Freedom: Enter at Your Own Risk!

July 14, 2010

I’ve been contemplating the fear of freedom  lately. That seems to be the prImary stumbling block for people who have never attended an ecstatic dance. When I’ve attempted to explain the nature of the dance, and it’s challenging, I’ve had quite a number of responses like “I need to be drunk to dance,” “That’s scary,” “ There are no steps to learn?!” or silent looks of mistrust that say, “Danger… keep away!” It’s as if I am trying to seduce people with poison apples…not dance for heaven’s sake!

Has the world always been so frightened to step outside the box or is this a current issue? It deserves some exploration. Having grown up in California in the Sixties perhaps has warped my sense of the global Big Picture. Sausalito was full of artists, barefooted musicians hitchhiking, women rejecting their bras including my mom! The Seventies, coming into puberty, I witnessed crazy stories of swinging couples, wife-swapping and all manner of spiritual experimentation. Nude beaches were plentiful and have since disappeared. All this felt “normal” as I had nothing to compare it to as a youth. At the risk of sounding like an old fogie reminiscing about “the good ol’ days,” it felt like there was a more fertile atmosphere for encouraging risk-taking and freedom than I come across today.Especially in light of having encountered so many people terrorized by the idea of non-structured dance, yoga devotees in particular… go figure! After deeper analysis, it makes sense as yoga is linear, controlled, structured and ecstatic dance is non-linear, an open field, the chaos of creativity….hmmm…a wee epiphany… freedom = chaos or the possibility of it and that is part of the fear factor…. out of control. That belies a belief in a personal Pandora’s Box that would surely engulf one so better just keep a lid on it. How little we trust ourselves.

Having recently DJed a clothing optional dance journey for women, the revelation that it was a first-time experience for many to be even topless in public astonished me. Tears of gratitude poured down young faces. It was a totally healing and liberating event for all involved. Women of all ages and shapes celebrated themselves without inhibition, shedding clothing and self-repression. “Self” is the key word here. As adults, we can no longer blame family, religion, teachers or society for repression; it has been internalized and we are now our own jailers and judges.  Much easier to blame and not take responsibility for our liberation because that entails some deep soul-searching and work. And it might not feel great grappling with our self limiting behavior…I’ll deal with it next New Year’s resolution… yeah, right…

Who is afraid of freedom? The ego. The ego is afraid of looking like a fool, being shamed, embarrassed, not knowing, others’ opinions, being exposed. It is the internalized judge and jailer. The sad part is that the ego structure is a fiction and yet we constantly fall for it’s horse manure. It keeps us small. Tenderly bring awareness to judgement of self and others and investigate the truth of your beliefs. The Pandora’s Box is a mirage of our own making and we therefore also have the power to un-make it.

I write this to encourage us all to take the loving risk to question our own authority and be free. It doesn’t mean having to get naked necessarily but on a spiritual level it does… what have you got to lose? Only the ego that operates on fear. Burn the bra that binds you!

“You cannot control an ecstatic man; it is impossible. You can only control a miserable man. An ecstatic man is bound to be free. Ecstasy is freedom. He cannot be reduced to being a slave. You cannot destroy him so easily; you cannot persuade him to live in a prison. He would like to dance under the stars and he would like to walk with the wind and he would like to talk with the sun and the moon. He will need the vast, the infinite, the huge, the enormous. He cannot be seduced into living in a dark cell. You cannot make a slave out of him. He will live his own life and he will do his thing. This is very difficult for the society. If there are many ecstatic people, the society will feel it is falling apart, its structure will not hold anymore.” ~ Osho



  1. Aloha Heeraa,
    I think you are an awesome DJ love your music, will miss you when you are traveling, so happy I discovered you and your dance!

  2. Where are these dances?
    I have no inhibitions
    I love ecstasy dances – there not enough and I have never found one in Wales

    • While am personally in Hawaii, not really a stones throw from Wales!!!…. there are dances in Wales depending where you live of course. I hope there is one near you… it is a transformational practice and I certainly hope that more and more people find the beauty of let go in ecstatic dance.There are amazing teachers and workshops with visiting teachers in London for a special immersion… visit the website:
      http://www.gabrielleroth.com and click on “teachers” where they have a listing for dances world-wide… quite a lot in the UK.
      Just now I Googled “ecstatic dance Wales”… ecstatic dance being the generic term for this, I found the following site:
      An article about International Dance Camp Wales happening soon:

      There’s more most likely…. and should you travel just Google “ecstatic dance + country or city.” Hopefully it will lead your feet and heart to loving dancing community.
      Happy trails!

