I use a simple one-two-three, one-two-three, while P’s more of the slow-quick-quick-slow type. We’re taking dance lessons. We’re working on a fox trot/swing combo. We’re supposed to dazzle the wedding guests with our grace and agility.

But as of yesterday—lesson three—we still look like two stiff weeble-wobbles on an awkward first date.

Like curing hiccups, everyone’s got something to say about learning to dance: don’t look at your feet, just feel the rhythm, keep your knees loose and your head high. It all means nothing when your hands are sweating, you can’t hear the music over the pounding of your heart, and you’re mumbling “one-two-three, one-two-three” like some all-powerful mantra.

Learning to dance as an adult is an incredibly humbling exercise in ego-destruction—especially when two 10-year-olds twirl by you in a seamless tango worthy of old-time Buenos Aires. It’s like my fundamental concept of movement is being leveled. I remind myself that the 10-year-olds have been training since they were five. And I remind myself to breathe. When I focus on sinking into my heart with each inhale and sliding out of my mind with each exhale my steps are magically lighter.

When I get home I read this, and it all makes sense:

“The impetus for movement comes from a source other than the thinking mind’s control over the voluntary skeletal muscles . . .[it is an] experience of not striving or “efforting.” Muscles contract and the body exerts, but the overall felt sense is of relaxing and letting go.”

“A Guide to Practice On and Off the Mat” by the senior teachers of Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health.

— Guest blogger Marisa Lowenstein

More from Beliefnet and our partners
Close Ad