You Will Need:
~ A small open area such as a bedroom or living room, back yard, or even an office with the door closed.
~ A music playing device; one with earbuds works best so you won’t disturb others
~ Music – any kind, any genre, as long as when you listen to it you think, “That would be so fun to dance to.” It doesn’t have to be anything new-agey, drummy, or anything; just something that makes you want to move.
~ Bare your feet to touch the Earth. Anything else you wear is up to you, although if you choose to light your ritual space with candles, watch out for sleeves and flowing skirts.
In fact, as evocative as it is to dance in a ring of candles, don’t do that, at least not at first. Keep candles up on shelves that are hard to knock over.
Your altar is your body, nothing else is needed, and there are only two ritual tools: a bottle of water and a towel for catching your prayers as they roll off your skin.
Lock the door, turn off the phone. You need only ten minutes for this practice, or even as little as one single track on a CD – but you do need privacy, at least in the beginning while you may still be feeling awkward in your body.
Press “play” on your music and stand, for a moment, in the center of your space, just listening. Lift up your hands into Anjali mudra, recognizable as the prayer position, palms pressed flat together, and declare your intention either silent or aloud:
“I have come to dance. I offer this prayer to (insert Deity or equivalent title here) in gratitude and devotion.”
If you like you can let the whole track play through once without doing anything, just listening, letting the music move through your body; but you will probably find that you start to sway a little, and that’s the perfect place to start.
As you sway to the music, visualize the music flowing into your upper chakras and slowly trickling, flowing, running down through your body like water. Each part of your body that is touched by the music begins to move. How does your hand want to move today? How does the water inspire your left arm to move? Let the music become water, and let that water move you, washing around you as if you stood in a river, lifting up your arms and turning you in slow circles, from your head all the way down to your feet.
Close your eyes if you are comfortable doing so in your space. Just move. There are no steps, no effort needed. You are not performing, you are praying. Lift up your arms in prayer, spin in circles of prayer like a dervish, imagine the Holy reaching out to take your hands and dance with you. All of Creation wants to dance with you, because Creation is already dancing – the dance of electrons and protons, positive charge and negative charge, south pole, north pole, everything dances from the tiniest matter on up to the whales in the sea.
There is no right way, no wrong way, only your way. You and this song are creating a moment of communion with your body and the sacred in whatever way you perceive it; your beautiful body, this instrument, dances its prayer and lifts up its emotions–if you are sad, dance your sadness. If you are joyful, dance your joy. Make love with the music, and between you, create a dance; don’t call it dance, don’t call it anything, just move. Just let yourself be moved…until you are moved to slow down, and then to stop.
And when the song is over, come back to the center, hands folded in the Anjali mudra, palms pressed together in prayer. Bow to honor the soft holy animal of your body; bow to honor the music; and lift up your arms in gratitude for the Holiness that Abides within your flesh, within the music, within the world.
Drink some water. Finish with a prayer if you like.
That’s all there is to it.
If you would prefer a more specific list of songs, here are some that I have found very conducive to an ecstatic experience:
One-Song Ecstatic Dances: A Few Favorites
“Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + the Machine from the album Lungs
“Raspberry Swirl” by Tori Amos from the album From the Choirgirl Hotel
“Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield from the album Unwritten
“Bruised Water” by Chicane/Natasha Bedingfield
“The Dreamtime Returns” by Shaman’s Dream from the album Dance: Dream: Dance
“Raise Your Glass” by P!nk from the album Greatest Hits…So Far (excellent for transforming a depressive or negative mood)
“Silence” by Delerium w/Sarah McLachlan from the album Karma
“All Souls’ Night” by Loreena McKennitt from the album The Visit
“Harem Bizarre” by Kaya Project from the album Elixir
“The Sound of Sunshine” by Michael Franti & Spearhead from The Sound of Sunshine
“Nomads” by Govinda from the album O Earthly Gods
“Awakening” by Aine Minogue from the album Celtic Lamentations
“Terra Firma” by Delerium from the album Poem
“Gayatri Mantra” by Deva Premal from the album The Essence
“Eternal Dance” by Gabrielle Roth & the Mirrors from the album Totem
“Namah Shivayah” by Krishna Das from the album Greatest Hits of the Kali Yuga
“Isaac,” by Madonna, from the album Confessions on a Dance Floor