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Ecstatic Dance

two women
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“Start to the right and repeat four times,” Melissa stands in front of us.

“Lead with your hips.  Let you soul dance,” she continues.  The twelve of us women are spread throughout the dance studio watching.  This is the movement meditation at the end of our three-hour workshop on the root chakra.

She spreads her feet far apart and squats down, then lifts her right hip and lets her chest, head, and arms follow like an unfurling flag.

“We carry so much emotion in our hips.  It’s time to release it.”

Tribal music pulses into the room.  The others and I join in.  Lowering into a squat.  Raising. Flowing.

“Then continue four times to the front, the left, and then the back.”  She speeds up her tempo to demonstrate.  We follow our own rhythm and repeat the sequence.

The music picks up and I raise my hip up once in each direction.

“Flow around the room if that feels right to you,” Melissa encourages.

I begin to pivot as I lower and raise my hips.

Latin music bounces out.

“In honor of my culture,” she smiles.

“This is the cha-cha.  You can try this if you’d like.  1-2 cha-cha-cha.  Back-2, cha-cha-cha.”

I mimic her until tribal drums thump.

“Now just follow your soul’s expression,” Melissa calls out.  “Move around the room if you desire.”

I’m primal. I’m releasing.  I’m stomping, clapping, whooping, and skipping.  I’m joyful as I look out at the women letting themselves go in this powerful, ecstatic dance.

The music ends, the laughter and cheers simmer.

“Stay still. Breath in. Stay here in this moment and feel what’s happening inside of your body.”

I close my eyes and rest my hands on my chest.  I feel the pulsing, the sweat rolling, the expansion in my heart, lungs, cells.  I feel so alive.

“Give thanks for all that your body gave, for all that your soul is.”

“Then lay in shavasana.  Let everything we did today integrate into you.”

I lay flat on the hardwood floors, the sweat turning cool on my back.  I close my eyes and tears roll out, releasing the build up from the day, the month, a lifetime.  My friend and mentor Nancy always explained that her teacher, Bearheart, said there were only two kinds of medicine: laughter and tears.

Melissa rests her hands on the tops of my feet.  More medicinal tears.  More immense gratitude for being in circle with courageous women.

~May your body and soul continue to dance freely my sisters.

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