The pine floorboards shake as everyone in the hall stomps in unison. The Louisiana zydeco rhythms bounce through the long line of contra dancers as the piano accordion and washboard drives the beat and our full skirts twirl periwinkle, forest green, and crimson, long hair flying. My heart lightens as he raises my arms, lifting me slightly to my toes, my feet arching in pleasure. After hours of allemandes, butterfly whirls, and promenades, my cheeks hurt from smiling.

Dancing has always been a joy connection for me.  I especially love the exuberance-in-community of contra, the athleticism of swing, and the sensual rhythms of salsa. I don’t need an organized event to get my fix, however. Bopping along in the car, my arms and waist moving in synch with the beat of Uptown Funk, feeds my need to move with music on a daily basis. I also highly recommend kitchen dancing.

Embodied mindfulness and joy are key elements in all my mindfulness-meditation classes. Many of us have a hard time abruptly sitting down, being still and meditating.  Music can be a sweet gateway: letting your body sway to a luxurious harmony or shaking off stress with drumming (my favorite track to work with is Drum Sex). Walking in the woods and feeling your feet gently touch the earth, the breeze wafting over your cheeks, the smell of the pines filling your lungs… Nature offers another direct portal into meditation.  I dare you to follow your curiosity and experiment with movement as part of your morning practice tomorrow. You just might connect with your joyful heart.

Dancing Stream at Salem Lake, Winston-Salem, North Carolina