The sole to soul connect

March 2014

By Punya Srivatsava

Dancing not only releases your angst and cheers your spirits, but it also heals the mind and body, says Punya Srivastava

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As a creative form of self-expression, or even simply as an avenue for one’s exuberance, dance has always been enormously attractive. Eyes closed, hands flowing in the air, feet tapping to the beat, body swaying in rhythm, face exuding bliss – a person dancing in passion oblivious to the world around, is a picture of ethereal sublimity. A sight to behold!

However, dance is more than just a visual delight. For the dancer, it is more than a physical or emotional expression. At its highest level, dance can harmonise and heal the body, mind and spirit, and through the purification it brings about, eventually become a vehicle to reach the Divine.

“Like breathing, dance is a happening … You don’t have to do anything, just stay in awareness. And in that awareness all the movements of your daily life are also transformed. You become part of the flow, and your movements drop into perfect rhythm,” says Nehal Shah, an artiste based in Mumbai. Though trained as a kathak dancer, dance for her is no longer only about that particular form. It is about the exploration of the physical and non-physical being in time-space. It is about knowing the Self, enjoying it, celebrating it. “There is a joy in being free and one can taste that through dance. There is a joy in being centred and through dance you can touch that. There is a joy in searching and discovering who you are and through dance you can celebrate that knowing. Dance for me is sadhana. And, through Her grace, that sadhana has been made possible,” she adds.

“There are instances of people having danced till they reached a point of exhaustion to overcome their sadness or depression. Many invariably speak about feeling energised after these cathartic experiences. This is because special neurotransmitter substances ‘endorphins’ in the brain get increased, thus creating a sense of well-being. Most important of all, dancing serves as an outlet for suppressed feelings or thoughts, and makes the body alive and alert,” writes Tripura Kashyap, choreographer, movement therapist and dance educator, in her book on dance movement, My body, my wisdom.

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