In our stress-filled world, finding moments of calm and solace for our mental well-being is crucial. While traditional meditation practices are well-known for their benefits, “shaking and dancing” is another dynamic and exhilarating form of meditation that can do wonders. This three-phase exercise includes a few minutes of intense, disruptive effort (“Shaking”), followed by a pause to breathe and notice how you feel, and then a few more minutes of free movement (“Dancing,” or simply “Movement”). On #WorldDanceDay we’re celebrating by diving into three benefits of shaking and dancing as an expressive meditation:
Stress Relief and Emotional Release. When we allow ourselves to surrender to the rhythm and movement of shaking and dancing, we create a safe space for stress and emotions to be released. Physical exercise isn’t the only way to release endorphins. shaking and dancing activate our body’s natural calming mechanisms. As we shake off tension and move our bodies freely, we stimulate the release of accumulated stress hormones, such as cortisol, and allow them to dissipate. Additionally, dancing and shaking can help us process and release our unexpressed emotions in a healthy and cathartic way. Like Soft Belly Breathing, shaking and dancing uses activity to bring us to a place of relaxation, balance, and acceptance.
Increased Mind-Body Connection. Shaking and dancing as expressive meditation promotes a powerful mind-body connection. By engaging in these spontaneous movements, we tap into our innate wisdom and intuition, allowing our bodies to guide us. The rhythmic flow of dancing helps us become more attuned to our physical sensations, from the beat of our heart to the way our muscles move and our breath synchronizes. This heightened awareness of our bodies not only promotes a deeper connection with ourselves but also fosters self-acceptance and self-love. As we embrace our bodies and move without judgment or inhibition, we cultivate a positive body image and develop a greater appreciation for the miraculous vessel that carries us through life.
Joy, Creativity, and Self-Expression. Shaking and dancing is a celebration of joy, creativity, and self-expression. The expressive meditation allows us to tap into our inner child and experience a sense of playfulness and freedom. As we move our bodies in spontaneous and uninhibited ways, we unlock our creative energy and invite inspiration to flow. Moreover, shaking and dancing provides us with an opportunity to express ourselves authentically and shed any societally or self-imposed limitations and expectations. This liberating practice encourages us to connect with our unique essence and embrace our true selves.
Incorporating shaking and dancing into your meditation practice can be a powerful tool to enhance your mental well-being. The stress relief, emotional release, mind-body connection, and joyous self-expression that come with these practices can have a transformative impact on your mental health. So, the next time you’re looking for a dynamic and uplifting way to meditate, put on your favorite tunes, let your body move, and allow the transformative power of shaking and dancing to nourish your mind, body, and soul. Embrace the freedom, embrace the rhythm, and dance your way to a happier, healthier you.
Ready to try it?
Find music with a fast tempo (check out our Spotify playlist for inspiration!).
Stand up if you can; you may also stay seated.
Plant your feet solidly on the ground, with your knees a little bent, and your arms hanging loosely by your side. Begin by shaking your legs, with feet still firmly on the ground, shake and bounce up from your knees, through your chest, to your shoulders and your head. Relax your jaw, let your head rest calmly on your neck, and bounce your whole body up and down. Allow your whole body to become loose.
Shake and bounce for about five to ten minutes, then pause. Allow yourself to be aware of your body and your breath, center yourself in calm for a couple of minutes. Feel the energy throughout your body.
Next, put on some feel good music, whatever makes you happy and energized, and dance! Move in whatever way feels right, freeing your movement. Continue for another five to ten minutes.