Pain of any sort is a message that there is something requiring our attention. Whether it is emotional or physical pain, we have to stop, check in, and decipher the clues in order to come to full comprehension of what the pain is trying to tell us. If the pain is emotional, dance can be a wonderful way to release those feelings and experience catharsis. If the pain is physical, then we need to take a close look at how we are treating our bodies.
Every so often, students mention feeling pain after doing certain movements. My response is that pain is a very clear voice that is instructing us to do less, proceed more slowly and gently, or maybe not do a certain movement at all. The most common reason for physical pain is forcing. This might mean forcing the body too far in a certain pose, or moving too quickly or strenuously. Remind students that we have an ongoing dialogue with our bodies; they speak to us all the time, letting us know what is needed. For instance, when our body needs water, we feel thirsty. It is our job to listen carefully and take the very best care of our bodies that we can. They are containers for the mind and spirit; we only get one, so we’d better keep it happy and healthy.
Emotional pain is a different type of message, and dance can be helpful as a means of exploration. If we can approach dance as a form of moving meditation, allowing ourselves to simultaneously feel powerful emotions and explore their underlying causes, we can come to a place of clarity and release. It is quite amazing to experience the feet moving rhythmically and the mind circling in an ongoing state of inquiry, sifting through thoughts and ideas. If it is something you have never tried before, you might find it to be incredibly liberating and helpful. It can be incredibly beneficial to children to have a means of understanding, naming, accepting and expressing their feelings. It is an incredibly empowering tool they can carry for the rest of their lives.
Sometimes the “small, quiet voice” of our subconscious, or inner guidance system gets easily drowned out by the many other competing voices and projects. Pain, however, is not so easily ignored. Its message is clear; it is time to listen and adjust. It’s in our best interests to do so.
Today is the final day of the blog chain; please feel free to enjoy it:http://www.terri-forehand.blogspot.com/