Friday, July 08, 2005

Ayurveda at the Barre

The practice of Ayurveda seeks to provide health and well-being through holistic understanding. As a philosophy of medicine, Ayurveda focuses on an individual's physiological and mental conditions and attempts to balance (rather than cure) the three main "doshas"--pitta, vata and kapha. This morning in ballet class, I could see a certain parallel between the principles of this eastern healing tradition and the rudiments of western classical dance: as the teacher punched buttons on the cd player and enthusiastically chirped, "ok! Let's work on pique turns for the rest of class!" I politely fled the room. Peeling off my ballet slippers and stretching my legs in the studio upstairs, I had to laugh at my "doshas," so out of balance! In terms of dance, though, I realized that particular steps do indeed reveal one's constitution:

Jumps--Those with a disposition to jump tend to make decisions quickly and easily. They manage their lives with a precision that borders on self-absorption. They are not group oriented and, typically, are not compassionate listeners. Their fierce independence manifests itself in a quirkiness that attracts other people. But flames and moths rarely meet for more than mere moments, and jumpers must likewise beware of superficial relationships. Their sense of clarity is nevertheless enviable, and "having to choose" never weighs long on their conscience.

Pirouttes--Confident and self-assured, those with the inclination to piroutte usually "know what they're about." They are as aware of their own "center" as of the space around them. Methodical but also moody, turners throw themselves into intense, but often surprisingly successful, partner relationships. Prone to constant movement, they must learn to still their minds and unwind their inner coils.

Adagio--Such slow, sustained movement can only grow from the ground up. Those comfortable with adagio deliberately build their presents and futures on the past. They lose themselves in time. Dancers of adagio may "get stuck" on things, however, never wanting to fully let go and leave what should be left behind. Basking in the beauty of line, they sometimes forget to see the picture in its entirety. They must temper their effusive expressiveness with sincerity, else their adagio rings false.


I like this. I'm a former dancer, myself, and I think I'd fall into the Adagio category, with a bit of Jump from time to time. Not unlike my dosha balance!


By Blogger Heather, at 8:21 AM  

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