My Mum leaping in the air in her ballet days during the 1960s London

Meditation and Muscle Memory

These early experiences instilled in me a certain ‘muscle memory’ – that ‘somewhere else’ was a real place. It was an expansive sense of self that existed right alongside the ‘everyday’ me.

From the age of three, I was fortunate enough to experience a number of movement modalities due to my Mum having graced stages all over the world in her career as a professional ballerina.

When I was a child, my mother owned and ran a dance school. I would join in at the back of the class and marvel how my body could easily imitate the shapes she was demonstrating. My body was young and supple and dancing felt like a natural expression. It was as though I suddenly landed or awoke in my body. Prior to that I had little awareness. Some of my earliest memories are of dancing.

Around the age of eight, Mum took me to her yoga class – I loved it. I was the youngest in the class and had my first experience of feeling completely at peace during Savasana (corpse pose). Certain poses like Vrikshasana (tree pose) transported me somewhere else – to a place where my mind became sharp and focused – and I was flooded with a sense of purpose and strength.

I had similar experiences exploring the Feldenkrais method, which Mum exposed me to at a young age.

Mum also taught aerobics at a local gym in the 80’s – think fluro g-string leotard – but luckily I ‘grapevined’ my way out of that! 

These early experiences instilled in me a certain ‘muscle memory’ – that ‘somewhere else’ was a real place. It was an expansive sense of self that existed right alongside the ‘everyday’ me.

When I eventually found my way back to yoga years later, I found I could tap back into these earlier experiences of expansiveness. I was hooked!

My mum is now 75 and still has a dancer’s physique. When you are an elite athlete, those muscles stay firm! Needless to say, she looks great for her age. I feel the same goes for emotional memory. I’m no expert but my own experience suggests that the more time we spend connecting with something greater than ourselves; be it through yoga, dance, meditation and so on – the easier it is to ‘lift’ into a space of expansive opening.

This space can be grown with nurturing – similar to tending a garden bed, from seed to bud to flower. With the right conditions we can begin to take more of this energy into our lives.

Another way to grow this sacred space within is by working with yoga mudra poses – it can truly deepen a connection to something sacred. Each hand gesture has a meaning and helps open energetic pathways in your body (similar to acupuncture). These can bring about change on a deep cellular level. Working with mudras can make change feel more tangible – more real.

And now from some trivia! Top 5 all-time favourite dance movies:

  1. White nights
  2. Centre Stage
  3. Magic Mike (technically a dance movie!)
  4. Flashdance
  5. West Side Story + Singin’ in the Rain (I know they are musicals – but total classics!)

Did I miss any must-see dance movies? Comment below 🙂

Please note: mudras are simple ancient tools for exploring energies of heart, mind and body and are not presented here as an alternative to professional medical advice.

4 Responses

  1. I love a good dance movie! A few more: Black Swan, Strictly Ballroom, Flashdance, White Nights, Dirty Dancing, Billy Elliot, Happy Feet, Shall We Dance?

    1. SO agree – yes, Black Swan is definitely top 5 material – and of course ‘Step Up’ and all the others you listed too! The story line is usually the same – but they are just so enjoyable!

  2. Beautifully expressed . As a close friend of your mum I can relate to the amazing experiences you’ve been exposed to. She’s always had the unique ability to expand to “somewhere else” as you put it. A wonderful tribute.

    1. Thanks so much Glynis 🙂 I really enjoyed reflecting on all this. Appreciate your beautiful comment x

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