Have you ever felt blocked in certain areas of your life, such as your sensuality or ability to express yourself? Then you need to DANCE it out! This episode is all about how you can use different dance forms to balance your various chakras (energy centers in the body.) As a former competitive hip-hop and belly dancer, I truly believe that the body is the root of all emotional imbalances and by moving our bodies in certain ways, we can release traumas, pain, and blockages so our energy can flow freely and we can expand into our highest selves.
-The connection between our primal energy + African/ Dance Hall Dance
-The connection between our sensual energy + belly dance, salsa, bachata, samba
–The connection between our inner power-house + Middle Eastern + Greek line dancing and capoeria
-The connection between our ability to give and receive love + Sufi swirling and ballroom dance
-The connection between expressing our truth + Native American, Tibetan and Sanskrit chanting
-The connection between harnessing our intuition + classical Indian, Balinese and other Asian dance forms
-The connection between receiving downloads from the universe + dance meditation
Some people/places I discuss:
Malaika, my Shamanic and African dance teacher: inmyelements.com
Nataraj Dance Festival at Zorba The Buddha in Delhi, India
Intro/ Outro Music: Silent Ganges by Maneesh de Moor
Discuss your favorite dance forms in the Mind-Body Balancer FB Group: www.facebook.com/groups/1213662491998309/
Write a review of the podcast and send a screenshot to [email protected] to receive the FIRST HALF of my UNRELEASED book, Eat Right For Your Mind-Body Type FREE!
Namaste and happy dancing,
Episode 054 – How To Balance Your Chakras Through Dance with Sahara Rose
By Sahara Rose
Namaste. It’s Sahara Rose, and welcome back to the “Highest Self” podcast. A place where we discuss what makes you your soul’s highest evolvement. This is the first episode I’m recording in my new apartment. I told you guys in episode 50 about the bed bug situation, and how I thought that it may be a sign that I need to move, but I wasn’t really sure because I loved where I lived. Well, I realized that it was a sign to move, that I had energetically outgrown the space, and it was time for something new. And within a few days, this new place showed up. I was looking for somewhere that was closer to nature, closer to the ground, and somewhere that had a balcony, because it was really important for me to be able to spend some time outside while still getting work done, and writing, and sharing with you guys.
So I put the intention out there to the universe, and it showed me this beautiful place where I am right now, speaking with you all. So, thank you, universe, for hooking it up, and so excited to see where this new space brings me. You know, when you move to a new environment, it changes your thought, your perspective is different. You’re literally looking at different things. Your furniture is arranged in different ways, and you don’t even need to move to do that. It’s just a great reminder for us to all look at the things that we own, and really evaluate, “Do I need this? Is this serving a purpose? Am I holding onto things that I don’t use?”
I realized just how many things they had that, you know, you get samples of different foods, or teas, or protein powders, and how many of those I had just held onto that I wasn’t using. Or you know, clothes that I had totally forgotten about, or the same pair of pajamas like in three different colors. And really evaluating what do I need, what do I need to let go of, and letting go can be so, so hard, but there’s nothing more beautiful than living in a clear space because it clears your mind. Your mind is a reflection of your environment.
So when you can look at in front of you and see the ground, see the table, see the surfaces and it’s not just cluttered with stuff, this is a huge, huge, huge opening in the spiritual vessel because it allows for more space. So wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, even if you live in a dorm, try to create more space. I just posted this on my Instagram about how it’s been such a struggle for me because I’m so not a minimalist. I travel so much and I find so many cool Indian bags, and saris, and jewelry, and head pieces, and I bring it all around with me.
And it’s so hard for me to be a minimalist, and I thought I had to, but I’m realizing I don’t need to be a minimalist, that’s just not me. I’m definitely not the kind of person who can live with just very few belongings, but choosing things that truly make you happy. And a lot of things also make me happy, but really choosing the things that, okay, if there was a fire, and I had to run out with a bag of stuff, what would I bring? And probably wouldn’t be ten pairs of different colorful Indian pants. Maybe if I had 30 minutes I would, but it wasn’t really the top of the priority thing.
Even with books, like I have so many books and a lot of them I’ve read, but I just hold onto them because I’m like, “I don’t know, I’ve made so many notes on them, and it’s hard to let go of. And right now my bookshelf, I have like my Saraswati statues, and my Buddhas, and it looks so good. I’m like, “Okay, I need to put my books on there.” But like even with my books, I’m going to be deliberate of what books am I going to actually read. Like there are going to be a few books that you’ve read and you’re holding onto for sentimental value, but a lot of these books are just things that, you know, I got somewhere and I thought I want to read, and I’m really never going to read them. So it’s just I’m way better off just donating them to a place so someone else who actually wants to read it can have it. So I’ve been doing a lot of donating, a lot of letting go, a lot of clearing space, and I’m excited to see where it brings me.
So this morning I went to a dance class that I go to quite often, called Island Grooves. It is a Caribbean-based dance class, which is the Caribbean is obviously you know where it is, but they do a lot of soca dancing, which is the carnival-style dancing. It’s very energetic, lots of dancing, there’s dancehall dancing, there’s different sections from the Caribbean. There’s so many different styles, and you know, every time I leave this class I feel so just juicy. I feel like, you know, just busting out a move, I feel joyful, I feel in my body. And it’s something that I’ve noticed my whole life, I’ve been a dancer my whole life, but different kinds of dance bring forth different types of energy.
So you know, sometimes when you do like a ballet class, you leave and you feel amazing, but it’s a different feeling than when you leave a hip hop class, or when you leave a salsa session. And that’s always really interested me. So I grew up dancing from the time I was three years old, I became a competitive dancer when I was in eighth grade, and was competing all around New England, mostly hip hop dancing. I performed with the Boston Celtics, and I would also just do my own different kinds. I started training in African dance, doing a lot of salsa, started belly dancing when I was 15. I performed belly dance at places when I was 16. When I moved to India I was performing with a tribal fusion belly dance, the international crew.
