Each of us has our own definition of Body Empowerment. We have personal circumstances that shape our paths into what we call a journey, which is a passage or progress from one stage to another.
My journey began a few years ago when I was diagnosed with a neurological condition which left me with symptoms that severely impacted my life. It got to the point where I needed a cane to help me walk and I could barely do basic daily tasks. Not only did I suffer physically but the mental and emotional aspects of the situation took quite a toll on me.
Incredible change happens when you decide to take control and in doing so, it means that you need to have a strong sense of self-awareness about what you indeed have control over. For me, it was about learning to embrace my limitations and allowing them to be part of who I am. It was important that I also not allow my limitations to totally define me as a person.
One of the most empowering moments for me was when I told my physicians that I was determined to become strong enough to walk without a cane. They forewarned me about the potential physical pain as well as the uncertainty of whether or not my goal was realistically attainable. Learning to embrace struggle and not give up proved to be very challenging for me, especially when things got tough. There was a small voice inside of me that constantly reminded me that struggle is necessary for growth. Emotional strength is built through lots of little victories. It’s the individual choices that we make on a daily basis that build our ‘emotional strength’ muscles. We all want this kind of strength, but you can’t think your way to it. You have to do something about it continuously. It’s your daily actions that prove your emotional and mental fortitude.
BollyX was a game changer for me in so many ways. It has given me a platform to inspire others to respect and honor their limitations while pushing themselves beyond their comfort zones. My philosophy is to create an inclusive place where everyone feels like they can dance and be part of a community regardless of their limitations.
BollyX has provoked me to push myself physically and mentally. It took a lot of time for me to build up the physical stamina to teach a one hour class because of the intensity level. I had to learn to utilize and build certain muscles and eye/hand coordination skills to master the wide squat and some of the Bhangra technique. BollyX choreography is designed to promote rapid learning by using repetition and musicality, this kind of structure sets me up for success because I struggle with cognitive issues on a daily basis. Mastering and implementing the concept of pre-cueing is beneficial because my brain has to process choreography, visual and verbal pre-cueing, and engaging students all at once. Just like every muscle in the body, the mind needs to be exercised to gain strength. It needs to be worked consistently to grow and develop over time. If you don’t push yourself in thousands of little ways over time, of course you’ll crumble on the one day that things get really challenging.
Body Empowerment is about recognizing your insecurities and setting goals to love and accept yourself. It is about looking in the mirror every single day and seeing the positive characteristics that make you who you are. You never know what battles people are fighting so try be less judgemental and more understanding. Finally, learn to love who you are inside and out, and keep pushing forward!