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Odissi - The Gift of Sacred Dance

Todays I would simply like to share something from my life with you today that is meaningful to me.

Odissi - this indescribably aesthetic, subtle, powerful Indian classical dance that I started learning in 2014 has returned to my life.

Many of you know that I have been dealing with recurring physical symptoms and chronic fatigue since contracting EBV and Lyme disease 5 years ago.

As Odissi is a classical dance form that requires a high level of physical and mental investment, I had difficulty maintaining my training due to my condition. When the lock-downs came and the opportunity to travel to India and dance together ceased as well, I thought I had lost the dance for good.

But last winter, after weeks and months spent alone mainly working online behind a computer screen, the longing for creative expression and community with the wonderful like-minded women became so overwhelming that I very gently and slowly started practising again, and despite great concerns about whether my body would be able to muster enough strength and stamina I signed up for a weeklong Odissi retreat in Crete this summer.

A few days ago I returned from this week in Crete and I have no words to express my happiness and gratitude for being able to experience this breathtakingly beautiful and at the same time demanding dance again in this life. The reunion with dear old friends whom I had last seen in India years ago was such a gift.

I learned a bit more about my body and "our relationship" became a bit more intimate and trusting.

It was amazing for me to observe how cooperative my body is when I am present with it and attentively listen to its signals.

Whenever I felt a sense of exhaustion or weakness, I immediately stopped, closed my eyes, and took the space to be still, to disengage, to breathe, to relax, and to be lovingly present with myself. For I have learned over the last few years that I can no longer afford to push myself beyond my limits....

It is the realisation that for me, a more feminine, softer, more spacious, more enjoyable path is more appropriate than the path of rigid discipline. In a way, we have all been socially moulded to achieve something, to be successful, to have something to show, to represent something and to be better than others, or at least good enough to stand up to external judgement.

The amazing thing was that my body responded with a surprisingly fast regeneration and after a short time I was able to continue with full energy ...

I was able to experience again how it feels to move with precision, effortlessly in rhythm and to the flow of the music, in unity with the other dancers....

What makes this dance form so special to me is that it creates an incredibly sattvic, harmonious, high vibrational, spiritual energy, supporting the yogic lifestyle and meditation practice.

The technique of the dance is based on stable grounding via the feet, centring in Shushumna Nadi the central energy channel, connecting via the crown to the heavens, and precise activation all energy centres through precise movements....

The life energy, Shakti, makes its way through the energy channels and finds expression in the embodiment of the Sacred and Divine in dance.....

Never again would I want to miss this art form in my life. Never again lose contact with the dancers, sisters on the same path with the same passion....

It feels like I have awoken from a slumber and have been given a second life.

On the last morning before leaving, after the last dance steps, when this body, sweaty and out of breath, sank to the floor to bow in front of the altar, tears of overwhelming gratitude flowed.

I have learned a lot from the last few years of physical problems, professional challenges, isolation.... above all, to set the right priorities for myself.

First and foremost is my spiritual connection, mental peace, physical health, creative expression and being emotionally and physically nourished. Bringing beauty, subtlety and art into all areas of life is not a luxury but a necessity for me.

I have learned a little more not to give space to worries and pressures and instead to trust that the universe will carry me and give what is needed at the right moment, if I just take care of

what is needed right now in this very moment.

This is a practice video from my time in India...

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