In case you’ve by no means heard of ecstatic dance, you’re not alone. (And no, I’m not speaking about that second when the DJ performs Lizzo’s Good as Hell.) Consider ecstatic dance as dance cardio’s extra free-spirited cousin. Sure, it’s widespread in non secular communities, however don’t fear, it doesn’t require Wild Wild Nation ranges of dedication. The expertise of a ecstatic dance, which has been round for hundreds of years, can really be extremely helpful for the thoughts, physique, and spirit. And it occurs to be an entire lot of enjoyable.
“The primary time I skilled ecstatic dance, I felt like a portal of recent expression opened up,” says Cara Patton, who does ecstatic dancing as soon as every week in her house metropolis of Eugene, Oregon. “As a child, I took ballet classes and I used to be by no means fairly in a position to comply with the strikes, and I kind of wrote off dancing. However the beauty of ecstatic dance is that I’ve full freedom to maneuver nonetheless I would like.”
Patton provides that the ecstatic dance neighborhood emphasizes consent and methods to nonverbally categorical boundaries, which she loves. “I get pleasure from this manner of motion a lot that I’ll be internet hosting a particular ecstatic dance session at my marriage ceremony this summer season.”
However how does it work, precisely? Let’s take a more in-depth look.
Photograph: Stocksy/Maahoo Studio
Inside an ecstatic dance class
Ecstatic dance ceremonies are held often all around the US (try a number of of them right here), and it’s secure to say that no two are the identical. Sunday mornings are an particularly well-liked time to interact in an ecstatic dance ceremony, in line with Patton, they usually’re sober: No alcohol or medication. And no cellphones, both—so in the event you’re on the lookout for a ‘Gram-worthy shot, you gained’t be getting it at an ecstatic dance ceremony.
Ecstatic dance ceremonies are held in auditoriums, yoga studios, dance halls—actually anyplace the organizers wish to maintain them—and other people usually are available in, take away their footwear, and type a circle the place all of them maintain fingers.
It’s all about inclusivity, which means individuals of all ages, sizes, and skills attend these ceremonies.
The music is normally digital, with jungle beats blended in. Every ceremony normally has 50 or so individuals, and after the introductions, individuals are inspired to maneuver nonetheless they really feel like transferring. In different phrases, there are not any steps to comply with: Only a rhythm to give up your self to.
The dance is totally improvisational, and the hope is that by the top of the session the dancers really feel extra spiritually in tune with themselves.
One other wonderful thing about ecstatic dance? It’s all about inclusivity, which means individuals of all ages, sizes, and skills attend these ceremonies. In accordance with Patton, it’s not uncommon to see individuals in wheelchairs expressing themselves by ecstatic dance.
Your physique on (dance) ecstasy
Since ecstatic dance is a type of motion, it will get the endorphins flowing. And it’s widespread to expertise a little bit of a excessive throughout an ecstatic dance ceremony (much like a runner’s excessive), specialists say, particularly because the motion is so quick and free-flowing.
One other good thing about ecstatic dance is the neighborhood facet. Patton says individuals usually make pals at ecstatic dance ceremonies—particularly in the event that they attend them often—and research present that feeling a robust sense of neighborhood is helpful to happiness.
It’s widespread to expertise a little bit of a excessive throughout an ecstatic dance ceremony (much like a runner’s excessive).
And in the event you’re trying to get in contact along with your non secular facet, ecstatic dance is a wonderful method to make that occur. The whole ceremony is non secular from begin to end, and most of the people report leaving feeling related to a better sense of being.
Whereas ecstatic dance isn’t for everybody, don’t let the hippie-ish facet deter you. It simply would possibly fill you with pleasure and make you are feeling (at the least a skosh) extra spiritually enlightened—plus, you could even make some new pals alongside the way in which.