So I’ve always been a dancer, it’s always been like my favorite form of art and expression. But obviously, you know, life gets in the way, and you get busy, and as I mentioned in episode 49, my 27 lessons in 27 years, just a true reminder to me to like actually go, keep going to these dance classes because they make me so happy, and embodied. And something that, you know, yoga does it, Pilates does it, but dance brings this element of joy and light that I feel like nothing else does. Because it’s not about going deep and in, it’s just letting it all out, right? And just having fun, and being silly, and being playful, and experimenting. And I think we all really need more of that.
So something that I’ve noticed throughout my life, and I’ve always kind of had conversations about dances, and how they’re related to chakras. So if you haven’t listened to my episode about what chakras are. I think it’s in episode 40-something, or 30-something, you’ll just have to look. And I talk a lot about the chakra system. So I suggest knowing a little bit about the chakras before you listen to this episode because it’s going to help you understand what I’m talking about better.
But just as a little refresher, the chakras are essentially energy centers in the body. We have seven of them, and they relate to different things both physically and emotionally. So the role of the chakra system is really to help regulate human energy. And you could also call it your aura, or your energetic matrix, or we have different words for it, but it’s essentially your energy field. So it includes your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of your being.
So everyone has seven chakras. No one only has one. Everyone has all seven. And everything we do influences these chakras in a way. Some of us are born with some chakras more powerful than others, some of us were born with chakras depleted. Some of it is cultural, some of it is past life related, some of it is upbringing. These things can all change it, but it just gives you a really good understanding of how you are, how you relate the mind-body connection. And the chakra system originates from the vedic teaching, the vedas are the world’s oldest written pieces of literature that the term really means knowledge. So it’s not even just stories, but it’s really information on how to live your life. So Ayurveda is part of the vedas, it’s the science of life. How can you live a healthy life? Yoga is part of the vedas, vedic astrology, vastusutra, which is what feng shui comes from, actually comes form the vedas.
So most things, philosophical, spiritual type things actually have vedic origins, and then they took different forms. So chakra comes from vedic history. So chakra is essentially the term for these different wheels and energy centers that live inside of you. So, let’s dive into how they relate to different kinds of dance. So, if you guys don’t know the seven chakras, they are the root chakra, which is the very bottom of your body. It’s in charge of survival. So it is very fight or flight, it’s very passionate, it’s very primal, it’s very “ooh, I want this. Oh, I don’t want this.” It knows, it feels, it embodies, it’s connected to earth, right? So imagine your root is the bottom of your body. It’s your perineum, it’s your legs and your hips, and your thighs. And it’s anchoring you down into earth. So when we think of that, we think root chakra, okay?
Then your sacral chakra, your sacral chakra is right below your belly button area, it’s kind of your genitalia, and that is—as you can imagine—it’s lust, and it’s sensuality, and it’s infatuation, and it’s romance, and it’s feeling it. But not as much, you know, root chakra sexuality and this like “ooh, I want you, I’m going to rip your clothes off. Yeah, let’s do it now.” That’s root chakra sexuality where a sacral chakra is more sensuality. It’s not even sexuality, it’s more, “Mm, yeah, ooh, I would love to love you. Oh, I’d love to caress your hair and stare into your eyes, and really merge our bodies together.” It’s very tantric in nature. So that’s the sacral chakra.
Then solar plexus, which is right like on our stomach digestive area. That is “this is me, this is who I am. I am strong, I am powerful, I am assertive.” It’s in charge of your identity. So think ego, not in a bad way. I think a lot of us in the spiritual world have heard ego is a bad thing. We need egos to survive. Ego just means identity, it means personality. If we didn’t have egos then we would all just be nothingness. So it’s that sense of ego, that sense of self. I am this, I am that, I am powerful, I am strong, I’m assertive, I am a goddess, I am a warrior, I am a leader. Those types of energies, which we all need to have.
We all need to have all of these chakras. And none are better than any other, they are all equally important. For someone to be an embodied, enlightened or whatever you want to call it, being a whole person you need to have all seven chakras balanced. If you’re only focused on one, if you’re only trying to be all up in the third eye or down in the root, you’re not going to be balanced. But there are different things we can do that activate different ways, and that’s what I’m going to talk about in the form of dance.
So heart chakra is in charge of love. And not love in a romantic sense, but love in a worldly sense. Of just, you know, when you wake up and you’re like, “Ah, I’m just in love with the world. Yes, yes, yes!” And you’re just like ecstatic, and you feel this ecstasy rolling through your body, and it’s just you being in love with life. Oh yeah! So that’s heart chakra going on right there. It’s just a deep sense of mm… in love with this earth.
And throat chakra, throat chakra is communication, it’s chanting, it’s poetry, it’s music, it’s sound, it’s expression, it’s me being able to use my mind and transform it into these syllables of sound that are protruding through this microphone, through this wire into this computer out into the ethos where you are hearing it. Wow, amazing. So that’s throat chakra going on. It’s transmution of message, sound, vibration.
So third eye chakra, third eye chakra is between your two eyebrows, and that is your intuitive nature, it’s your ability to see the unseen, right? What I talked about in episode 50, how we are all transmuting from five-dimensional to multidimensional beings. This is what I was talking about. We are using our intuition more. We’re not limited to the five senses. We’re not, “Oh, if I don’t see it, I don’t believe it.” We’re saying, “Wow, there’s a lot I can’t see. I can’t see x-ray vision, but I know it exists. I can’t see infrared, I know it exists. I can’t see radio waves, I can’t see all of these energies that we know about that are part of science, I can’t see it, but we believe it.”
So how come we don’t believe in energy in terms of reiki, in terms of picking up on vibes and those types of things. So people have open third eyes. They’re like of course energy exists, of course this stuff is real. Like it’s not made up, whereas people with closed third eyes would be like, “Show me the hard science. I’m not going to believe it if you don’t show me the research.” Whereas science is just theory that has eventually been proven, but if you’re a true scientist like Albert Einstein, he’s like, “Yeah, imagination is the biggest part of science because if we don’t imagine what we cannot see, how can we think of theories?” So that’s third eye, it’s the ability to see the unseen, it’s intuition.
