Dancing Your Way to Joy

Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is also the kindest and gentlest. Dancing and allowing the body to release stored tension and trauma can be a wonderful way to speed up recovery from an eating disorder or create a strong practice of self-love. For many people who struggle with self-love, being present in their bodies is the last thing they want to do. But this gentle movement relaxation makes the body a peaceful place. It allows our spirits to feel safe in our bodies again. In order to maintain a long-term relationship of kindness with ourselves and our bodies, we have to be able to stay present, feel good, and be at peace. It is one of my absolute favorite kriyas to teach in groups, especially with people who need to learn to love themselves again after experiencing trauma and abuse, or people who have been told they are ugly, worthless, or unlovable and have come to believe it. It’s an incredibly freeing opportunity to redefine your relationship to your body and change the narrative of your self-worth.

Kriya: Movement Relaxation Series

This gentle dancing series gives you the chance to relax into your body and make peace with it. Call a truce, shut your eyes, and allow yourself to feel beautiful. This kriya releases the stored emotional trauma that we keep in our bodies, that build up and can turn to mental imbalances.

1. Stand up and close your eyes. Relax your arms. Become aware of your body and all of its parts. Feel any tension that is in your body and consciously let it go. Begin to sway and dance. Allow every part of your body to move. Dance gracefully, letting the movement reach every part of your body. Play high vibrational music in the background and let your heart dance along with your body. Suggested practice is 3–11 minutes. This strengthens your heart and circulatory systems.

2. Remain standing and with your eyes closed, begin to move your hands over your body, touching every single part. 3–5 minutes. Do not allow yourself to become shy or shameful. With the gentle touch of a divine lover, touch every square inch of your body the way you always should have been touched. Energetically place adoration and love into every part of your body as you touch it. You may feel energy buzzing from your palms; this practice smoothes the energy of the aura.

3. Lean forward from your waist and drop your arms and hands down toward the ground. Hang forward and allow all your muscles to relax. Breathe normally. 3–11 minutes.

4. Inhale and exhale deeply several times, then slowly bring yourself up straight and lean back and hang backward. Your arms should hang loosely at your sides. Breathe normally. 1 minute. Feel stress and pain draining out of your spine, down your hands, and into the earth.

5. Now come to lying on your back and completely relax for 10 minutes. You may choose to listen to mantra or a guided visualization or relaxation.

Find out about upcoming programs with Ramdesh Kaur at Kripalu.

Excerpted with permission from THE BODY TEMPLE: Kundalini Yoga for Body Acceptance, Eating Disorders, and Radical Self-Love, © 2016, by Ramdesh Kaur.

Ramdesh Kaur, PhD, is a Kundalini Yoga and meditation teacher and author of The Body Temple: Kundalini Yoga for Body Acceptance, Eating Disorders & Radical Self-Love.

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