Can Dancing Heal?

Dance give us plenty of room for self-expression and can be powerful in helping the body and mind to be stimulated. It’s all about movement and music and you.

This is one thing everyone agrees about: Dance is beneficial. It’s exercising without “feeling” like you’re exercising, it increases cardiovascular and mental health, releasing endorphins while you turn, spin, and simply MOVE.

Unfortunately, in our “modernised” society, we have lost touch with its potential. In contrast, dance has always been an integral part of many other cultures. You don’t have to dance with an African tribe around a roaring fire to realise the healing benefits of dance; luckily, all you need is yourself.

The other great thing about dance is that it can be done either in the privacy of your own home, in dance classes as a recreational outlet, at a party with friends, or as you do any number of household tasks, fitting a little “swing” in your steps.

“Oh, I can’t dance,” you’ll say. Can’t, or won’t? Dancing is simply moving, like wayward walking. It doesn’t have to be funky-crazy or hip; you don’t have to go with a style you don’t feel comfortable with; and those of you with “dance inhibition” are free, nearly every day, to find time and a private place large enough to move around freely — again, also known as dancing.

Choose music you feel comfortable with. Music preferences naturally vary from person to person — and even from day to day — so it just doesn’t matter of you decide to dance to Prince, Mozart, Garth Brooks, or Billie Holiday. That’s the first rule: Never put any kind of restrictions on yourself, thinking, “I like that music, but how do you dance to “Jingle Bells”?

When you are ready to begin, stand for a moment with your eyes closed. Feel the connection of your feet to the floor and just relax. If you feel completely at a loss for what to do, imagine your breath supplying your entire body with a golden fluid, making your body light and flexible.

Allow this to transition into any movements you wish, moving as the body dictates. Flow, float, stomp, jump up and down. Move fast or in slow motion. The key is to just allow the body to move, so don’t think too much — just move. Don’t worry about how you look; if you’re alone, no one can see you. If you’re in a dance class, everyone else is laughing, making the same mistakes you are.

When you really get into it, after a while you’ll definitely notice something: You’re not worrying as much any more; you are sleeping better; you aren’t as irritable at work or at home, with your family; and you feel surprisingly “healed” in some way.

In fact, the natural bodily healing and restoration can last from a couple of minutes to a several hours. People young and old, in all states of fitness, living in all kinds of bodies can benefit from dance. Those with injuries or physical challenges can benefit as well as any “able-bodied” person; just listen to your body and work with its limitations. Dance can be used for healing major stresses as well as “everyday life,” for it is often that these stresses build up, manifesting in extreme tension, anger, and even illness.

Remember, you’re not forcing your body to move according to someone else’s steps; to truly dance is to just tune in to your own personal radio station, and move according to the rhythm of your soul. Dance slow, dance fast, dance solo, dance with others, dance with joy, even dance the sorrow out of your heart. There are no rules — just DANCE!

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