The Healing Power of Dance
Find your connection to the earth.
Root yourself. Follow your feet.
Express your fire.
Dive into the ocean of your emotions.
Dance until your feet grow wings
and your soul feels free to fly.
Dance floor our sanctuary.
“Put your body in motion
and your psyche will heal itself.”
The healing arts of dancing, painting, writing, music and voice work have always been companions in my life. During my journey through cancer they have helped me to focus on the joyful aspects of my life, which came from an intuitive source, to help to heal myself.
Using the expressive arts adds a surprising "lift" of lightness to what might otherwise feel heavy and painful.
Dancing for love
The dancer believes that his art has something to say which cannot be expressed in words or in any other way than by dancing… There are times when simple dignity of movement are fulfilling the function of a volume of words. There are movements which impinge upon the nerves with a strength that is incomparable , for movement has power to stir the senses and emotions, unique in itself. This is the dancer’s justification for being, and his reason for searching further for deeper aspects of his art.
To find Your Dance is to find Yourself
Along our life path we meet many different challenges. Confronting these challenges forces us to evolve in new ways and directions, which can bring us to a journey of self-discovery and self – healing.
Dance is an inner motivated spontaneous impulse, to follow energy into movement. Automatically the dancer is sparked with in the moment of creativity and enters the exploration of the unknown. Beat by beat, her or his unique dance unfolds as an expression of who she/he is with in the moment. To dance is the simplest form to allow the body to express itself rhythmically. It is primal, illuminated dialog between body, breath and beat that propels and gives birth to unique dance.
Dance is Poetry in Motion. Our bodies love movement. When we stretch or dance, our bodies adjust, realign and start to become fluid with the rhythm of life. Our mood lifts and we feel more connected with the world around us.
Human beings are rhythms. Breath is rhythm. Heartbeat is rhythm. Cells are rhythm. All of life is rhythms and cycles. Day and night, light and dark, birth and death, seasons, and the ocean are examples of life's organic, rhythmic, wave-like ebb and flow. Rhythms are the essence of life and who we are.
Dancing is a spiritual practice of self-discovery illuminating the essence of life on and off the dance floor. Organic movement through a dancing body reveals endless inner reflections. The body expresses through movement what it may not communicate or reveal in other ways.
Releasing through a body in motion invites rhythmic balance between right and left, feminine and masculine, input and output, parasympathetic and sympathetic, harmony and disharmony. Developing strong roots through your feet on the ground and letting go to the beat supports this process. As the physical body releases through rhythmic movement, the mental chatter ceases. Dancing helps people get out of their heads. The mind becomes liberated.
Integration within the mind-body opens a gateway for the spirit to expand. Dancing is a catalyst into an embodied presence where spiritual awakening occurs. Deep experiences in soulful states provide insights into identity and purpose. Dancing helps people experience the bigger picture by returning to and connecting with their truest essence. This remembering contains profound healing.
We connect with our body; our physical energy, skin, bones, breath and roots. We create the conditions for being more available to deepen our connection with ourselves, our relationship to others and with our sense of belonging to a greater tribe or community.
We work out not only the physical body but also the soul. The dance floor offers us the space for deep exploration of embodied presence through movement as a healing art and spiritual practice. When we put the psyche in motion it will heal itself.
"She is a professional dancer, she is a good daughter, she is a perfect mother and she is a nice wife...She choose the way of dance to tell her feelings, sad, happiness, struggles, hopes, love,emotions instead of fight!!!"
Dancing gets us in touch with who we are. We can so easily lose touch with aspects of ourselves. Dance and Movement has the capacity to take us to the home of the soul, the world within for which we have no names. They reach our deepest nature, and dance creatively expresses it. Through dance, we can gain new insights into the mystery of our inner lives. When brought forth from inside and forged by the desire to create personal change, dance has the profound power to heal the body, psyche and soul.
There are many ways in which dance has been used to create healing for people, whether it be on the physical level due to illness or on the more esoteric level, because of the ritual of it and being able to forget about troubles for that period of time. When we dance we tap into deeper patterns of the universe and link into life’s vital energy. Dance is one of the ancient ways of connection with the sacred and dance forms part of ritual for many spiritual traditions in the world.
Dance can help those with illness in a number of ways: to heighten their life force energy, improve self-confidence, provide a general sense of well-being and strengthen the will to live. When you engage with the healing art of dancing you become an active participant in your own healing, instead of sitting back passively following doctors advice.
Release the dancer that lives inside you, regardless of your age, shape, health or any other limitations.
