8 ways dancing can heal your body, mind and soul
To take a break from the stresses and pressures of life, I’ve discovered a little secret weapon. It’s called dancing, and at this moment it’s specifically SALSA. Here are reasons why I believe it’s the cure to so many ailments in the body, mind and soul:
The benefits of salsa dancing (any kind of dancing really):
Cardio workout: It’s a decent full body cardio work out. Surprisingly I feel my arms getting tired the most, I feel my heart racing and I’m definitely out of breath after a couple of songs. I can’t exactly pop into my local gym and get my exercise in, so dancing is a great way for me to exercise, stay healthy and keep fit while I am traveling.
Posture (physical and internal): Dancing has also brought me a lot of awareness around my posture. Awareness that I was slouching a lot, closing off my chest and shoulders, and allowing my core to relax instead of activating it to hold my frame up straight. This can be indicative of certain life circumstances as well, I believe. If you are not able to hold your frame and your boundaries in place, and look after yourself (self care), you will end up swinging too and fro, without any real goal or direction and eventually end up feeling over worked, burnt out and angry. So it’s my job to work on these things physically as well as mentally.
Learning to let go and flow
Letting go of control is one of the hardest things, I think especially for women (me) to do. Dancing is one of the few things you can do that is flowing, it allows you to soften up, let loose and follow. To trust that you are going to be ok even though you are not sure what move is next… :) There are not a lot of opportunities to do this in life these days. Most things are quite controlled, rigid and planned.
Because I haven’t danced in so long due to my knee injury, I’d forgotten what it feels like to let go, express myself freely and allow someone else to lead me and let me follow, flow and be more fluid.
It’s difficult for me to allow this instructor (male) to lead me and for me to follow… It’s really really hard! It’s reminded me of something I’ve always known - that I need to build and work on my trust, especially in the opposite sex. I’m actually very grateful, and it was one of my goals this year to work on developing trusting friendships and relationships (non sexual) with the opposite sex, as it is a growth area for me.
He actually did a really good exercise with me which indicated to me (and him) how skeptical I actually was to allow him to lead me around the dance floor:) A huge learning and awareness of trust, which is crucial in dancing with a partner, and crucial with any partner in life and trusting God.
Energy and Self Confidence
After an hour of dance class I am on a high! I have energy and self confidence and feel as if I can take on the other challenges in my day. I can sense that people pick up my energy too, and are quite interested to know why I am more energetic, happy and motivated to persevere. I have also been taking Spanish classes. Learning a foreign language has been challenging to say the least and my ego has been somewhat bruised (in fact a lot!). But lately I can definitely feel that in Spanish class I am less harsh on myself, more willing to try, fail and try again, which improves my learning in language too! HA a double bonus!
Fun, Play and getting UNSTUCK!
It feels so great to be back on the dance floor after knee surgery and 14 months of knee re-hab! I forgot how much fun it is to move, shake and just let lose! It puts the biggest smile on my face, no matter what is happening around me, and I think that is by far the biggest benefit to me and those around me! The quickest and best way to get out of a funk & get unstuck is to MOVE, and it doesn’t have to be an official movement! It can also be a quick 5 minute shake up to your favorite song in your living room! JUST MOVE!
Partnership and self expression
Self-expression: Especially in Salsa there is a lot of solo dancing where you get to be creative and adventurous with your moves which I just love. The worst thing you can do to me is stick me with a dance partner where I have to be stuck to them the whole dance through. I enjoy my flexibility and freedom and this dance portrays that for me.
Can be one unit, but also be ourselves. There are times where we dance as one and I need to follow, and then there are times where we both get to break free and do our own thing, get creative and have fun! That is also a great lesson I think in life and relationships, healthy boundaries etc. There is a time to work together and function as a unit , but also a time to be your own person.
Sensuality - a strength in femininity
I do believe there is side of a women that needs and wants to feel sexy and be sensual. It’s feminine, graceful and beautiful and does not need to be categorized as sexual in the same breath. There seems to be an assumption that sensuality and sexuality all insinuate having sex, being immoral and wrong. But from the research I’ve started doing and my own experience in dancing freely, and with a professional partner, I’m finding something completely different. There is something about it that is a gift to the world, it strengthens and brings confidence to a women that is feminine, when used wisely. It can also heal relationships between men and women and build trust.
What I’m experiencing in my dance lesson is that the instructor is actually demanding it from me in a way I’ve never really experienced before. Almost as if he knows it’s there, inside of me and calling it out of me . It’s (I can imagine) kind of like giving birth to a part of yourself that has always been there, but is only now being awakened and coming alive.
Expression of Self Care & Healing
Dancing is an expression of self care and healing in a way that no therapist, or conversation or journal entry can ever be. The movement, rhythm and free flowing is self empowering and opens us up to healing in action and movement. Learning to feel comfortable in your own skin by moving is one of the most self caring actions you can take. Learning to put those inner and outer critics to bed by moving, dancing and allowing yourself to flow is unique and powerful.
MY QUESTION TO YOU:
Is there something in this blog that has spoken to you? Let me know.
What action can you take to fulfill some part of YOU that is needing wholeness and your brave action? I’d love to hear about it!