This month, I have been enjoying the book, Won’t You Join the Dance? A Dancers Essay into the Treatment of Psychosis beautifully written by Trudi Schoop. This book skillfully incorporates mental illness and dance therapy-a concept that fascinated me. Yet it was Schoop’s perspective on feelings and the body that truly captivated my interest.
Trudi Schoop discusses her views on feelings, society, and how individuals cope by ignoring their feelings to fit into society. As I read the book, I thought of how everyone has a “story”, a “cross to bear”, yet most mask their inner turmoil and feelings. I think of all the beautiful people who come to yoga each week, with a desire to connect and feel good, yet all have a challenge they are dealing with in life. I admire them for seeking yoga and respect them for “living” life. I thought of my own struggles and how on the surface I tried to act one way, yet was feeling another. I believe our thoughts, feelings, and actions are all connected. Yet, sometimes the body can’t camouflage true feelings, even when it is told too.
I think back to a few years ago when I was in a really difficult place, and would say positive statements such as, “it could always be worse”, “I should be thankful for all the good in my life” which helped me cope, yet, I wasn’t letting myself feel. During those heartbreaking years, I often had digestive problems, sinus problems, muscle aches, and headaches. It was not until I started my road to healing, that I was told how stressed I used to look during those years. I had no idea. I thought I was doing a good job masking my feelings with positive thoughts, assuming my body was feeling positive, yet my body couldn’t cover up my true feelings. Instead I had physical ailments and looked stressed.
The body, as beautiful and fascinating as it is, knows and reacts to what is truly going on in our soul. By having outlets that incorporate movement, such as yoga or dance, our body and soul can connect. With movement, we can express our feelings, work through our feelings, acknowledge our feelings and begin to heal.
I love to move-I love to dance, I love to run, I love to walk, and I love to practice yoga. Yoga is my therapy. It helps me, heals me, transforms me, and sustains me. I do it to feel connected to others, to connect to my body, and to the universe. During my darkest hours, I practiced yoga just so I could remember to breathe. I used it to escape what is going on and yet at the same time reflect what was happening to my body. The practice helped me feel alive, and through movement, I felt connected to my body and my feelings. It was during my practice, that I would allow myself to feel and cry. I truly believe if I wasn’t practicing yoga then my path to healing may never have begun. I am so thankful for that.
We all have a “story”, a “cross to bear”. I admire everyone who uses yoga, or any form of movement, to help with feelings and with life’s challenges. Movement helps, movement connects, and movement heals.
“Human movement is synonymous with life, and dance includes all of the innate elements of movement. …anyone who has experienced the world of dance knows how much pleasure the body can and should give us; knows that it demands an enjoyable participation in existence; and knows that a body in a state of well-being can counteract and counterbalance the impacts of life.” ~Trudi Schoop