We’ve all heard the phrase, “Use it or lose it,” and this applies to our bodies as much as to our minds. A new study cited in Science Daily reveals that dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain. Dr. Kathrin Rehfeld, lead author of the study, has this to say:
“I believe that everybody would like to live an independent and healthy life, for as long as possible. Physical activity is one of the lifestyle factors that can contribute to this, counteracting several risk factors and slowing down age-related decline. I think dancing is a powerful tool to set new challenges for body and mind, especially in older age.”
Here Osho speaks about dancing as a unique activity:
“There is nothing like dancing, because dancing seems to be the only activity when the doer can be easily lost, and the only activity in which body, mind, soul – all can participate in a harmony. Otherwise there are activities that the body can do, there are activities that the mind can do – the body is not needed. There are activities that can be done by the soul, by the spirit – neither the mind is needed nor the body.
“There is no need to give any form to it, because once you start giving form to it, the mind has become predominant. Let it be spontaneous, let it be formless. Let it be such that it surprises even you. So each day simply stand and let it come. Let it flood you! And then start moving. Let each movement lead you to another not knowing at all where you are going or what is going to happen next. Then the dance dances itself. And when the dance dances itself and there is no dancer, it is tremendously beautiful.
“So through dance many things will happen. And humanity has completely lost track of dance. All primitive societies were dancing societies. Still a few primitive tribes exist somewhere; they are still dancing tribes. Their whole religion consists of dance. They find any excuse and they will dance. It may be the birth of a child and the whole tribe dances to receive the new guest. It may be a marriage ceremony, it may be some other festival. It may be that somebody had died, so again they dance. Birth, death, marriage or anything important they mark by their dance.
“Even when they go to war, they go dancing. They call it a war dance. Then even wars take on a new meaning, a new quality. Then it is not the ugly war that we have invented. Of course people are killed, but they are killed while they are dancing. And when a person is dancing, death is meaningless. He is deathless, because if he is killed in that harmony, that very experience will become an experience of samadhi. The primitive war dance has not yet been understood rightly. We think it is simply war – it is not really a war. It is again an excuse to dance – the ultimate dance, the last dance, the death dance. Both sides come dancing, and dancing they fight, dancing they die. But if you die in dance you will attain to a great new life. You will be born in a totally different altitude. So let this be your meditation.
“Put on any music – sometimes do it even without music. Sometimes life has its own music. This moment it is raining…. There is subtle music in this rain. Rain falling on the leaves and one can dance – enough music. One has only to be sensitive. Or ocean waves shattering on the beach, on the rocks. One can dance – enough music. One can have a wild, orgasmic dance. Or maybe there is no sound, only silence – then too there is music… one can move with that silence.
“So whenever you can find time – but at least once a day, make it a part of your life. Just as you eat and you sleep, dance too.”
Abridged from Osho, The Shadow of the Whip, Talk #3