By TARA MANIAR
Dance as a spiritual discipline is an ancient practice that’s been explored by many cultures throughout the ages. The desire to dance is deeply ingrained in the human psyche. In ancient cultures, dance was used as a healing art form and in celebratory, ritualistic and spiritual ways. As a metaphor, dance symbolizes the rhythm of the universe, the eternal dance of life. As one of the most evolved healing art forms, dance weaves together all aspects of human existence.
In recent years, there has been an explosion of new age practices, many of which draw roots from ancient philosophies whose purpose is to raise consciousness, connect with the spiritual world and transcend the physical. To transcend the physical and connect with the spirit or soul, we need a system as a guide.
Chakradance™, a new healing dance practice, brings this ancient tradition into the 21st century with modern music from around the world, meditations and mandala art creations. There are no set steps to Chakradance. You dance to the rhythm of your soul with your eyes downcast or closed to allow you to focus on the inward journey. Creator Natalie Southgate of Australia describes Chakradance as “dreaming with your feet.”
Since 2006 I have been exploring my chakras, the energy centres of the body, through the practice of yoga. I discovered Chakradance in January 2015 as I was preparing for my annual trip to India. Upon my return, I became the only Chakradance facilitator in Manitoba in August 2015. Chakradance gives me an opportunity to marry my love of dance with my exploration of the chakras. It is an effective way to release stress and rebalance our inner energies, activate healing and unravel blocked energy to live from our true, authentic self at home, work and leisure.
In Chakradance, we use the energy centres of the body, the chakras, as a guide to connect with the sacred, both within the self and within the Universe. The chakras are part of the ancient yoga system discovered over 4000 years ago by the yogis, sages and saints of ancient India. Because of this connection with yoga, Chakradance is sometimes called “a sister to yoga.”
There are 112 energy centres in the body of which seven are considered major chakras. Each major chakra acts as an energetic gateway, allowing universal energy to flow in and out of our systems, corresponding with specific organs and reflecting an aspect of consciousness on an emotional, psychological and spiritual level. Chakras also have their own vibration, colour and sound. They also have associations with each of the five metaphysical elements (earth, water, fire, air, ether), as well as archetypes, animals, planets, herbs, gems and more. Any of these can be used as pathways into the chakras, enabling us to connect more deeply with the energies existing within each chakra and within the body.
Working with our inner energy is called kriya. Our inner energy, or our inner world, impacts our outer world in the form of our actions, or karma. In general terms, the Law of Karma is “whatever we do we will receive multiplied.” Whatever we do is controlled by our unconscious, which impacts our thoughts, which further impacts our feelings and actions. Chakradance, rooted in Jungian psychology, gives us a modality to become aware of this relationship between our unconscious and consciousness.
Chakradance gives us the opportunity to balance and unravel the blocked energies of our chakras, allowing the universal energy to flow freely for a deeper mind-body-spirit connection. With this deeper connection and free-flowing inner energy, we can be our best in all our relationships at home, work and leisure.
The music of Chakradance is drawn from around the world and has been created with the intention of using sound as a healing force. Music has incredible therapeutic powers and is considered to be the oldest form of healing. In many ancient cultures, music was considered sacred and mystical. It was composed and performed with the intention of promoting physical health, freeing emotions, entering altered states of consciousness and activating inner healing as we connect to the soul.
Music plays a major role in balancing the chakras as musical vibrations are tuned to the vibration of each of the main seven chakras. The pure tones of crystal bowls pulse throughout the music and release a sound field that is an essential ingredient of each dance.
Chakradance is a healing therapeutic dance practice. It is unique because it uses spontaneous dance for the purpose of activating inner healing. There is no right or wrong way to Chakradance. It’s a journey of self-discovery. Each chakra is explored with specific music, guided imagery and your own free, expressive dance, done with your eyes softly closed or downcast. This begins to activate inner experiences. You may see images in your mind’s eye or gain insights while you are dancing. You may also experience feelings, emotions or physical sensations. Although music and dance form the primary focus, sessions also include sensing, working with elements, colours, short meditations and mandala art creations.
Chakradance connects us with the sacred, both within self and within the universe. It helps us connect with our soul, our authentic self. Dancing the seven chakras is like dancing into seven different worlds, each with their own lessons, meanings and stories impacting different aspects of our physical, mental, emotional, psychological and spiritual being.
The chakra system forms an energetic ladder that bridges our material world with our spiritual world. We can use this ladder as a way of reaching higher realms of consciousness, and as we travel back down, we are able to integrate new levels of awareness into our daily lives. Working with the chakras through dance connects us to the core of our physical beings. Once this connection is achieved, other less tangible experiences of the mind and spirit can be contained, embodied and finally integrated for peace and harmony.
The seven major chakras we connect with in Chakradance are:
Mooladhara Root chakra is at the base of the spine. In this wild and raw animal-like dance of our legs and feet, our natural instinctual self of security is reclaimed.
Swadhishtana Sacral chakra is in our lower belly. Inspired by the feminine dances from around the world, this dance impacts our feelings, emotions, sexuality and sensuality.
Manipura Solar Plexus chakra at our navel is where our power lies. This masculine dance of power helps us to release all that we no longer need and understand our relationship with power.
Anahata Heart chakra is at the centre of the chest. This dance of love helps us to connect with our joy, compassion and balance, as expressed in dancing the union of heaven and earth, masculine and feminine, yang and yin, Shiva & Shakti.
Vishuddhi Throat chakra sits in the pit of our throat. We weave sound and movement to intensify self-expression and creativity.
Ajna Third Eye chakra lies between our eyebrows in the middle of our forehead. With this trance dance of intuition and inner wisdom, we can enter ecstatic and altered states of consciousness for clarity.
Sahasraraara Crown chakra is at the top of the head. This sacred and devotional dance is one of stillness, as we are now at the gateway to the soul and the universe. The dance is internal, for now we are dancing the rhythm of the soul as we commune with the sacred and divine beings.
Dancing through the chakra system awakens not only our bodies; it expands the mind and calls out to the soul. The chakra system provides us with a way to integrate body, mind and spirit. This model encompasses the whole of human experience and provides an opportunity to find harmony and balance in our lives. Chakradance is a journey towards wholeness to be our best selves in each moment. Regardless of age, gender, culture or ability, if you want peace and wellness, Chakradance is for you!
Tara Maniar is a teacher and practitioner of traditional yoga, a certified Chakaradance™ Facilitator and a spiritual life coach. Tara empowers strong women to transform their inner turmoil into enlightened possibilities. She strives to live in humble service to humanity and Guruji. Visit her online at taramaniar.com.
For more information about how you can use Chakradance to activate your own inner healing for harmony and wellness, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, call/text Tara at 204-218-9722 or visit chakradance.com/facilitator-details/tara-maniar.