Yesterday, I wrote about how Dr. Dan Siegel’s definition, Integration is health, sparked my imagination and inspired my flagging teaching practice.
In May 2012, at the same time that Dr. Siegel’s gem came to me, I was playing with Carlos Rosas’ Nia routine, Humanity, the last routine he created before he retired in 2011. I wasn’t really planning to learn it or teach it (I didn’t even know if I’d resume teaching) but I’d been dancing it in my living room to see if I could recapture my Joy of Movement. The focus of Humanity is yin and yang, in the sense of masculine and feminine but also polarity and opposites. “When you do this routine,” Carlos says, “you will find and create balance and unity.”
Two inspirations from two teachers merged into the routine I’ll be teaching this week. I call it Unity because, as Carlos points out, “unity” is contained within “humanity.” In Unity, I use a blend of Carlos’ music and mine, a combination of his choreography and mine. The focus of Unity is integration. The intent is to create healthy bodies, minds and relationships through that integration. Beyond that, this routine is meant to be a tribute to my beloved teacher, Carlos, and a launch of my teaching career without him.
As I wrote last week, this routine has been a long time a-comin’. I have worked on it and tweaked it and noodled on it (and looked at it sitting there on my desk) for months and months. Now I am ready to share it.
With this routine (and I dare say in my teaching henceforth), we’ll play with integration of body and mind in general and specifically:
• Right / Left brain – creativity, emotion, spontaneity, and sensation on the right; linear, logical and linguistic on the left
• Upper / Lower brain – the attunement, emotional balance, insight and intuition of the upper/prefrontal brain; and the direct, visceral experience of the lower/limbic brain
• Upper and Lower Body – allowing both parts to be active and engaged either doing the same or different movements
• Left and Right Body – noticing differences between dominant and non-dominant sides, keeping awareness in both
• Internal and External Sensation – taking in the direct experience of the body as well as the information coming from the five senses
• Rhythm and Melody – noticing the unique effect of rhythmic patterns on the body and mind in contrast to the more freeform sounds in melody and the felt sense of musical harmony
Notice that in all of these pairings, one side is not better than the other – in all cases, we need them both. In all of these realms, the intent will be to honor the differences and also open connection between both sides of the polarities.
Whether you are with me on the dance floor this week, or you’re dancing through life somewhere else, I invite you to notice these opposites and see how you might find integration. Whether it’s doodling with your non-dominant hand, or listening to vocal music (an inspiring one or one if you’re feeling a little bit silly) with your full attention, play with integration and feel the harmony and balance. Here’s to integration in all realms!