Dancemeditation Practice Guide
Developing Your Personal Practice
First 20 minutes
In the first twenty minutes (ten will not do), we’ll shift our neurotransmitter bath. Staying with breathing and movement calms the psyche, relaxes the body, helps us feel centered, and produces health benefits. Use medium to slow tempo music that will help you settle down.
1. Opening Sequence, the Dancemeditation™ equivalent of yoga’s Sun Salutation, is an easy way to get going. It is gentle, lengthening, and strengthening. It coordinates curvilinear movement with breathing. Having a sequence means you don’t have to figure out what to do. video clip (If you don’t know it you can purchase a video to follow as support.)
2. One Breath, One Motion. Try this simple movement mantra: Inhale with one movement and exhale with another. Keep your attention of what you are doing and let it unfold.
Second 20 minutes
Try either of these movement mantras.
1. Move How You Feel: Relax your concentration and let your body move however it wishes.
2. Shadow & Light an exploration.
- Rhythmic music helps, but nothing too driving, and music without words is best since lyrics, even positive ones, can takes us out of a meditative state. The rhythmic nature of our body’s fluid pulses will connect to the music.
- We do best with music that is featureless yet irresistible for our body, rather than what would satisfy the mind. The best choice for this process is music with small changes rather than high contrasts. Tracks evolve slowly over time. (The body like time even though the mind might be bored.)
- Images that might help when seeking supportive music qualities: a waterfall, ever-changing yet the same; and wallpaper, there but not there. We want support not inspiration. We want to let the body come forward with its secrets. What would the music sound like if the body composed it?
Third 20 minutes
Lie down and rest for ten minutes. If you feel restless, bring your attention to you breathing and to the sensation of you body sinking into gravity.
If you want to continue, put on dance music and dance, or stand and do walking meditation in silence, or write in your journal. See what feels right.
You are finishing your session now. Let the quieter inner state and the awareness of your body linger as you gradually return to normal consciousness. Whatever you do next, encourage the quieter, embodied inner state to be there as well.
Remember, No Matter What, Always This…
- undivided attention and seamless concentration
- breath awareness in a continuous flow of movement
- eyes closed
- feel the sensation of what you are doing
- kindness to the self
Begin at the beginning. Great advice because the whenever or wherever we start is the beginning and recognizing this helps us to relax and feel where body and mind are at. We don’t want to get ahead of things or teeter about in unreality.
Plenty of Time
Give yourself at least an hour to complete a practice. I like to use a simple kitchen timer so I can set it and forget the time until it rings.
When developing the content of your practice, consider the balance between released & sustained movement activities, between unwinding and strengthening awareness, and between systemic stimulation and inner communion.
Excavate ~ Integrate. Ingest ~ Digest. Contract ~ Expand. These word pairs suggest that a time of unwinding and resting are of equal value to the time of effort. No matter how tempting it is to value only the action, remember that resting is precious.
Log & Reflection
A helpful concluding step: in your journal––perhaps beautifully ‘journal-crafted’––reserve several pages at the back as your practice log. Write down what practice you did, and how long you did it. In this, you witness your work. Note down and salient observations at the very least.
A daily practice is a companion and does best with that sense of ease and friendliness. Make it something you want to do.
“Exact philosophical knowledge of the spirit is not a necessary preliminary to entering the Path, but rather comes as the result of perseverance in the ways of the Path.” – al-Ghazzali, 13th century Sufi mystic & philosopher