15 benefits of a personal movement practice or how to keep it going when the rainbow isn't *enuf....
By: April Axé Charmaine [she/they] 1.26.2021
Whether you've been dancing your whole life, only did it when you were a "kid," have been out of practice for a minute, or want to reconnect to your truth, passion, zest, energy and clarity... Enjoy reuniting to your sound (not loco) body, mind and spirit with strength, grace, freedom, exultation and release. Institute a consistent movement practice and enjoy all these benefits!
1.DANCE FOR ANSWERS
If you really, really want to know the answer to something--you have to look no further than your closest open space and dedicated intentional time to exploring your questions to your life situations by moving organically in a grounded body trance. Keeping your eyes open, senses aware to your connection to the elements, your surroundings--play music or simply start walking, moving your body in any way that feels pleasing. There is no right or wrong. When you dance for long enough--the everyday matters of the mind have an opportunity to breakthrough and you can go into another dimensional space and retrieve your knowing by connecting with ancestors, spirit guides, your feelings and emotions. So go ahead... ask the question(s) and then just allow yourself to dance for however long it takes for you to receive the message through your body. No force. Just allow and be.
2. FIND THE SPIRIT
As a result of DANCING FOR ANSWERS, you will undoubtedly find yourself connected closer to spirit. The spirit of your heart, the spirt of the unknown, the spirt of all that is--it's a magical sensation that is one of the greatest natural highs you can ever imagine. Again, just listen to what your body wants to do and say. There you are. Connected. In your own way.
3. WHOLE SELF-CONNECTION
To be connected to your whole self aka EMBODIED, you simply need to be aware that you are a multi-dimensional being and part of your work is to navigate all of the different strings that make up your entirety. Call yourself in, feel yourself, touch, pay attention and bring total awareness and presence to yourself. Perform a body-scan meditation, ring the bells, burn the resins, light the candles and attune to the truth and power of you, this being, in this body. Love this. Be with this. Pay attention to this. You are absolutely whole and worthy.
4. ATTUNE TO BODY SIGNALS
Your body is talking to you all of the time. It is literally telling you everything you need to know about what's flowing and good and what needs attention and change. When you have a movement practice, you allow yourself to be brand new everyday; listening in for the signals; what arises in specific body parts when you think about a certain thing? Move and breathe through the areas that feel stuck, limited, challenging and/or in pain. Everything is ultimately connected. The more you practice this, the more you will understand the psychological and physical connections which can allow for a great excavation of emotion--somatics dear one.
5. PAIN RELEIF
Practicing moving in authentic ways that honor your capabilities, feelings and abilities is an excellent method for relieving physical, emotional and mental pain. This whole idea of listening to yourself is a radical act--and it's also wildly empowering to know that you don't have to suffer, numb, medicate or run away from yourself. Move it through. It may take time, it may be immediate. The more you stay in constricted body positions and do not practice what it means to explore the absolute majesty and ability of your body--then you contract, things close down, the energy and chi doesn't flow the way you need to feel good. It is imperative that you move in anyway that you possibly can. Moving energy rhythmically and in tune with your personal being is an amazing antidote for feeling stuck in the body, mind and spirit.
6. NO LONGER NUMB
Not feeling or wanting to feel anything? It may be a little more challenging to get it going from this space--I want you to know it is possible to excavate a numb state of your being, which of course is a natural state of grief. There may be times where nothing, no shit is working for you at all and that everything feels heavy. This is when you need to focus on one step at a time. One word, one thought, one move at a time. Feed yourself something different energetically. Sometimes to get out of a numb state, you need to change your environment, your schedule, your way of being, the music you're listening to. This is a classic switch it up type moment and it requires repetition. New habits must be practiced--so if you no longer wanna be numb, perhaps begin with the rule of 7's and do a slightly different thing (you can apply this to nearly any aspect of your life).
7. RELEASES ANXIETY
As you work through your feelings--those familiar heart palpitations, numbing forces, or rumination stations you've been visiting may be up--like you need to know how to process and let go of the feeling that stops you from being the super effective/balanced/beautiful person you crave to be. Moving through your anxiety by dancing organically is a magnificent way to change your perspective and help you to focus on what's good, clear and enlivening. You can add a lot of out breath and **staccato energy to really push this one through.
8. IMPROVES YOUR MOOD
One of the ultimate things a consistent movement practice can do for you is make you feel good, help you to remember the spice of life, the passion and fire in your heart and being. Dancing makes you feel alive, so this practice that you can do alone or with others is a nearly immediate way to shift your energy and elevate your being.
