As I was thinking...


Moving my body in space saved me from my tendency to overthink and let thoughts fester in my mind. First as a professional dancer and later as yoga practicioner and yoga teacher. To me moving the body is about moving energy that got stuck and needs to be released. It's about exploring the strength and resilience of the body, which is so much stronger than we assume. Having to live through difficulties physically, prepares us to move through the difficulties of life, exploring the depths of our mind and vision.

Without moving my limbs on a daily basis, I don't know what would have come of me. I come from a family of mostly "non-movers" and was blessed with a rather stiff body...Starting dance school at age 17, without real prior dance training, was a tremendous task, to say the least. Not knowing the basic ballett terms and positions, I was so lost that I don't know why I didn't just give up and hurl in a corner and cry. I did cry but always dried my tears and went back in the evening for even more dance classes after six hours of obligatory training. Never one to have bad skin during puberty, in dance school at 17, my skin just broke out. Suddenly I was visited by heavy acne and it was because the dancing really broke me open and released the tight energetic holds that I've created in my physical body  to protect my heart. After two years I was accepted at Alvin Ailey in New York, that was my vision and it had less to do with talent but vision, dedication and lots of practice. In my humble opinon, I believe that it's easier for most people to use movement to access the deep layers of the self. Moving through a physical practice teaches us to breathe and sustain, to release, shed skin/layers and ultimately, survive.

Like the yoga practice, there's a reason for Savasana other than to recover from the practice. It's a temporary death, and a chance to be reborn, to shift perception, to be still and quiet long enough to find answers to your questions. Who am I and what will I become? How to be my most sincere and thruthful self? Santosa (contentment) has always been one of my favorite of the Niyamas, as I feel it's easy to obtain through gratitude. It doesn't mean happiness but simply contentment, which is a state of mind and not an outward situation. To me happiness are moments, like driving a car on a sunny, warm day and the wind blowing through your hair. Spending time with a child, remembering how wonderful the world is and how exciting life can be and so much more than we allow ourselves to see.

As long as I breath, I will move and of course, the range of movement is going to change as I grow even older. This could mean that I'll be only able to lift my arm, or bend over a chair, or sit a the wall or... but conciously and with full awareness, breath and commitment.

All of our bodies will deteriorate, Annamayakosha, all of us will take that last breath, Pranamayakosha but starting at Manomayakosha, mind/mental layer, we start to differ from each other, not everybody has the same train of thoughts. Same in Vijnanamayakosha, the intellect/wisdom layer, not everyone has the same visions, dreams and a structure how to get there, make their dreams or visions reality. If Buddha, Jesus, Gandhi, Leonardo da Vinci, Joan of Arc etc. were human beings like you and I, how come that they materilaized to what they've become? In Anandamayakosha, the bliss layer, we're again reunited as one, as love and conciousness.

- Olive Ssembuze | May 21st 2018 -