WHAT IS ECSTATIC AWAKENING DANCE?
ECSTATIC AWAKENING DANCE IS
AN ACTIVE MEDITATION.
People often come up to me and ask me how I’ve done it. How I’ve managed to ‘sort it out’ and to be so clear in myself. They comment that I have a beautiful family and that, somehow, I have been lucky enough to end up working in a job I love.
CAN I LET YOU INTO A NOT VERY GUARDED SECRET?
My head is mental. Not all of the time, but a lot of the time my head is a tricky place to be. I have a tendency overthink e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. I can make worlds within worlds in about 0.2 seconds should my head decide that someone looked at me wrong, said something that pokes at me or if I sniff any kind of danger, my head can go BOOM.
I HAVE TRIED SOOOOOO MANY THINGS
I have tried so many things to try to quieten my lovely, bonkers, exhausting brain. The plethora of systems I tried includes doing Tai Chi for years, Qi Gong, yoga (in many of it’s forms), talking therapy and sitting meditation. They all gave me gifts of insight into myself and the physical benefits were great, but my head just never really shut up. I was either stuck in the story of the day or week, or I was trying to get the form ‘right’ and so I never really found my way to drop right in. Mindfulness gave me a clear window into how chatty my head can be. I was so desperate to quieten my head, that I spent most of the time being frustrated and being unkind to myself every time my mind started to wander. I stuck with the Headspace programme every single day for 6 months and eventually realised that I was just getting more frustrated with how frustrated I was becoming!
THAT IS WHY I DANCE
Ecstatic Awakening Dance is the only way I have found that I can truly drop out of my head and get fully into my body. I think this is radical stuff. When I first starting teaching this method, for whatever reason, I downplayed the potentially profound nature of it. I didn’t want to sound pretentious and I also just really, really wanted every day people to experience the sessions without being put off with words like ‘active meditation’ ‘a practice’ and ‘transformation’. That was just my smallness getting in the way though. The reason I truly love EAD is because it is so simple in it’s structure but it can be astonishing in it’s practice.
WHAT WE DO
We use breath, rhythm and free movement to take you into active meditation. There are no steps to get right, no poses to hold, no form to remember, no need to sit still and try to let thoughts pass. We warm you up and remind you of the form you occupy, bringing breath into every part of your body. We then shake to wake up our energy bodies. Then we dance to amazing music putting every thought, feeling or emotion into the movement. Through every stage we bring you back to your breath; during the movement and when you come to stillness. For the free dance we start by closing the eyes which instantly makes this an internal process. Then we use a powerful breathing technique called the Breath of Fire which super-oxygenates the body. When super-oxygenated, the brain just can’t think anymore, and we get the opportunity to quieten that busy, thinking mind and drop down into our bodies where such wisdom resides. A wisdom most often shouted down by those minds of ours. Then whatever arises from the body, we just hold with awareness and loving kindness as we dance and move and stretch and stamp, whatever your body needs to do in that moment.
By the time we drop to the floor to go into stillness, I am always spent, and cleared. The dance is not always an easy one to do but I am always grateful to have had the chance to really drop down into myself and to be with it for a while. I have learned to (mostly) not judge what comes up and to meet it all with love. That is so incredibly radical for me, a woman who had such deep down hidden self esteem issues.
EAD IS MY PRACTICE
So you know what? My mind is still a bit mental at times BUT I have the means available to me to step out of the head drama, and to meet the mental with kindness. By doing that, it just stops chattering. So, if you see me and you think I am sorted, I reckon I’ll have just been dancing! I use Ecstatic Awakening Dance as a home practice, as well as going to sessions and running events. It is easy to do at home and it is a fantastic way to start your day. So yes, maybe I am ‘lucky’ to be doing something I love but I have worked hard to manifest this career and I have done so because I wholly believe that this method needs to be out in the world and accessible to anyone who could benefit from it.
WHAT DO WE DO?
Zoë is just so excited to be able to bring this amazing and incredibly good fun process to all of you lovely people.
She can’t think of anything better than having the privilege of creating this space for you all. It is safe- whatever comes up is perfectly fine. There are no routines or set steps to learn, she will guide you through each stage of the process so there is nothing to have to remember. She’ll warm you up, help you shake it out and then rock your bodies with some awesome tunes!
You can actually, truly dance like no-one is watching because most of the process is done with your eyes closed. And before you leave, she will give you time to rest and integrate all that came up for you, and then make sure you are grounded and ready to go back out into the wider world.
THE ECSTATIC AWAKENING DANCE PROCESS
There are five stages to a Ecstatic Awakening Dance. There is no right or wrong, there is no judgement as to who is a ‘good’ dancer, you will be guided through each stage and you are encouraged to have eyes closed and to develop your own witness to what might be arising in your mind and body. By noticing what arises, and not attaching to it, but allowing it to be poured into your own dance we start our own inner healing and transformation. Moving on of stuck or stagnant energies, thoughts or emotions clears the way for deeper connection to our inner selves and the chance to empower ourselves.
