I came across JourneyDance while searching online for Yoga Dance classes and trainings back in 2006. At that time, I had already spent 4 years in the grip of an eating disorder and was compulsively practicing dynamic yoga and contemporary dance. I loved moving my body, but was so scared of actually ‘living in’ it, terrified of its needs and emotions that I had neglected for years…
There was something about JourneyDance, Toni, the tribe, the philosophy of self-love and body-embrace, the combination of disciplines and approaches…that made me register for the 2007 Level I Teacher Training, book my tickets and plan my very first transatlantic journey, without ever having tried a single class!
And there I was! Deep in the woods of the Berkshires, in the beautiful community of Earthdance, being part of a group of incredible, powerful women, brought together by our love of movement, committed to support, empower and celebrate each other, as we learnt how to best love and care for ourselves…
During those 12 days that the training lasted, I had my very first ‘wake-up’ moments. I experienced for the first time how it felt to move my body just like it wanted to be moved – not in order to look good, or perform technically. I allowed myself to be held and embraced by the strong container the practice offered and have the deepest emotional release in my life, till then…
It was halfway through the training, after several days of ongoing and unstructured movement, on a profoundly expressive moment on the dance floor, that all the emotion I had been suppressing for so long, in my endless battle against myself and my body, came up so strongly, through my body itself, and asked to be seen, felt and expressed.
It was then that I had a realization that was going to change my relationship with my body, and my whole life really, forever. In that moment, it finally dawned on me:
My body was alive. It felt things, deeply.
I had been abusing it like there was no tomorrow, as if it was a lifeless object I could manipulate without consequences…
And there it was, powerfully revealing what was really going on inside, in its own language.
The movement had eventually caused my defenses to melt away and my real feelings to emerge.
From then on, JourneyDance and movement became my medium for expressing what I felt inside, without having to take it out on my body and make it its fault that I had to fix ASAP.
JourneyDance became my favorite way to connect with my body, listen to it, honor it and take care of it, give it time and space to just be and enjoy moving, rather than a way to attack my body, shape it up, improve it, make it ‘acceptable’…
I started to move to love and heal my body, not to hate and change it.
And it was not just my own, personal experience that had such a profound healing effect on me -it was our collective experience, as well.
In the JourneyDance community, I found myself, for the very first time, among women of all ages, shapes, sizes and backgrounds, fully inhabiting their bodies, courageously expressing themselves and connecting with each other from a place of such honest love and acceptance -and that was strikingly different (rather, diametrically opposite) to the competition and comparison-based way of relating to women that I had been used to, thus far.
I didn’t come across the concept of ‘sisterhood’ till much later, but I know now that JourneyDance taught me what sisterhood looks and feels like, even without having a word to describe it.
Coming across JourneyDance and learning how to teach it was a real turning point for me; it was what sparked my desire and determination to heal my relationship with food and my body, for good, and my first proof that that was actually possible.
10 years later, teaching women how to fully love and accept their bodies, through movement, yoga, psychotherapy and healing, has become my passion and life’s mission.
JourneyDance, a combination in itself of all of the above, was a profoundly transformative experience for me –and this is what I aspire to facilitate for my students every time I lead JourneyDance, from my heart…
p.s. If you would like to experience first-hand how JourneyDance, sisterhood and chakra-work, in combination, can radically shift the way you see, relate to and treat your Body, you are warmly invited to join us for ‘Love your Body through the Chakras; A Women’s JourneyDance Workshop‘, on 18th March, in SW London! Click here for all the details, and I can’t wait to dance with you!