Dance and movement provides you with healing, not only from an illness, but also from the arduousness of ones life. It offers you, the dancer, to manage the demands and challenges of your every day life, of your illness, to overcome inertia.
Stuck in life, on the dance floor or stuck in your own psyche, everyone experiences sometimes Inertia. It enters our choreography as resistance to the demands and challenges of every day life, disappointed, disillusioned, locked into the same routine out of fear of the unknown, we hold back, hold on, hold out, channeling our energy away from freedom and into the shape of limitation causing us to live on a restricted supply. The question is, do we choose to remain stuck in inertia or move through finding the flow of our day-to-day life and dynamic momentum.
Inertia is a cunning opponent and needs skillful stalking. It has a natural effortlessness about it, sometimes we may even mistake it as love for ourselves or another, it wears many coats and seduces us into a false security displaying characteristics of the womb like safety we crave, it offers a form of ecstasy but the womb soon becomes our tomb as it generates a self destruct effect on our energy.We stay in control when every thing around us stays the same that is false security of the known. We can live an un-lived life for years dancing with the shadows of Inertia, rather than face the challenges that nurture our growth by taking a leap into the pain and glory of adventure.
We were born to move, to grow, evolve, create, die and be reborn many times over in our life. The alchemy of ecstasy lies in action, the sort of action that is so totally fascinating and absorbing that "work” feels like "no work" it becomes service, there is no separation. This is how we open a direct channel to source energy enabling us to live a fulfilled life and manifest our dreams. If you are feeling stuck, ready to release old energy, or eager to feel more alive, dance. I meet many people who say to me, “I can’t dance; I’ve got two left feet.” But in fact, everyone can dance! All you need to do is to re-discover your innate ability to express yourself in movement.
Learning to access your joy through movement gives you access to your spiritual core. The results are profound and far-reaching. Numerous research studies now demonstrate the positive healing results on our immune system and our brain’s neurochemistry when we experience joy.
Dancing can help you to connect and transform difficult feelings, help you to overcome emotional blocks and move forward on your life path with more freedom and flexibility and supports you to handle challenging situations with more elegance and ease. Dance, music, art and other imaginative expression can circumvent the blocks between conscious and unconscious in the rational mind. Not only can the meaning and cause of erratic behavior be made explicit, but the clues to its resolution can appear through creative expression….. Dancing and Dance movement therapy can enable individuals to integrate their physical, emotional, and cognitive selves.
Movement through a dancing body reveals endless inner reflections. The body expresses through movement what it may not communicate or reveal in other ways. "Words label what we already know; expressive movement reveals the unknown. Sensations, feelings, emotions, and images that have long been buried in our bodies are revealed through movement. This is also useful in shifting old patterns, habits, and destructive belief systems….dance and renew your life force”.
Dancing will help you to develop resilience in time of change and crisis. It will enhance and create positive emotions of awe, joy, love, faith and trust. The physical movements of dance free up healing energy. So in a very real sense, the dancer becomes her or his own healing artist. Although the fun and entertainment of dancing is one of the most exciting things you can do – the healing affect of dancing is powerful. Dance and Healing become one.
When we dance we tap into deeper patterns of the universe and link into life’s vital energy. Dance is one of the ancient ways of connection with the sacred and dance forms part of ritual for many spiritual traditions in the world.
Ritual dance has its roots in core shamanism (dancing the four direction (North, South, East, and West) or the elements (Earth, Water, Air, and Fire). Dance as ritual is also used to honor the seasonal equinoxes. It is used as dancing prayer, moving meditation, and as a tool for divining the future.
Having traveled and lived in different countries, I experienced music and dance as a universal language of non-verbal communication. Movement and dance take the ability to communicate to another level – not only by the dancer, but also by the audience. Dance has been used throughout history to tell a story. “Dance is a poem of which each movement is a word”. Music and Dance , together and separately, gave me an opportunity to participate in and to learn from other cultures wisdom.
Shake your Soul and Dance Your Way to Healing
Dancing promotes health
Dancing encourages and improves the overall health and fitness of the body. Dancing strengthens bones and muscles and tones your entire body;
Dancing improves your posture and balance, increases your stamina and flexibility, release and reduces stress and tension.
Dancing is a joyful exercise and wards off illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, and depression.
Dancing enhances mood
Dance is Happiness - Love and Life
The beat of music affects both body and mind. A slow piece with a beat of about 60 beats per minute can trigger alpha waves in the brain which trigger a tranquil but alert state of mind. Music with a faster beat can accelerate the heart-beat and speed up our endocrine system.
