People’s reactions to dancing can often be very polarised – they either love it and are quick to get up and move or they have completely sworn off ever moving their body to music in public.
The fact is our feelings about dancing have been heavily influenced by the stories we’ve been told (or we’ve told ourselves!) about what dancing is, what it looks like and who it’s for. That’s why I’ve compiled this Q & A covering my answers to some of the most common questions I hear from clients wanting to try chakra dance for the first time.
[Spoiler alert: Chakra dancing is for everyone! It’s fun, sweaty, laughter inducing, deeply healing and nothing like dancing as you may have known it before.]
Q: How do you feel when you are dancing Jax?
It’s the ultimate expression of me. I feel like I’ve been given a gift – to be in a body, this human body and be able to dance rhythmically to music. Allowing my body to feel into music shows me again and again the magnificence of what it is to be in human form.
You know, we get this body and it’s able to move to music, even if you don’t feel that you’re in rhythm it’s still able to move – and in a way that other mammals can’t. You can hear music and your body can respond to it; and when my body responds to it it just feels like such a gift. That is if I can listen!
Q: What do you do when you begin to dance?
When I dance I typically will close my eyes for a bit because it’s about going ‘in’ to be able to have an outward expression. And dancing can be quite intimate so you don’t always want to look into someone’s eyes so I find closing my eyes quite important for me to get into my body. And then I simply allow the rhythm that I’m listening to to take over.
And what might emerge won’t look like a ‘society-driven’ dance, the idea of what society might say dance should look like, what actually emerges is what your body wants to do, and how your body wants to lead you in that moment.
What I find magical about that, is that my body has wisdom, it responds to music if I’m able to allow it to.
Q: What is really happening when you dance?
A lot of what I do when I guide a chakra dance session is help people move past what we would call ‘The Ego’. We do that by just allowing the small movements, the head to move to one side, the fingers to stretch. By allowing what you deem as You to move as it wants, we get more and more into the body and further away from words and our head.
This is why dancing for me is about listening. It is about my body’s wisdom responding to music and it feels like a magic spell – the music is like a magic spell. It seems to just move my body in lots of different directions. The more I dance, the more ways I find to move my body. I can move in ways now that I didn’t even realise I could before! And that allows me to fall in love with my body, and the capacity that it has for movement from the tips of my fingers to the tips of my toes.
Q: What sort of music do you dance to?
The music is one of the most wonderful things about chakra dancing for me, it’s such an eclectic mix of global influences. The instruments used speak to our body. The root chakra, for example, is all based on drums and therefore quite primal; when you hear it you do want to be on the floor, you do want to be down low. Your body is just responding in that way.
And as you become more ethereal, when you move past the heart, there’s a lightness, a fairy dance that kind of appears or a flying where you can see things. So although I ‘lead’ the class, it’s the music that guides you. It brings out this innate knowing within you and your body automatically responds to, and moves with, that knowing if you listen.
Q: What if I don’t want to be seen? I haven’t danced in years, I’m the person who sits at the edge of the dance floor watching. I don’t feel like I even know how to move my body and I don’t want to feel like a fool. Is this really for me?
So there’s two things. The first is a mask. We can begin the session all wearing face or eye masks. It really allows people to start to get into their bodies, especially if it is something that people haven’t done before it does help them feel more comfortable. The alternative to a mask is simply to close your eyes so that you’re not looking at anyone else, because this is a personal experience. That’s something you are welcome to do at any time during the session.
The second thing is the reassurance that this is not about dancing on the dance floor. This is about you listening, this is a chance for your body to let you know what it needs and a chance for each of your energy centres to be balanced and aligned.
The dance you dance is an outward expression of your personal journey of love for yourself. It is done by going ‘in’ and as I’ve said you can do that all the way through by closing your eyes. It’s nothing to do with a dance floor. It’s nothing to do with looking cool. It’s nothing to do with looking beautiful, it’s to do with your body, and you getting to know your body so that you’re aware of its wisdom and you can listen and hear it. No one’s going to be looking at you.
