Well, what does all of this have to do with DANCE, you may ask. Everything! After all, dance involves body coordination, thought process, memory, feelings and sensations. It is about body as much as it is about mind. It is my belief that all humans are innate dancers. We are defined by movement of the physical body. But the body does not stand alone. It has such an intricate connection with the mind (I know it's cliché, but it must be explored further). Somewhere recently, I read that to avoid injuries as a dancer, one must be mindful of her/ his body. And by mindful, I mean present in the moment, aware of every step without judgement. Easier said than done...
An article written by Jane Di Leo in Women's Health Magazine (October 2013 Issue, p.114-116), "Eating Under the Influence," talks about mindful eating. Di Leo quotes Elizabeth Lyons, Ph.D., M.P.H.: 'Not paying attention to what we're eating prevents us from noticing when we feel full.' In the same way, not paying attention to when we dance can prevent us from reaping all the benefits dance has to offer, and may even result in injury.
So, what about mindful dancing?
Being inspired by Di Leo's article on mindful eating, I would like to share with you some tips on how to practice mindful dancing (and other physical activities):
1. Start by focusing on your (nasal) breath. Centre your mind.
2. Always warm up before any physical activity, even if it's for a few minutes.
3. As you begin to dance, you may have different thoughts (related or unrelated) creeping up. Bring back your focus to your breath.
4. Be aware of your body to avoid any injuries or fatigue. If you feel pain, take a break. Don't be hard on yourself.
5. Enjoy every moment of it! Listen to the music, smell the beat and the melody of the song, feel the sweat, and taste the beauty of movement. And finally, don't forget to smile :)
You are so lucky to be able to dance, to move your body and to express yourself.
In conclusion, I would like to leave you with the following thought: THE MIND DANCES TOO. As dancers, we should try to avoid 'mind dancing' (body-mind disconnect) and instead practice 'mindful dancing' (full awareness).
~ "A heart speaks through dance" ~
Diva in Heels