Happy Dancing For a Happy Body

(I was quite proud of the video I had put up here with the music I mention in my post down below. But after working nicely one time yesterday night, this morning the video had suddenly turned ‘Private’ here, and on YouTube itself wasn’t available any longer. I’ll try to replace it by another video of the same Song by Neil Finn, as soon as I can manage that.)

One cannot overemphasize the need for our body to be as much as possible a HAPPY body.

And for that, one simple piece of advice for everyone:

Please give your body the pleasure of DANCING… yes, just dancing, that is, moving with pleasure, joy, glee, delight, whatever word you may prefer for expressing the kind of sensation your body will feel, in all its parts and joints, vertebrae and muscles, from head to toes, if only you allow it to move freely on a rhythm it genuinely enjoys to follow and be “moved” by – not in the midst of an excited crowd at some venue outside, but rather right in your own home, whenever your body feels like it!

Yesterday again I had the experience of how great and fun and invigorating an “exercise” it can be to dance like that, on one’s own, on some music one happens to get suddenly out of one’s speakers from one’s laptop, for example.

In my case yesterday it was after I had listened  first to the deep song of the Dwarves in the first ‘Hobbit’ movie: “Far over the Misty Mountains cold…” Already my body had started swaying slowly on my little wooden chair, taken by the hauntingly beautiful tune and voices… And then next came the same song,  turned into a lovely ballad sung this time by Neil Finn at the beginning of the Credits, on a still soft, but quite lively rhythm… and then it was irresistible: my body just got up and danced, danced, danced for the entire duration of the song, all into the sudden, unbelievable exhilaration of feeling its every articulation moving happily as if it were still a young body, full of pep, intoxicated not with any drug or alcohol, but just with the tremendous enjoyment of being alive and well – which it was not, two minutes only before, when I had on the contrary felt mild but quite perceptible pain all over my body: all the joints seemed awfully rusty with age and ineluctably so, after merely a half-hour sitting at my desk. Terrible. Well, my body instinctively knew what would be the best treatment, and when the right music came precisely moments later, it went for it full blast! With such an utter satisfaction afterwards, when the music stopped and so did my body, that I was laughing out loud – yes, the ‘LOL’ we write about on the internet, but lived this time by my whole body, fully happy with itself and its instantly recovered youthfulness and joy of life!

I am not saying at all that you try to dance ballet or any specific, learned way of dancing, supposed to be like this and like that, when you must imitate some model and feel inadequate if you don’t manage to do it; it is also much better if no one is there to watch you, so that you don’t become self-conscious and can really dance with the unbridled improvised happy movements your body will invent moment by moment just by following the rhythm it enjoys listening to. It could be your body’s own spontaneous mock version of a flamenco, or a samba, or whatever with no name attached, as long as it is your body doing it just the way it feels like doing it at that moment.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year 2014, full of Happy Dancing… I am promising one to my body as well… And I am sure genes too can enjoy dancing! I’ll try it out again with Neil Finn right now…

 

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. donsalmon
    Jan 08, 2014 @ 13:13:03

    hi bhaga – you might enjoy this:

    http://www.ipi.org.in/blogs/zumba-and-the-yoga-of-pain/

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    • Bhaga
      Jan 09, 2014 @ 11:59:36

      Thank you for the link, dear Don, but just reading the title made me know what had happened: one more example of what NOT to do!… *sigh*
      The circumstances (a class with others and a teacher and movements to imitate) were wrong, the intention (exercizing the body) was wrong, the feeling (of course I can do it, I am not THAT old!) was wrong, everything being decided by the mind and ego of the individual, not at all by his/her body itself… No wonder the result were so catastrophic…
      And you intend to do it again?!?
      I must say reading this didn’t make me laugh at all, for in such cases the body is in terrible pain, by our own mistake.
      This is exactly what i was warning NOT to do in my post. I hope the people who read it will read it carefully, and notice all the apparent small differences I have tried my best to insist on, for they make precisely the whole difference as far as the results for the body are concerned…
      So all your subsequent observations about how your central consciousness found how to diminish the perception of the pain, etc, are valid and valuable of course… but it would be even better to avoid in the first place putting one’s poor body through such an ordeal by these obvious mistakes. *grumble, grumble, grumble…*
      What I was speaking about in my post was a completely different approach from the usual one about dance, otherwise there was absolutely no point in writing about it in a research blog on Conscious Evolution.
      Well, I hope at least some of my visitors will notice in which way the new approach I describe and recommend is different, and why…

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      • donsalmon
        Jan 11, 2014 @ 13:44:28

        Hi Bhaga:

        I’m sorry you felt that my post somehow contradicted yours. Actually, I spent most of my early adult life making happy music for happy dancing! My favorite thing to do as a musician was to get together with one or more modern dancers and just play freely – we’d start out with absolutely no idea of where we were going, and I’d have no set template, no plan, no structure for the music.

