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M10&B: 5 Dance. It’s divine.

“Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.”
Martha Graham

 

Dance always sounded like fun, but dance always sounded like something you did if you were trained …or if you were cool. I wasn’t either of these things! I danced at home as a kid- actually it was running. I put music on with a cassette tape and ran circles around the living room. In my head, I was dancing (although the audience may have said otherwise)!

When I leaned the 5th practice in Sharon Gannon’s Magic 10 and Beyond I was intrigued… but a bit timid. The practice is called Moving Through the Way (and that moving is dancing)! The dancing is specific and it isn’t anything that requires formal training or prerequisite coolness. It requires focus and joy.

The dances Sharon teaches are actually fluid movements that teach us to cross the midline and increase bilateral coordination. In addition to teaching yoga, I am an occupational therapist (similar to physical therapy). These are the skills we work on with clients of all ages. These exercises are proven to be valuable for motor planning, brain health …and beyond!

All of that said, I gave it a try and found that I couldn’t finish this dancing without smiling. What’s so beautiful about the Magic 10 practices is that they are structured and clearly laid out, while also leaving room for individual style. Personally, I always play music when I do this step (dancing) and the prior step (step 4 , which leads us through the Magic 10 asana series ). I like to have uplifting relevant music and usually pick something about Lord Shiva (Nataraja), dance (think everything from Footloose to the Nutcracker), or magic (I’ll always be a fan of “Every Little Thing She Does” by the Police)!

This dance is fun to do and to play with. I have found it this practice to be a joy, repeating it day after day and moving through the way with a new openness. When I practice and when I teach it in the Magic 10 class I remember that “Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance”!

 

Teaching Tips

 

1. Explore the idea of creating a little playlist for this step and have some choices to use each day. It’s fun to time the coordination to the rhythm as well.

2. Encourage students to face try a round with closed eyes. Not only does this build proprioceptive awareness (joint /muscle position in space), but it also can reduce the feeling of inhibition.

3. Feel free to expand and add some dance moves to these. Perhaps a few ballet moves after… From your youth, or from the Joffrey or Ailey Extension Schools here in NYC that offer Adult Beginner Ballet, or even from YouTube. It’s never too late to learn!

4. Read the full chapter in the Magic 10 and Beyond book. Check out your local Jivamukti Center for a Magic 10 class !