The Healing Power Of Dance: How Dance Strengthens Our Mind, Body & Spirit

The Healing Power Of Dance

Do you love to dance? Do you like to move your body to express your innermost self? Dance can invigorate our mind, body, and spirit. Let’s take at the healing power of dance and why you need to get grooving.

Dance is our nature

As stress is increasingly becoming a normal part of our being, dancing can be the cure we are looking for. Dance is an intrinsic human quality that can also be found all across nature and the universe. From birds and animals displaying crude dance movements to attract a mate to the creation of a black hole, dance is present everywhere. Perhaps this is why dance has been a part of human culture for tens of thousands of years as a ritual, as a source of consciousness and as a mode of healing.

Dance is so powerful because it is accessible to nearly everyone. Dance is a very holistic and integrative healing modality. The very nature of movement and dance demand that we be fully present,explains consciousness leader Susan Rueppel, Ph.D. 

The Healing Power Of Dance: How Dance Strengthens Our Mind, Body & Spirit

The healing power of dance can help us align our mind, body and spirit. Dancing paves the path to inner freedom, expression of the self and discovery of intricate personal truth. It is perhaps the most enjoyable way to explore self awareness and self discovery. The healing power of dance can be your medicine and meditation says dancer, musician and author Gabrielle Roth

She writes “Prayer is moving. Prayer is offering our bones back to the dance. Prayer is letting go of everything that impedes our inner silence. God is the dance and the dance is the way to freedom and freedom is our holy work.”

Read also: 6 Easy Steps To Restore Your Spiritual Energy Using Your Hands

Healing power of dance

Can dance truly help us to heal our mind, body and spirit? Dancing can begin healing our mind and spirit by first improving our physical health. “Dance as a curative exercise isn’t a new phenomenon,” writes Christina Ianzito in AARP The Magazine. According to a 2007 study dance is a great way to enhance our physical fitness and improve our social skills, which leads to strengthening our mental health. Dancing “is something that can be taken up early in life and still provide plenty of entertainment well after retirement.” 

Another 2019 study revealed that dancing can be seen as a musical-kinetics skill and is an excellent way to stay physically and mentally active. The research states “Dance is considered an activity that involves coordinating movements with music, as well as brain activation because it is constantly necessary to learn and remember new steps.” Scientific evidence shows that dancing can improve your agility, flexibility, balance, endurance, memory, muscular strength and heart rate. 

Dance is acknowledged for its physical exercise aspect, where the healing comes from the healthy body experience of increasing the heart rate and enhancing cardiovascular endurance, body strength, and flexibility,” says Susan Rueppel. 

The Healing Power Of Dance: How Dance Strengthens Our Mind, Body & Spirit

Dance improves your mental health

The healing power of dance can not only enlighten and strengthen our soul, but also help us attain overall mental well being. According to a 1995 study by Judith Hanna of University of Maryland, “Dance involves the culturally mediated body, emotion, and mind. So do illness and pain.” Dancing can actually help to improve overall wellness by enhancing our immune system through physiological processes and muscular action, the study discovered. 

Read also: How to Improve Mental Health?

Lead researcher J. L. Hanna says “Dance conditions an individual to moderate, eliminate, or avoid tension, chronic fatigue, and other disabling conditions that result from the effects of stress.” She adds that dance can help us heal as we begin to have a sense of control through –

  • Possession by the spiritual in dance
  • Mastery of movement
  • Diversion from stress & pain by modifying emotions, consciousness, and physical abilities
  • Confronting stressors to work through ways of handling their effects

A 2012 study by the University of New England, Australia discovered that participants who practiced tango reported experiencing lower levels of stress, anxiety and depression. It was also found that for the participants, dancing proved to be more effective than meditation in reducing anxiety.

Dance can significantly help you to improve your mental health by enhancing your physical health, believes mental health counselor Shainna Ali. She explains that dancing can “contribute to enhance self-perception and ultimately enhance mental health. Dance can also provide an outlet to soothe internal struggles… dance can provide a safe realm to reflect, connect, and release personal turmoil.

But that’s not all.

Dance makes you happier

The healing power of dancing can also enable you to experience more happiness in life. A study conducted by the University of Derby, found that people suffering from depression reported feeling better, having fewer negative thoughts and experiencing higher levels of peace and tranquility after 4 weeks of “salsa” lessons.

One 2015 study showed that “Mood Enhancement was the strongest motivational factor for both males and females,” to engage in dancing. Another 2013 study by the University of Örebro found that teenagers suffering from stress, anxiety and depression felt happier after taking dance classes for 2 years. It was also observed that their psychosomatic symptoms showed considerable improvements.

Shainna adds “Dancers often remark on the pure joy attained from this healing art. Dance can help to improve sentiments of hope and happiness. Further, in addition to the perks of smiling and laughter, dance can be a powerful tool in combating depression and anxiety as well.

Read also: What Makes You Happy? Harvard Study Finds #1 Way To A Good Life

The Healing Power Of Dance: How Dance Strengthens Our Mind, Body & Spirit

Dance heals your soul

Various cultures across the globe recognize the spiritual healing power of dance.There are many different dance forms around the world like the Sufi Whirling Dervishes, Native American dances and Pan-Eu-Rhythmy, that are known for their intense healing powers.

