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From Sh!tshow to Afterglow by Ariel Meadow Stallings

From Sh!tshow to Afterglow by Ariel Meadow Stallings

Author:Ariel Meadow Stallings
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Basic Books
Published: 2020-07-20T16:00:00+00:00


CONSCIOUS DANCE FOR ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS

This kind of morning practice is a form of “conscious dance,” which isn’t a style like jazz or hip-hop, but more of a mindset. It just means that you’re using movement as a mindfulness practice. It’s available to anyone, regardless of age, physical ability, income, or access to a class or dance space. You don’t need to be a “good dancer”—you just need to pay attention to the sensations of the movement in whatever body parts are available to move. If even the idea of dance is intimidating, rebrand it as mindful movement, free-form wiggling, sacred stretches, or any other name that feels safe to you.

Mackenzie Amara, a 5Rhythms dance teacher and embodiment coach in Zurich, describes it this way: “Conscious movement is not about doing anything in particular, more about letting yourself be done to. When you drop the need to act, think, control, change, shift, and simply allow your awareness to settle on the sensation of energy in your body, you find that the energy has textures, colors, and shapes all its own. From there, you can start to let your body be the tool for shaping the energy that’s naturally there already. Embodiment is really a process of coming into greater alignment: head, heart, guts.”

Here’s how to get started:

Find five minutes and a little space where you won’t be interrupted. Your kitchen or bedroom work fine!

Put on some headphones (that way you don’t have to worry about anyone hearing you) and a song that makes you want to move. When in doubt, the Spotify robots have great playlists for every mood.

I suggest closing your eyes. Conscious dance is less about how it looks (even just to yourself) and more about how it feels. With your eyes closed, you can focus on the sensations.

Start small, maybe just swaying or moving your fingers.

Do not push or force yourself—this is not the place for overexertion! Move in a way that feels safe, comforting, and natural. It might just be you gently waving your arms for an entire song—that’s awesome!

Keep your attention focused on your movement, and watch to see how your movements unfold (… or not! That’s interesting, too! Where do you get stuck? What thought buses go by? What familiar stories do you tell yourself about why you can’t?). When your mind wanders away from your movement, just notice and gently refocus on a new body part—ooh, what’s that left foot doing?

If you become overwhelmed, take a break and keep breathing.

Consider ending your practice with a seated meditation or journaling. What came up for you?



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