In 2007, I held a small dance event at Earthdance. It was part of a weeklong contact improv dance event. I had booked the upstairs studio on that hot July day. The soothing sauna like scent of the sunny wooden floor, the gentle summer breeze, the whispering of poplars through the wide open windows and a deep grounded sense of peace all set the space. Everything was perfect and was as if time and space were waiting for us to step in. Hallowed space.
We were 5 women, all quite fluent in movement and all very free with bodily energies and processes. Everyone seemed to feel safe with each other and with me. I felt honored and humbled with the gift of their openness and attention. I gave each woman a scarf to tie around her hips.
I guided us first through a slow breath practice while sitting on the floor. The breath pattern helps by setting a path for energy to move through. If a lot of energy is raised it can cause headaches or other discomforts, so setting a circular path seems to be very helpful to keep a flow moving.
Then I shared a very simple movement practice which forms the foundational shapes of Dharma Dance, and we danced these along with the circular breath practice.
First we swayed the head from side to side to free the neck and shoulders and as a body cue to let go of our rational mind and create an intention to be open. We moved the torso to feel into the throat, heart and solar plexus, welcoming in more warmth and openness. The shapes could then massage and relax any places that felt constricted like a kind of movement acupuncture. There were tears and a sense of mutual holding.
We stood up and danced the hip shapes. When we started with hip circles I could feel a palpable change in the air. It was the same feeling as when I had the jasmine flower miracle appear and that often is experienced when I practice with people.
I described it then as warm honey air, so we danced as if we were stirring warm golden honey with our hips, all the while breathing up the back and down the front of the body. There was a feeling of interconnection that grew as well as a gentle awe about this “something” we were experiencing. Even as I write this I feel a quickening in my belly and fluttering in my heart.
Ecstasy started to seep through the cracks. Like serpents we started to undulate. I experienced our five moving bodies as one, I couldn’t tell where my pleasure started and where it ended. It didn’t feel like my pleasure, it was just pure pleasure and we were it. It seemed we were present for something that is always there. Our mutually created sense of safety and our availability allowed ourselves to be swept into it. It wasn’t urgent or desperate. The rippling waves of pleasure felt grounded, full bodied, deep and deeply satisfying. Open hearted, healing, safe and blissful. But we were not simply receiving the experience, we could actually change it by breathing deeper and relaxing more. This was the in-betweeness where we weren’t controlling the energy but we still were affecting it. Experiencing our inherent continuity of being in the all pervasive relaxed bliss of spiritual ecstasy is pure soul food.
My intention with Dharma Dance is to facilitate spontaneous co-creative healing experiences such as this.