And lastly, we have our crown chakra, which is technically above our bodies. It’s from the top of our heads, going outwards into the universe. And that is basically out ability to receive downloads and messages from the universe. It’s our ability to get higher insights to see the bigger picture. To not get stuck in the day to day and see how interconnected we all are. It’s truly oneness. It’s not seeing just the devices and the differences, but seeing that we all are these humans who have chosen to reincarnate on this planet for experiences to help not alienate, but take our shadows out and really bring them to surface so we can transmute them into life. That we’ve actually chosen this journey and it was meant to be hard because that’s the work we need to do to go from darkness back into life.
So, when your crown chakra’s opened, you’re like, “Yeah, totally.” And for sure, for a lot of us, it takes time to open, it takes a lot, a lot of time. If this was me listening like six years ago, I’d be like, “Uh, this girl’s weird.” But it takes time to realize that everything happens for a reason, and that there’s a greater plan. And free will is a huge part of it, but we were all put on this planet for different purposes, and it’s all part of this divinely orchestrated universal play that we are all just actors in. So that’s really like a crown chakra download that one gets when one’s crown chakra is open.
So let’s talk about it in terms of dance. So let’s start with the root chakra. Now the root chakra is the base of the body. So when I think root chakra, I think going downwards, being rooted, being grounded, being primal, being mm, yes, this is what I want. I can feel it in my body. And I do, as I mention, a lot of dancehall dancing, a style of dance from Jamaica. And this is literally what my teacher tells me every day. She’s like, “I don’t believe it, I need to see it. I need to feel you feeling it. I need to be tingly when I see you dancing. That’s how embodied you need to be.”
And for a lot of us that didn’t grow up in cultures like Jamaica where sexuality is not something to be ashamed of. That at the time you’re young you’re just dancing, and you’re letting out, and there’s no reason to be shameful about it. For the rest of us, who totally raise your hand if you’ve been shameful about sexuality in the past. Of course, I have. For us, it’s hard. So that’s why for me, dancehall dancing is medicine. It’s like really it’s self-work. It’s going back down into the body and feeling the root and not thinking, just letting it sink in.
You know, and when we’re in the dancehall class, we go down across the floor and she does a dance move, and she goes back and forth between the feminine and the masculine—(inaudible)[16:08]. And we go back and forth, and one move will be like a wine, a wine is like moving and circling your hips. And you know, the touch themselves a lot in Jamaica. It’s not something to be ashamed of. It’s like yeah, I love this body. So you’re touching your breasts, and you’re touching your thighs, and you’re just juicing yourself up the same way that a lover would touch you, you’re touching yourself.
And you’re going across the dance floor, and then the feminine is attitude. That’s what she said. She’s like, “Bring in the attitude.” So you’re like mm-mm, you can’t touch this. You want it, but you can’t touch it. And it’s like this beautiful root chakra energy that we don’t get to express. Like mm-hmm, I’m fly, but you can’t have this. And then the masculine energy, which we all—as men and women—we’re all masculine and feminine, so in the feminine it’s energy. The masculine energy is energy. So it’s whoo, it’s jumping, it’s going all out, it’s going low, going high, changing levels. And that’s how it expresses itself. The feminine is it’s slow, it’s deliberate, it’s mm-hmm, you want this, no, no, no, no, no, honey. And then the masculine is like whoo, I’mma show you that you need this, basically.
So we can see this beautiful dance of the masculine, feminine in this root chakra dance. So with dancehall dance, African dance, hip hop dance, aborigines dance, Native American dances, many of them are root chakra. They’re low to the ground, and African dance you’re squatting the whole time. If your legs are straight, you are not African dancing. You are low to the ground, your hips are down, they are rooted, and your energy is coming from below. The whole time you are dancing, the energy is coming from earth. Nothing is coming from up, it is all coming from earth. Everything starts from the lower part.
And it’s not like in belly dance where you have to isolate the bodies. Everything’s moving, everything’s flowing. They don’t want you to all look the same, you’re not supposed to look the same. That’s the whole beauty of these root chakra dances. It’s really embodying your individuality. It’s saying, yes, this is who I am, I’m wild, I’m raw, I’m primal, I’m an animal, and that’s freaking sexy. So we all, I think this is the number one thing that Americans need to work on is embodying that root chakra.
And you’ll listen to the next episode with my shamanic teacher, Malaika, she is an African dance extraordinaire, and she created five-element shamanic dance, which I’m a teacher of as well. And I met her because I was one of her African dance students. And always, always, always she’s like, “I can feel you thinking. And if I can feel you thinking, it’s not right. It’s connecting with the drummers. The drummers are in the front of the room playing, and how can I embody their drumbeat with my body movements?” How can I show them—(knocking)—if you can hear that, how can I show that with the rhythm of my hips and my thighs. And how can I get lower, and how can I do something that no one can expect?
That is root chakra dance. Even hip hop dance, which came from African dance. Hip hop dance, it’s still very low to the ground, you lean forward a lot, it’s a lot of big, low movements. It’s coming down, the energy is moving downwards. So that’s all the same. You know, step dancing, I used to do a lot of step, which is basically using your body as an instrument. And the history of that is when the slaves of Africa were on the ship being literally taken from West Africa over to the Caribbean and the triangle trade, they didn’t have musical instruments. And since they didn’t have musical instruments, I mean they can’t go without music, so they said, “Well, how can I use my body as an instrument?”
So it turned into—(snapping, drumming)—but using your body as an instrument to create beats, and that became the dance. You were the instrument and the dance, like that is root chakra in essence right there. It’s how can I work with what I got? How can I just really, really pay honor to what I have right now? Not turn into something, not try to isolate it, not try to perfect it and point my toes, and look up, and stand straight, that’s not root chakra. Root chakra is saying how can I be as me as humanly possible? Because that is how mother earth created me.
