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Bhumi is a dance movement therapist. She is also into various forms of healing modalities. She conducts workshops where people reflect's deeply about themselves and find their innate rhythm.  Read on our interview #5 below -

Keshav: What is dance movement therapy? To a novice what does it mean?

Bhumi: Dance movement therapy is a way of approaching dance and movement, in a way that is introspective, in a way that takes you within yourself, in a way that helps you reconnect, in a way that makes you more aware. My workshops, I call them dance movement awareness because it is a way of reconnecting with the wisdom that is there in your body and moving from there. When you move from there, though it is only the body that is moving, it enables movement at all levels, emotional, spiritual, mental, because all of them are connected and whenever there is movement on one plane, there is movement on the others as well. Generally we encounter difficulties when there is a blockage in the system, when something is not being able to move, because the natural flow of life is to move.

Keshav: I was going through the work that you do, news articles and facebook page and it seems like it's not just dance that you do, a lot of times the main theme is dance but you also promote other art forms and encourage people to express via those. So tell me how do you structure it? How does a typical workshop might look like?

Bhumi: The thing is I don't structure the workshops. The workshops are fully spontaneous. So I carry, I have a bag and I carry the entire bag with clay, with colors, with paper, with ribbons and all my dance props, art stuff, brushes and paints. The workshop is designed according to what the group is asking for at that time, what individually they are looking for in life. We have a format to start with silence and end with silence. And then we have a sharing circle, where each one shares as to what we all are asking from life, what are we really wanting beneath all that we are doing on the surface and from there we see what comes.

Keshav: Is it very easy to get people to open up? Say you have a workshop of 8-10 people at a time, they do not know each other and they are probably coming to you for the first time. Is it easy for you to go without an agenda and just let it flow and expect that people will open up?

Bhumi: It is a lot easier than other workshops, honestly, because when you go without an agenda people feel a lot safer. Generally, everywhere we go, we go with an agenda and sometimes that ends up creating a wall because you are needing something from the other person. But if you are just going there and showing up, and of course I am doing the process myself also, I am doing all the activities myself. When I am present and open that enables them to be the same and I guess movement and art helps there because you cannot be logical when you are moving, you cannot be structured in art.

Keshav: You have to go with the flow.

Bhumi: You have to connect with your heart only.

Keshav: But I presume people pay to be at your dance workshops or any workshops, so don't you get cases like, "Oh hell, I paid for this, now you tell me what to do rather than asking me what to do!"

Bhumi: I have never had anything like that.

Keshav: Okay, that's a surprise. Tell me a little bit about the background, how did it start? How did you get into these workshops? What led you into it?

Bhumi: From a very young age, I have been curious about life, about human psyche and just where all of this emerges from and in the process I studied a lot of mindfulness, I studied psychology, therapy, counselling and some healing modalities and I met all these people who have been on the path to themselves and ultimately I realised that dance to me was my natural expression, it is something that I do so effortlessly. Initially, it was just a means of expression and release, but as my awareness grew it also became a means of connection for me, of experiencing freedom, of experiencing silence and I just felt that I wanted to share this with more people. Ofcourse the workshops have a lot of dance, but it is also coming together of everything, all the therapies and all the modalities that I have learnt and experienced.

Keshav: Tell me more. It’s not a very conventional career, right?

Bhumi: Right. After my 11th standard in fact I was in Kota, Rajasthan and I was preparing for my IIT JEE. I had thought of taking the science road and I wanted to do aero-modelling. I was a good student so it was a natural focus, you know. But in my one year there, I realised that this is not what brings me joy, so I came back home and I think for 6-7 months I just sat at home and I had no idea what I wanted to do then and my family also was like dude what is happening?. Then I took psychology

Keshav: A big shift like from engineering to psychology…

Bhumi: From Engineering to Arts and Arts is not really the respected stream, so it was a little bit of a shock for them. But it's been a real fortune, my father, inspite of not always being in agreement, has respected my freedom. And still of course many times, because you are not earning that much, because of course I have just

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Bhumi is a dance movement therapist. She is also into various forms of healing modalities. She conducts workshops where people reflect's deeply about themselves and find their innate rhythm.  Read on our interview #5 below -

Keshav: What is dance movement therapy? To a novice what does it mean?

