The North American Pelvis Meets Bollywood

9239560569_df06fffc9a_bI’ve just returned from the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon! For those of you who are not familiar, it’s a weekend of talks, workshops, films, glow in the dark mini golf, and zoo animals (to name just a few things) with 3000 of the world’s loveliest people, all joined together under the common goals of community, service, and adventure (it’s purely benevolent world domination…) Yep, it’s pretty fantastic. While I had many wonderful experiences and a-ha moments there, the one that really spoke to me about the goals of The FFF happened at the after party. Enter DJ Prashant.

Imagine a large outdoor square (Pioneer Square in downtown Portland) totally taken over by 3000 benevolent world dominators, food carts, and a massive sound stage dedicated to Bollywood (obviously!) If you’ve never had the pleasure of watching DJ Prashant work a crowd, let me tell you, the man is a force of nature. Since I’m a movement junkie I was the on the dance floor immediately- well I was technically about the 4th person to get on the dance floor, but that’s only because I had to run back to my hotel room for something- anyway, as someone who’s happy to shake it on the dance floor at these types of things, I’m used to the usual scenario where somewhere around 15% of the crowd is shaking it with me, while everyone else abstains.

I mentioned the force of nature that is DJ Prashant, right? I think it was by, hmmm, maybe the third song that he was leading a large percentage of this massive crowd, in unison, in a Bollywood dance to amazing music. And that continued for two hours non-stop. I’m not totally sure how he pulled it off without collapsing, but he did. It looked a little something like this:

9239572797_d252ec9b00_b

When I took a water break (Bollywood is intense!) I had made my way to the back of the crowd and was able to look out over this sea of newly minted Bollywood dancers and one thought occurred to me, “What the hell!? This guy is getting people to move their pelvises in ways that I spend ages trying to convince them to explore! He’s like a magician!” People were unabashedly shimmying, grinding, and rolling like champs. It was beautiful.

First let's back up and say a word about the “North American Pelvis”. We seem to grow up in North America convinced that we have to lock that shit down. Here we have this beautiful structure that moves happily in many planes and yet we put a strangle hold on its beautiful potential. We all get the messages; Ladies, don’t let your butts stick out or you’ll seem slutty. Men (particularly straight men), don’t ever let your pelvis deviate from sagittal plane walking-forward-only movement or you’ll seem gay , God forbid, or just downright too feminine (ahem, your Latin brothers to the South seem to pull off a more mobile pelvis just fine. They don’t seem to be getting many complaints…).

Suffice it to say, we’re all walking around wearing the equivalent of tighty whities that are thirty sizes too small slapped on over our once supple fascia. And because this leads to a wide array of problems, some of which are low back and sacroiliac pain, osteoarthritis of the hips (leading to hip replacements in some cases), incontinence in older and younger years, and even sexual dysfunction, well, I kind of tell people to move their pelvises more on a pretty regular basis. And they resist like I was asking them to go on a fluffy kitten killing spree!

Through all these years of telling people that they can embrace more multi-dimensional pelvic movement I have decided that it takes patience to get people to give it a shot. Which isn’t untrue of course, but now it appears there’s another option: Bollywood! Or, more precisely, fun.

Generally when we’re trying to “fix” our bodies, or to just plain old better inhabit them, we forget about the importance of fun and of novelty. DJ Prashant certainly reminded me of how powerful a tool that can be in opening up movement potential. So whether you’re a pretty embodied athlete or yogini or bodyworker, or someone who is desirous of being more embodied and rejecting the mold your cubicle is shaping your body into, see if you can maybe break out of your norm, and try something radically different. Ideally something that includes new planes of movement. Bollywood dancing was my latest epiphany (I’m checking out classes near me, natch), but think of all the possibilities! Aerial silks, hip hop, Capoeira, ballroom dancing, Parkour… See what calls to you and move in a new and delicious way!

P.S. It helps to do this in a low shame, high love and support community (as we were all blessed to have at the World Domination Summit), or with a very supportive buddy. For better or worse most of us have a lot of shyness and shame around trying out new stuff, especially related to our bodies, so set yourself up for actual fun by paying attention to who’s along for the ride.