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Dancing To Freedom

Updated: Jul 22

Dancing does have a beginning and it even has an end, until it begins and ends again, its a constant cycle with continuous stories. Enjoy the dance!

Each year I am inspired to write a blog as this transition from 1 year to another takes place, each time allowing me to reflect on many aspects I have experienced through life. Addiction playing a big part in mine and my families life, now I realise a much more global affair as our need to fix ourselves to avoid looking at ourselves is much more common and widespread than I gave recognition for.

So each time I write on this subject I contemplate on how to define addiction and how to overcome it, to what that even looks like! I have taught yoga in drug & Alcohol rehab centres, taught courses, retreats and workshops on this subject, giving one to one mentoring, studied through different philosophies, read countless books, listened to podcasts and each time I have a different take on it.

However, what I have seen grow globally and personally and understood more is how dancing helps to make sense of it all. Hmmmmm... How?

Going back to my 20s (I'm 41 now) I found freedom in dance, usually on a dance floor out of my face on ecstasy, but in this place, I was present, nothing else mattered in this moment of pure bliss! I knew at the time the drugs were not the thing I was looking for but it helped to find the thing I was looking for! The irony of addiction and the meaning of lack of connection to finding a connection. However, after my 3rd child and daughter at 26, I stopped all this for a while and found a choreographer who led Madonnas & Justin Timberlake's dancers who happened to be in MK theatre teaching, this structure and the pure passion he taught from took me to a place I hadn't experienced before. For the first time, I experienced a sense of freedom! I learnt to trust my body, I learnt to connect to my soul, I was still massively out of tune to my true purpose but it didn't matter when I danced.

This didn't last and I soon found drugs and partying again, maybe I was seeking a deeper sense of connection, I would battle with guilt that I wasn't being authentic in my life, hiding my actions to my family and putting on a face to the rest of the world to let you know I had it all under control, scared to enter my truth.

My seeking continued but I missed that deep connection I would find in dance through taking drugs, I wondered how I would connect to this space without harming myself or others. This is when I found Yoga, the union of self, it ticked every box for me in so many ways, it opened me up to another form of expression, it taught me I am not my mind. It helped me to detach from pain, I am so deeply grateful for these teachings and will honour them for the rest of my life and beyond, although always learning, this commitment is etched deep in my heart.

I started to teach lots of classes, even started up my own Yoga studio, nonetheless, I started to find the concept of telling someone else what to do with their own bodies a really strange concept and I felt I was conforming to the world around me. So I started to encourage people to listen to their bodies and not my instructions, to explore the movement, as I started to teach more like this, I found mats rowed out in front of me and everyone copying me a really strange experience.

I totally understand though that being taught is relevant and a necessary part of the process to learning, my own movement and personal practice was non-existent and I needed to attend classes to find my way into my body and be taught things about it, I had no idea of!

Though as I came away from going to classes and finding freedom in my own practice, it was in this place that I learned to explore movement more. Since doing this in the last 2-3 years, my personal practice has changed dramatically and so has the way I teach.

I HAVE FOUND FREEDOM THROUGH DANCE

I have found freedom through dance and when first introduced to ecstatic dance a few years ago, I found this extremely uncomfortable, I wanted to talk to others on the dance floor to distract myself, I couldn't make eye contact with anyone and maintain that level of connection or intimacy without it hitting raw nerves within me, the vulnerability of it all, judging myself, thinking that others were judging me made me want to run away from the whole idea of it all, yet I knew this was exactly what I needed to face, the rawness needed to be felt and I couldn't hide behind a teacher telling me what to do, I needed to face the thing I kept running from and it was through dance/free movement that I would move the energy and release the stories I was holding on to.

As I explore this, I am stepping more and more into my ancestral lineages as I feel my native roots serge through me, connecting me to the spirit of what came before me that makes me everything I am today. As I dance, I heal, as I heal I no longer need to hide. Dancing is sometimes like going into a battle of the self, the ego, a dance that's playful as it demonstrates the life I see around me. It helps me to meet up face to face with my shadows, this allows me to be with other peoples shadows. As I stop running away from mine, I stopped running away from the shadow the earth is facing too.

Dancing does have a beginning and it even has an end, until it begins and ends again, its a constant cycle with continuous stories. Enjoy the dance!

All my love Estella xx

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