Expand and Release

Dec 19, 2022

“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.”

                                     ― Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

 

In the popular television show Grey’s Anatomy, fictional characters Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang ‘dance it out’ when life weighs them down or there is just too much to deal with. This allows them the space to let loose, relax and release the stress of everyday life. While the TV series did popularize dancing it out, dance movement therapy dates back to the 1940s and is a legitimate form of psychotherapeutic practice.

In this week’s webinar, certified dance movement therapy practitioners Mamta and Noopur provided an enthralling experience with some relaxing movements as the attendees danced it out. Mamta, a professional photographer, is a visual artist who uses self-expression and self-exploration mediums. Noopur is a part of the Coacharya Team where she does magic with her stunning graphic designing skills. Together, they offered a power-packed session with some dancing and grooving.

What is Dance Movement Therapy?

The American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) defines Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) as the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote the individual’s emotional, social, cognitive, and physical integration, to improve health and well-being. Putting it together succinctly, Mamta said, “Dance movement therapy is about listening to our bodies. With so much happening around, the connection with our body somewhere gets missed out. We try to connect with our bodies through different creative and movement techniques in DMT.”

One of the foundational principles of DMT is that the mind, body, and spirit are interconnected. I couldn’t help but notice how close this idea is to coaching as well, where the idea is to provide a holistic space for reflecting and growing. In the words of Noopur, dance movement therapy is also about holding space. The only difference is that it’s done more for movement and artistic expression.

 

Dancing and letting go

How often do we take a step back and just breathe? In the daily rush of our lives, meeting deadlines and commitments, we tend to forget to take pauses and breathe. The most important practice is perhaps paid the least attention to. It was refreshing to see both Mamta and Noopur taking breaks to conduct a breath check-in. In between the rapid body movements, the webinar attendees were encouraged to do breathing exercises and embrace things they needed for themselves.

The calm demeanor of the practitioners, combined with the relaxing dance and peppy music really amped up the spirits. Despite the session being virtual, I could feel myself slowly letting go of my worries. Shaking the head was a personal favorite for me, a truly freeing experience. It was also heartwarming to read the comments from people, who described how they were feeling with words like hopeful, alive, energetic, peaceful, and calm.

 

The Art and the Artists

The best part about dance movement therapy is that it allows people to show up however they are or want to, in this space. Sounds familiar? Well, the same goes for coaching where the coach has unconditional positive regard for the client who is encouraged to be their authentic self sans judgment.

 

Another wonderful aspect of the webinar was the art supplies people were invited to use – paper, pens, sketch pens, and crayons. Noopur invited the attendees to imagine the year 2023 with color and focus on the texture of this color, the sensation it gave and the feeling it brought up. These colors, feelings, and experiences were then translated onto papers through coloring or writing. One could feel the tension releasing, one stroke at a time.

Last but not least, we stretched our hands and hugged ourselves. After all, nobody does more for us than our own bodies.

I would encourage you to watch this webinar to know more about dance movement therapy and for some jiggle-jiggle. Please do share your thoughts with us on CoachNook or in the comments below.  And remember to dance it out!

Webinar: Expand and Release

Like to listen instead? We have a podcast!

This session is also available as audio-only on our podcast. Listen below or find Coach to Lead wherever you listen to podcasts.

Yamini Kandpal
Yamini Kandpal

Yamini

Yamini Kandpal works as a Content Specialist at Coacharya. With a background in writing and editing as part of journalism, she has found her own corner in the stories of the coaching world. While away from work, you can find her traveling or scribbling her musings in a notebook.

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