So root chakra, it’s the dance I’m probably the most passionate about, especially at this time, because connecting to my root chakra has been the thing that has taken me from confused, not sure, really smart, but still not sure where to take it, to embodied, and powerful, and knowing what I want. It’s been through African dancing, through dancehall dancing, through hip hop dancing, through Native American, and shamanic dancing. These are actually the most powerful forms of self-work I have ever done.
So root chakra dancing, I mean you can find it anywhere. I used to, when I lived in Boston, there’s a place called Cambridge Dance Center, and they have African dancing almost every day. Most people there are from Africa, live drummers everywhere. But if you just go online and look up “African dancing,” or hip hop dancing you can find anywhere, but I think African and dancehall really, really embody it because the hip hop has actually moved up. A lot of hip hop has also become about like how do I look, and is this right, and then dance move, and the choreography, and it gets super in the head.
If there’s choreography you have to remember, you’ve moved up to the head. Whereas when you’re truly African, or Native America, or dancehall dancing, there’s no choreography. There might be a move, but everyone’s just doing it differently, and that’s the whole point of it. So that’s how you open up that root chakra, connecting to your ground, connecting to your primal energy, and that’s the base of your entire being, right? You can’t build a skyscraper when the base is wobbly. So if your root chakra is not rooted to the ground, if you’re not receiving that earth energy, it doesn’t matter how many books you read, doesn’t matter how smart you are, doesn’t matter how anything.
You know, people who are really good at talking, they’re really smart, but you’re just not feeling it? You’re like, yeah, you’re saying all the right things, but I’m just not feeling the energy. It’s cause they haven’t worked on that root chakra, they’re not connected. Whereas when a root chakra person’s talking, you just want to listen. Like Tony Robbins, his root chakra is on. So when he comes up on that stage, he can say whatever he wants, but it’s coming from a full power place of embodiment. And he’s always talking about the work he does on himself, on making sure his body is aligned. Because when your body is aligned, then it makes the work so much easier. And it’s the only way for it to believable because everyone can feel your energy, and energy never lies. So root chakra, guys, this is the work right here.
So now let’s move up to sacral chakra, which is still in the lower part of the body, the second chakra. And that’s the chakra of ooh, yes, I love you, come over here and be my amante. So this is the chakra of the feminine nature. So, the root chakra is very primal, and it’s masculine, and it’s like bom, bom, yeah, yeah. Whereas sacral is like mm, ooh hoo, yes, no, maybe. So, sacral chakra dances, belly dance is a really, really good example. Belly dance has also been so healing, it’s probably the dance I’ve done the most practice and the most work on, and it’s something that came very easily to me because of my background as a Middle Eastern person, and many past lives as being in harems and things like that.
So belly dance is something that feels really, really good on my body. And for a lot of women, it’s a kind of movement that we’re craving. Because sometimes with the root chakra dances, it can be a lot on the body, especially if you don’t come from that background. If you’ve never done these kind of dances before, and it’s just your first time going into it, it can be a lot. It’s a lot of energy, it’s a lot of jumping, it’s a lot of being low to the ground. So for some people, it’s so far out there. Whereas with the belly dance, you’re standing most of the time, and belly dancing your knees are always slightly bent, but there’s very few times you’re like dropping low. Like you might just drop low to the floor and get back up while you’re balancing a tray of candles on your head, but you’re never like squatting or bending over.
It’s very like mm, like a stripper, you know. Strippers are always very straight up, and they have curves in their body, but they’re rarely—I mean, they could be twerking, but it’s more like I’m thinking of a pole dancer. So that a pole dancer would be very sacral chakra. So belly dancing, Hawaiian hula dancing, it’s all in the hips. It’s feminine, they’re not bending, they do very sexy movements, but it’s still very in the feminine. Tango dancing, it’s mm, I love you, and it’s playing a game. With tango dancing, especially tango Argentine, there’s no rules.
You know, when I started practicing tango it was so hard for me because as a dancer, I’m like what’s the choreography, what’s the move, like what am I supposed to do, and there’s no move. You just feel that other person. As the woman, you actually can’t initiate any movement. It’s totally being in the receptive state. So when that guy moves left, you have to move left and make it pretty. And maybe add in a little flicker of your foot, or a little twirl, or move in for that back bend.
So it’s totally being in that receptive state, which for most of us as women in this day and age is freaking impossible. I know for me, it still is the hardest thing because we are like okay, how can I make things happen? How can I get things done? And so many of us, we’ve had our hearts broken, and our trusts disobeyed. So we can’t fully surrender. You’re not going to back bend and you’re not sure if that person’s going to catch you. But with the tango dance, with the feminine, that sacral chakra, it’s total trust.
Bachata, bachata is a kind of dance from the Dominican Republic. So if you ever listen to Aventura, they’re a bachata group. Amazing music, you should definitely listen to it. It’s spelled Aventura, but it’s Aventura, and bachata dance is also, it’s the same beat that your legs entwined to each other, and you kick your knees up into each other’s groin area. So you’re literally like kind of pedestaled onto each other, and you just keep going back and forth, and it’s very, very close. You’re chest-to-chest. It’s like it’s about to get on when you’re doing that dance, but it’s so romantic.
And when you see it, just my heart flutters just thinking about it. When I see these older couples bachata dancing and you can just feel the love and feel how much they’re connecting with each other, and they’re holding each other. And just like yes, just give your all to me and I will embrace, and I will take it and love you for it. Salsa, salsa tambien, it’s very emotional, it’s feelings, it’s erotic, it can be slow, but it can be also flirtatious. So think of that when you think of sacral chakra, belly dancing, salsa, bachata, tango, and hula dancing. So feminine, sensual nature.
Now solar plexus, solar plexus is the identity chakra in the middle of the body, so it’s kind of the third, and it’s the one that anchors in the bottom two, and then the top two, and then we have the crown chakra, which is sort of up above. So this is the in between one. So this dance it’s very kind of masculine, powerful, it’s athletic, it’s viral, it’s fighting, it’s dramatic, it is the kind of dance that you do when you’re like whoo. So I like to think of Greek line dancing, right? If you’ve ever watched that Greek wedding movie, I forget what it’s called. They’re like Greek line dancing, hoppa, and that’s a very like it’s communal, but it’s strong, and they’re jumping.
