According to the dictionary, the definition of “soul” is “the spiritual part of a human being; the emotional or intellectual energy”. Yet can the verbal language and actual words truly describe the experience of the “soul”, let alone how to nourish it? While verbalization is the most common way humans communicate and express ourselves, there is another form of language that can truly express the soul and how to search it--- that is movement.  

Movement is the first language of the soul. It allows the energy of the soul to speak in the way that words cannot express. For example, there are times where you cannot verbally express an overwhelming feeling (maybe of joy or depression), but your body knows just what to do and can do so unconsciously. Because of this, movement has the influence of reaching into the three levels of awareness--the conscious, the preconscious, and the unconscious. 

The conscious is seen in Intentional movement. For example, walking to work. There is a clear, direct intention with this movement.

The preconscious is seen as semi-intentional movement that can connect with memories and emotions that can be recalled, such as remembering unhappy memories at the job one is currently walking towards. While walking, the person may recognize they are creating movement that resembles such feelings, like slouching their shoulders or sighing. 

The unconscious is in unintentional movement. Movement that one is completely unaware of doing. For example, maybe while walking to a job that makes one unhappy, one unconsciously steps with audible force. 

The soul is deeply rooted in the unconscious. It is something that you can experience without being completely unaware of it. It is fleeting and present. It does not know past or future. It only knows of the now.  

In the psychotherapeutic process of dance/movement therapy, in order to nourish the “soul” it is absolutely necessary to start from the body and its movement experiences. Here are the 5 ways to start soul searching through movement: 

  1. Breathe. There is no movement without the breath. The breath is life which connects you to your mind, body, and soul. Take at least 10 minutes in your day to breathe. Exploring the ways in which you take in life and let go of life. 

  2. Move By Your Body. Maybe it’s in the morning when you first wake up or when you come home from a long day. Instead of doing yoga or meditation, put on some music and just allow yourself to move your body however you need to. This will help you get out of your head and experience bodily feelings that can tap into your soul. If done at least once a week, you will notice that you have certain movement patterns and qualities you often use to express yourself. Guiding you to learning about oneself while diving deeper and deeper into soul searching. 

  3. Move Your EmotionsHow do you move when you are annoyed? Angry? Depressed? Explore your feelings in movement helps to let go and connect to the deeper reasons behind such feelings.  

  4. Move With Others. Take a dance class, yoga class, or exercise class. Moving with others allows you to not only connect with others but learn from them as well.

  5. Make Moves & Create. Take what you are experiencing in your body and put it out in the world. Maybe while moving, you felt and experienced wanting to go back to school or explore something you care about. Set that as a goal and put it to action. This will create a sense of self and belonging in the world.  

Overall nourishing the soul through movement can not only allow for soul searching, but healthier coping skills and an understanding of one’s place in the world.

-Lefty 👋