How to Practice Transformational Breathing
Transformational breathing involves rapid breathwork for 20-45 minutes. The results can feel ...
Not moving is a good way to get stuck emotionally and intellectually, to remain the same, to avoid any new flow of old emotions, and to keep things locked up in our body and mind. Even if we do move regularly, when our bodies are always moving in the same way, we can lose the vital possibilities of sending breath into the areas of our bodies where those stuck emotions, inspirations, or ideas are hiding.
So, if you’re feeling numbed out, stuck, exhausted, or down in a rut, movement is the best medicine—specifically new kinds of movement. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to get moving in new ways, including going online to find recorded classes that you can start right now.
Intuitive movement is a simple practice that can be done with or without music. You can do it alone, and it’s best if you can do most of it with your eyes closed without a mirror or a witness (except, of course, yourself). You can also do it as a part of a ritual, setting an intention to invite a certain energy into your body or to release something. Or simply allow the movement to teach you what you need.
All you do is start in a comfortable position, like seated or lying down, and begin paying attention to your breath. Allow your breath to “move” you, and simply follow it wherever it wants to go, leaning into what feels good and avoiding what doesn’t. There’s no right or wrong here. Try it with a song that evokes something for you emotionally.
Conscious dance is a practice of getting together with a community, putting on some music, and simply moving. Different groups may have different rules, but generally, the practice is un-led and open-minded. You can choose to interact with other dancers or not, exploring how your body wants to move that day. Everyone is welcome, nothing is required. Some branded styles you can look for in your area are 5Rhythms, Open Floor, and Soul Motion.
Belly dance is an ancient style oriented mostly around women and women’s bodies. This is a powerful way to connect with the hips and belly, which is an area that can hold creativity, sexuality, and sometimes trauma. Some studies have shown that belly dancing benefits pelvic floor health. Women of all ages and experience levels can join a belly dance class online or in person in your area.
Partnered dance is a wonderful way to make friends, spend time in community, and enjoy moving your body in conversation with another person’s body. This can be fun social time as well as exercise, and it can be a great way to open the social aspects of your mind and body. If you have a partner, you could bring them, or choose to learn something together at home for date night. Again, here, different styles have different emotional resonances: Salsa, tango, and rumba are sexy and emotional, while ballroom and waltz are a little more classical and contained. Swing is a good way to bring some fun into your life. Find a class that resonates with you in your area and go meet some people.
There are plenty of ways to practice online classes, and affordable online platforms, such as STEEZY, offer a range of fun beginner-friendly styles, like dance workout, contemporary, house styles, and so on. Pick and choose the ones you like and go from there.
In May/June 2008, Carola Marashi described going from “dancing defensively (DON’T TOUCH ME!) to dancing with full-body contact: arms, legs, and hair entangled.” Here are three of her guidelines for such a truly ecstatic dance:
1. DANCE INTEGRITY. Commit to exploring YOURSELF even when you’re dancing with someone else. Remember you are your primary partner FOR LIFE! Everyone in the room is a reflection. They are there for you.
2. STRETCH YOUR BOUNDARIES. Your boundaries are elastic just like your heart muscle. Be generous giving and receiving love. This is your sacred playground.
3. BARE YOUR SOUL. Imagine communicating so clearly from your heart that your words and your body gestures say the same thing: “I am moving through the world with my eyes and heart wide open...”
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