Bhumi: Dance movement therapy is a way of approaching dance and movement, in a way that is introspective, in a way that takes you within yourself, in a way that helps you reconnect, in a way that makes you more aware. My workshops, I call them dance movement awareness because it is a way of reconnecting with the wisdom that is there in your body and moving from there. When you move from there, though it is only the body that is moving, it enables movement at all levels, emotional, spiritual, mental, because all of them are connected and whenever there is movement on one plane, there is movement on the others as well. Generally we encounter difficulties when there is a blockage in the system, when something is not being able to move, because the natural flow of life is to move.

Keshav: I was going through the work that you do, news articles and facebook page and it seems like it's not just dance that you do, a lot of times the main theme is dance but you also promote other art forms and encourage people to express via those. So tell me how do you structure it? How does a typical workshop might look like?

Bhumi: The thing is I don't structure the workshops. The workshops are fully spontaneous. So I carry, I have a bag and I carry the entire bag with clay, with colors, with paper, with ribbons and all my dance props, art stuff, brushes and paints. The workshop is designed according to what the group is asking for at that time, what individually they are looking for in life. We have a format to start with silence and end with silence. And then we have a sharing circle, where each one shares as to what we all are asking from life, what are we really wanting beneath all that we are doing on the surface and from there we see what comes.

Keshav: Is it very easy to get people to open up? Say you have a workshop of 8-10 people at a time, they do not know each other and they are probably coming to you for the first time. Is it easy for you to go without an agenda and just let it flow and expect that people will open up?

Bhumi: It is a lot easier than other workshops, honestly, because when you go without an agenda people feel a lot safer. Generally, everywhere we go, we go with an agenda and sometimes that ends up creating a wall because you are needing something from the other person. But if you are just going there and showing up, and of course I am doing the process myself also, I am doing all the activities myself. When I am present and open that enables them to be the same and I guess movement and art helps there because you cannot be logical when you are moving, you cannot be structured in art.

Keshav: You have to go with the flow.

Bhumi: You have to connect with your heart only.

Keshav: But I presume people pay to be at your dance workshops or any workshops, so don't you get cases like, "Oh hell, I paid for this, now you tell me what to do rather than asking me what to do!"

Bhumi: I have never had anything like that.

Keshav: Okay, that's a surprise. Tell me a little bit about the background, how did it start? How did you get into these workshops? What led you into it?

Bhumi: From a very young age, I have been curious about life, about human psyche and just where all of this emerges from and in the process I studied a lot of mindfulness, I studied psychology, therapy, counselling and some healing modalities and I met all these people who have been on the path to themselves and ultimately I realised that dance to me was my natural expression, it is something that I do so effortlessly. Initially, it was just a means of expression and release, but as my awareness grew it also became a means of connection for me, of experiencing freedom, of experiencing silence and I just felt that I wanted to share this with more people. Ofcourse the workshops have a lot of dance, but it is also coming together of everything, all the therapies and all the modalities that I have learnt and experienced.

Keshav: Tell me more. It’s not a very conventional career, right?

Bhumi: Right. After my 11th standard in fact I was in Kota, Rajasthan and I was preparing for my IIT JEE. I had thought of taking the science road and I wanted to do aero-modelling. I was a good student so it was a natural focus, you know. But in my one year there, I realised that this is not what brings me joy, so I came back home and I think for 6-7 months I just sat at home and I had no idea what I wanted to do then and my family also was like dude what is happening?. Then I took psychology

Keshav: A big shift like from engineering to psychology…

Bhumi: From Engineering to Arts and Arts is not really the respected stream, so it was a little bit of a shock for them. But it's been a real fortune, my father, inspite of not always being in agreement, has respected my freedom. And still of course many times, because you are not earning that much, because of course I have just started off, he gets a little worried but he never comes in the way of me following my heart. When I moved to psychology, after graduation I realized that I do not want to study the conventional psychology, because it is not answering the questions that I hold. It is too much about, out there and you know. And also unfortunately when we learn psychology, they never teach us about ourselves, it is always about some psychologist who has said some theory and I am like, I have a mind, why can't I, why can't I begin from here? So I turned to all these alternative therapies and healing modalities for my answer. Before beginning this, for the last two years I was with a teacher so I was not working at all and my family had given up on me by then. Haha.. Ya…so it has been an interesting journey and I think the conflict has not been with the family but with my own self.

Keshav: How?

Bhumi: I think this path that I have chosen is not a very smooth one, not an easy one because, you know, if you do engineering you will at least get so much package, you know the course, you know how it will go. But here, one faces constant uncertainty, not everybody understands you. I lost a lot of friends.

