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Nov 29, 2016 04:30PM

Chakradance: Align your body's energy while you move

By Chris Cashion
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Heather Shults, of Davenport; Lindsay Bodenhofer, of Maquoketa; Cynthia Huffman, of Davenport, and Amber Huffman, of Coal Valley, do a little Chakradance with the lights on at Centered Therapies, Davenport.
The next time you find yourself grooving to the music, maybe you should consider giving Chakradance a try. Chakradance is sort of one part dance, one part meditation and one part self-help session. It combines dance with an exploration of the chakras to help participants work toward balance.

"Chakradance is a healing dance practice. Combining Jungian psychology, music composed to resonate with each of your seven major chakras, your own free-form movements and gentle guidance of the facilitator, Chakradance nourishes your true inner self — your very soul," says licensed Chakradance facilitator Cynthia Huffman, of Davenport.

"You experience freedom and reconnection to your life force, increased well-being and a feeling of coming home."

Chakradance typically is performed in a darkened or dimly lit room. Participants close their eyes or lower their gaze, and are verbally led through guided imagery to move their bodies in whatever form of dance feels appropriate to them in the moment.

Unlike many other types of dance, there is no right or wrong way to do it.

"Chakradance is about making a connection with our inner world — the world of our imagination, feelings, intuition and senses. It's completely about freedom of expression. There is no right way to Chakradance, as everyone has his or her own rhythm and movement," says licensed Chakradance facilitator Lindsay Bodenhofer, of Maquoketa.

Since Chakradance is, by definition, a dance, it does offer some physical benefits, too. Depending on the type of movement the participant chooses, it may provide anything from gentle movement to a cardio workout.

Breaking a sweat, however, is not the focus of Chakradance. Instead, it is the alignment of the chakras. According to Bodenhofer, the chakras are the body's energy centers that are the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of being.

"Each of the seven major chakras influences a different aspect of our lives," Bodenhofer says.

"Some chakras may be overactive, while others are underactive," Huffman says. "Balancing the chakras yields benefits such as a sense of belonging, improved relationships, increased self-esteem and confidence, good emotional health, improved communications, creativity, enhanced intuition and deepened spiritual connections. Freedom to accept and express themselves is a benefit many love."

As participants move throughout the room, the facilitator speaks about each of the seven major chakras. All seven chakras may be visited during one session, or they may be explored individually over the course of seven sessions.

"The music resonates deeply within us as you experience the energy of each of your seven major chakras. This moving meditation is a journey of self-discovery that activates inner experiences," Huffman says. "You will connect with the sacred within yourself and in the universe around you."

Chakradance initially was created by Natalie Southgate in 1998. According to Bodenhofer, Southgate married her work in Jungian psychology with her studies in the chakras and the effects of music and dance, and it manifested as Chakradance.

Both Huffman and Bodenhofer found teaching Chakradance to be a natural fit. Huffman says her friends had mentioned the practice on social media, and she was intrigued. When she researched it, she knew immediately that it was something she believed in, so she worked to become a facilitator.

"For many years, I have studied and practiced alternative healing modalities and have been very drawn to the amazing inner workings of our chakra system," Huffman says. "Additionally, I practiced educational kinesiology, where I observed that specific movements greatly improved a person's ability to learn and to heal. I naturally surround myself with music, and experience joy and freedom when I am dancing."

Huffman says generations before us and cultures around us use dance and music for healing and for communicating with the great beyond.

"Now, I offer this amazing healing with Chakradance workshops," Huffman says.

Bodenhofer says she also has always found a sense of joy and healing in dance and music.

"One of my hobbies for the last 20-plus years is to go out dancing to live music played by local bands," she says. "There is just something about seeing the musicians play and allowing their sound and energy to flow through me and move my body. At some point, I heard of ecstatic dance and wanted to learn more about it. When I Googled 'ecstatic dance,' that search led me to Chakradance. I was immediately intrigued with this idea of meditative

Bodenhofer says she knew Chakradance was for her, so she completed the training to "heal myself, and to be able to offer this healing modality to others."

The facilitators each encourage people to give the practice a try.

"You will experience gentle yet significant personal growth every time," Huffman says.

Bodenhofer says that there are many reasons to try Chakradance, especially if you are someone who wants to "meditate, but have a hard time sitting still or don't want to meditate in silence; you want a moment to yourself to leave the hustle and bustle of the outside world and tune into your subconscious mind; or you just want to let go and have some fun in a safe, sacred space free of judgment and criticism."

Huffman currently offers Chakradance at Centered Therapies, 2185 E. 53rd St., Davenport; and Harborview Health and Wellness Studio, 902 E. River Drive, Davenport.

Bodenhofer offers Chakradance at Harborview Health & Wellness Studio; Body & Soul Wellness Center & Spa, 2728 Asbury Road., Dubuque, and the Center of I Am, 400 Bluff St., Dubuque.
Chris Cashion is a writer on staff with Radish. Cynthia Huffman and Lindsay Bodenhofer will facilitate a Chakradance Winter Solstice Celebration at Indigo Wellness Studios, 1621 5th Ave., Moline, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 21.

Each chakra is represented by a color, and is a center of energy in the body, beginning at the base of the spine and continuing to the crown of the head.

In Chakradance, the facilitator leads participants through dances that correspond to each 
chakra. Each of the chakras is said to affect the health of the emotional and physical well-
being in the body corresponding to that chakra.

Base (or Root) Chakra (red)
Located at the base of the spine, this chakra is associated with the skeletal and urinary systems, as well as strength, security and groundedness. In Chakradance, the facilitator will lead participants through the Dance of Mother Earth.  

Sacral Chakra (orange)
Located below the navel, this chakra is associated with the large intestine, ovaries, lower back and sexuality, as well as pleasure, joy, inner feminine energy and sensuality. In Chakradance, the facilitator will lead participants through the Dance of Sensuality. 

Solar Plexus Chakra (yellow)
Located in the belly, this chakra is associated with the pancreas, stomach, liver, gallbladder and small intestine, as well as confidence, willpower and masculine energy. In Chakradance, the facilitator will lead participants through the Dance of Power. 

Heart Chakra (green)
Located in the center of the chest, this chakra is associated with the heart and circulatory system, lungs, shoulders and upper back, as well as loving kindness, compassion and inner peace. In Chakradance, the facilitator will lead participants through the Dance of Love. 

Throat Chakra (blue)
Located at the throat, this chakra is associated with the throat, thyroid, neck, ears and teeth, as well as truth and creativity. In Chakradance, the facilitator will lead participants through the Dance of Expression. 

Third Eye Chakra (indigo)
Located between the eyebrows, this chakra is associated with the eyes, face, brain, lymph and endocrine systems, as well as our sixth sense and intuition. In Chakradance, the facilitator will lead participants through the Dance of Intuition. 

Crown Chakra (purple)
Located at the crown of the head, this chakra is associated with the brain and nervous system, as well as our connection to understanding and spiritual connection. In Chakradance, the facilitator will lead participants through the Dance of the Soul. 

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