During times of stress and anxiety, the nervous system can enter a state of deregulation. It can cause us to feel trapped and stuck in our negative opinions and thoughts. It also makes it even more difficult to come out of the uncomfortable feeling.
It is an ancient practice that was used by indigenous peoples, slaves and many cultures across the world. Not only does it help bond with others, but it helps us build a relationship with ourselves and our bodies.
Native Americans incorporate sounds of trembling and releasing to let go of anything that doesn’t serve us. African tribal dances focus on powerful and daring movements that build strength. Maori (the indigenous peoples of New Zealand) still participate in the Haka, a performance that can express anger and grief at a funeral or joy and pride at a wedding.
These were rituals that were in place before scientific discoveries such as psychological interventions.
Somatic experience is a type of trauma therapy that can be helpful for those who have experienced physical and sexual abuse. This allows the client to develop a relationship of trust with the practitioner to feel more connected to himself and to others.
Dancing is an art and therapy that can include touch but does not require it to make an interpersonal connection. It can regulate the nervous system by letting out the emotions that get stuck in the body.
Many trauma experts such as Bessel van der Kolk, author of The body keeps the score, have found that traumatic experiences can live in the body unless they are released.
Some of the most effective methods include talk therapy, creative therapy, group therapy, and movement therapy. Each of these elements is unique to the person and promotes a sense of support, connection and trust.
Trauma survivors as well as those struggling with self-esteem and body image may be used to negative comments about their bodies or feel like they have no choice about what their body looks or does. .
Acrobatic dance classes such as Nia, Journey Dance and 5 Rhythms allow the dancer to be guided by the music and the instructor without needing to follow perfectly. You can choose to imitate the dances, but you are ultimately encouraged to notice your body and move as it wants.
While we cannot attend in-person dance classes during our forties, there are many online dance classes such as Journey Dance. You can connect with other people and choose to turn off the camera if you want.