Arabic dancing is also the same way. A lot of line dancing and Arabic weddings you put your arms on each other’s shoulders. I was just at an Arabic wedding with my boyfriend who’s Arab, and it’s very masculine, you know. The belly dance, no, but belly dancing is not a social dance. People don’t show up at the party and start like belly dancing for each other. There might be a belly dancer performer, but it’s not a social dance. It’s more of a performance dance. Whereas the social communal dances are line dancing.
I used to study an Egyptian type of line dancing in college, and it was done with a stick. So it was called saidi dance, saidi dance. And you do it with a stick, and you’re pushing the stick into the ground, and it actually comes from the nomadic people in Egypt. They also have this in Morocco and in Tunisia, and it’s asserting power, and it’s like this is who I am. I’m proud of my tribe. My tribe is the best. I am part of this great strong community.
And when you look at just the history of those regions in the Middle East, and all of this Persian empire, Ottoman empire type area, it was war, lots of war going on. So their dances reflected like this is my tribe, this is my crew, we are powerful, we are strong, we are united. And you can see that in their dance. It’s very, very, very powerful, purposeful and clearly defined. So when you think of solar plexus dance, think line dancing, Middle Eastern, Greek, Moroccan, Tunisian.
Also one is capoeira. So capoeira is a Brazilian form of dance martial arts. Maybe you’ve seen it before, but they have these beautiful capoeira instruments, and two people come, and it’s like they’re mock fighting. And they’re doing these karate moves, but they’re not actually fighting each other. It’s a dance. And you have to be very athletic to do capoeira, and it’s mostly done by men, but now there are a lot of women doing it. And you’re kicking, and you’re jumping, and you’re leaping, and it’s very, very, very like battlesome, but you’re not actually fighting each other.
So capoeira is a great example of a solar plexus where a samba, which is the feminine form of Brazilian dance, it’s down in the sacral chakra. Because samba’s very like whoo, look at me. Like when you go to Brazilian carnival, it’s the samba dancing. But then you see the men come out doing the capoeira, and then that’s the solar plexus going on. So you see the difference between the feminine and the masculine chakras right there.
Now heart chakra. Heart chakra is that universal sense of love, of joy, and compassion. So when I think of this, I think a lot of Sufi whirling. So Sufism is a form of Islam that is about having a devotional and romantic relationship with the divine. So for example, Rumi, and Hafez, and all of these beautiful Persian poets who I was fortunate enough to grow up reading their work. It’s love poetry, but it’s not for a person, it’s for God. And God is the universe, it’s not one person in saying I’m in love with the skies, and the rivers, and the waters, and the trees. And oh, what joy you give me, I quiver when I look at. But it’s talking about the earth. So that’s what I think about when I think of heart chakra dancing.
So in Sufism, they do something called swirling. So you put your arms out on either side, and I recommend staring at a finger, and you just keep staring at that finger, and you swirl and swirl and swirl in circles. And you actually don’t get dizzy if you keep looking at that finger, and then you can move that finger up, and you can move it down. And it’s traditionally done, you wear a long red robe. And when I’ve been seeing Sufis all over, but in Iran where they come from, and then now in Turkey because they’ve gotten exiled by the government, and now a lot of them are also in India. These Sufis will whirl for actually days. I’m not kidding, days without eating, without drinking, without going to the bathroom because that is how connected they are with source at that moment. They’ve literally levitated out of their body. So in a way, Sufi whirling is actually very, very crown chakra as well.
So I think it’s a good combination of heart because it’s that really, really heart and romantic relationship with the divine. When you get very deep into it, it turns into crown. So either of these dances can move between chakras. Like I would say African is very root, but dancehall has a lot of sacral chakra elements, too. So you can see how they have kind of turn and move, and that’s the beauty of dance. It’s always changing and flowing, and it’s a reflection of culture. So heart chakra, anything back-bending.
We see back-bending in a lot of kind of dances, like in tango dancing, and ballroom dancing. I mean ballroom dancing, your chest is so open the whole time. You have to have that open chest because how else will you connect with your partner? The reason that this came to be is because when your chest is open, energetically you’re expanding your heart to that partner. So when you’re doing that waltz, you’re fully receiving that person, you’re staring into each other’s eyes, and it’s a heart-to-heart connection. It doesn’t matter if you’re romantic or not. Because you’re just truly loving and experiencing each other in that moment. So that’s a great example of a heart chakra dance.
And anything I think of that’s a feel good dance. So you know, like that weird dance you do in your room when you’re by yourself and just kind of kooky and funny? I consider that a total heart chakra dance because you’re not doing it to be sexy. You’re not doing it to be like I’m one with my tribe or anything like that. You’re just doing it cause it feels good. So I think that like kind of funky thing you do in the mirror before you get into that shower, right after too, that’s a heart chakra dance, honey. Love it.
So let’s get into the throat chakra. So throat chakra is communication. So that’s any dance where voice and dance are woven together. So a really good example of this is I think of Native American dancing, so Native American dancing is they stand around a fire, and it’s a lot of “way wa wa wa, way wa wa wa, way.” And it’s the marching, and then someone will come in with like a “hi ya hi ya.”
And I love to listen to Tribe Called red, they’re a really, really great Native American DJ duo that comes from the rez. The reservation, and they really bring in that sacred Native American sound with fun electronic music. So Tribe Called Red, they’re my absolute favorite ever. I was fortunate enough to go to their set at Coachella a few years ago, and it was literally a Native American pow wow. They were all dressed up, they brought in all of their homies from the rez, and we were just chanting, and screaming, and jumping. I’ve had so many past lives as a Native American that I’m like yes, I love it. So it’s bringing the voice and the dance together.
