When I first started going to Moon Circles that included dance, it was my least favorite part of the gatherings. I was self-conscious and uncomfortable and felt very restricted in my body. As my spiritual journey progressed, dancing became not only less intimidating, but also empowering. At the latest Goddess Gathering (with Jen Rose) there was a girl named Lina who guided us through the dance part of our reunion, and it was such a powerful experience, that I asked Lina to shoot a video together and the fruit of our labor appears below. Lina is a poet, sketch artist, dancer, Tantra Practitioner, and a total complete Goddess!
I will tell you more about the guided dance so you can see for yourself the transformation power of it. Before I do that, I must recall one more brief moment at another gathering that I observed (where there was no guide for the dancing part, just a free flow of beautiful music). There was one girl, a mother of a boisterous toddler. When I watched her dance, she reminded me of myself years ago. The girl seemed so restricted in her body, she couldn’t even dare to raise her arms up while dancing, and not because she simply didn’t want to, but you could tell, she looked very self-conscious and was so uncomfortable in her body.
So now back to the guided dance with Lina. First we dance practicing a certain breathing technique that brings energy into our sacrum and our bellies, and then for the second part of the dance she suggests we dance using big, warrior-goddess like movements, claiming the space around us, taking that space, and standing big. And as I pretend that my arms are giant swords with which I slice the air around me, and take giant steps in each direction, I feel big, I feel strong and I feel powerful. And it reminds me of a TED talk about how our body language shapes who we are. In that TED talk the speaker talks about how right before you go into a job interview or a sales presentation, you should put your legs shoulder width apart, raise your arms above your head and stand big for a few minutes. This sensation of “being big” physically affects how you feel psychologically - it makes you more confident, more assertive, and that, in turn, affects your whole presentation. Remarkable, isn’t it? If Lina had not guided us and didn’t “give us permission to be big” so to speak, I would have still enjoyed that dance, but it might not have felt as empowering. Having received that guidance from her gave me a chance to feel big, claiming my space instead of being afraid to take too much of it, and that physical feeling translated into a mental sensation that I am strong and powerful.
My other very profound encounter with ecstatic dance was at the East Coast Tantra Festival a few months ago. Dancing was a part of our morning open ceremony each day of the festival and I really grew fond of it. It’s like you turn of your brain and get out of your body’s way - let your body hear and FEEL the music and then experience the movements that your body takes you through. After four days at the festival where allowing your body to feel the music was what we practiced every day, when I returned home, for a couple of weeks I would immediately start swaying when I heard music in the supermarket or at another store, and I would want to raise my arms up and start dancing. I feel that I am more in touch with my body, with MYSELF, when I practice dance frequently.
So what exactly is ecstatic, or conscious, dance?
Ecstatic, or conscious dance, is a free-form dance which is always done barefoot with no alcohol or drugs involved. During this dance your mind and body practice uncensored, spontaneous movements and the dance allows you to express whatever you are going through at the moment. Not only does conscious dance is an exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise, but it also improves self image and builds confidence. For this type of dance, no thinking is needed, just feeling. Conscious dance is a sacred space to lose your fears, especially fear of failure. There’s no teacher, only a leader, or a guide, and there is no structure and no steps to learn, only a dance floor, positive energy, your intention and your beautiful body. You leave inspired, with peace and joy.
If you haven’t tried conscious or ecstatic dance before, I strongly encourage you to find a local event or group and give it a try. You may want to check out Ecstatic Dance Community of South Florida to find an event that resonates with you.
And finally, I introduce you to beautiful Lina, who will share with your her reasons for dancing and a beautiful poem she wrote.
Lina says, “This is my invitation to all, who have been shut down in regards to expressing their feelings, releasing emotions, abandoning fears, especially when it comes to body image and sensuality.
What does it feel like when you are deeply aware of how your body feels? Just let it sink for a few seconds...
All the “forbidden” doors open to us when we allow our bodies to move in freeform dance. Unbounded energy - prime, raw and wild starts to flow. Not a single, suppressed part of us is left behind. Aha moment - we can set ourselves free! Through dance, through movement, through feeling it all.
Conscious Dance is not just a physical form of movement but a spiritual journey.
I refer to it as entering a sacred space, a sanctuary, where all the outside life is left behind and all we have is this embodied presence. Here we express, allow, let go, heal, celebrate, embrace our strangeness, darkness, childish excitement...
From there, we become more conscious of our unconscious behaviors, beliefs, relationships, patterns.
From there, we stand so much stronger in life, facing unnecessary change.
Make dance your tool of transformation, so you can truly live in a beauty of movement, which brings natural harmony to all.”
Divine Feminine Dance
(by Lina Infanti)
It’s you and me
I can finally see
Mirroring each other
Like a full moon and a
Deep blue sea.
Before I thought, -
You never were a part of me,
Until a swirling dance,
That sucked me in,
Collided our souls
To find the path to love,
To heal, fulfill and dream…
So luminous and gleam,
Embracing both of our hearts
And lifting us above the stars
To hear a voice of stirring music,
For Earth and Sun become
Sublime and powerful
Have you tried ecstatic dancing? Please share about your experience in the comments!