Moves to Inner Peace Series: Dance

Two partners salsa dancing

This move defies the age, gender, social, and financial barriers of most exercises we know. It is a very accepting and inclusive type of movement; you need no equipment, fancy instructions or special skills to do it.

It’s merciful when you break the rules and it gives you a chance to express yourself. It’s ok, and it is recommended to do what your body tells you to do as the sound transports you to unexpected places.

Dancing is the perfect move for individual expression. It allows you to create movements based on your experience and your uniqueness.

It can overtake you and fill you with joy, passion, and mountains of energy.

Here are some benefits and tips on dancing for inner peace.

Practice It

•    Do some warm up stretches before you begin

•    Put on your favorite music

•    Wear something comfortable

•    Move your body

•    Rest between sessions

•    Drink lots of water

•    Be sure to cool down before stopping completely

•    Do some light stretching after

Continue dancing, and do this as long as you feel you need to.

If you feel the need to be more formal, there are many different types of dancing you can take up. Listed at the end of this article are 7 various kinds of dance styles and their individual benefits.  You can find visual examples of these dance styles on YouTube.

Benefits:

Body:

•    Improves coordination, agility, and flexibility

•    Improves muscle tone and strength

•    Improves cardiovascular and lung fitness

•    Helps with weight loss

•    Reduces the risk of osteoporosis

•    Improves endurance and motor fitness

•    Improves balance and spatial awareness

•    Develops visual awareness

•    Develops rhythm

•    Gives stronger bones

•    Increases lower body strength

•    Reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s

•    May help to reduce some symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Mind:

•    Boosts your confidence and self-esteem

•    Improves social skills

•    Improves memory

•    Develops your spatial skills

•    Promotes complex thinking

•    Improves visual recognition and decision-making

•    Reduces depression

•    Increases self-trust and the ability to approach life with freedom and openness

•    Helps promote emotional expression

Spiritual:

•    Produces altered states of consciousness

•    Helps you to stay in the moment

•    Contributes to removing energetic blockages, allowing energy to flow freely again

•    Can activate all 7 chakras

•    Helps you to let go

To get the most out of your practice, try dancing for an hour at least 3 times per week.

7 Types of Dance

This is a very short list of all the possible forms of dance you could choose from. On Wikipedia the list of specific dances contains 520 items. We have narrowed it down to 7 types with their specific benefits to your body, mind and spirit.

With that in mind, here are a few of your options below.

Ballet

Ballet originated in the 15th and 16th centuries in the Italian Renaissance court. It focuses on strength, flexibility, and technique.

Let’s look at some of its benefits:

•    Helps to relieve dizziness

•    Creates long lean muscles

•    Improves posture

•    Improves flexibility

•    Promotes poise and confidence

Ballroom Dancing

It is a partner-style dance that includes the foxtrot, the rumba, the swing, the waltz, and the tango.

Below are some of its benefits:

•    Improves balance and coordination

•    Enhances memory and alertness

•    Improves focus and concentration

•    Builds social connections

•    Burns 265 calories per hour (150 lb person)

Belly Dancing

It is said by some to be one of the oldest forms of dance, with roots in Asia, India and the Middle East. The movements of the dance emanate from the torso as opposed to the legs and feet, like in other forms of dance.

Belly dancing is a dance for women to prepare them for marriage and childbirth. It can include a wide variety of accessories, from exotic jewelry and finger cymbals to swords, snakes and candelabras with flames.

Here are some of its benefits:

•    Helps prevent lower back problems

•    Helps prepare women for childbirth

•    Tones and firms arms and shoulders

•    Improves posture

•    Improves your flexibility

•    Burns 380 calories per hour (150 lb person)

Salsa Dancing

This type of dance has Caribbean, Latin American and African influence. It is typically a partnered dance that places its emphasis on rhythm and sensuality.

Some notable benefits:

•    Leads to a lower heart rate over time

•    Lower blood pressure

•    Burns 420 calories per hour (150 lb person)

•    Builds endurance and stamina

•    Improves communication between you and your partner

•    Helps you bring passion and honesty to your relationship

Hip Hop Dancing

Hip Hop is a relatively new form of dance, dating back to the 60’s but made famous in the 80’s through people such as MC Hammer, Dr. Dre, etc. It includes popping and locking, freestyling and breaking.

Some of its benefits:

•    Creates awareness of different body parts and their movements

•    Improves focus

•    Improves coordination

•   Consists of various changes that take you from high energy bursts to soft, subtle movements

•    Burns 465 calories per hour (150 lb person)

Practice Hip Hop with caution if you have back and knee injuries.

Square Dancing

Square dancing is a type of folk dance that has layers of movements. It consists of different levels, from the basic that has 71 moves to the challenging that consists of over 180 steps.

A few of its benefits:

•    Square dancing can add ten years to your life. A study shows that square dancers live well into their 80’s.

•    Helps with coordination and focus

•    Burns 280 calories per hour (150lb person)

•    Square dancers walk 2.5 to 5 miles during an evening of this activity

Tap Dancing

This type of dance focuses on beats and timing. It is a solo dance characterized by the percussion sound made by the shoe of the dancer. One key feature of tap dance is balance. It is, therefore, an excellent choice for people who wish to improve their balance.

•    Enhances the posture in your lower back

•    Helps to flatten your abdominal muscles

•    Strengthens and tones upper and lower arms

•    Burns 250 calories per hour

•    Promotes courage and self-expression

•    Improves your ability to find the beat and pattern in music

•    Gives a voice to the voiceless, through movement and sound

•    Improves your control over your core muscles

•    Helps reduce your chance of injury from tripping and falling

If none of these appeal to you, then freestyle is always an option -- interestingly enough, research suggests this may offer the best benefits of all.

  1. http://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard-mahoney-neuroscience-institute/brain-newsletter/and-brain-series/dancing-and-brain

Dancing and the Brain

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27416014

"I feel free": Experiences of a dance intervention for adolescent girls with internalizing problems

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27339435

Exercise Therapy for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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