Since becoming a yoga teacher, I decided that each year I would take a month to continue my studies, and after a year of significant change, I decided I needed to take some time to love on myself. So at the end of July I packed up and headed for Kripalu, a place that always helps me find my way home, and I set off on a three-week journey. The first of my three trainings was a Journey Dance teacher training. Originally, I didn’t sign up for Journey Dance because I thought I ‘should’ attend a more academic training to help me with my credentials, but there was a small voice inside me saying, “Lauren, your soul needs to DANCE!”
Secretly, my favorite thing to do is dance. I put on music, maybe throw on some ankle weights, and ecstatic dance in my living room. For the last few months, it has been nearly impossible for me to dance. Actually it’s been hard for me to dance, meditate, practice yoga, make art, paint, or do anything creative, and if you know me, you know that if I’m not creating I’m not really living. So I went to Kripalu in search of my creativity, my Shakti, my prana, my life force; in other words, I went to Kripalu to find ME.
After a couple days of dancing, I began to reawaken. I could once again feel my soul inhabiting my body. My energy swirling through my skin. My feet light, and my spirit expansive. At the end of one class, we moved into a prayer dance. Toni Bergins, our teacher, said, “Imagine you were slow dancing with yourself.” I began to dance as though my arms were around another. A flash of a past partner came to me, and I remembered how much I enjoyed dancing with them. Then my dance began to feel so delicious, each movement was my own, my body and spirit moved in unison. My hands were now touching my flesh, the warmth of my skin penetrated the very core of my being. I was embodied. I was bliss. I moved with every desire. I began to cry tears of release, of love, of letting go. I realized in that moment what I longed for was to dance alone. I realized that if I wasn’t happy dancing alone, no one or nothing would ever be able to make me happy.
I became aware of how often I search for fulfillment outside myself, whether it’s instant gratification from my phone, FaceBook, buying new clothes, a relationship, the thrill of dating, or just keeping myself so busy I can’t think about anything but how busy I am. Actually, what I was looking for in my mess of overstimulation was a long, loving slow dance with myself. How often do we listen to our heart’s desires? How often do we dance, sing, paint, craft, or meditate just because that’s what we want? When was the last time you felt completely embodied? When was the last time your soul danced?
Below is the song I slow danced to… maybe you could try it for yourself.