        The thing that made it work was to be absolutely “together”, to allow the music and dance to emerge with complete freedom and no plan.

        And of course, not just happy but joyful, whether the music and dance were solemn and serious or bubbly and joyful.

        And in another sphere, there were the “free” dances that started springing up in New York in the 70s. They have those here too, in Asheville – very much the way you describe so beautifully.

        The Zumba blog post arose out of a discussion on Auroconference ) for those here not familiar with it, it’s an online list for Integral Yoga). There was a kind of strange resistance to a discussion of mindfulness, so I thought i’d write a personal note about mindfulness without mentioning the word. As I thought, response – even from at least one who had negative reactions about “mindfulenss” – was positive!

        The opening – in which I talk about my attitude toward my age, and all that – was set in a deliberately negative tone, self-critical, and I have to admit, a bit hyperbolic – intentionally so.

        You may have missed the free, joyous “dance” of awareness in the second half of hte post, which was really the main focus. What was amazing to me in that experience was that incredible free spontaneity that happens when you truly let go of all resistance to pain. Suddenly the whole experience of the body changes. The more you let go of resistance, the more the little self gets out o the way, the more the entire experience of the body as being situated in a particular “place” in space and “moment” in time begins to attenuate. The separation between “me” observing the pain” and “pain” as an “object” of awareness also thins dramaticall.

        IN fact, perhaps the most intereting thing is that the noxious quality of pain is an almost direct indication of how much separation between subject and object or separation in time and space is less there.

        Less separation = less noxious pain. And then the real discovery is what we ordinarily call “pain” is simply an index of separation, Avidya.

        And what remains is bliss, joy, freedom, spontaneity – much like your dance!

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  2. donsalmon
    Jan 11, 2014 @ 13:57:47

    And one more thing about the apparent dichotomy you’ve set up between the “freedom” of not following a set dance movement and the “restriction” or “prison” (??) of “planning” to do ‘exercise” or “following” a teacher.

    I’ll tell you a story to convey my point.

    In 1973, after struggling for 3 years with the freedom and spontaneity of improvisation and what to me was the terrible prison-like restriction of having to follow musical forms like the fugue, sonata, symphony, etc, I left music composition altogether and focused simply on piano playing, which for me was much easier to enjoy in a free, joyous manner (I’ve written a bit about this in the left brain right brain post over at http://www.ipi.org.in)

    I was still in school at the time, and in order to qualify as a piano major I had to perform a number of scales and arpeggios for my audition. At this time, I was training with a teacher who had studied with a woman named “Abby Whiteside.”

    Abby had been teaching in Portland, Oregon for some years. She had come to a turning point in her teaching when she realized that her good students simply got better, and the not so good students stopped making progress and in both cases it didnt’ seem to make much diference what she did.

    So she stopped teaching for awhile and took time to review everything she knew about playing piano. She watched all kinds of pianists, and then all kinds of musicians, and went on to watch anybody who had a kind of freedom and grace in physical movement – from chess players to boxers.

    What she came to was one essential thing – there was some kind of what she called “rhythm” that all the best musicians, athletes and others had. By “rhythm” she didnt’ mean a certain collection of beats or a certain structure of time. She meant a kind of natural, spontaneous flow which harmonized the body, heart and mind, and was inseparable from the environment around.

    She also realized it required not only a physical discipline but a completely different way of hearing. She developed a process by which students no longer focused on note to note events. She had them aware of the body as a whole, and learned to wait in the silence and “allow” the flow or rhythm of music to move the body, and to listen primarily to that flow – sometimes described as the “space between the notes” – and it was THAT rhythm, that flow that moved their bodies and played the notes.

