“When the WHY is clear, the HOW is easy.” ~ Anonymous.
I was recently watching an amazing video from Simon Sinek, who talked about the importance of finding your why in life – the purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you to do what you do.
Like the why for…
- Mother Teresa was to spread love among the downtrodden and bring them some respite from pain and suffering
- Bill Gates was to make information accessible for all
- Mahatma Gandhi was to use non-violence to win independence for India
As I watched Sinek’s video a few times, it struck a chord deep within me. I realized how finding my why – and then working on it – was the real cause of my happiness today.
Through my search and the ensuing struggle, emerged a clear direction. Dance had always been a source of joy but by taking a leap of faith I found that it could transform my life in ways I had not imagined.
As I look back at it all, the pain, the passion and the victory which has caused me to love myself so much, I cannot help but imagine a world full of people who truly and completely love themselves and achieve this through movement and dance.
To Love Yourself…Dance
Before you get puzzled as to the connection between dance and loving oneself, let me explain…
As a student of dance therapy, I have realized how psyche (mind) and soma (body) are inseparable.
Research demonstrates that movement is the young child’s preferred mode of learning, and that children learn best through active involvement. (Hannaford 1995).
Studies on brain development have proved time and again that every wiring in the first year of a child’s brain happens because of movement. And this cycle continues till we die. As we grow, we also discover other ways of learning and somehow the most innate way of learning through movement takes a backseat.
Adding movement to the learning process helps develop all the parts of the brain (lower, mid and upper brain) and also leads to mind and body integration thus enhancing cognitive, social, emotional and aesthetic skills.
My training in dance has also helped me understand how freedom in expressing emotions is closely related to one’s emotional development. Humans are naturally designed to show every emotion felt through body movements.
For instance, if we feel the emotion of fear, we tremble, and our eyes widen or close. When we are sad, we show it through tears, and a closed posture. Happiness is expressed through high energy levels and an open body posture. All these expressions are deeply ingrained in our psyche.
So when we train a child not to cry when she really wants to, and not to show aggression when she really feels angry, what we are unknowingly doing is blocking her natural mechanism of releasing emotions through body movements. These emotions thus get stored inside her body and create muscle tensions all her life.
Now, knowing these two facts of how brain development and emotion release is closely related to human personality development, let’s see its relevance to movement and dance.
Raising a Happy Child
People function to their full potential when they complement their brain development with lots of movement and learn to express through their body. And as you read this, I’m sure you would completely agree that these two innate needs can be fulfilled through movement and dance.
As a child learns to move freely, develop a range of movements, sees them not as a way to reach somewhere or win or lose (as in other structured physical activities like sports), but for the sheer sense of expression, she starts developing a healthy mind. Her brain also starts functioning well, and she develops a positive body image, high confidence and self esteem, and in turn learns to love herself.
I can personally vouch for this, given that I have been through this amazing cycle in my own life and have witnessed so many of our students experiencing this.
My why has now evolved – I dream of inculcating an understanding and increasing awareness about the connection of movement and dance in human development and promote learning through movement and dance especially to children in their growing years.
A wise man (or maybe a woman) once said that if you want to address a problem, address it at the roots. For me, the roots go down to the school. And that’s why the dance activities and lessons we incorporate in our curriculum at Rhythmus HappyFeet are all aimed at changing the way the education system has perceived learning, especially in the early formative years of a child (pre-schoolers).
Dance is, I believe, one of the best ways to raise a child who is happy, confident, and one who learns to embrace life to its fullest. And dance is the way a child learns to love and respect her body and love her truly and completely.
This is my belief, my dream, my why….
Artistic director & Co- founder
P.S. To know more about how your child can benefit from dance and the therapy it provides, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or connect at www.facebook.com/rhythmushappyfeet1, or visit www.rhf.dance