One Dance Class. One Massive Lesson.
When was the last time you moved your body in a way that feels good? I’m not talking about the 100 sit ups it took for you to get ‘that body’. I’m talking about really tuning into your body, and asking yourself – did I have to endure pain to get through that? Do I actually enjoy it? Or am I just going through the motions because that will make me a healthy person? It wasn’t until I walked into my local gym one night that I discovered a whole new way to make my body feel good.
I saw a group of ladies embracing, laughing, animated at the thought of what they were about to do. Everyone was spread out, forming more of a circle rather than the typical rows seen in ‘Body Attack’ or other gym classes. The lighting was dimmed and I felt both intrigued and a little scared as to what I had got myself into. The instructor said that even though Zumba is scheduled on the timetable, we will be doing a new dance class called Groove. My eyes lit up. The last time I actually let loose in a dance class was back in high school, so I was excited by this sneaky surprise.
We were asked to find a spot in the room – there was no ‘front or back’ structure to this class, so everyone literally just found a spot. The music started and the instructor encouraged us to walk around the room to the beat. Not a leisurely walk, but a funky walk. She wanted us to use our hands, our legs, our shoulders – just anything to make our walk feel funky. Everyone was weaving in and out of each other, and I felt like I was at a sober dance party; exposed, awkward and smiling nervously. What immediately put my body at ease though was that the instructor was not barking orders at us. She encouraged us to explore. She constantly said throughout the class – you can’t get this wrong, make it feel good, you don’t have to copy me. I had been given permission to be creative and most importantly had permission to BE MYSELF.
My shoulders began to relax and finally I was able to walk and move with confidence knowing that nobody actually cared what I looked like. All I had to do was make this movement feel good. Each song got me working different body parts, my heart rate increased, and we utilised the entire space, from the floor to the walls to dance these movements in our own unique way. At the end of the class the instructor said she wasn’t going to take us through a series of stretches – we could use an entire song to complete whatever stretches we felt our body needed. I relished at the fact that I could spend however long I wanted stretching my back and my hamstrings. Finally, she told us to lie on the floor in a comfortable position, arms open and eyes closed. All I had to do now was focus on my breath and she guided us to relax each body part. I could feel my entire body sinking into the floor and every cell, every muscle felt energised yet relaxed. The tears started to make their way down my cheek. I couldn’t remember the last time I felt so free, so full of joy and most of all so loved. I had spent the last hour loving my body for all that it was – wobbly bits moving, arms flying and hips circling. I couldn’t believe that I had spent so long NOT feeling this way.
Before I left the class I thanked the instructor knowing that I would be back next week to dance my stresses away. Fast forward to now and I, myself am a Groove Facilitator. All along, that instructor was a facilitator – enabling me to explore, create and discover what feels good. I knew the minute that I stepped out of that class that I wanted to do what she did for me; give people permission to dance their own dance. To feel liberated and to know that 1. You can’t get it wrong 2. No body cares what you look like 3. Your way is the right way. Who would of thought that such a simple dance class could have such an impact on me. I soon realised that these “Groove Truths” didn’t only apply on the dance floor. They could be applied to every single aspect of your life. If only we were encouraged to do the things that felt good, to not care what people thought about us, and feel confident in our skin – we could carve the life that we truly wanted.
This one dance class opened my eyes, broke down so many barriers and lead me to trust my own instincts. It connected me with like minded people, and turned strangers into life-long friends. My mission this year is to create a dance floor that welcomes you with open arms, that allows you to be yourself and encourages you to explore who that is – all whilst having a grand old time!
So tell me – what movement makes your body feel good and why? Not everyone may resonate with dance so let me know what it is you love doing to get your body moving.
Come and Groove with me in Brisbane – you can check out the details here.
Hope to see you on the dance floor,