Mindfulness

Trudi Schoop, part 2: Healthy Individuals + tango.

Mindfulness seemed to be a theme in my life this week. Dictionary.com defines mindfulness as a state of active, open intention on the present. Living in the moment and awakening the experience. As I was reading more about mindfulness, I learned about exercises that aim to make it a continuous state of experience. One example is to take three successive breaths while remembering that they are a conscious experience of body activity within mind. In my previous post about Trudi Schoop, I talked about how she emphasized the importance of breathing and also how it is a way to connect to your partner in tango.

A week ago, I was also reading two different studies involving undergraduate dance students and Dance Movment Therapy (DMT). I didn’t realize it as I was taking notes but when I starting writing some things down for this blog entry I looked through those notes and realized that the major thing these students left this study with was a sense of mindfulness. One student reported, “DMT has helped me focus on things, just giving time for myself to sit down and notice how I am.”

In my experience, tango does this for me. Outside of tango, I feel the need to multi-task with everything. Sometimes I feel like this has been taught to me through growing up in an American society whose goal is to achieve ultimate success through constant hard work. When I have traveled to other countries for purposes other than vacation, I have not felt this need to keep moving, to get things done as fast as possible. Living in Greece this past summer also felt relaxing. Nothing felt rushed. The pace of walking around the center city of Athens did not feel rushed (like it would in New York City or Philadelphia). Eating wasn’t rushed. There was such an emphasis on enjoyment in the moment of whatever you were doing, whatever activity you engaged yourself in. It was a mindfulness so to speak. An appreciation and awareness of feeling. In tango, it’s there in every step. Imagine how connected you can be to yourself, your partner, the music, the floor, the space around you if you are mindful about each step. Each beat. Each movement.

What a healthy lifestyle this can be! How attentative (I think I made this word up) and intentional we can be about everything in our lives, especially ourselves and others. So this is my challenge to you: be mindful today. See how you feel when you do it. Before you go anywhere, just sit in your car and take 3 deep breaths. Will you notice a difference?

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