With regular practice of Ecstatic Awakening Dance, we can improve our physical health with the cardio workout we can get and we can also develop our noticing of how our bodies and minds are feeling. This is the awakening part of the process. The benefits we experience during the dance begin to translate into our day to day lives as our witness becomes strong and steady. Being able to witness our automatic responses or the attachment we have to our stories can really be the first steps to us finding our peace, new ways of being, and dare I suggest- our joy and ecstasy?! How beautiful is that?! I’d say it’s utterly beautiful.
The Body Warm Up:
This first stage is an invitation to reconnect with each part of your body by using breath, rhythm, awareness and movement. We work up from the soles of our feet to the crown of our heads using music and movement to allow each part of our body to help move on stuck energy. This process helps us prepare for the next part of the class by grounding us into our bodies.
The shake is based on Osho’s Kundalini Meditation. We close our eyes, go within, use circular breathing and allow the body to shake all over. This is perhaps the most important stage of the class as it energises every cell in the body and helps re-ignite our life-force, which can be blocked, by moving energy and releasing tension. The effect is energising, refreshing and balancing. This helps us get ready for the deeper ‘let-go’ of the next stage.
The Ecstatic Awakening Dance, or the Breath of Fire Dance:
This is the main part of the method and is done with the eyes closed and utilises a simple breathing technique called the Breath of Fire. Periodically using the Breath of Fire helps to super oxygenate the brain allowing us to move out of our of busy, thinking mind and to drop down into our body. The use of repetitive rhythms of breath and music can help synchronise brain activity so we have the possibility of experiencing expanded states of consciousness. Dropping out of our busy minds and into our bodies can move us into a journey with our thoughts, feelings and emotions and you will be encouraged to just notice whatever arises for you in the moment. Using the music and your dance to express whatever comes up, allowing you to discharge it through whatever way your body feels it needs to move. Eyes closed, using rhythmical breath and self expression through whatever dance arises can help transform, heal and reconnect with your self without the external chatter. No set steps, no right or wrong, no judgement; just your intention to bring your whole self into the dance.
When the music stops, simply drop to the floor, spine supported by the ground, nowhere to go, nothing to do. This is an utterly vital part of the process where we drop into stillness to allow integration and deep relaxation.
As we have the opportunity to journey deeply into ourselves, this guided visualisation gives us the chance to come back to ourselves and be grounded in a place of increased clarity, serenity and openheartedness.
Zoë is a single mother to four young children. They live out in the South Herefordshire countryside where venues to go dancing are sometimes difficult to find! Zoë realised she had a tendency to live in her head and ignore what was going on below her neck and decided to go in and explore the world of bodywork. Zoë qualified as a Holistic Massage Therapist and Bodyworker and has built up a thriving practice at two clinics in Hereford. Training in massage gave her the time and space to really integrate the wonder of our bodies. So many of us are disconnected from how our bodies feel and often have just no real sense of the tensions we can be holding. Through warming, movement, stretching and witnessing clients, real transformation can happen. It was during this massage training course that Zoë was introduced to Ecstatic Awakening Dance by one of her tutors and after just one session, she was hooked on the process. She is passionate about the transformation Ecstatic Awakening Dance can afford to any of us should we be brave enough to turn up, let go and really allow ourselves to wholeheartedly engage with the process. Dancing makes her soul sing and EAD gives her a way to bear witness to that song that needs to be noticed.
When Zoë isn’t looking after her brood, massaging or dancing; she loves little more than being out on the land or walking out in the Black Mountains. Zoë also loves to write and can often be found musing about day to day life on her blog.
WILD CHOCOLATE CLUB
DANCE YOUR HEART IN!
with Rebecca Hanscombe and Zoë Mason
Ecstatic Awakening Dance, although deceptively simple in it’s structure, is a powerful fast-track path to transformation. All it requires is regular practice, an open mind and a desire for growth. Using rhythm, music, meditation and breath to ignite our life-force, move us past our resistances (whether these be physical, emotional or mental!). There is no right or wrong way to move! Shake jump, shimmy be wild! It’s simply about tuning in and turning on to your own energy, to let go of tensions, to allow an unfolding of the layers of contraction in our mind-body-heart liberating the dance within.
As the name suggests a key superfood that will be used is raw chocolate!! This superfood has a long list of positive health attributes well worth researching, but here are a few reasons why we love it and use it to enhance the conscious clubbing experience:
• IT TASTES FANTASTIC!!!
• Raw chocolate is one of the richest sources of antioxidants found on the planet.
• It has several mood enhancing compounds , as it contains serotonin which acts as an anti depressant
• It contains phenylethylamine which is a gentle mood elevator enhancing a sense of well being and blissful sensations
• It is a natural aphrodisiac and has long been the food of lovers; connecting us with our body and heart
• It is a natural clean stimulant enabling you to have that boost of energy needed to dance and dance with none of the agitating side effects
• Its smell increases brain waves which can induce relaxation
VILLAGE BEATS NEWS
SO THEN, WHO’S UP FOR
A BIT OF THAT?!
I tell you something, we definitely are!
We are based in South Herefordshire and hold classes in the local area (see below). We will also be taking ourselves out on the road and will be at festivals over the Summer. Just watch this space for details!
We look forward to you taking some time to make some divine space for yourselves.