For me, yoga and Nia often take me out of my own difficult places and into a place where I can express my pure joy. Yoga, because the combination of breath, focus, and mindfulness seem to “clear out” the stuff that accumulates between myself and my sense of bliss — I see yoga as a practice that creates a “clear channel” so that I can not only have a personal experience, but then share it through my work and life. As I dance with others through Nia, I have this sense of making a public statement about the sheer value of joy. There is something powerful about letting go of how we look, doing it “right,” and just dancing our hearts out together, in community. As we look out the windows and dance with the tree tops, the clouds, and whatever birds may be flying by, there’s a sense of first letting go, that leads into joy and finally into a sense of wholeness and peace. Here’s a great quote on why we dance, believe it or not, it’s generally attributed to Albert Einstein, although it isn’t clear: “We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams.”
I really, really love this youtube video of Norwegian explorer, Aleksander Gamme. He’s been out trekking across Antarctica, storing caches of food along the way. At this point, he’s been without food for awhile, and he reaches one of his original caches. He has forgotten what he stored in it. As he unloads it, he first finds “standard survival stuff” — vaseline, cables, etc. But then, he begins discovering the good stuff — Cheese Doodles, chocolate, and Mentos. What transpires is a full-out, unadulterated expression of joy.