How attending an ODM changed the way I think of Dance


At Capt. Sumisha Shankar’s ODM, I discovered that dance can be healing too 
By Sonia Rao

Not having trained in dance, I was especially thrilled to win the prize for best dancer at a prominent 5 star hotel’s New Year Bash. I had just unleashed my inner dancer and swung and swayed according to the music.

But dance is not just about pleasure. It can heal too.
Rehab centres use dance as one of the tools of healing to cure depression, anxiety and addictions too, by raising the body’s energy levels. Ahhh… no wonder one always felt good after dancing!

So, when Capt. Sumisha Shankar invited me to attend her Organic Dance Meditation (ODM) to experience the healing powers of dance first-hand, I agreed immediately.

ODM sounds like a close cousin of EDM (Electronic Dance Music) but the difference is that ODM requires you to be mindful of your movements which is almost meditative.

In the packed hall at the Yoga Institute, colourful garlands hung down from the ceiling in celebration of their 100th Year. One could actually feel the excitement rising as Sumisha got the music system ready for the session.

Dance without ambition
“Dance without ambition” – this is the first thing Sumisha said to us. There was going to be no competition and one had to focus on one’s own experience of “Feeling Alive.”

We began with the Rasas – the 5 elements of the body – Fire, Water, Earth, Air & Ether. Dropping off all our pre-conceived ideas, we shimmied our hands to denote fire while for water we made wavy movements.


Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, people standing, people dancing and indoor
Different steps followed different movements. It was all about letting go even if it meant slithering along the floor. In fact, one of the participants hopped around the room but the movements were so rhythmic that our guffaws were coupled with awe.

The music moved from slow to fast-Bollywood. We matched steps with our partners and we jumped up and shimmied and rocked and had a lot of fun. Sumisha took up the already high energies many notches higher as she shouted out encouragement. At one point, we were even doing the wave like you see the crowds doing it at baseball games. At this moment, we all felt in tune with each other and dare I say, the Universe.

Feeling alive
“I’m so glad I signed up for this session,” said Vishal, working in the IT sector. He had taken leave to attend this and could not stop raving about it.

Patricia, from Spain, “absolutely adored” this dance meditation. She was part of a group of trained dancers who had come down from Spain to study at the Yoga Institute. The joyous smiles on their faces were enough testimony that ODM totally rocked for them.

The evening ended as we meditated on Ganesha shloka-chanting by a trio of international students of Yoga Institute but the feel-good hormones coursed on inside the body bringing a sense of wellness to the body and spirit for a long time after the event.

Sonia Rao is the Editor In Chief at Thriive Art & Soul


Want to experience ODM for yourself? You’re in luck! Capt. Sumisha Shankar is conducting Organic Dance Meditation as part of Thriive’s Moon Meditation on Saturday 19th January, from 6:00pm – 7:00pm at Seventh Sense Movement & Language Centre, Chowpatty. Call up 7506424584 / email [email protected] to book your seat. 

Get more details here: https://tinyurl.com/y7nnb6ed

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