So, also in Hawaii, chants and dance were always combined to communicate a story. You know, they hula dance, but actually when they’re hulaing, it’s not just to be sexy. It’s actually they’re telling a story. That’s what they’re doing with their arms. So that’s a really good example. And then they oftentimes will chant with it, and that’s the throat chakra. In ancient Egyptian dance, dance was actually recited with poetry in the past. So in the saidi culture and things like that, there was a lot of dance that was telling a story as they were doing the movement.
In Tibetan dance as well, there would be mystical rituals that the monks would perform while chanting and making their delicate movements with the body. So you see more in Asian cultures the dance tends to be in the higher chakras. It’s they don’t really move the lower body, and I’ll talk more about my experiences studying Balinese dance for some time, but it’s very, very up here up in the hands and in the eyes. And you see, you just see culturally Asian cultures tend to be the energy is more in the higher chakras, whereas Latin American, African, Middle Eastern cultures tend to be more in the lower body. So it’s really interesting, it’s kind of anthropological to see how dance and culture is interconnected, incorporating the chakra, the spiritual perspective.
So I mean, I just geek out on this stuff, I could talk about it forever. So we see anything dance and chat related—Egyptian, Tibetan, Native American—and you can also, you know, do yoga while doing bhakti, while doing chants, and that’s a good expression. But the thing about yoga is with yoga, you’re doing postures. You know, you’re in the masculine. Yoga’s a masculine practice. That’s what people don’t understand. People think, oh, I’m doing a girly exercise. Yoga was actually never allowed for women, historically. Women were not allowed to practice, only men were. Actually, only very recent that women are allowed to be practiced. Yoga was created for young boys to repress their urges and settle down the nervous energy in their bodies so they could sit down and meditate. That’s actually what yoga comes from.
So when we’re doing yoga, we’re actually working our masculine side. Because where it’s structured, the surya namaskars are activating our stillness. Stillness is masculine. People think, “Oh, if you’re moving, that’s masculine. If you’re still, that’s feminine.” No, a lot of movement is masculine, and stillness is masculine. Either side of that spectrum is masculine. The feminine is in between. It’s neither whoo-hoo, wild movement, nor is it stillness. It’s just always moving and it’s always flowing. I think of it like water, water is never still. Air is never still.
So the feminine, you know, it’s like I am so in my feminine when I dance. But like the choreography stops and I’m still kind of like going on the corner, and still moving, right? Do you guys ever do that? Our teacher’s done in between songs, and you still keep dancing? That’s your feminine energy, that’s like no, I want to keep going, I want to keep going. But then some people like the choreography starts and they go all out, and they kill it, and then they’re like huffing, puffing, not dancing. And the next time they go on and they kill it. That’s dancing for masculine, whereas feminine is you’re not using all of your energy, but you’re always using some energy. So that’s a dance in the feminine.
So a lot of the higher chakra dances tend to be more in the feminine because they’re more still, and fluid, and delicate, and you might just miss it if you’re not looking. Whereas the root chakra dancers, no way you’re missing that shit. It’s like boom, here I am, what’s up. Whereas I’ll talk more about Balinese dance, which was a crazy dance to learn, but it’s like your eyeballs are doing the dance move. A lot of the dance moves are your eyeballs, literally.
So throat chakra, we got that. Third eye chakra. I love doing these kinds of dances because they’re so embodying and ceremonial. So third chakra is that space between our two eyebrows, and it’s in charge of intuition. So when our third eyes are open, we are open to altered states of consciousness. So anything that is ritualistic, and medicinal, and kind of going into a trance in a way is third eye chakra. So third eye chakra, it’s very insightful. It’s telling a story, it’s you’re seeing deeper of what’s going on in the body, or going past that into ooh, like what does this really mean?
So I think of Indian dance, especially traditional kathak, natyam, these types of Indian dances, odissi, classical dance is another great. There’s so many different kinds of Indian dance, but in Indian dance, it’s a lot of eye movements, too. You move your eye side to side, you move your head. Of course, we all know that, side to side. It’s a lot of mudras, mudras are positions with your hands. So there’s so many mudras, and they all tell a story. Indian classical dance is always telling mystical stories from the “Bhagavad Gita,” which is the classical Hindu scripture, or the “Ramayana.” And it’s telling a story about Krishna. You know, there’s mudras for Krishna, there’s mudras for Ganesha, there’s mudras for every single deity. So it’s very, very third eye. It’s a spiritual practice, truly that’s what it is.
So if you ever have a chance to see an Indian ballet, I definitely recommend going. It’s nothing like the ballet that you’ve been to. It’s a totally Indian classical dance. But it’s in a very traditional sense that it’s telling a story without any words. You go through like the same way the “Nutcracker” is actually telling a story with no words. The same was an Indian traditional ballet. That’s very, very third eye chakra. I mean, you see that even a lot of the dance moves, you’ll have your mudras, and you’re moving out from that space between the third eye. You’re pointing to the third eye. A lot of the moves are based on bringing attention to the third eye.
So Indian classical dance is like the number one third eye dance, but Balinese dance. So Balinese dance is actually originating from India with the local Indonesian ties. Because Bali is the only Hindu island in Indonesia. Indonesia’s a Muslim country, world’s largest Muslim population. So the Hindus actually came to Bali, and it stayed a Hindu island, so there’s a lot of Indian influence, still. So Balinese dance has that Indian classical mysticism, but at the same time, it brings in a lot of the Balinese local traditions. So if you’ve ever been to Bali, I definitely recommend seeing their beautiful dances, but it’s a lot with the eyes. But in Indian dance, it’s the eyes are more like side to side, and they’re kind of coy, and they’re like oh, do you want me? Like my dad will say no. You know, in Bollywood movies we see that.
