I came across this lovely post about a month ago, written by Vanessa Soleil of Loving Kindness Life Coaching, and of course I could not help but share it with you all. (Please see the link above.) There is such beauty in its simplicity, and is a perfect jumping point for anyone just starting out with a personal dance practice.
The prompts for self-inquiry are gentle, and yet can take you as far - or as near - as you need to go on any given day. I highly suggest getting yourself a journal, something that speaks to you, and a special pen just for journaling purposes. You will be so glad that you did!
Many blessings, and enjoy your practice.
MOVEMENT PRACTICE 1
a couple posts ago i shared the luxurious joy i felt dancing to music that resonates with me…and what it is like to have the opposite experience. we can find the wisdom in both–cultivating self-awareness while moving through ease and delight is a practice i am going to invite you into today. next post, i’ll ask you to move through something stickier to find what messages live in your resistance.
this practice is for everybody
no need to be a dancer. it’s okay if you don’t know what you’re doing…your body does. take it at your own pace, feel your feet and find your breath and go as slow or as shakily as you need…the wisdom is in what you feel, not what you look like. sometimes i have videotaped myself dancing and am surprised to see that it doesn’t even look like i am doing that much.
while i am in my experience, i feel so much movement and information happening inside my body, and it feels like so much is happening even if it isn’t visible from the outside. this is not about performance or dancing well. i have not taken dance classes since i dropped out of ballet at age 6. i promise. i did complete the training to teach NIA, a fitness program that incorporates dance moves, but is similarly, for every BODY. music and movement create a potent pathway to tap into our intuition, our wisdom, and to move out of our thoughts into a greater sense of self through somatic awareness.
before you begin to move, clear a space and time where you can be free of interruptions, distractions, and where you can feel totally comfortable to move. wear anything that feels easy and unrestricted to move in. i recommend being barefoot for heightened sensation.
if you have an injury or limited mobility, you can still do this practice by adjusting to your body’s needs. be creative. movement can happen in really small but powerful ways when we bring curiosity to our experience. i have attended workshops where participants have needed to dance while seated or laying on the floor. shoulders, feet, elbows, ankles, eyebrows, cheeks, head, toes and fingers moved while they took care of their individual needs. i invite you to join me in doing the same, whatever your physical reality.
think of a song that brings you total joy when you hear it, a song that makes you feel excited when it comes on the radio or a track you keep coming back to for a mood booster. cue up your song and have it ready to go.
comment below or send a photo of your completed worksheet to email@example.com. i am so curious what happens when you explore sensation and emotions in motion. feel your body from feet to head, from belly to breath, heart to the healing hands of self-touch. notice the places that feel open, closed, and how your body likes to move.
First, check in with yourself and see how you are feeling. You can set an intention for this practice, such as to experience joy or aliveness, to let go of thoughts and get into your body, or simply to stay curious.
Start the song and dance to it. You don’t need to travel around your space a lot or do any special moves. You are just responding to a song that you love with your body, however that looks. What we are most interested in is how it feels.
Sense your feet connected to the earth, even if you don’t move them much. Sense the support of the floor underneath your soles; feel your feet touching the ground and the ground touching your feet. Squish your heels down a few times and then plant your whole feet and sink down into the support to establish that connection and return to that awareness of your feet throughout the song.
As you move to the music, pay attention to how you feel in your body. Try to keep returning your attention to your experience as you are moving. Keep moving until after the song has finished. Slow down your movements in the silence after its end and then make a gesture of completion to step out of this practice. You can bow with prayer hands or physically take a step away from where you are to close out the moving meditation.
For reflection afterwards, respond to the following questions as best as you can. Again, stay curious and non-judgmental.
and that’s it! why is worth taking the time to move with awareness? check out this article from Psychology Today on the impact of moving with body sense awareness. it’s amazing and important stuff…start small and do it daily for big impact.
Today's session in my Psychotherapy course was led by Esther Perel, an amazing woman on the frontlines of beautiful shifts in the realms of couples therapy (read more about her work at the end of this post). Esther had been coming across people over and over again who came to her and said, "We love each other very much, but it's been years since I've felt wanted." What Esther had been taught as a therapist was that sexual problems were always the consequence of deeper relationship problems. In this way, it was believed that once you fixed the relationship problems, better sex would naturally follow.
However, what she was experiencing was that even when she had worked with a couple on their relationship problems, and they were back on the same page again, connected and laughing together, there were times when still the couple would have problems in the bedroom.
