RETURN TO THE SELF, EXPRESS THE SELF, RELEASE THE SELF
RETURN TO THE SELF - create a receptive, open state where you can cultivate personal awareness by putting your focus on our movements, breath and any sensory information and emotional currents that may be present.
EXPRESS THE SELF- express authentically through movement that is personally unique and sourced in the present moment. Doing this can feel vulnerable and it requires the absence of judgment and self-consciousness. We hold non-judgemental space for each other by becoming embodied ourselves, by “getting out of our heads”. We use movement and breath as tools to achieve this, and it requires practice.
RELEASE THE SELF - experience some form of transcendence, or “expanded sense of self’; something other than the ego-based identity that we commonly experience.
Ritual, meditation, ceremony, etc. all aim for a similar shift in consciousness, and it can be achieved in part through a degree of ‘surrender’ - a relaxing of ego boundaries. Surrendering to the music, the movement, our hearts and to the spirit that moves us.
So, Integral Consciousness, Embodied Authenticity and Transcendence. All 3 of these levels of experience are to some degree ‘non-ordinary states of consciousness’ because they are not primarily concerned with cognitive thought such as logic, reason, strategy, beliefs, etc. We practice accessing these 3 levels of experience so that we may shift into a more heart-centred, unguarded and expansive state, which is by many considered to be ‘therapeutic’. Going deeply and experiencing these things as a group can be very powerful, cathartic and bonding experiences.
Dance Divine caters to a broad spectrum of people; some approach it from a therapeutic movement perspective and some simply enjoy free-style dancing. If we want to go a little deeper and work with conscious movement as an integrative healing practice we may find that it has the power to restore harmony between the body, mind and spirit.
The main benefits of a conscious dance practice are…
INCREASED PERSONAL AND INTERPERSONAL AWARENESS
Some people refer to conscious dance as a 'moving meditation' practice. We can clear the mind by placing our awareness on the body by focusing on its movements, on sensory information and on the breath.
This increases our awareness of Self and brings our focus on the present moment; the birthplace of conscious action and choice, mindfulness, awakening and insight. It is also the birthplace of self-acceptance and the practice of “being with what is”.
STRENGTHENING OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR AUTHENTIC SELF
When we practice ‘being with what is’ we are developing the acceptance of what is real and true for us in that moment. The Authentic Self may be a small voice, easily overshadowed, but it is a persistent one. When neglected long enough it may become a pervasive mood, or a behavioural pattern. What was once a clear signal is now a constant dull ache.
Asking the Authentic Self to put its feelings and needs into words may not always the best approach - it might not be used to articulating itself. Asking the body to show us how it feels through movement, shapes and postures can be very informative, and effective. For example, how does it move in a group? How much/little space does it take up? How close does it get to people? How does it change around people? How does eye contact effect it? How does it feel it needs to respond to the music? Is it allowed to say ‘no’, and how?
These are the whispers of the Authentic Self and when we practice listening to it and trusting what it is telling us, we can develop a very visceral sensitivity that tells us when we are in alignment with our own truth, and when we are not.
We can know, physically, when we are being emotionally congruent or not. When we are embodied (“in”) vs. when we are in our heads (“out”). When something is a “YES” or a “NO”. We can feel it in how our words or movements come out. We can tell by how much, or how little, anxiety we feel. We can tell by whether we feel energized, receptive and fluid, or depleted, guarded, anxious and stuck.
Fostering a healthy relationship with our Authentic Self leads to improved self-esteem and a sense of confidence that come from being 'internally-referenced’ (guided by our intuition and values) versus being ‘externally-referenced’ (taking our cues on how/who/what to be from the outside world).
MOVING WITH, MOVING THROUGH AND BEING MOVED BY OUR OWN CONTENT & CURRICULUM
There is a certain Grace worth striving for when it comes to developing our relationship with - and orientation towards - our own curriculum. As we practice “being with what is” and accepting how we really feel, we may realize that we also have the freedom to choose HOW we feel about our own content, our ‘stuff’, our life.
We can improve that relationship developing not only an accepting orientation towards it but also a courageous one, a graceful one, a curious one, a playful one, an expressive one. We can work on our attitudes and practice releasing the resistance that causes mental, emotional and creative blocks.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Conscious movement, and great music!, supports a healthy physical lifestyle by improving balance, focus, blood-flow, heart-rate and stimulating brain waves. You can get a good workout while your at it thus relaxing the nervous system, reducing stress, muscular tension and holding patterns in the body.
Conscious dance is a mindful movement practice where you can learn to listen to your body, attune to what it needs, enjoy its capabilities and respect its limitations.