Dancing to Your Own Drum - The Bipolar Question of the Week

John McManamy Health Guide February 18, 2013
  • A couple of weeks ago, I posted a piece on what brain scan studies are finding out about the benefits of meditation. The piece was based on a TED talk I viewed. Your comments suggested that a follow-up piece was in order, this time related to rhythm and movement. As it turned out, I had just viewed a TED talk directly on the point. Let’s get started:

     

    At a TED-x talk delivered at the Burning Man festival, Tending the Sacred Fire, yoga teacher Shiva Rea cited a 2010 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science that found that 120 infants between the age of 4 and 20 months responded in a rhythmic way to the sound of rhythm.

     

    Basically, they danced. In the words of the study authors, “human infants spontaneously display rhythmic motion of their bodies to music, rhythmical patterns with a regular beat ...”

     

    If you want to see what dancing babies look like, here’s a link to a video I shot while visiting my grandson (then 8 months) in New Zealand, with his little baby friends: Baby dance video. No, I didn’t round up the babies. This was an organized bring-your-own-baby event.

     

    Obviously, rhythmic expression is natural. It is part of who we really are. So why, as adults, do we go walking around like we have a broomstick shoved up our butts? According to Ms Rea in her TED talk, “A lot of people don’t know that for about two thousand years there was a systematic repression of free-form movement.”

     

    Ms Rea distinguishes free-form movement from socially approved stylized movements that you are allowed to do. “That thing you were born with” is what we need to reconnect to.

     

    I play a didgeridoo. Nearly three years ago, I took it to my first drum circle and haven’t stopped. This is my form of the cosmic dance. There is absolutely no question as to the mental health benefits of what I do or of related activities involving rhythm and movement, which I hope to explore in future pieces. But for right now, I leave you with this question:

     

    Your own self-expression, your own movement - tell us about it.

     

    Comments below ...