How to Be Mindful When You Are Dancing

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Meditation for Real Life

“Dancing isn’t about escaping the stressors of daily life. Dancing offers us a way to embrace them. By being present while dancing, we can learn about ourselves and our bodies. You don’t need to be perfect as a dancer. Instead, we can come home to the present moment through the practice of mindful dancing.” — Jamie Marich, a counselor and founder of the Dancing Mindfulness community

If the word “dance” seems intimidating to you, approach it as mindful movement. Or free-form wiggling. Or being silly and free. Pick a phrase that works for you.

Either in the silence or with a piece of music you select, allow yourself to begin moving in a way that seems natural to you.

Avoid forcing or striving and refrain from pushing yourself. Mindful dance is never about hurting yourself physically.

Let the process unfold naturally. See where it goes. If you notice your attention wandering away from your organic movement it does not mean that you’ve failed at mindfulness. Simply invite the attention back to your movement and your breath’s connection to the movement.

You can keep your personal practice to one song or choose to string many together. You can practice alone, or in the company of supportive others.

Continue to notice what happens, knowing that you can pause at any time if you become too overwhelmed. Should this happen, just keep breathing and take a break. At the end of your dance practice consider taking some time for seated meditation or lying down to rest, noticing the stillness after the movement, and observing the benefits of your practice.