Release: Life Lessons from Dancing


Yesterday, I went to see my healer, also known as physical therapist. As we discussed all of the dancing I have been doing lately, along with all of the driving (and, hey, riding an emotional roller coaster), A reminded me of the profound wisdom of our bodies. To be healthy, our muscles need to release.  Our bodies need to open up.

Ahhhhhh.  Release and open.  Two of my mantras when I am dancing.  But really, they are equally apt and helpful for living a vital life.

How much can I allow my body and soul to “move, act or flow freely?”  What can I “allow to escape from confinement?” What can I “set free?”

Whenever I teach class, it is fascinating to witness where and how dancers grip or tighten unnecessarily.  I am all too familiar from my own dancing with this fruitless endeavor at control.  Whenever I take class, no matter how much I repeat my mantra of “release and open,” I am at best only partly and momentarily successful.

It seems absurd, yet so often we hold tension in our jaws, hands, and necks to power through big movement. I have to laugh about the ludicrousness of clenching my jaw to jump higher!

Ironically, if we use only the amount of energy necessary to execute the specific movement fully, it is less fatiguing, and more organic, clear, fluid.  Without the unneeded exertion of tightening and gripping, we can move more efficiently and with unambiguous focus on our goal without diffusing our efforts.  It reminds me of the wise words from a master teacher that dancing is largely a process of identifying what doesn’t have to be exerting.



Although the tension each of us carries in our bodies is often more evident, the “holding on” we do unnecessarily with our emotions is equally unhelpful.  And much of the time is downright damaging. To our souls, minds and bodies…as well as to those who care about us.

Holding on to anger, resentment, jealousy, but also limiting roles, fear, perceptions, behaviors.  Let it go….When we do, our spirits move more gracefully without clunking around with all of our excess baggage.

So, today when I took class, I was extra aware of where I could release more.  As A wisely noted, the muscular releases needn’t be huge.  In fact, the subtle openings in the body can be the most crucial.  For once there is a small shift, it lays the foundation for additional openness and vitality.

Same for our spirits and souls.  Those teeny tiny releases trigger the possibility for us to grow into something, someone, more.

Although I have been on this path of releasing for awhile, old patterns die hard (as you may know :)).  Once again, I feel blessed to have this dancing life to practice wisdom that carries far beyond the dance studio.  Note to mind, body and soul: set yourselves free!

Sea Glass--floor rest (RD)

Creativity can be thought of as letting go of certainties.” -Gail Sheehy

Photo credits: Top-Joel Callaway; Bottom–Rich Davis


This entry was posted in Creativity, Dance, Inspiration, Mindful, possibility and expansiveness, Soulful and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Release: Life Lessons from Dancing

  1. Miranda Stone says:

    Such wise and inspiring words, Chloe! If you don’t mind, I might have to adopt your “release and open” mantra for my own. I hold a lot of tension in my body. I have to consciously will my jaw to unclench. I think many of us feel a profound disconnect with our bodies; we don’t pay attention to the clues it gives us. As a result, we suffer from maladies like muscle pain and headaches. I’m trying to make a point to listen to my body more, and your post here has served as a gentle reminder for me to keep working at it. You are beautiful inside and out, Chloe. Thanks for inspiring me!

    • SirenaTales says:

      My dear Miranda, Thank you so much for your kind words and welcome sensitivity and awareness. I am honored that I may have in some teeny way supported you on your path–but it sounds as if you are already well on your way. Maybe we can be “release and open” buddies, reminding each other occasionally (even better, with humor). Let the unclenching rock on! xoxo

      • Miranda Stone says:

        Sounds awesome, Chloe! I might be on my way, but I still have a long way to go, so a humorous reminder from you would help a lot. Big hugs, my friend. Hope you have a great weekend!

  2. chiaink says:

    Lovely wise words. Here’s to letting go!

  3. Val Boyko says:

    Thank you Chloe for sharing your wonderful inspiration. I’m sitting here going yes yes yes!
    As a yoga teacher my mantra in life and on the mat is to breathe, then release, be open …. and then accept what is. Our bodies hold so much wisdom. Modern medicine is just catching on to the power that we have to heal and renew ourselves energetically.
    Stress in out lives shows up as stress in our bodies. Jaw, shoulders, hips and belly are key areas. Once we know where hold our stress, its important to release i every day so that it doesn’t cause chronic dis-ease in the body.
    The other cool thing is that once our body lets go, our mind tends to follow.
    So much to explore and discover!

  4. t h i n g s + f l e s h says:

    the “holding on” kills our souls and our hearts. beautiful post, Chloe. tony

  5. j.h. white says:

    You are walking that fine edge Chloe, where everything becomes seamless. Beautiful post, my friend.

  6. I’m a jaw clencher too. I have to constantly remind myself to relax. One thing I remember a great yoga teacher said in class — “Let go. And when you think you’ve let it all go…let go some more. There’s always more to let go.” I always remembered that. Lovely post, ST…as always. xoxo

  7. SirenaTales says:

    Ah, yes, TT: there is always more to let go. Thank you for your insight and your luminous presence here, my friend. xoxo

  8. SirenaTales says:

    Reblogged this on Sirena Tales and commented:

    Let go and open up…this post from the archives is what I am still musing over. Aiming for more expansiveness, lightness, ease, and yep, grace.

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