9. BODY POSITIVITY
[CW: (trauma, abuse)]
The more and more you move your body and explore the different ways of moving--the more you have an opportunity to appreciate and deeply love your body for so many things. For carrying your soul, spirit, stories, baggage, trauma, and all of the happy memories-- there are so many people in this world who struggle with their bodies, feeling its not good enough--too big, too small, too this, too that--when in fact--every God Damn Loving blemish, spot, area of cellulite, blemish, whatever the fuck it is-- is a natural part of you are and were born to be. Now unfortunately, too many of us have gone through hard times and abuse in and of the body--and the fact is the body also holds all these stories and energies. Fortunately, there are ways to release the grip of these negative entities and feel solid in our bodies and beings.
See yourself with an eye of curiosity, see yourself as the one you want to make love to, see yourself as an object of desire, every part of you edible, yummy, your very special treat. No matter what state your body is in right now--there is something magnificent there--you are alive and if you're reading this, its somehow working. Give thanks to your beautiful vessel being. Let it be imperfectly imperfect and allow it to move and be appreciated. Your body is the container for your divine being--it's a gift, you are its owner, you are its caretaker, and it's built for passion, pleasure, power, and dancing!!!
10. ENJOY SIMPLE PLEASURE
A movement practice is actually quite a simple endeavor--one movement in the body follows another and so on and so on. It can change every time, it can be the same every time. The thing that matters is that you allow those movements to happen--simplicity can have the grandest awards even though it may get a reputation for being boring. It's not true. The more presence you bring to the simple things--the more you will discover in this fascinating body and world.
11. GAIN GREATER PRESENCE
This is the culmination of practicing moving and attuning to your whole being. You will see, you will feel clear, starry, sunny, sweaty, awareness, breath and beauty. It's simply the acting of being here now. So be here now. That's presence.
Super bonus is that when you dedicate yourself to moving your body in different ways and really listening to its needs--you will get more flexible. You will find that you are capable of more than you may think. Every breath, every day, every practice you take yourself a little further. Enjoy surprising yourself with your personal super powers of attuning to your body.
It's miraculous and one of the easiest ways to become stronger. Dancing. Not only the physical, but literally every part of your being gets stronger when you commit to a movement practice. A clear mind, a beating heart, and a grounded pelvic floor that allows your posture to stand high to the sky, because you have presence in your center which is lifting you up and allowing you to live in the majesty of galaxies. This is you being in your body. Strong as shit on all the levels.
14. CULTURE OF MUSIC
A super bonus of having a life full of movement is that frequently music is involved, and music just changes everything. So play whatever feels right, let it be weird, let it be risque, let it be funny, let it be crying, let it be cathartic, let it be emo, let it be wild, let it be lit, let it be hittin every bombastic beat, let it enrich your life and help remind you that there is so much more in this universe and world. The connections go far and the music will take you there.
15. SELF-CARE + MAINTENANCE AS A REVOLUTION
Ultimately, having a personal movement practice is a giant tool of self-care and maintenance. When we are well with ourselves, than we can be well with others. Taking the responsibility for your wellness and happiness can feel daunting, and also can serve as the greatest gift of all. You don't have to wait for anyone to make you happy, let you down, or anything else--you get to feel, you to get to know you at your deepest core, you get to fly to the sky, you get to hear and know what the lineages want you to focus and pass on. This movement practice business is super real.
THE DEFINTION OF A GREAT LIFE
If you have and practice all of these movement and attunement elements, you are inviting yourself into an amazing and impassioned life. Dancing and moving your body consistently says to yourself and the world--I'm here and I'm gonna get this life. When you take risks, attempt new things, push past your personal boundaries, you get to soar with your wings expanded and live the life of living dreams.
So wherever you're coming from, whatever part of dancer or non-dancer you identify with--just allow yourself some space to explore a movement practice--it can be yoga, house dance, mosh pit (dreams), capoeira, Afro, two-step, line dance, bachata, ecstatic, 5 Rhythms, ballet, breakdance, Flamenco, step-dancing--there are so many explorations to be had on this earth through the body. Commit to this life long learning. You're body wants to give you all the things. Keep your personal movement practice alive--there are so many benefits real and unseen!!!
Connection Points to improve your personal movement practice:
*Borrowed and inspired by Ntozake Shange
**See the work of Gabrielle Roth, The 5 Rhythms
April (Axé) Charmaine, CEO/Founder, Sol Vida Worldwide