How Well Do You Actually Know Your Body?

Danielle Acoff is a professional dancer, model, actress, and yoga instructor with a passion for holistic health. She has worked in entertainment for 12 years and uses yoga, meditation, and her love of all things movement to keep her balanced in a high-pressure industry. Keep an eye out for her articles about everything from self-care to breathing techniques. Below, she explains how "intuitive movement" can transform your relationship with your body.

What exactly does "intuitive movement" mean? To start, it might be helpful to refresh our definition of "intuitive," which means "using or based on what feels to be true even without conscious reasoning.” We all have this intuitive nature—an inner knowing—not only in life but within movement. How do we feel like moving? What type of movement is needed for that specific day? What is my body trying to tell me? These questions can be answered by turning off our minds and letting our bodies do what they like.

This intuitive movement comes through as your own personal dance. Our magical human bodies not only have muscle memory but a voice that can and will communicate to us through movement. This self-expression dance is yours and yours alone, and it's worth exploring and getting to know.

Photo:

@yellabella

Pick music

Song choice is essential to start your free-form movement. I like to pick songs that coincide with my mood. If the feelings are of sadness or generally low, I put on something that sounds just that way. Don’t fight it—move with it and breathe with it. This is your body's way of letting it out.

And as for those times when you don’t know what to listen to, that's no problem! Let the music take the lead. A song can have a powerful impact on your movement and what comes through your body, so to speak. Some people prefer music without lyrics, but it’s entirely up to you and what feels right for you at that moment.

Choose an element: earth, air, water, or fire

This element cue will pull you out of your head and into your body if you let it. For example, if your element is water, you can move as if you’re water flowing down a river or water filling a glass. Use your imagination and turn it into a dance. Use the time allotted for your free movement practice to give in to this element fully.

A mood will come through when you’re moving—maybe it’s a sensual energy, anger, or silliness. Incorporate whatever mood you’re feeling with the element choice. This is something that I like to use as a way to start the letting go process, a sort of guide to help you move with different forms of expression. To free-form move or intuitively move is a release for whatever your body is craving.

Let go

Dancing is something we all did as a child and is something so innate in each and every one of us! The movement doesn’t have to be pretty, make sense, or even have rhythm. This is your freestyle; your freeform dance. Use this time to practice being fully present. Don’t forget to use the full space around you. Roll on the floor, jump in the air, and spin across the room. When we exercise our childhood instincts, like imagination and dance, we can awaken our intuition. Remember there is no right or wrong way—just let go.

Next up, learn how to start doing yoga at home when you don't know where to begin.