  3. So happy you have come into my life and are offering such a wonderful option on my next honolulu visit! I’ll be following your blog too! alohaxxxxs

  4. You are truly beautiful and inspiring. Thank you.

  5. As an attendee of the naked ecstatic dance, I can chime in that the key word for me was “play” — I felt part of a bunch of little kids, but with our grown up bodies (of all ages and sizes and types). The freedom was being (naked) in the body, playfully, without being sexualized. I hope that dance started an ecstatic revolution on Oahu!

    • It is quite exceptional to feel naked and not have it be sexualized, simply natural and innocent….should be the norm. May it be so! So glad to hear that it was your experience!

  6. Great stuff here.

    I have recently started a monthly ecstatic dance gathering at a yoga studio here in Fort Worth, Texas. We’ve had a good turn out these first two months – quite a few of the open, spiritual folks I know have attended. A bit to my surprise, not many of the yogis who practice at the studio regularly have come to the dances.

    I think yoga and dance go together like yin and yang. I love them both. They are two very different paths that both take me into my Self.

    Regarding nudity, it is a curious thing how not sexy the naked human body is in most circumstances. In fact, I personally find clothed bodies to be sexier than nude bodies. Strange. I guess when you take away the “forbidden” sign, the fruit loses some of its appeal.

    Maybe that’s why God told Adam not to eat from the tree of knowledge — a guaranteed way to get him to eat it! God knew all along that a paradoxical life of contrast would be way more fun than simply blissing out in Eden all the time. I’ve just had a revelation!! God and the serpent were in cahoots all along! Damn, I can’t believe I just realized this.

    Thank you Heeraa for another wonderful post.

  7. I know I’m four years late in responding to this, but this post really spoke to me. I recently attended a Dancing Freedom workshop here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area which served as my introduction to free-form shamanic dance. I had exchanged emails with the workshop facilitator more than a week before the event, explaining that I have been a nude model for art classes for almost 30 years and that I wanted to explore my body’s movements to contrast that with the simulated stillness I give to the art students. I also explained that 30 years of art modeling has transformed my views on nudity, that I see no shame or embarrassment in being unclothed, that nudity is something liberating and enjoyable. I told her that it was that word Freedom in the name “Dancing Freedom” that was drawing me to the workshop. To really dance MY dance, to really feel free and connected to all the elements, I wanted to dance in my body’s pure and sacred state. Even though the Dancing Freedom workshop did not bill itself as clothing optional (nor are there any “clothing optional” dances like Ecstatic Dance in the Dallas area), this facilitator seemed enthusiastically in favor of my dancing in that pure state. Her enthusiasm was tempered only by how she thought the other participants in the workshop would handle it.

    The Saturday portion of the workshop was six hours. There were ten of us there, and in the opening circle, the facilitator very frankly said to the others that I was a nude model and that I’m in a place where dancing nude would be beneficial. She invited anyone there to dance through any minor discomfort they might feel before asking if anyone had any major issues with it. No one did. We went into the dance of the elements, and about fifteen minutes later, I shed my last layer of clothing. The feeling was indescribable. I was on a sacred dance floor in my body’s most sacred space, able to feel every element, air, space, earth, water, and fire, in each and every pore of my skin.

    Out of respect of my fellow dancers, I dressed for the circles and for the one-on-one exercises that we did. But we had three different elemental dances where we were free to do what we needed to do, and I undressed for each of them. I danced a cumulative total of at least three hours in that pure state. I had thought that one or more others might have joined me, but no one did. But that’s perfectly fine. I did feel acceptance from everyone there even in that nude state. And I hope my openness served as good medicine for them, planting the seed that our bodies are good and wholesome even in that pure form, that when the opportunity arises, they might feel a little more free to explore.

    We do have a regular Ecstatic Dance session in Dallas once a week that I would like to start attending. My trouble is, I don’t know if I can feel really free in those sessions unless I am able to dance in my body’s pure state. But if I do that, what would the reaction of everyone else be, considering that society has so reinforced this rather sad taboo against being free and naked anywhere except one’s own bedroom or bath?

  8. Are you still having ecstatic dance classes?

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