Want to treat ailments? Say cheers to dance therapy!

  • Neha Malude, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 20, 2015 18:14 IST

Mann dole, mera tan dole, mere dil ka gaya karaar..." Chances are you will find yourself dancing to this song if you enroll in Satyanarayana's dance therapy class for treating obesity.

Inspired by a snake's movements, the dance form mimics the fluid, sweeping gestures that focus on muscle control and rhythmic breathing. It might sound incredulous but the former bank manager claims that one can lose 2-5kgs in 20 days with this exercise.

India's first dancer to get a doctorate in dance therapy, Satyanarayana's interest in the medium was stoked while at a dance program in the US 15 years ago.

"Indian dance forms are so beautiful - they integrate emotion, beauty and physicality - then why not create a therapy based on them?" he wondered.

And therein lies the twist - using the curative properties of dance with forms like bharatnatyam, kathak and even snake dance. The director of Shristi Center of Performing Arts and Institute of Dance Therapy in Bangalore, Satyanarayana even uses Chhau dance (an Indian tribal martial dance) and Manipuri martial arts in his classes.


Clients performing Alapallava, a hand movement (that resembles an open lotus) that flexes the wrist

That dance is a natural stress buster is already known but Satyanarayana uses it to target ailments like obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, joint pains - even polio and paralysis.

"Take mudras like Alapallava, for instance, (a hand movement that resembles an open lotus) that flexes the wrist, alleviating the pain that results from typing at odd angles, or tatkar, the foot-tapping movement in kathak that increases blood flow to the soles and is beneficial to diabetics. Our scriptures prove that they work," says Satyanarayana, who has now opened a Delhi centre and is now seeking government aid for it.

In fact, you might even say that he 'prescribes' movements. "Yes, I do," he says, smiling. "I've even created a dance therapy for expecting mothers. I tell them to picture themselves as Yashoda churning butter or drawing water for Krishna. The moves not only evoke their motherly instinct but also strengthen their back and pelvic floor, and improves breathing."

So the next time you want to book a doctor's appointment, why not explore dance therapy instead? To know more about dance therapy, visit www.dancetherapyindia.com

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