Movement of the Soul

In many ways, I see a successful day as one that has led me to dance. Whether it is on a crowded dance floor or in a packed subway car, if I can get my body moving, I have accomplished another well-lived moment of life. I am addicted to dancing. Something about the way music awakens my entire experience keeps me yearning for more. It certainly is an addiction worth having.

Dancing has been an important part of existence since the first person rhythmically pounded one object against another. Cultures across time have celebrated, mourned, and communicated through dance. Dancing has existed throughout every society from the Heliconian Muses of ancient Greece to the cosmic dancing form of Shiva, the Nataraja. The body has painted pictures long before our words ever could.

I only bust out this hard on really good days

The secrets of motion captured by the body allow expression where words fail. In the heart of dance is communication. In forms of celestial, communal, and personal exploration, dance brings together both the society of individuals and of the universe.

In many cultures, dance is the greatest form of expression. In Hawaiian culture, the hula is the language of the soul expressed in motion. In the aboriginal tradition of Ojibwa in Southern Ontario, dancing celebrates the sun and the changing of the seasons. Their famous Morning Dance is a tribute to the tree of life, giver of all creation. Native American cultures have used dance to form prayers for healing and gratitude to Mother Earth. In the Sufi tradition, whirling or Sama—a form of active meditation—is performed to reach kemal or the source of all perfection by transcending the ego. Dance has universally been enacted to communicate otherwise incommunicable emotions.

Meditation in motion

Personally, I know when I dance I reach a state of extreme ecstasy. It is by no coincidence that the drug named after this emotion is most associated with dancing. Yet even without substances, dancing can take on the form of an active meditation, a holistic expression of the soul that can transcend the normal guidelines of everyday life.

When I am most entranced in dancing, I am transported to a timeless realm of potentiality. Freeform motion is creatively unrestrained and my limbs become brushes for which I can paint the picture of my existence, changing moment to moment in an ever-evolving pattern of infinity. Dancing is a language best spoken with liberty.

If you’d like, you can come join me and many others in NYC this weekend as we dance our spirits into the night at Ecstatic Dance in the well-known Jivamukti yoga center Saturday night (3/24). Here’s the link.

I’ll leave with you with an amazing quote:

“When you understand who and what you are, your radiance projects into the universal radiance and everything around you becomes creative and full of opportunity.”

I think Yogi Bhajan understood the power of dance.

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