“It’s not about what it looks like, it’s about what it feels like.”
Sometimes when stretching a muscle you need to alter the angle of your body to access different “stuck-ness”. Sometimes our asana practice isn't enough to access the stuck emotional energy patterns held deep in the body.
I was never a dancer. Well, yes, I was the cutest tap dancing tiger at 4 years old, but nothing really after that. Dance just wasn't actively in my life.
I mean, I danced and had fun and all that, but it wasn't as if I was living in the movie, Footloose. I just had the belief that I didn't have a dancer's body and that my balance when in motion is sometimes dangerous, so I just never really tried.
When you begin to link breath, movement and focus, whether on your yoga mat, while you do daily chores, when you eat or while you dance, that activity becomes a moving meditation.
When we begin to synchronize our systems, profound transformation can occur.
Things shifted when I met and began practicing with Dr. Deborah Kern, a nurse, health educator, physical trainer and Ph.D health scientist, back in 2004.
I knew her as the Executive Director of Lifestyle Enrichment and as a yoga therapist at a prestigious resort. She was a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist and would talk often about how our body stores emotions. She would talk about how our body holds and buries physical and emotional stress.
As I developed my personal practice, I started to experience moments of emotional release, but I could feel that my yoga practice was only able to take me so far.
I was studying Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy with Michael Lee and moving through my 200-hour Hatha Teacher Training with Deb as my mentor when, I noticed access to the emotional energy held in my body.
Michael Lee says “The body supports the process of deeper awareness on all levels of being. Often we run from our uncomfortable sensations and feelings and never allow them to teach us. If we engage them mindfully without attachment, within the safe container of our body, they will often reveal deeper levels of awareness to fuel meaningful change”
If you’re interested in more about Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, Michael Lee will be presenting at Yoga Yoga in September so it’s a wonderful opportunity to be introduced to his teachings and how our fascia holds and transmit emotional energy in the body. Find out more, here.
Discussing this new emotional body access, Dr. Deb invited me to attend her dance class. She says:
PranaShakti cultivates the ability to FEEL feelings by combining specifically chosen themes, music & movement. This facilitates freedom of expression of emotions.
If those emotions are not expressed - moved out of the body - they create blockages.
Asana clearly does similiar - but most women need to dance to tap into and express emotions.
I assumed it would be like a gym dance class, which I love by the way (I am a Dance Jam enthusiast), but when I walked in it felt just as sacred as entering a yoga class.
We took off our shoes and left them outside, we circled up, got centered, tuned in, set intentions and began moving, breathing, using all the tools to clear blocks, realign, and create a feeling of strength & freedom. Weaving all the tools of transformation allowed for an experience unmet by any single lineage.
PranaShakti Dance™ is a conscious dance practice that combines elements from many forms of dance, Ayurveda, Kundalini Yoga and Hatha Yoga to remove energy blocks, liberate trapped energy, reconnect mind and body, reawaken creativity, express emotions, pray with the body and ultimately come home to peace, love and freedom.
Sometimes, our practice needs to move beyond the mat in order to access those deeper blocks.
Our body needs vigorous rhythmic movement. Our mind needs agility & quick patterns. We are made to dance. <---Tweet this!
Our society is so sedentary that it is unlikely that our yoga class is going to offer the movements our bodies require to compensate for our lifestyles.
In kundalini yoga, there are kriyas/sets that incorporate dance to bust through blocks. Since ecstatic dance is not a part of our daily lives, we often don’t know how to move.
Our bodies are made to move. We are designed to use our bodies as tools to open pathways and conduits in our body and move energy through them. There is no easier way to do that than through dance.
Honestly, how do you describe a practice like this? A place where women come together and feel safe enough to dance like nobody's watching.
Last year, after completing Dr. Deb’s first PranaShakti Dance Teacher Training, and only offering classes here and there; I’ve heard your request for more.
I am honored to be sharing this year’s workshop theme:
Beauty, Bliss & Bounty: Unlocking the Magic of Lakshmi through Yoga & Dance.
There will be movement, mantra, storytelling and more. You can expect to sweat, laugh, cry and be set free. Bring with you: water, a journal and a willingness to explore. To find out more and to register, go to the event details.
And ladies, I also recognize that this is Labor Day weekend and you may have plans or you may have children just getting back into the school routine, but we are made to dance, so I put together several videos of led dances plus some full playlists for you to start exploring the PranaShakti Dance concepts in your own home.
Sign up here to get your free guided PranaShakti dance videos plus playlists to move you.
Now over to you:
Did you use to dance, but stopped because you thought it wasn’t for you?
Do you practice mindfulness off the mat? If so, where?
What’s your favorite song to dance for joy?
Tell me in the comments below.