    I experienced this myself and marveled at how passages I had struggled with for years – like the opening of Debussy’s L’isle Joyeuse – simply played themselves, effortlessly. It was like simply watching as my fingers danced joyously through the music.

    Now, to get to your point about “exercise” and “imitating”. When I studied with Abby’s student, Joseph Prostakoff, he had the challenge of teaching me scales and arpeggios the way Abby taught. I remember going to one of his master classes and everyone was wondering how he was going to do it – Abby was absolutely dead set against scale practice, as she considered it dead, mechanical, unmusical, etc – kind of like what you wrote about following ballet movements.

    Well, we had to do it. So Mr. Prostakoff got to work. Was there any reason, he thought, why one can’t bring the same sense of flow and beauty to a scale or arpeggio as to a work by Debussy?

    And we worked for weeks on it. I remember many times, as I lifted my hands to play, even before I touched a note, he’d shout, “NO!” Don’t even think about playing until you’ve felt that Silence and your hands are moved by the flow. Each note of the scale is going to be as free and beautiful as the most elegant note of a Ravel Sonatine or Bach Gigue.

    And it was not easy – having practiced scales mechanically for a number of years. But the transformation slowly took place, learning to play a scale almost if improvising – C, D – what comes next, I have no idea, my fingers are simply carried by the flow to, E, F, G, what comes next, and so on.

    So i don’t think it’s necessarily the outer action – some people “free dance” in teh most unhappy, mechanical way, and others find a way to do a plie or modern dance combination as if they’ve never moved their feet before and they’re like an infant joyfully discovering a bending knee for the ifirst time.

    But it’s true, for most of us, it probably needs some of that unplanned, joyous free dancing that you describe in order to capture that truly happy, free dance.

    Then you can go for the real test – do a planned movement, do some “exercise”, play a scale, and see if you can bring the same freedom, the same sense of joyous not-knowing, to that. Then there’s real freedom, which doesn’t depend on the movement, planned or unplanned.

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    • Bhaga
      Jan 12, 2014 @ 07:36:54

      My body needed some sleep first last night, before I could possibly answer you meaningfully, please excuse me for this late answer!
      These further examples you are giving now are indeed much more like what I was myself talking about in my post, so thank you for taking the trouble to add them in this second comment!
      I am very glad to hear about such kinds of experiments; for me that is in the same direction I am aiming at and experimenting about quietly in my own life since decades, as it is part of the caring attitude we must have more and more deeply for our bodies.so that the cellular consciousness there can evolve faster, and out of its own volition and joy of being and doing..
      As for the example in your first comment, wouldn’t you agree that the pain your body went through as the result of the zumba thing you did, was the clear sign that somehow you didn’t do it the right way that specific time?… Whatever part of you did it that way, it was probably not really your body itself, for your body would have known better, wouldn’t have done it so hard, or not for so long, or whatever. Some other part of you must have pushed the body too far, or for too long, with that pain as a result for your body. This is the only thing I objected to and which made me sad.
      As I said already in my reply to that first comment of yours, I did appreciate your keen and accurate observations about the pain and how your consciousness made it diminish and finally vanish.
      But, if I may say so without appearing rude, that was not the topic my post was about: such observations, as valid and valuable as they were in themselves, belonged rather to that other research topic they exemplified so well: Consciousness and Pain.
      As comments on my post trough, they diverted the focus away from the real topic at hand, so about that too I couldn’t really be happy…. Because all this is still so new for most of the visitors to my blog, I have to keep the various aspects of the overall research needed, as clearly differentiated aspects I point out only one after the other, one post after the other, so that the impact of what I am trying to explain on my readers’ understanding is maximum every time. Mixing up topics diffuses the specific issue I am bringing up in each post, and confuses the readers, so we have to be careful about that, I would say.

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      • donsalmon
        Jan 12, 2014 @ 12:05:01

        Hi – not rude at all. in fact, it reflects a level of integrity, showing that just as with your posts, even in the comments you’re seeking a kind of coherence that is actually quite rare on the net (one of the most frustrating things on Auroconference is trying to maintain some flow of conversation when people are writing in from left field and left of left field!).

        I appreciate your response and will try to be more mindful in future comments.

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  3. Bhaga
    Jan 12, 2014 @ 13:25:58

    To Don Salmon: 🙂
    Thank you very much for this so kind and fair reply…

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