How Dance Therapy Healed Me

Injured, Broken, or Bent out of Shape

As fit as I am, I’ve injured myself several times. It’s no fun. In the past, injuries lead to depression and anxiety. Not this time.

Recently, I got injured teaching Zumba and went back to teaching faster than I ever had in the past. Not only was I able to return back to class, but my whole life and career shifted.

In the past, I let injuries limit me more than just physically. I felt sorry for myself. “Why me?! Why now?!” I felt scared about my future. “What if I can’t dance anymore?” “How am I going to pay my bills?” “How am I going to survive?”

I’d get so overwhelmed with emotion that I would stress eat and pack on about 5-10 extra pounds.   “I’m so out of shape now.” “I’m too embarrassed to go back to class.” It just became a catalyst for the biggest pity party!

I learned in my Yoga coursework, that Niyama indicates the essential principles that govern spiritual growth.   Through this process there is an accepting but not causing of pain (Tapas). It’s a level of spiritual maturity in which we refrain from striking out in fear, anger, or retaliation when pain arrives.

It makes sense. All those negative thoughts I felt in the past never made my healing go faster. It fact, it cause more suffering. Maybe it was time to try something different? A new perspective and attitude.

Through my work I now believe there is no such thing as a broken body.

It’s the thought that we are broken that creates the illusion that we are not whole and something is wrong with us. We then focus on what we can’t do or don’t have. That keeps us in a vortex of self-pity because all we focus on are limitations. It makes it hard to trust our body.

Injuries occur when we are out of alignment. It’s not just physical. It’s also emotional and spiritual.

This injury happened to me because my life was shifting and for years I was too insecure to make the change myself.  So life made it happen for me.

I’d been saying for years I wanted to grow my business as a Coach/Speaker/Writer and yet here I was still teaching Zumba!  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it wholeheartedly but I’ve felt limited in sharing my other skills and gifts.

The day of my injury happened right after I received news that one of my classes was being taken away.  Although, I had fate everything would be okay, it still hurt.  I am a firm believer in emotions living in our bodies.  So it made sense that the news really did it me hard.  It became a physical manifestation but also an opportunity.  Right?  When one door closes another opens?

So I took a few days to rest and recover and when I noticed the “crazy thoughts” starting to flow in my mind, I knew I needed to move some energy. I started to play with active forms of healing through conscious dance. Some of my favorite experiences at this time were Groove Temple, Tribal Fusion Belly Dance, and Ecstatic DanceLA. I noticed that when I engaged in that activity my body felt really good. I felt my injury but I just moved around it. My spirits lifted and I felt amazing.

Founder of Ecstatic DanceLA Robin Parrish says, “Conscious dance is a vehicle for self-expression, discovery and healing. Dance itself is incredibly healthy and nourishing for the body as you combine cardio movements and stretching – when you then take this a step further and move ‘free-form’ with intention and emotion, your body experiences release not solely in physical ways, but also on a deeper level within your mind and consciousness. Our emotions can easily get ‘locked’ in different areas of our bodies and manifest as health issues, by moving these emotions and cultivating a deeper relationship with ourselves, we tap into our bodies innate intelligence to heal itself and become more flexible in dealing with life’s challenges. It’s an opportunity for you to move and express your life’s story in ways that feel good for you in a safe space with amazing and inspirational music.”

Through conscious dance I released fear, judgment, and self-doubt. Through that process I was able to rebuild and realign.  I remembered how deeply I want to serve in the world as a Coach and Healer. I focused on what I could do that was in alignment with that dream.  I wrote, studied, and connected with like minded people.  I kept faith and actually ended up growing my coaching business in the process. Wow!  I lost a class but gained coaching clients!  Yes! Shifted and now back in alignment!

Although terrifying, injuries are opportunities when we can learn how to work through them.  Dance Therapy allowed me to move through all those limiting beliefs and connect with my inner wisdom.  Here as some of the ways healing happens when we Surface Body Wisdom.

  1. Slow Down – Doing one thing at one time allows us to be more present. Doing less with more meaning affirms our personal core values. We create space for self-discovery.   Slow mindful movement such as Yoga or Tribal Fusion Belly Dance triggers a relaxation response that activates healing for the entire body.
  2. Be Conscious – When we are in pain we are forced back into our bodies. Therefore, we’re a lot more sensitive to what we expose our body to. How does it impact our healing?   Use that as an opportunity to make healthy empowering choices.
  3. Listen to Your Body – Pain is your body’s way of communicating. It’s a primitive instinctual way as it communicates through feeling rather than words. How much of the pain is caused by the stress in our mind and hearts rather than the actual discomfort in our body? What do you need as a whole in our for your body to feel better?
  4. Focus on Modifying rather than limiting – Our bodies and spirits are strong and adaptable. We evolve as long as we try new avenues for growth. I knew I wanted to go back to teaching, but I would have to modify my movements. I also had to mentally be okay with the fact that I was performing the best I could even though it felt different. Focusing on what you can do and feeling good about it sends a message to the brain that affirms trust and support. A.k.a Healing.
  5. Make Self-care a priority – When it’s all said and done, the more we can take care of our body temple the faster we will heal. That means a harmonious balance of movement and rest, work and relaxation, strengthening and restoring. We become mindful of what we eat, who we’re around, and what we’re doing because we want to feel good as quickly as possible. Enjoy the process of being able to care for yourself and then carry these practices with you even after the injury is healed.

Are you navigating through discomfort in your life right now?  Ready to rebuild your relationship with your body and express your full greatness?  Message me for more information on Uplift Coaching.  deirdra.g.martinez@gmail.com

Would you like to join me for one of these Conscious Dance Parties?  Movement Therapy Playgrounds?  Message me for discount promo codes deirdra.g.martinez@gmail.com.

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