Shainna Ali, mental health counselor, educator and member of the American Counseling Association (ACA), believes that dancing involves interpersonal and intrapersonal elements. Apart from having mental, social, and emotional benefits, “dance has the curative power to heal our mind, heart, and soul and ultimately enhance mental health overall,” she explains.

There is a sense of embodying one’s own essence. Many women use dance as their spiritual practice,” explains author Johanna Leseho, Ph.D. 

Dancing allows us to be a lot more mindful. Various dance forms, like ballet, require us to concentrate and be fully present in the moment. Dance forces us to live in the present moment as we take each step and make every precise move. As we become more present in the moment to improve our craft, we become increasingly mindful with each dance session.

Dancing isn’t about escaping the stressors of daily life. Dancing offers us a way to embrace them. By being present while dancing, we can learn about ourselves and our bodies. You don’t need to be perfect as a dancer. Instead, we can come home to the present moment through the practice of mindful dancing.” explains Dr. Jamie Marich, founder of the Dancing Mindfulness community.

Dance as meditation

Dancing is even seen as a form of meditation, particularly by the Sufi Whirling Dervishes. Meditation practice allows us to pause, experience stillness and gain control over our mind. The true essence of meditation is awareness. You can experience the same spiritual experience with dance. When we dance, we are completely aware of our body and completely control our mind so that we can effectively execute the next steps. 

Read also: Sufi Whirling Meditation: What Is This Mystical Practice & How You Can Do It

Senior business strategist Jennifer Hahn Masterson explainsMeditation is the deliberate and practiced art of concentrating, thinking, sorting out thoughts, prayer, and contemplation. This is a mental activity.However when we merge the practice of meditation with the physical movements of dance, “the mind and body reach a higher level of both. To many, it is an ecstatic experience,” she adds.

The Healing Power Of Dance: How Dance Strengthens Our Mind, Body & Spirit

When meditation is combined with dance, it can offer you a life changing experience. Here are a few reasons why dance is an excellent way to meditate without the need for sitting still.

1. Awareness

When you dance, you pay close attention to your body, your breathing and the beats of the music. You mindfully listen to the music as it determines the rhythm in your movements. You tap into the inner spheres of your mind and forget about everything else around you. You not only become aware of the music, but you become aware of yourself. 

This is one of the purest forms of meditation. When a dancer is in meditation, they have a heightened awareness around them. They are part of something bigger than themselves.” writes Jennifer. When your dance meditations session ends, you experience a psychological, emotional, physical and spiritual release that makes your soul feel liberated.

2. Control

When you dance, you need to possess immense control over your mind and body. Not only you need to be determined and have patience, you also need to practice regularly just like any traditional meditation technique. The more you practice, the better you are able to control your body parts and add grace and fluidity to your movements. As dance is a form of meditation, it allows you to gain mastery over your mind and body over time. It improves your concentration and enables you to tap into your spiritual energy to give a great performance.

Read also: 7 Informal Meditation Practices: How To Meditate Without Meditating

3. Energy

Our spirit fills our mind and body with immense energy which we can tune into constantly. When we use dancing as a form of meditation, we can feel the  subtle energies inside of us and utilize it to accomplish greatness. Dance meditation allows us to experience the flow of energy in our body from our feet to our hands and even to our facial expressions. This allows you to sense the incessant power that resides within you and drives your life. Dance empowers us to express our inner energies.

4. Inner peace

When you allow your body to express yourself through dance and move in a natural rhythm, you experience a profound sensation within you. This is your life force moving through your body. This is when your ego dissolves and you start experiencing inner peace and tranquility. This is the natural state of your body which dance and meditation enables you to experience closely.

Jennifer Hahn Masterson writes “Whether a person stays in dance or not, the lessons learned are part of them forever. They know there is “that place” inside them where there is complete tranquility.

Dance is an expression of the self

The healing power of dance allows us to discover ourselves. It allows us to heal and soothe our mind, body and soul. It allows us to perceive ourselves, our thoughts, emotions and attitudes in new ways. It allows us to explore and become aware of our spiritual selves. Dance allows us to express ourselves. It allows us to redefine our sense of who we are and transforms us by healing us from inside.

The Healing Power Of Dance: How Dance Strengthens Our Mind, Body & Spirit

Dancer and author Gabrielle Roth concludes “We dance to survive, and the beat offers a yellow brick road to make it through the chaos that is the tempo of our times. We dance to shed skins, tear off masks, crack molds, and experience the breakdown – the shattering of borders between body, heart and mind.”

Let’s dance!

Read also: How Dance Can Improve Your Self-Confidence

Here is an interesting video that you may find helpful:

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Theo Harrison

Hey there! I am just someone trying to find my way through life. I am a reader, writer, traveler, fighter, philosopher, artist and all around nice guy. I am outdoor person but heavily into technology, science, psychology, spiritualism, Buddhism, martial arts and horror films. I believe in positive action more than positive thinking.View Author posts