World Mental Health Day 2020: Dance is like Yoga, it’s a meditative, healing practice, says Ashley Lobo


New Delhi: The World Mental Health Day is observed every year on October 10. It is a global day to create awareness about mental health issues. The day was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health. Talking about it seems important than ever before at a time when the world is battling the effects of the deadly novel coronavirus pandemic.

On the occasion of World Mental Health Day, the Indian-Australian choreographer Ashley Lobo vouches for the therapeutic benefits of dance and movement for better mental health.

“Moving the body can almost instantly uplift our mood and energise the body. Movement and dance can play a crucial role in pulling us out of mental and physical ennui and make an enormous difference to our mental health”, said Ashley.

To support his point, he cites the American Dance Therapy Association which recommends the psychotherapeutic use of movement to improve emotional, cognitive, physical, and social integration. In fact his technique, Prana Paint has been helping his students to connect with their inner self through breath and Yoga-inspired movements, and to find calm and serenity regardless of outward chaos.

“In the post-COVID-19 world, we can all make creative choices like dance and music to bust stress and boost positivity. It really does not matter if you are a trained dancer or not, everyone has rhythm in them which can become a doorway to a better state of mind. Mental health challenges are universal and do not discriminate. Dance however can prove therapeutic for almost anyone. Dance is like Yoga in that respect where mindful movement can become a meditative, healing practice. Whether you decide to take online dance classes or put on music and then dance like nobody is watching, you are celebrating your body, your existence, and your life. And soon you will notice how a dance session leaves you feeling more energised and confident than before. You will connect with that part of yourself that is unaffected by anxiety and is the source of all your untapped energy and pure potential”, he added.

Ashley said, “Once you master a routine, the surge of confidence you feel will flow into other areas of your life. Most importantly, you will learn how to live in the moment rather than worrying about what the future will bring. In that sense and many others, dance is truly liberating. I really believe we can all dance our way out of our personal issues into a healthier, sunnier mental space.”

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