For millennial, various spiritual groups have practiced dance meditations. In this article we’ll dip into the history of dance meditation before discussing specific dance meditation techniques. You will learn:
- What are dance meditations.
- What are the benefits of using dance meditations.
- How to do dance meditations.
So, let’s get started.
The Origins Of Dance Meditations
Hindu Dance Meditations
As with many spiritual practices, dynamic meditation really finds its roots in Hinduism– even if it has evolved significantly over time.
Dance meditation is an essential part of Hinduism.
Hindus believe that the entire universe is the manifestation of the Supreme Dancer Nataraja.
Dance is so important to Hinduism that all Hindu gods have their own style of dance and there are 23 celestial Apsaras, beings who dance to please the gods and who express the supreme truths via their movements.
In temples throughout India, and particularly in East and South India, spiritual dance used to be a part of a sacred ritual, where devadasi’s (girls dedicated to worship) worshipped the divine through a complex system of gestures and mimes.
This sacred ritual evolved to become the South Indian Classical Dance, which is still practiced today. It is said that many of those who perform the South Indian Classical Dance are incarnations of apsaras.
A classic illustration showing devadasi dancing, a form of dspidance meditation.
Christian Dance Meditations
Modern Christianity also uses a form of spiritual dance meditation to bring a person closer to God.
Beginning in the latter half of the 20th Century with the modernisation of Christianity, churches have used music and dance as a means of worship.
Judaism also involves a sacred dance meditation: the messianic dance or Davidic dance (in reference to King David, who is said to have danced before the Ark of the Covenant).
Buddhist Dance Mediation
Buddhists also use ritual dances and spiritual dancing, and it’s here that dynamic meditation began to take shape.
Buddhists use spiritual dance meditations to offer their body to Buddha.
The three main types of Buddhist dance meditation are the butterfly dance, the cymbal dance, and the T’aju (eight-fold path dance).
The butterfly dance is a dance for novices which incorporates lotus flowers and costumes that depict butterflies. This spiritual dance is slow, quiet and meditative, and is backed by peaceful Buddhist chants.
When performing the cymbal dance, dancers will carry brass cymbals that they strike. This is a louder spiritual dance and is used to represent nirvana.
Buddhist ritual dances / spiritual dances