Article by Janette Ward, first published at the Urban Echo on the 13th Nov 2017
Biodanza is a system of personal transformation using music, dance and the power of the group. The word Biodanza means to dance with life. It was developed by Rolando Toro-Araneda, a clinical psychologist from Chile who created Biodanza to help people who were experiencing depression and mental ill health.
Biodanza reduces stress through combining music and movement to facilitate the expression of emotion. With regular classes, participants experience significant improvements in their sense of wellbeing. This can help them handle stress better by increasing their ability to communicate which in turn improves the quality of their relationships.
A wonderful dance teacher Amanda Parsons-Hulse once told me, “When you move your body, you heal your mind.”
The research into Biodanza shows that by attending a regular class, we can begin to develop a new way of living by connecting with our hearts and deepening our connection with what is truly important to us.
In our day to day lives, our nervous systems are chronically under assault from the negative pressures we encounter. We rarely have a chance to switch off. People live in chronic hostility, anger, fear or depression. In the long run, this leads to serious health problems and unhappy, difficult lives.
Biodanza uses a combination of music, movement and encounter to help people to tap into their innate sense of joy, self-esteem and self-confidence. This creates feelings of connectedness and love for themselves and others. It enables people to break out of the continuous cycle of pressure and stress created by the frantic pace of modern living and to balance this with moments of intense pleasure, called ‘vivencias’.
Biodanza benefits people of all ages, from all walks of life. Singles, couples, stressed out executives and children can all draw immeasurable pleasure and wellbeing from regular classes.
Many companies have also enjoyed tremendous success using Biodanza for team building. Everyone can benefit from Biodanza because it gives you space to come back to yourself and regain your balance. Scientists in Germany published their research in 2016 into the health benefits of Biodanza. They discovered that weekly classes have a positive influence on the hormones and immune system and result in a lowering of the stress hormones in the body, regulation of blood pressure and an increase in Immunoglobin A, which is responsible for defending the immune system.
I have attended Biodanza classes with Noel Watkins for the past two years. It has had such a positive impact on my life. This was especially the case last year when both my mum and a close friend died and attending regular classes helped me to work through my grief in a really healthy way. During several classes, I expressed my sadness with tears and I experienced the total acceptance, non-judgement and support from Noel and the other participants. This was so incredibly healing and affirming. Being part of a Biodanza class gives you permission to be yourself exactly as you are; it is a place where you will be valued, acknowledged and loved.
Elizabeth, who is also a participant in Noel’s classes says: “Biodanza has helped me to feel more joyful and have a greater appreciation of myself and others. It has helped me to understand who I am and how to respond better in relationships. It has allowed me to develop my confidence.”
Noel first experienced Biodanza in 2006. It immediately had a very profound effect on him. He felt really alive and joyful and decided there and then that he wanted to train to teach it. He then successfully completed the 4 year teacher training course. He himself has experienced episodes of anxiety and depression in his life but has found that when he connects with the passions in his life namely teaching Biodanza and Storytelling, he remains happy and healthy.
My experience of Noel is that he is “a safe pair of hands”. He is very skilled at holding and supporting the group. He is authentic, and works in a heart-centred way that enables participants to express themselves, explore their potential and experience themselves in a loving way.
Noel is currently leading Biodanza classes in Huddersfield, Leeds and Hebden Bridge and has plans to teach in other areas. For more details he can be contacted on 07986 095528, at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or on Facebook at Yorkshire Biodanza with Noel.