Blog Post

Another New Age Exercise Craze - "Moving Meditation"

CF writes: "When you have a chance, do you know anything about a couple other classes: Zumba and Persian dance. Here is the description of the Persian dance (with my concern being in the meditation) . . .  'Persian dance styles are characterized by upper body fluidity, intricate steps and beautiful expressive movements. Each class starts with a moving meditation of Persian dance positions followed by simple drills. . . .'" From what I have seen by perusing a number of Persian dance sites, moving meditation is not necessarily a part of Persian dance, but is a New Age form of dance/exercise in its own right. First, for Zumba - this is an aerobic workout that features Latin music and dance moves.  There is absolutely nothing New Age about it so enjoy! Persian dance is an ethnic Iranian dance that is typically very slow-moving and expressive with distinctive hand movements and facial expressions. This dance style involves mostly the upper body -  the face, head, torso, and hands - and requires extreme flexibility and grace. The only shop offering Persian dance that included a meditation component that I found was CF's site. None of the others included this as part of the class. For this reason, I recommend that anyone who wants to try Persian dance should be certain that classes don't include what is known as "moving meditation" because this is  classic New Age. This studio gives a very good description: "Moving Meditation and Ecstatic Dance are free-form healing practices that unite the mind, body and spirit, while promoting spiritual awakenings, mental clarity, physical stamina and emotional well-being. These movement forms provide a powerful catalyst for personal and collective transformation by raising awareness. This expanded perspective leads to a greater range of choice and assists us in going beyond our habitual patterns and limiting thoughts."  A typical class includes stretching and warming up with a short period of "instruction or intention" (red flag) offered before people are encouraged to "get in touch with their breath, body, sensations, emotions and mental presence. Specific music is selected to assist people in deepening their experience of themselves, their relationship to others and the community of dancers. In this practice we turn suffering into art and art into awareness." This particular studio also offers a class called Sweat Your Prayers, which is "A silent moving meditation that presents heart-opening music from around the world to assist you in dropping into a state of Divine Awareness . . . ." Another class is called Soul Motion (TM) in which "the language of the dance becomes a Divine dialogue between the individual and the Creative Spirit within." Trance dancing is another form of moving meditation that is designed to "bring about a euphoric state of altered consciousness." It's typically done free-style while listening to a meditative drum CD and should be done for a half hour in order to "give time for the mind to achieve an altered state of consciousness, which can bring about spiritual enlightenment." Tai Chi is perhaps the most prevalent form of moving meditation and is said to promote the circulation of a non-existent energy form known as chi within the body. If you want my advice, stick to Zumba. It's so fast and fun you won't even notice how hard you're working out!