When we hear and move to music, our body resonates with the sounds we are hearing. Lower frequencies, such as drums produce, are felt in the pelvic area, whereas higher frequencies, such as flutes produce, are felt in the head area. Instruments such as piano, accordion, flute, or violin create music that engages feeling and “pulls the heartstrings”. Guitar sounds resonate in the mid-body area of the solar plexus and evoke feelings of pride and courage, apparent in Spanish flamenco.
Dancing sharpens the mind
Dancing assists our ability to focus, learn and retain. Learning sequences is good for the mind. Learning to dance creates new neural pathways and helps us to stay younger for longer.
Dancing raises self-esteem
Movement skills build confidence. And with confidence comes a forgetting of self. We get absorbed in the task. Dancing is a wonderful way to appreciate oneself in a new way.
Dancing brings joy
Dancing lifts the mood. When we feel the music and express it, we can feel joy and well-being. When you learn a particular dance, you may feel awkward and stiff at first, but soon, you will find the graceful you hidden within.
Dancing provides companionship
Dancing is a popular method of socializing and creating and enhancing relationships. When we dance with someone, we open to another person. Not only does dancing help us connect with others, it also helps us re-connect with ourselves.
Dancing provides opportunities to meet people. Each kind of dance attracts different kinds of people and if you choose the dance form that is right for you, you will meet like-minded people with whom you can connect.
Moving as a group can bring people out of isolation, creates powerful social and emotional bonds, and generates the good feelings that come from being with others. Moving rhythmically eases muscular rigidity, diminishes anxiety, and increases energy. Moving spontaneously helps people learn to recognize and trust their impulses, and to act on or contain them as they choose. 'Moving creatively encourages self-expression and opens up new ways of thinking and doing'.
I meet many people who say to me, “I can’t dance; I’ve got two left feet.” But in fact, everyone can dance! All you need to do is to re-discover your innate ability to express yourself in movement.
Authentic Movement and Voice Movement Therapy is a dynamic tool for learning ‘how to push the envelope’ and create beyond what you can even imagine! Thinking through the body
Influenced by Carl Jung's "active imagination" and indigenous traditions, Authentic Movement has been practiced for many decades in artistic/creative, spiritual, psychotherapeutic, and social contexts. The form is simple and profound, involving self-directed, spontaneous movement in the receptive presence of witnesses.
In the practice of Authentic Movement, the body is the gateway of awareness itself. It informs the creative process, contemplative practice, and healing on all levels.
Authentic Movement is a simple and profound awareness practice that invites us fully embody our own truth in the present moment. In the presence of non - judgemental witnessing, movers close their eyes and follow the impulse that arise from their depths, journeying to places both familiar and unknown.
The safe and sacred container of Authentic Movement makes this transformative exploration enjoyable, satisfying and fruitful. Using both our bodies and our words, will help the practitioners accept and deepen into who they are, grow in their ability to sense and track their embodied experience and speak about the details of their experience with refreshing clarity.
Those in the role of witness practice attending to their own inner sensations and responses, while simultaneously being fully present with those moving. The witnesses' compassionate presence becomes a vessel to contain and support the movers.
The relationship of witness and mover creates a powerful and palpable field within which consciousness can freely float, allowing the everyday and the numinous to intertwine. Habits can be suspended, unfamiliar aspects of the self can be welcomed, and deep nourishing connection with reality accessed.
For me authentic movement is connecting with the deep internal well of the self, the sub-consciousness. Drawing slowly one bucket at a time, of feelings, thoughts, and sensations - than pouring them out, to the external, sometimes a few drops, sometimes a cup full, on occasion a whole bucket at a time, washed over the movement floor.
I was blessed to have received the service of Joan Davis, one of the modern-day pioneers of healing dance movement in Ireland Authentic movement (Maya Lila). Her techniques are used to help others discover their knowledge of their own personal rhythm and movement, and access their body wisdom, strength and desires. Her practice is not about teaching any particular dance steps, but helping people unlock their own healing dances.
This method of working with dance seeks to access the life story of each person, and then use this story for the ground for creating art.
Dance Movement Therapy
Dance Therapy, or Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) is the psycho-therapeutic use of movement and dance for emotional, cognitive, social, behavioural and physical conditions. Dance movement Therapy strengthens the body - mind connection through body movements to improve both the mental and physical well - being of individuals. As a form of expressive therapy DMT is founded on the basis that movement and emotions are directly related.