Traditionally, couples therapy is a desexualized practice. It has often dealt more with issues of dysfunction and performance, and dealt less with the dimensions of the sexuality within the relationship. She found that in some people, increased intimacy leads to decreased desire for their partner.
They were already very intimate in many ways, so they were already 'inside' each other in many ways. This makes it hard for them at times because of the way they love - sometimes in a way that makes it hard for them to make love to the person that they love.
This is a painful blockage, because they want nothing more than to express themselves and how they feel, but for some people it really doesn't work. Perhaps they feel excess burden, excess worry, excess responsibility for their beloved, but in order to make love to the other you have to be able to enter inside your own body, your own sensations, your own sensuality.
These people don't know how to remain connected to themselves, physically, sensually, in the presence of the other they love so much. This leads to a split - the lust/love split.
Then there is another point - passion fades. It needs to be replaced by something more 'real', more mature. Some people will take extreme risks to the point of losing everything just to catch a glimpse of this thing we call passion. Passion doesn't just fade, there are plenty of couples that start with much more lukewarm waters, and the passion grows from there. Fantasy is basically the bread of the impoverished. She began to rethink erotic fantasies and the power of the imagination which allows us to maintain curiosity ... not only towards ourselves, but also towards our partners.
Where do you go, and what are the feelings...
These are very different questions than the typical, how often do you have sex? Do you enjoy it? How often do you orgasm...
These questions are very statistical. These typical questions leave out the erotic, and the erotic is the poetry. It is the way we engage with our sexuality through our imagination. It is what allows us to remain interested in a partner for many years. Otherwise, we are not likely to remain interested for any other reason than because we have desire for a partner.
Women in the west are living a fairly new paradigm. For many women in the world, there are still only two main reasons for sex - to have children, and as an obligation to their spouse. We are able to maintain desire for sex with a beloved for basic pleasure and connection. Desire has therefore become the primary organizing principle of sexuality and intimacy in long term relationships.
There is a concept of the 'double flame'. How do we live in relationships where we are trying to experience a very new kind of intimacy ... where we also want passion. This is not just unique to highly sensitive people. Passion has always existed, but was mostly a privilege for the men. Intimacy was where a couple worked the land together, raised children together, and were companions, sharing commonalities.
It had very little to do with intimacy equalling "In-to-me-see". This kind of intimacy is still relatively new - where we want to transcend our existential "alone-ness" while we connect with our beloved. We want to be validated. What we have here in the west is something that we women tend to take for granted.
With the same person we want social status, economic security, a passionate lover, family life, a best friend, a trusted lover, an everything-all-in-one-person. We now want one person to give us what an entire community used to provide.
These needs spring from different sources and pull us in different directions. We want to be surprised, but we want routine and security ... yet we don't want to feel like things have become too routine. Desire is often flattened by that which has become too routine. We want possibilities to be opened up to us. Love wants to narrow the distance, neutralize the threat, and know the beloved. Desire thrives on the unknown, the mysterious, desire doesn't want to close the gap.
Reconciling intimacy, and the erotic end of the domestic, involves finding a way for us to have these fundamental human needs be attended to within human relationship - and not always at the same time.
Absence and longing is a cornerstone of desire. Can we want what we already have? Desire is free of responsibility - there is no caretaking. There is no responsibility in play, except for playing by the rules. Love, on the other hand, is not free of responsibility. The vast majority points to the fact that desire is activated by wanting. Questions about what you want are very easy to bring in to any therapy session.
Here are some questions to help create conversations that lead you and your partner toward deeper intimacy:
These kinds of questions help to bring about what we are all yearning for - togetherness and separateness at the same time. Throughout this session, Esther referred many times to these books; Arousal by Michael Nader and The Erotic Mind by Jack Morin.
If you feel that this Psychotherapy course is something that would interest you, please go here.
ESTHER PEREL is the bestselling author of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence. Her book has been translated in twenty-five languages - and she is fluent in nine of these. She is a master trainer and workshop leader, and has given two Ted talks to date. Known for her keen cross-cultural pulse, Esther shifts the paradigm of our approach to modern relationships. She is regularly sought around the world for her expertise in relational health and communication, team building, erotic intelligence, couples and family identity, work-life balance, and corporate relationships.
*I recommend checking out two other books in this genre that you may enjoy, here and here.
Welcome! Thank you for visiting my blog space. In this place, I will share writings of my own, along with other events and musings from the world of Movement Medicine, Dance Therapy, Yoga and Shamanic Healing.