As a yoga lover, I have spent many hours on the mat. Whether sweating away in Bikram, practicing mantras in Kundalini, or flowing through my Vinyasa practice, yoga has helped me to find my center in the world. But did you know that embodiment dance is actually a new yoga? That’s why we use the term Goddess Yoga. It incorporates the best of all worlds.
Most people agree that yoga is an excellent form of exercise for body, mind and spirit. Yoga keeps your body limber and fit, and helps to calm and focus the mind as well. It’s well known that yoga practice incorporates work with the 7 chakras, but did you know that there is a dance practice that integrates chakra work as well, but goes beyond most modern, Western yoga practices?
Western Misconceptions About Yoga
In the West, most people think of yoga as a kind of exercise practice. Practicing the asanas will definitely strengthen and tone your body, but the original meaning of yoga is actually a complete path, a way of living. According to Sadhguru, “The word “Yoga” literally means “union.” It is a transformative process of coming into alignment with all aspects of your being, and “when you know the oneness of existence like you experience the five fingers of your hand, then we say you are in Yoga.”
The Benefits and Limits of Western Yoga
Yoga has many benefits in addition to fitness. It can release stuck energies and bring the body-mind system into balance. Additionally, there is a lovely spiritual component to yoga that encourages peace, gratitude and harmony. However, as a dancer, I always felt that there was something missing in my yoga practice.
My experience typically depended on the quality of my teacher or guru, which is usually the case with “follow along” practices. And there was never much room for personalization. Now what do I mean by that? Well, some teachers allow you to modify a pose if you are injured, but I’m talking about something else.
Some days my body was asking me for more of something. I wanted to stay in a pose longer or explore a different aspect of that part of my body by twisting in a different direction. I wanted to stretch something that was asking to be stretched, explore something that wanted to be noticed. But in most yoga classes, there is no room for personal interpretation nor for creative expression. And there are aspects of movement that I find to be missing – beautiful and important aspects of our physical existence in our space, and it was with embodiment dance that I discovered what those missing parts were.
What is an Embodiment Practice?
Embodiment is a practice much like mindfulness that takes our experience a step further. It goes beyond awareness of the present moment, our emotions, and reactions to stimuli in our environment. In an embodiment course, we actually use our bodies as receivers and messengers of information and energy.
Our bodies speak to us in ways that the mind cannot, and we can initiate emotional and psychological healing from within the body itself. When we drop into the feeling body and become familiar with how changes in our bodies affect our emotions and thoughts, as well as how emotions and thoughts affect our bodies, we begin to hear a new dialogue in the mix. The body itself becomes a vehicle for change, healing and manifestation.
What is Embodiment Dance?
Embodiment dance is when we use dance as the vehicle for our embodiment practice. Even Eckhart Tolle invokes the symbolism of dance in his tweet “Life is the dancer and you are the dance,” though with embodiment dance, it’s much more than an analogy. I prefer to invoke dance a little bit differently: I believe that “Life is a dance for which we write the music.”
When we are embodied we can dream up our own soundtrack, and then dance it into existence. It is not about being in control or “doing.” We must surrender to the flow of the universe and be in alignment with our highest purpose. But once we discover our soul’s purpose, our musical masterpiece, our dream, we can embody it fully through dance in order to manifest it in the real world.
How is Embodiment Dance a New Yoga?
However you choose to interpret it, the common theme is that dance is a magical and beautiful form of self-expression that is a part of something larger and mysterious. It is individual, yet whole. We dance together yet each dance is unique. And everyone’s journey will be their own, yet a part of humanity.
Even the planets and stars have their own dance within the galaxy. In this way, because goddess dance and Goddess Yoga are a complete path to achieve union by transforming ourselves and therewith our environment, we achieve yoga. We embody the authentic definition of yoga.
An important aspect of embodiment dance practice, as opposed to most Western yoga practices, which are mostly just the asanas, or poses, is the exhilaration and joy of moving through space. When we practice the asanas in most yoga classes, we are mostly confined to our mat.
But sometimes, in order to liberate the heart and soul, we must spin, run, jump and fly. There is not one way to do it, yet everyone knows how. With embodiment dance, we explore a new yoga that goes beyond what you find in most yoga studios. And it is liberating and empowering on many levels.
Where Can I Try this New Yoga?
The next time you are feeling heavy, tired or stressed, put on your favorite music and just dance. See how you feel afterwards! Who knows, maybe you’ll also discover that embodiment dance can bring you into yoga. And if you discover you love it, then join us at our Goddess Yoga retreats, where we practice daily mystical yoga, dance and somatics.