Set yourself free and connect with body, mind and soul through the magic of ecstatic awakening dance. By Rebecca Hanscombe
Ecstatic awakening dance may appear to be a 21st-century invention, but the free form of ecstasy-inducing rituals and movement has been around for thousands of years.
Globally, people have always come together to dance in celebration, in bonding a community, and simply to just let loose the burdens of often otherwise mundane life. Through the ages, dance has taken on many forms and been embraced (and rejected) by whole cultures, religions, and societies.
With the resurgence of interest in practices that can allow us to drop out of our busy stress-filled lives in a timely way and tune into what feeds us (physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually), it is now that ecstatic awakening dance has come of age.
So, what is ecstatic awakening dance?
The power of the dance
Ecstatic awakening dance is a powerful and fun way to get out of our heads and into our bodies, to turn off the chatter of the thinking mind, to release stuck emotional energy, and to access a deeper part of ourselves that is connected to the source.
We use movement, music, and the very powerful tool of breath to ignite our life-force, move us past our resistances (whether these be physical, emotional, or mental), and awaken our hearts to our true ecstatic nature.
It is done mostly with eyes closed so that you go inside and can be a witness to your process. It’s not about getting lost in trance but about waking up to the here and now so that you experience yourself and life more fully.
You go at your own pace, so the dance can be accessed by any age group or ability level.
There are five stages to the ecstatic awakening dance experience — these are designed to gently release the mind's grip and bring you into your body in a safe, contained way that allows you to gently release on all levels.
1. Body warm up: here, you are invited to drop into a sacred space using breath and movement to awaken the body from the soles of your feet up to the crown of your head.
2. Shake: this allows the body to shake and tremble all over. With eyes closed and breath deep and relaxed. Its purpose is to shake off stress and tension and to awaken our life force energy, which is often ‘sleepy’. The effect is refreshing, energising and balancing.
3. Ecstatic energy dance: with eyes closed, we drop into the rhythm of our own nature, we learn a simple breathing technique called the breath of fire. This ignites the letting go process by super oxygenating the body and brain, revitalising you at a cellular level, freeing the mind from its incessant chattering, and allowing a ‘whole-brain’ activity. Allowing access to a deeper level of being through the dance.
What this means on a practical level:
- Stuck physical energy and emotion can surface easily to be safely released. I
- Internal visions and dream-like states give us insights and inspirations in our lives.
- A sense of self-empowerment.
- Relief from everyday worries and the general chatter of the mind.
- Clarity of thinking from a higher perspective.
- A sense of calm, peace, joy and bliss.
- A warm open-hearted space in which you feel connected and whole.
- A connection with the divine/spirit, a sense of oneness and wonder.
- An experience of ecstasy and liberation.
- The more you can let go and surrender to the dance, the more the ego will get out of the way and the dance will move through you.
4. Stillness: when the music stops, so does the dance and you simply drop to the ground in stillness, relaxation and integration.
5. Grounding: now we complete the process with a simple guided visualisation to ground ourselves and come back to normal waking consciousness. Follow your bliss Everything is energy and energy is always in motion. There is a great rushing of energy that is bought to you as you have the courage to repeatedly step into the dance. Through that door, you are always welcomed with a smile and a recognition of your courage to find your way home to your most precious gift.
Want to experience ecstatic awakening dance for yourself? The School of Ecstatic Movement is celebrating 13 years of delivering a standard of excellence through its teacher training and workshop programme. Find a class or join the transformation revolution at: schoolofecstaticmovement.com
Images by Frankie Stone Photography