Dance Movement Therapy is a mind-body therapy that integrates the expressive arts through body psychotherapy. DMT helps resolve emotional stress and trauma through integrating both hemispheres of the brain with the body’s cellular memory as we synthesize the right brain through expressive arts processes with our left brain's language and narrative. Additionally, we unravel the stress and trauma that is stored in our body's cellular memory through the tools of body-centered therapeutic dialogue with somatic/sensory awareness.
Dance Movement Therapy strengthens the body - mind connection through body movements to improve both the mental and physical well - being of individuals. As a form of expressive therapy DMT is founded on the basis that movement and emotions are directly related.
People have danced to heal themselves and to connect with the sacred since earliest human history. The connections between Mind, Body and Spirit and the healing effects of dance have long been acknowledged.
Some of the pioneers of the concepts of Dance Therapy are Carl Jung, Wilhelm Reich and Rudolf Laban .
Carl Jung developed a technique with his patients, which he called "active imagination" which gave the patient a means of expressing subconscious thoughts. The understanding of the emotions helped pave the way for dance movement therapy. Jung had used dance with his patients both as a means of personal expression and to "dance out their dreams".
When given safety and permission, the body moves in natural rhythms and unwinds in patterns of wholeness. This is our birthright as humans, yet we have forgotten that dance and movement are one of the most powerful healing forces available to us. This doesn't necessarily mean dance or movement as performance, but rather dance and movement as self-expression for what is living in us now - whether known or unknown.
Dance Therapy uses unchoreographed and spontaneous movement to bypass the conscious mind and increase body awareness. It can be danced alone with a facilitator or therapist to assist in the interpretation of the source of the movement, or the therapist can mirror the movements or discuss what ‘came up’ for the client during the process. It can be used to tell a story, act out a dream, or used for non-verbal expression of issues, emotions and feelings that can then be integrated by the conscious mind.
Dance Therapy works especially well for those with limited verbal communication skills. Whatever your shape, age, background or ability, there is creative inspiration in you. Movement Therapy will help you to find that inspiration, give it form, and place it in the driving seat of your life.
Dance Movement Therapy puts us in touch with a deep trust in the creative process of life. The sheer joy and freedom we find in the dance helps us to overcome our fears, find genuine, authentic, and responsible expression of who we are, and gives us the tools to integrate all this into our day-to-day lives. When we find our dance, we find our nobility, our courage, our love, and our capacity to live a life we can feel good about.
Dance Movement Therapy gives you the confidence to live from your heart and trust your own authority. There is always the invitation in the dance to pay attention, bring everything into movement, and remember again and again who you really are and what you are capable of creating. Dance Movement Therapy puts us in touch with a deep trust in the creative process of life.
Individuals are directed to express their inner feelings through dance movement, and this is thought to bring about healing from disease and trauma. Sometimes through verbal dialogue deep-seated negative emotions will elude a therapist, but through Dance Movement Therapy it is thought that emotion may be more readily expressed. Under Dance Movement Therapy, the body and mind are inseparable entities. Psychological issues are brought out to the physical level.
A Dance Movement Therapy session normally begins with a warm up so that the muscles can loosen up. Therapy usually incorporates music but it doesn’t have to. The practitioner does not directly set the theme for the session; the mood of the dancers plays out in their movements and the practitioner will attempt to guide this so to produce maximum benefit for all participants. If patients feel like speaking while they dance, they are encouraged to do so; the practitioner will then challenge the dancers to incorporate these verbalised feelings into their dance movements.
People May Benefit From Dance Movement Therapy
Dance Movement Therapy can be of assistance to people wishing to enhance their personal communication skills, as, by communicating non-verbally within a group of dancers, people become more in tune with what they wish to express.
Some people may have experienced trauma in their lives, which they suppress emotionally but still carry with them in their physical body; dance movement therapy can help these people to release themselves from the burden of past trauma.
If a person cannot speak verbally then it is through dance movement therapy that they can express their feelings and be free of their inner-burden. People without specific problems that they can point to, who feel that something is not right, can benefit greatly from Dance Movement Therapy, as the issues that elude their conscious mind are able to emerge though the free physical movement generated by the therapy.
Benefits of Dance Movement Therapy include:
- Self-esteem and body image
- Coping skills, health and well-being
- Communication and relationship skills
- Increasing self-awareness
- Transform muscular and visceral tensions that inhibit the free flow of energy.