Whereas Balinese dancing it’s like they bring their eyes really, really wide. Like when I was training in it, it was like bring your eyes so wide that you feel like they’re going to pop out. And I would literally get scared because I was like what if my eyes pop out? Like I’m literally scared. Like right now, wherever you are, try to open your eyes really wide, and like keep going. It’s actually really scary because we’re like so not used to it. So the dance will be like you bring your eyes wide, and then close, and then wide again. And with your body you’re doing the same like ebb and flow coordinated with the eye balls. It’s very hard to explain, so I recommend just Googling it, but it’s very, very third eye. It’s very, very expressive.
And also if you go to Bali, I recommend going to Uluwatu, and going to this beautiful temple that’s there, it’s like their main temple. And you can see them do the Balinese classical dance, and they tell the whole story of their traditional tale. And it’s all through dance and movement. So Balinese dance it’s very eyes, hands, upper body, and your lower body is still. There’s no hip movement, your feet aren’t like really thumping. Your lower body is still, and it’s all going on in the upper body ,the face, the hands. And the hand movements are all up here with your head. So it’s all activating that third chakra.
And then lastly, we have the crown chakra. So the crown chakra is that space above our heads, transmuting universal wisdom up from above, into our body vessels. So this is really just dance as a spiritual discipline. It’s truly ritualistic dance. In the vedas it’s called charya nritya, so it literally means dances as a spiritual practice. That’s what this means.
So it’s devotional, it is doing a dance to connect with the higher spirits. And every culture has this, and shamanic practice, that’s why they danced. They danced so the spirits would come out. You’ll listen to the next episode with my teacher, Malaika, when she was living in Africa, she mentioned on the podcast, too, how they would dance and dance all night, and then about 6:00 in the morning, the ancestors would come. So that’s why they’re doing the dance, they’re dancing because they’re doing these movements that have been passed down generationally that these movements are actually opening up stored memories in our bodies.
I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this in a dance class or a yoga class. You’re doing a dance move and you like remember something you’ve never thought of before. Or maybe you see a vision of something that you’ve actually never seen in this life. You’re literally moving out stored memories that are somatically inside of your body. Because our bodies store everything. Everything you’ve ever experienced is stored in your movement. So a certain movement will bring that out. When I started belly dancing, I was getting all of these waves of insights of me being stuck in a harem, of not being able to leave, being trapped, wanting to see the world, wanting to experience things and not being able to because I was stuck.
And so for me, belly dancing was a huge way of really breaking through those ancestral bonds, and embodying my sensuality and seeing that no, this is not for a man, this is not for the prince or the king or whoever I was dancing for in that life. This is for me. So you’ll feel that when you’re dancing, when you’re shamanic dancing, you’re part of a community you might remember or feel. Like I’ve done this before, I’ve been part of a community. Or maybe when you’re Balinese, you’re Indian dancing, and you’re expressing your devotion to the divine, something comes through.
So this is why we dance. We dance to experience these higher parts of ourselves through the body. Because the body is really the spiritual vessel, right? We learn so much in spirituality like oh, leave the body, leave the body. Meditate so you don’t leave the body. Imagine your energy leaving the body. That’s great, but that’s not what we came to this world to do. I mean if we came to this world to leave the body we would all just be dead, right? Why are we here if we’re supposed to just leave the body?
We leave the body eventually, but our work is to be in the body. Our work is to make this body your friend, and to learn the secrets, and the tales, and the purpose of this body so we can use that to break through whatever karmic bonds that we were born with, and reading and expand into that highest version of us. And that’s when we can leave our bodies, and we know that the work has been done. So dance is a spiritual practice. It is nothing less.
So spiritual practice does not mean sitting in lotus pose, and meditation, and thinking about nothing, and discriminating your body and saying oh, I want nothing to do with you ego, I want nothing to do with you. To be spiritual means to be nothing, nothing, nothing. That is a spiritual practice for sure, but it’s a masculine one. You know, the masculine energy says sit, meditate, think of nothing, stillness. Whereas anyone that’s operating from a more feminine energy, whether you’re a man or woman, that is really hard for you. Because the way that you express and the way that you experience the divine is through movement.
Because the feminine, the shakti, is always moving, it’s always flowing, it’s always twirling and swirling. As I said, it’s getting juiced up on that corner while everyone’s still dancing. It’s always, always, always in flow like water. So if you’re operating from a more feminine perspective, your spiritual practice will be the dance. Will be the yoga, will be the movement, will be that embodiment. So I think it’s important for us to know that there can be many, many types of spiritual practices, many, many types of meditation and dance is a really amazing one. So crown chakra is experiencing dance as a sacred meditative form of movement. You can be still, you can be fluid, you can be anything when it’s seeing dance as meditation.
I did this one week-long dance festival in India at this place called Zorba the Buddha in Delhi, I did this like probably three years ago during New Years. It was called Nataraja, Nataraja is the Shiva’s form of dancing, dancing Shiva. Shiva is a deity in Hinduism. And the Nataraja Dance Festival is a week-long dance meditation kind of experience. I don’t even know what else to call it. And very, very powerful, you work through a lot of stuff, you’re doing chakra dances like this, like dancing through your chakras, you’re dancing through…
I teach something called Dance Your Doshas, so I was teaching that there, and I teach that still at my retreats and my workshops. Dancing through your vata, your pitta, your kapha. And I can do another episode explaining more about Dance Your Doshas, but there’s so many practices. There’s five rhythms, there’s five elements, which my teacher Malaika will talk about next week. There’s so many different kinds of dance out there, and it’s so amazing to see that this is a spiritual practice that’s available for us, that doesn’t cost any money, that doesn’t take any time. All it takes is committing yourself to really, really, really becoming friends with your body and seeing that your body is just a reflection of your ancestry and your history.
And that the problem that you have with your body are just reflections of things that you need to look deeper at in your life, you know. If you’re experiencing pain on a certain part of your body, what could that mean from a spiritual perspective? If you’re always having sore throats, maybe your throat chakra’s blocked. If you’re always having hip problems maybe you’re not using that root chakra. You’re experiencing menstrual problems, maybe you’re not experiencing sensuality in your life. Maybe you need to have more lust and romance.
