Dance can be used as a vehicle for expression. It is a chance for our bodies to talk, to tell a story, to convey emotions - it is a way we can communicate without words. The body is the most incredible machine on this planet, and we have the opportunity to enhance its mechanics, its energy, frequency, vibration, and expression just through dance and free movement alone.
For thousands of years in many cultures, dance was a prominent means of expression and storytelling and has been an important part of ceremony, rituals, healing, celebrations, and entertainment since the birth of the earliest human civilizations. Over the years and as we have evolved, the sacredness of dance, free movement, and embodiment has been diluted. Although still accepted in celebrations, entertainment, and social gatherings, it is not as freely expressed or prioritised. Though as the world continues to change and mindfulness, wellbeing, and yoga are at the forefront, there has been a resurgence and awareness of dance as not only a social acceptance but also as a healing opportunity, a means of expression, and an energy release within our chaotic world.
Now, there are many embodied movement and yoga teachers who incorporate free movement, divine goddess awakening, embodiment, self-expression, and traditional ceremonies in which they fuse together with their own yoga practice. Over the years, modern yoga has evolved to enhance more creativity and expression both on and off the mat using free movement, creative sequencing, and chakra or energy releasing.
If you are already a Soul Sanctuary member, you will know how important free movement is to our founder and teacher, Cat Meffan, who explains:
“Free movement really allows people to tap out of their mind and let their body go wherever it wants to go. It allows you to connect with how you feel on an energetic level and on a somatic, or body level, rather than living up in the head, which is what we do in many other forms of movement including yoga sometimes. We’re always thinking - thinking about moving from sun salutations to balance poses and thinking about how the postures look when we try and achieve a certain form or expression. Though the work in yoga is to detach from it, ego is still present in our practice a lot of the time.
The beauty of free movement is that we’re allowed to let go of what’s happening up there and really feel what’s happening in our body, giving ourselves the permission to move with our soul’s rhythm.”
There are multiple terms used to describe structured and unstructured dance movements that you may have heard before:
✨ Dance: to move rhythmically to music, typically following a set sequence of steps
✨ Ecstatic Dance: usually practiced within a ritual setting (ie Cacao ceremony), ideally within nature or a large open space, and barefoot to draw the energy from the surrounding elements. Ecstatic dance encourages you to move freely through the space leading to a state of trance and ecstasy (to trance or electronic rhythms), usually bringing you to a deep meditative state. In ecstatic dance, one is fully and devotedly in the body and the present moment.
✨ Sacred Dance / Shiva Shakti: is a powerful doorway to embodying and awakening your sensuality in a pure and innocent form. It connects you to your feminine energy, radiance, bliss, and truest self. It focuses on awakening and nurturing the divine goddess within and is a dance of pleasure, sensuality, love, light, joy, and passion.
✨ Somatic Dance: somatic means anything related to the experience of living in your body and internal sensations. In somatic movement, you learn to notice what’s happening in your body in the moment without getting stuck or checking out. It is for anyone who can move in basic ways (sit, stand, walk, lay on the floor) and enable inner connection, trust and confidence.
✨ Free Movement: a way of dancing where you find your own movements to different music rhythms (such as swaying, flowing, shaking, chaos, staccato, stillness, drumming/beats) and there is no given sequence or movement patterns to follow.
✨ Embodied movement: using the same notion as free movement, but with a stronger sense of expressing feelings and emotions that arise whilst dancing and using the music to guide these emotions and energy releases.
There are also many benefits to participating in these styles of dance through your practice, such as:
- Reconnects you with your body
- Enables connection with your emotions and feelings
- Helps you let go of structure, rigidity, and energy blockages
- Beneficial for your physical health and physical body by strengthening, increasing flexibility, and mobility
- Increases blood circulation
- Reduces stress on a physiological and mental level
- Acts as a form of meditation and brings you into the present moment
- Helps connect to theta brain waves which are known to enhance creativity, intuition, memory, and learning
- Awakens the feminine energy and divine goddess within and the ‘Wild Woman' archetype (more details below)
"Dance is a direct line to the divine,
Use your body as a prayer,
Each breath is a homecoming,
Each hip swirl is a pulse of divinity,
Each touch of sacred skin electrifies your aliveness,
Each need of your hands finds the universe already holding you,
Dance is prayer in motion"
- Farah Rising
We have touched on archetypes before - but as a quick recap, archetypes were introduced by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung who dedicated his life studies and teachings to them. There are 12 prominent archetypes that he wrote about, and over time these have also evolved. One of the evolved archetypes that we embrace within this month’s theme is the ‘Wild Woman’ archetype.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes, who wrote the incredibly insightful book “Women Who Run With The Wolves” explains in depth about the ‘wild woman’, the wise and ageless presence in the female psyche that gives women their creativity, energy, and power.
She explains: “Within every woman there is a wild and natural creature, a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate, creativity and ageless knowing. Her name is ‘Wild Woman’, but she is an endangered species. Though the gifts of wildish nature come to us at birth, society’s attempt to ‘civilize’ is into rigid roles, has plundered this treasure, and muffled the deep, life-giving messages of our own souls. Without Wild Woman, we become over-domesticated, fearful, uncreative, trapped.”
How to live in your wild:
- Develop a relationship with your body
- Embrace your life-giving nature and healing powers
- Share your creativity
- Eliminate things from your life that don’t bring you joy
- Act and speak on your behalf
- Listen deeply to your mind, body, and soul and trust your intuition
- Prioritise self-care
- Find your tribe or pack
- Celebrate other women and remove jealousy or judgment
- Cultivate awareness, sensuality, and alertness
- Do not surrender to feeling trapped or constricted
- Appreciate the masculine
- Thunder in the face of injustice
Take time in your next journal practice to write about when you felt the most elated, carefree, joyful, and connected with your body. In what ways can you create this feeling again?
This month there is a real focus on stepping outside of the structures and constraints we already have in our lives and that we add to it as well, and we do this with an emphasis on free movement and dance. It may be out of your comfort zone for now, but take this opportunity to release control and to reconnect with your authentic self through joy, ecstasy, surrender, love, and movement.
You can practice along with our monthly playlist HERE
And download our monthly printable calendar of this month's videos AND other suggested Soul Sanctuary flows that align with this month's theme. You can search for these on the membership.