When you think of practising mindfulness you might think of sitting quietly with your eyes closed, meditating and deep breathing, but mindfulness is defined as "the state of being conscious or aware of something." You can incorporate this definition of mindfulness into everything you do, including dancing!
Our goal for bringing mindfulness to our dancing is to bring our students' awareness to their body, and notice how they present their moves. How they extend, contract, lean, jump, breathe. Being present in these moves can encourage them to stand a little taller, breathe a little bit deeper and hold themselves with more confidence, which can have a positive impact on how they feel overall. We always want our students to leave our classes feeling happy and proud of themselves, and here are some of the ways our Teachers achieve that through mindfulness in our dance classes!
Take A Deep Breath
We start every warm up with a deep breath in and a deep breath out - this habit in every class reminds students that it's time to check in with our bodies and clear our minds of other distractions. Throughout the class we might instruct students to take another deep breath, such as after we have learned a tricky new move or before we do our dance one last time for the day, to reset our awareness and bring our attention back to our bodies.
What Our Words Bring Attention To
When we give positive and constructive feedback we are very aware of what our words can bring attention to. Using phrases that highlight a specific physical element, bring the dancer's personal awareness to that movement and the way it feels to them as they dance. For example, we might say "the extension in your posture shows how much energy you put into the moves!". This brings the student's awareness to their posture and extension, and when they dance they'll be more present in the way that they hold themselves. When students hold themselves with confidence and awareness, they feel stronger and more assured in themselves!
One Thing At A Time
So often we're thinking about a million things at once, but when we're dancing we have to focus on our bodies - our arms and legs, our lefts and rights, whether we're sticking our tongue out in concentration or not! If we're busy thinking about all the work we have to do at home, or that comment our friend made at school today, then chances are we might trip over our feet or not feel so confident with our moves. Dancing allows you to focus on one thing at a time and to be in the present moment.
How It Feels
Can you feel the way your shirt sits when you do that move? Can you feel your hair brush you as you do the turn? Can you feel your arms reach that little bit further? We ask our dancers to think about the things that they feel around them as they dance to enhance their mind-body connection. This technique encourages our students to be in the present moment so that they can gain the most from dancing!
There are many ways to practice mindfulness throughout the day and there are so many benefits! We love seeing our students grow in confidence as they become more present in their dancing, and we know they take this awareness with them into the world after class!
Soma delves deeper into the power of mindful dancing on the Finding Your Wild Potential Podcast! Your can listen to the full Finding Your Wild Potential Podcast episode wherever you go for your podcast fix and check out Wild Potential here on Instagram. :-)