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The Power of Muscle Memory

Updated: May 21, 2022

I’ve always loved movement and dance. In the hardest parts of my life, it has been my deliverance. Energy lives inside of our muscles, bones, and fascia. This converted energy is how we move—and yet our brain is so smart, we actually store memory in these muscles in order to move effectively day-to-day. In gymnastics as an 11 year old, I learned about this “muscle memory” concept from my coach. He encouraged us as gymnasts to consciously train our muscle memory. I recognized fast that my mood in training also was stored into these muscles.

Later, taking dance classes, kinesiology, and performing, I became aware of how that same function of muscle memory can store traumas that we’ve been through. My teacher, Vicki Koenig (director of the Inland Pacific Ballet and aMazing college teacher, which is where we met) introduced us to practices like the Alexander technique and Feldenkrais method to help us as dancers understand the nature of habits in shaping our bodies and minds. Vicki invited us into our emotional process in movement. All movement initiates from soul,and the more conscious we are of those connections, the more powerful our movements.

Later as an energy healer, I found that some of life’s most challenging issues can be resolved when we allow energy to flow in both subtle AND active ways in the body. Dr. Hayashi in the Reiki lineage encouraged his patients to make practical, physical shifts in their lives in addition to the energy healing. I’ve seen clients transform a lot when just 5 or 10 minutes of intentional embodiment work are added into a session, or done at home.

You may have heard this powerful quote from Gabrielle Roth:

In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions: “When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop being comforted by the sweet territory of silence?

When we become afraid or stressed, our spiritual energy tends to disconnect from our physical experience. Feeling empty, hollow, or muted are signs of this. The quote is a reminder of how important it is to stay in our bodies, in an ‘embodied’ state, as much and often as we can. Dancing, singing, moving, and staying creatively curious about life draw us back into our seat of power.

It doesn’t matter how you look when you dance. All that matters is that you FEEL it.



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