The Dance Temple Habit: An Exercise in Full-Bodied Dance Magic

Deep, transformative magic waits for us in our flesh and bones form. Our body is a treasury of primal wisdom and sensate knowledge that speaks to us through the language of movement and sensation. Wondrously, one of the best, most joyful ways to access this treasure trove is through inspired, ecstatic dance.


I am infinitely blessed to be part of Dance Temple where my dancing tribe gathers each week, under the guidance of brilliant priestess-facilitators, to dive deep and wild into our body’s transformative magic through free-form movement.

This same magic is as close as the privacy of your own living space, where you can dive deep and wild into the dance temple of your own sacred body. This pathwork exercise guides you in the delicious process of creating your own dance temple experience.

For this exercise, choose at least thirty minutes of music that speaks deeply to your body and soul. It can be slow, fast or a mix. Don’t include your preferred dance music or your favorite songs. You want to discover and inhabit your body in new ways, not slip into your existing patterns of movement.

Though it is very wonderful to do this activity with others, do your dancing alone this time. Make sure you have complete privacy and no fear of interruption so you can be totally open and uninhibited. Turn off all your technology so you won’t be interrupted. If you have any physical limitations, exercise tender care with your vulnerable places; small, isolated movements can be just as powerful as larger, whole body expression.

1. Start with several grounding breathes, centering within your core.

Do some gentle stretching to warm up your body and anchor yourself within your flesh and bones. Set the intention to leave behind the noise of your mind, with its ideas, words and judgments, as well as your habitual relationship with your physical form, and to let your body dance you and dance the music, free and unencumbered.

2. Stand, or sit if you need to, and just be with the music.

Breathe it deep inside of you. Don’t rush to dance or move. Let the words and rhythms speak to your body and your soul. Feel the sounds inside of your flesh and open to your inner sensations and responses. Then, as inspiration comes, surrender to the movements that naturally arise in you.

3. Focus your consciousness on the minutia of bone, muscle and breath as your body flows with the music.

Stay with your impulses and their liquid, sensual emergence in your outer expression. Emotions and moments of altered awareness may come to you; let them stream through you like a river, swirling around and in you, and then continuing on their way. Be wholly present to the moment, attaching to nothing and allowing your body free reign to do its thing.

If at any time you feel blocked or overcome with emotions, stop, take a few deep breaths to anchor in your core once more, be with your storm or stuckness, and then let the music sweep you into its magic flow once more.

4. When the music ends, walk slowly around your space, with your limbs loose at your side and your physical form soft and open.

Then sit quietly, just being with your body, full of all the good juice you’ve generated and empty of thoughts and words. When this exercise feels complete, thank your body and promise to come back for more dance temple moments.

Make dance temple a new habit. If you can, find a local dance community that focuses on ecstatic or inspired dance. Or continue your own explorations in your living space, alone or create your own dancing tribe.

Though it may not be clear to you how or why this process is changing you, trust that you are diving deep into the treasure trove of your body wisdom and embracing your unique, expressive language of dance. And through this joyful, full-bodied dancing magic, transformative change, sourced from a profound rightness of being, just happens.

Related Post: Dance Temple Moments: The Primal Wisdom of Body

Photo Credit: Matthew Henry on Unsplash