- Experiencing links between feelings, thoughts and actions;
- Expressing powerful feelings and actions;
- Maximizing the ability to communicate;
- Free expression with others;
- Managing the feelings that obstruct learning;
- The development of trusting relationships.
- Resolving emotional conflicts
In addition, DMT will explore a creative and mindful way to work with the many moments in our lives and bodies in which we feel the opposite of joy: feelings of frustration, isolation, envy, depression, anxiety, and the many more difficult feelings we might experience in life.
- General improvement of well-being
- Holistic Birth Preparation
- Post-traumatic Stress disorder
- Eating disorder
- Learning Disabilities
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Deaf and hearing Impaired
- Blind and visually impaired
In DMT workshops, you will learn to unpack the body’s inherent capacity for joy and awaken joy through movement and dance. You will be guided in a safe and freeing process that
Allow your inner dancer to emerge and you will discover moments of moving with joy.
Authentic Movement or DMT taps into the wellspring of the inner healer and wisdom lying within the cells of your own body.
- DMT / Authentic Movement has its roots in Jungian philosophy and movement therapy. Jung records that some of his patients used dance to embody their dreams and to engage in active imagination.
- Important to remember is that the movement happening in the body is not "put on like a coat or a hat" (Whitehouse), nor is it meant to be a performance. It is a simple opening to what is, and then a following of what is living in the body at the present moment into movement.
- DMT / Authentic Movement offers the possibility of an awake experiencing of one's self in one's body and the holding of one's self in this experience without judgment.
- Although the practice of DMT / Authentic Movement grew directly out of Jungian depth psychology, it also shares deep roots with dance, the healing tradition of shamanism, mindfulness practice, and compassionate communication - spanning many disciplines and offering numerous applications.
- In the arts artists, actors, writers use Authentic Movement, and dancers to inform, expand, and vitalize their creative process. I usually dance 30 minutes before I start any artwork to shake up my soul to free of my creative expression.
- In psychological and emotional work DMT / Authentic Movement provides a direct link to the unconscious - including the archetypes, dreams, and personal history stored in the body - giving form to that which words can’t access, but which must be known.
- As spiritual practice DMT / Authentic Movement offers the possibility of a direct, embodied experience of the numinous, as mystical posture and gesture unfold from deepest Source.
- In physical healing DMT /Authentic Movement creates space where deep listening to and moving with body symptoms can lead to insight and information, generating meaningful action toward wholeness.
Through Dance Therapy and other Healing Art forms we develop the tools to resolve concerns such as: the safe and effective partnering of others, resistance to creative work, personality differences, honest reporting of internal emotional life, issues of status and behaviour impact, and the taking of personal responsibility.
We dance for laughter,
We dance for tears,
We dance for madness,
We dance for fears
we dance for hopes
We dance for screams
We are the dancers
It is our task to free the body so we can experience the refuge of Being, Your body is the physical expression of your existence, it holds your life history in every cell. Every thing that has ever happened is stored as tissue memory and is reflected in your flesh, blood and bone.
The relationship you have with your body is inescapably and unavoidable for many we live outside, in our heads, dreaming of a future, an escape plan, reminiscent or regretful of the passed, running from - running to - running out - and for many it is our life times practice transforming these wounds into offerings.
Making peace with our body and moving in is holy work and a dance of acceptance, love and healing. When we are comfortable in our skin we are vital with energy and radiant with spirit.We will track how we have imposed over our body, dance for the grace to align "will" to spirit so we may experience the freedom we need for full self-acceptance.
To whatever degree we have imposed "will" over our instinctual nature and energetic life force; we have to the same degree been unable to offer ourselves or another unconditional love. All healing starts with the body. For when we are fully engaged in a body and open to the same source energy that created the universe, it becomes clear the vitality of our sexual energy is inexorably linked to the acceptance, vitality and creative flow experienced towards ourselves as a spiritual being cradled with-in "human physical form".
Mapping The Mind
Our mind is a glorious instrument designed to dance in the great symphony of life but it usually ends up the mad conductor.
Why is it then that our mind does not always seem on our side! Conjuring up repetitive scenarios, worn out old scripts. Thoughts of passed and future become a thief to our present robbing us of a quiet mind and natural refuge in relaxed being...they crowd in on us like passengers at rush hour on the underground
We need to make room for the still space between thought. Our choreography and creative artistry comes from the unity of a body fully engaged in expressing a mind awake to the moment, a mind that is relaxed, open, fluid, and not trapped in repetitive patterns and circles of thought, but a free flowing, spiraling wave of energy.
It's all in the dance; you are the mystery, Dance It.