The other night it occurred to me that I have two homes.
(No, friends, don’t get excited, we didn’t buy a shore house.) 🙂
But along with our suburban bungalow, there is another place—with smooth wooden floors and music constantly streaming from the speakers—that I’m beginning to find refuge in.
My second home is the dance floor, whether it be above an African restaurant in West Philadelphia, in a former warehouse alongside the Delaware River, or in the basement of a South Jersey yoga studio, whether for 5Rhythms, YogaDance, or Nia.
Once I remove my shoes in the entryway and my bare feet touch that floor, I am home safe. Not only do I feel physically supported by my environs, but a feeling of emotional security greets me in that moment as well. My fellow classmates and I may hug before the dance begins, and even if we do not, there is still a silent exchange of energy that is the catalyst for movement, for magic.
This past Friday night, I was “home,” in a Let Your Yoga Dance class at Yoga for Living. Teaching the class was Nikki, who had to jump some medical hurdles between late last year and now to return to teaching. I was thrilled for her return and was glad to see she had not lost any of her charming ‘tude while recovering. When her playlist clicked to Florence and the Machine’s “Shake it Out” as a workout for our solar plexus chakra, I loved her even more. Classmate Suzie and I just couldn’t resist that opening church organ music and began shaking the devil off our backs before Nikki even gave us the directions.
By the time we worked our way to the upper chakras, that feeling of safety and openness was strong—very strong. Nikki had us get in pairs and showed us some simple choreography to dance with our partner to a heart-stirring gospel song. I didn’t know half of the people I danced with, but I could feel my anahata chakra swirling in all its vibrant greenness, a flourishing vine wanting to intertwine with everything it connected to.
One of the last people I partnered with was the owner of the studio in which we were standing in. With her yoga studio as my home, she is its mother. Our dance was profound and heartfelt, and it brought us to tears. We connected foreheads during a move in which we leaned forward like arching swans, a physical gesture that reminded me of the preciousness of this second home.
During a final private dance prayer, my dance turned into one of incredible appreciation of this safe space, this home. It started as a reflection on the physical space, the floor that has supported my feet, the Sanskrit on the walls that has mesmerized me during my chaotic 5Rhythms trances. This studio is where I first discovered 5Rhythms; its physical foundation is my emotional bedrock. Oh, the places I’ve gone while dancing within these walls.
But then the prayer expanded into appreciation for a greater sense of home, the feelings of comfort and belonging that dance and movement brings to me. The feeling of leaving behind a long day of work and stepping inside the doorway—coming home—relaxing with and giving in to that which greets me.
Living here in this brand new world might be a fantasy
But it’s taught me to love….so it’s real, real to me
And I’ve learned that we must look inside our hearts to find
A world full of love—like yours and mine—
~ “Home,” The Wiz