My personal energizer practice
We have all heard the expression Dance like nobody’s watching, but how many people really, truly embrace that? I mean other than in an extreme drunken state, when you don’t care at all. I suggest people try dancing WHEN nobody’s watching. I started creating my own practice of this and I find it truly transformative, energizing and healing. Even on the most challenging days, allowing myself 20 minutes gets my energy going more than any other practice I have done.
I love to dance. My mom was a dancer, I was a dancer, I know a lot of dancers as well as non-dancers, and people who wouldn’t be caught dead dancing in front of others… ever. Somewhere in all of us, is the desire to dance. Some people are comfortable letting loose on the dance floor, but I would argue that there is always some amount of self-consciousness, or adjustment for how we dance when others are around. Except of course the drunk thing.
WHEN NOBODY’S WATCHING
This year I started dancing by myself in the mornings. I was injured, couldn’t do a lot of other physical activities and was sluggish. I started putting on uplifting music and moving however I could to get my spirits up, and then discovered a whole new workout for myself. Many studies have shown that the most successful and productive people in the world insist that a morning practice of something physical, something personally reflective, and something with a positive emotional component is key. Dancing to your own tune combines it all. For some people it’s yoga, or tai chi, going to the gym, or playing a sport. For me, there is nothing like moving my own body in a way that it wants to move organically without a mirror or an audience. It allows me to feel a connection to my personal energy, my emotions, my creativity, and to a higher source. Plus it can pull me out of a bad mood faster than anything.
“Dance is life, life is dance, they are one in the same. How we move is how we speak- speak clearly speak confidently.”
Tessandra Chavez – Emmy award winning choreographer
NO RIGHT OR WRONG WAY
When I first started doing this, I would only last for one song and then stop because I felt a little silly. But I began making it a regular thing, made a playlist of songs and committed to dancing through the whole list. Some days I go very slow, sometimes I flail around wildly, sometimes I do my physical therapy exercises. Occasionally I try and dance like one of those teen Instagram hip hop dancers (my secret, slightly embarrassing fantasy). Sometimes I tap in to my early training and act like a ballerina, and sometimes like a slow old lady. But in all of those variations I move and express me to the core. I listen to my body and let it move how it wants in the moment no matter how awkward or weird. My inner self comes out and my personal energy comes to life and celebrates. From there, I feel more energized and confident for my day.
PHYSICAL CHALLENGES – LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
I have had many NON dance related injuries, and I have some physical limitations currently, due to nerve damage and other issues. The first few times I did this, I got over zealous and tweaked a few old issues. However, I now know what specific things not to do for my body and I still get the full value. Whether I move gently, or wildly, I keep moving. Listening to your body is not only important, but also one of the great gifts in this practice. Please pay attention to what hurts, and don’t do that. Pain is not gain here.
DEEPER HEALING – EMOTIONAL CONNECTION
There is an added piece to this, for those who want to delve deeper. I will at times focus on a part of my body, like a shoulder, or mid spine, that just wants to release something. I breath into this area and move slowly and internally. It’s almost like sensing a deep itch inside my body somewhere that is relieved and getting the attention it wants when I dance that part. Going deeper, I allow whatever emotion is there or not. Often for me that feels like a charge of energy, or a release of some sort. It is more sensorial than deeply emotional, but I allow whatever feelings are there to just move. If this happens, allow yourself to keep going until you move through it. And give yourself permission to feel the positive rush, and even silliness that can come from dancing.
FIND YOUR PLACE
When I first started doing this, I was always aware and potentially mortified that someone in the house might wake up and walk in on me flailing about. If I was alone, I was concerned that some random person would come to the door and see me through the window. So find a spot where you won’t be disturbed, lock a door, get up before everyone. Make sure you can allow your deepest, strange, playful, and personal energy to express, no matter how weird.
I encourage everyone to give this a try. Dance to your own drum and dance WHEN nobody’s watching.
You may just enjoy your morning routine, and have a lot more fun than the gym.
“We’re all fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.”
BONUS DANCE FUN FOR PLAYFUL INSTINCT PARTICIPENTS
If you come to a retreat where I am teaching Playful Instinct workshops, I often include Dance Boosters. We get the whole group up and dancing to a simple routine that even the wall huggers can’t resist.
The following is a sampling of some songs on my playlist this month, starting with slower inspirational, to high energy boogie. These are songs that get me going. Try a few of them, or find what moves you.
Take Me to the Church – Hozier
This is Me – From the Greatest Showman
Sway – Michael Buble
Havana – Camila Cabello
Shape of You – Ed Sheeran
Lady Marmalade – Pati LaBelle
Let’s Get Loud – Jennifer Lopez circa 1999 – old school
Bonus – Rhythm of Life – from the musical Pippin