If you’re experiencing digestive issues, maybe it’s an identity issue. I know, for me, that when I was experiencing really bad digestive issues, it’s cause I wasn’t sure who I was. I wasn’t sure what I was doing. Experiencing heart tightness and constriction heart attacks. It’s heart being closed, throat chakra I mentioned, it’s not communicating. Third eye, headaches, migraines, what are you not seeing that you need to be seeing? The unseeing, using that intuition. And then crown chakra is, again, I think all of your crown chakras are open if you’re listening to this, this far in because someone with a closed crown chakra would be like, “This is too weird. I can’t listen to this.”
So all of you guys know that we are put on this earth for a greater purpose, and we’re only beginning to understand how profound our lives are. And the most amazing part is we were meant to enjoy them, and as we’re doing the work, the work doesn’t have to be difficult, it can be a dance class, it can be a dance workshop, it can be twerking on your own room. There’s no dance that’s not sacred. Twerking is sacred, chanting is sacred, ballet is sacred. Everything is sacred.
So let’s stop the judgment of this is what a spiritual practice looks like, this is what it doesn’t look like. Anything can be spiritual, there’s no boundaries, there’s no—you know, that’s our ego, our bad ego sense, that ego that’s like, “Oh, it can only be like…” You know, there’s so much ego in the spiritual world that says, “I can only be spiritual if I meditate for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at night, and I write my dream journal, I do this.” Like that’s not a spiritual practice. Spiritual practice is actually communicating with the spirit, and that can be while you’re washing the dishes, or while you’re driving your car, or whatever it is. There’s no rules of spirit. That’s the beauty of it, it flows, it’s endless, it’s moving, it’s a dance.
It’s a dance, and your spiritual practice will always be one because sometimes you’re going to be on it, and sometimes you’re not. Sometimes you’re going to go to that dance class, and sometimes you’re going to take a few months off. And it’s just doing your best at any point in time. And knowing that what matters in life is you experiencing all aspects of your being. And sometimes we get stuck in certain parts, we get stuck in the productivity. I know that’s what I did last year, I was so stuck in the productivity that I didn’t have time to dance. But it’s not that I didn’t have time, I didn’t make it a priority because I would rather have done something that was more productive on a mental or career basis. But dancing is productive on a soul basis. It’s connecting me back to me with my roots. So there’s no hierarchy in what chakra’s better because all of them are equally as important to balance.
So, I’d like for you to take a few moments right now to really kind of assess now that you know about the chakras and their dance, what is the chakra the dance that doesn’t really feel comfortable for you, that feels sort of foreign and weird. The root, the Africa, the primal, the belly dance, the sensual, the seductive, the solar plexus, the powerful, the assertive. I want to add hip hop dancing has also become very solar plexus, too. The heart, the radiant love and joy. The throat chakra, expressing yourself while moving. Crown chakra, connecting with deeper intuition through movement. Or crown chakra, dance as a spiritual practice.
So whatever it is, comment it in “Mind Body Balancers” Facebook group, that is our “Highest Self” podcast Facebook group where we discuss everything that went down on the episode and connect with other likeminded souls. It’s available for anyone to join, just on Facebook look up “Mind Body Balancers” and I’ll accept you. And sign up for that dance class, find a place, an event that’s doing it, go on Eventbrite, go on Meetup.com, go on Facebook events. Find it, you’ll find it somewhere every city in the world has a dance center. There is not one place in the world that doesn’t have one.
And if there’s a dance that you do, that you love, maybe start a crew of it. Even if you’re not great at it, it doesn’t matter. You might know enough to just get it going, you can find a few people, like, “Hey, we all love to salsa, let’s go to this place on Tuesday nights and salsa dance. Hey, we all want to learn belly dancing.” I mean the beauty is now, there’s so much stuff on YouTube. You go on YouTube and you look up how do I Sufi whirl, how do I Native American chant, how do I do Egyptian Saidi dance? And you’ll find it, you’ll find Balinese, you’ll find kathak, you’ll find Bharatanatyam, you’ll find everything on YouTube.
So thank god for this amazing time that we’ve reincarnated, but the most important part of these dances is to make it social and connect with others. So if you can do it in person with other people, that will be amazing and a great way to embody the practice. So, I’m so excited to hear about what dance comes naturally for you, what dance you’re working on, if there’s another kind of dance. I know there’s lots of other dances that I did not mention—tap dancing, ballet, jazz—and I could go on forever about these dances, so I just gave some very clear examples of each of them, but we can hop on the “Mind Body Balancers” group and we can all be like, “Oh, I feel like tap dancing would be…” I mean I feel like tap dancing would be hard, but it’s also kind of like in your mind too because you have to be really attentive. But we can go on and geek out about dances and chakras in the group.
And if you loved this episode, I would love to send you a little gift for reviewing it. All you have to do is leave a review in the iTunes store. You can do it on your phone or on your computer, look up “Highest Self” podcast on iTunes store, and I will send you the first half of my unreleased book, “Eat Right For Your Mindy Body Type.” This is a book that my first book about Ayurveda that I ever wrote comparing it with modern sports nutrition, and it’s a book that is not going to be released—at least, not that I know of—and has never been seen before, and I want to share it with you. So, all you have to do is leave a review on the iTunes store, take a screenshot of it, or a screenshot that you wrote the review. Say, “Thank you for writing a review, take a screenshot of that,” that’s cool, and send it to me. My email is Sahara, S-A-H-A-R-A, @eat, E-A-T, feel, F-E-E-L, fresh, F-R-E-S-H.com. Send me a screenshot of your review, and I will email you back the first half of my unreleased book, “Eat Right For Your Mind Body Type.”
So thank you so much for tuning in. Thank you so much for dancing and for shining your light. And I look forward to sharing with you the next episode, which is an interview with my teacher, Malaika, who is the creator of Five Elements Shamanic Dance Activation. So this is going to be our dance juicy embodiment week, and really excited to experience it with you. Namaste.
Episode 054 – How To Balance Your Chakras Through Dance with Sahara Rose