You will (we all will) have lots of fun. Chakra dancing will make you sweat, you will laugh and you’ll also notice that your body does things that you didn’t even know it was capable of. And that’s where the magic is.
Q: What if I’m scared about what my body might do?
I would encourage you to begin by sitting with your eyes closed and without moving. Instead just see what happens when you listen. See if there’s any responses that come and simply allow yourself to just watch what happens, be curious about what’s happening in your body and in your mind as you listen to the music.
Because as I mentioned, it’s an inward experience. This is an experience for You to experience You. If you’re worried about what your body might do: sit, listen and see what your body wants to do and become curious about that.
This can sound quite strange to some but the body has a wisdom where you can actually have a conversation with parts of it. If you find your arm wanting to move, you can actually say to your arm: ‘What do you want to do?’
You can stay seated and keep staying curious, noticing and speaking with different parts of your body, just being interested in what your body wants to do. And you might find that you want to sit for the entire time. But you might also find that after a few tracks, you and your body want to stand up and be part of it.
So yes with chakra dancing there is always an invitation for you to move but if you decide that’s not something you want to do because you feel uncomfortable and you’re worried about it. Then there is also always the invitation to simply listen, because the music is powerful too.
Q: If it’s about me and my inward journey, why do I do it in a group?
I do offer sessions online, so if that’s something you’d prefer to do it can be done that way and you can feel like you’re in your own space, which is one of the benefits of doing it online if the group scenario doesn’t work for you.
What I would say though is that the group really encourages togetherness and fun. There’s a special energy that comes from being in the group. For example, when we dance the solar plexus chakra, which sits above the navel, we might as part of the dance use a crystal and put it in the middle of a circle that we create. We create this to get rid of whatever is not serving you today, whatever it is that you need to let go of, and we use that combination of the crystal, the formation of the circle and the particular music track to specifically dance into what can be created and what can be let go of that’s holding us back. And the power of a group really helps with that.
When we move to the throat chakra we sometimes chant, because the throat chakra is about communication. The music we use might have a chant within it and when we’re all in the same room chanting together there’s a really palpable power and energy to it. In a group, face to face, there’s an energy that builds that we all really feel it and that allows us all to let go and all to shake out our bodies. We know that we’re all letting go of that stuff at the same time in the same space. There’s a strength in the group that allows that process to feel more deeply embedded.
So there are options, it can be powerful online in your own room and there are also some things that work very well as a group face to face, which allows us to even more deeply embody the experience, which is our own individual experience.
Q: Can you tell me more about the ceremony aspect of a chakra dance session?
The chakra dance model is one that sits in ceremony and that’s important because it creates a very safe container for us to dance within. There’s both an opening ceremony and a closing ceremony, which for some people can be a new experience to be a part of.
When we dance we’re opening ourselves and our energy channels up to balance, healing and support. We start this opening process with a ritual or ceremony. And when we have finished dancing it’s important to then close them back down again, because they all are energy centres. The body is a sacred space and we don’t just want to go back out into the world with everything open, that’s why we use ceremony to properly close them back down again at the end of the session.
The safety of the container comes from this opening and closing and that safety gives us the freedom in the dance to move however our body and chakras need us to.
Q: Is there anything else I should know about the power of chakra dance?
Science! I know my words are sometimes on the more esoteric level, but there is also valid science at play here. I think it was Dr. Michael Mosley who said that dancing is one of the best forms of exercise. It can really help us with things like anxiety, PTSD, and depression. This can feel counterintuitive because sometimes with these conditions the last thing you want to do is dance. But actually that’s why these things work because it’s a little shock tactic. Your body’s not expecting you to move. It’s why they say to get out and walk in nature, dance is exactly the same as that, really it’s no different. Moving your body when it might be the last thing you want to do is a loving shock to the system that allows a rebalancing to happen.
I hope I’ve answered all the questions you may have had about chakra dancing but if not feel free to drop me an email and I’ll be happy to help and if you’re ready to try a session for yourself you can find all the details by clicking in the link below.