ9 6PD, UK Tel & Fax +44 (0)1803 762255 http://www.