Keshav: You don't get a pay cheque at the end of the day…

Bhumi: You don't get a pay cheque at the end of the day. So you are wondering how am I going to pay my rent but I think by the end of the day the gratification that it gets, is worth it, and is worth all of it.

Keshav: Are you satisfied with it financially? Do you treat it as a business opportunity and you earn loads of money? Or it is just enough to pay your bills?

Bhumi: So independently I have just started eight months back, that's not been a very long time. Currently I am not earning enough honestly, but I can say that it is a beautiful opportunity. And now that I have moved to Bangalore, I am renting a place and properly focusing on this, I think a lot more is possible because people are really opening up, they know that the old methods have not really helped and they are looking for something more.

Keshav: You said that you started only 8 months back, what were you doing before that?

Bhumi: Before that I used to work as a DMIT counselorr for almost 2 years.

Keshav: DMIT?

Bhumi: DMIT is Dermatoglyphics Multiple Intelligence Test,

Keshav: Oh yeah!! Both laugh

Bhumi: So, That's a concept where they take your finger prints and through the pattern of your finger prints they map out your Intelligences, the multiple Intelligences in your brain.

Keshav: What?!

Bhumi: Yes!

Keshav: is it, is it something that is scientifically proven?

Bhumi: Yes. The theory is that when you are in womb, your fingerprints, footprints and your brain develop at the same time. It is very popular now. It's alternative science type, it's an attempt to understand your brain, your strengths, and your weaknesses better and as a child it helps because then you can kind of help yourself. So, some people use it for career counselling, some people use it for relationship management, some people just use it to know themselves better, so yes, it's different cases all the time. For a year, I also worked with a social initiative in Mumbai. It is called Thank You India, where we were trying to spread values like gratitude that are there in our scriptures and in our value system, and use that as a means of bringing about change. So for all these months, everyday eight hours we used to have a van that used to go across Mumbai. We used to give a rose to everybody we met and say thank you. Then we started working with the Mumbai traffic police, the Thane traffic Police and that was with the purpose of bringing a transformation in the traffic behaviour. So when a car is halted at the traffic signal, we used to quickly go and if they had followed a rule, we would say thank you for following the blah blah blah rule, like if you have worn a seatbelt and if they have not followed a rule, we'd say thank you in advance for the next time. Then for nearly two years, I was with a spiritual teacher. I used to work with him in Pune, there I learnt my dance movement therapy in parallel and after which I am here.

Keshav: What kind of people do u get in your workshops?

Bhumi: Mostly the middle aged, or people like our age, who are wanting to explore more, people who have some idea of some alternative methods or people who are exploring arts, so ya a very modern crowd. In every workshop there is a perfect mix of people who understand, go deeper and others who are very new to all this.

Keshav: I was watching some photos of the workshop, I noticed a trend that usually you get a majority of female audience in your workshops.

Bhumi: Yes, that's true.

Keshav: Why is that?

Bhumi: Aaahhhh! I don't know, even I am wondering actually.
In fact someday I would want to do a special workshop only for men, but I think the area of expressive arts is anyway more dominated by females.

Keshav: As facilitators or as seekers?

Bhumi: As both. I think as both. It is very unfortunate. I think men need it a lot more than women do. Because women are anyways very expressive. Somehow due to our conditioning, men have not been taught to express in any other way except physical and sexual, and then we complain about rapes.

Keshav: That's a good point. I think you can focus more on men in your next workshops.

Bhumi: Yes.

Keshav: Do you get to witness extreme reactions in your workshops? Crying, extreme happiness, anything?

Bhumi: Ya I think in my last to last workshop, there was this lady who came really happy like she was very excited, but from the beginning of the workshop she was just crying, uncontrollably, though she was trying really hard not to. Of course there was no force, it was very gentle but she wanted to leave as she said,"I don't want to cry so much and disturb everybody else". But then on making her understand, she came back. It turned out to be one of the most beautiful workshops ever because she was going through the death of two very close people in her family. Generally, in our day to day lives we don't get an opportunity to even express, let alone crying. So for her it was just this place where she could do that and then of course because I have a background in therapy I think I just paused the dance aspect a little bit and we did more forgiveness processes and sharing processes. She left with so much joy, just being at peace by herself. Often you just need that.

Keshav: To vent out.

Bhumi: Yeah, to vent out and even to forgive yourself.

Keshav: Yeah

Keshav: How was your experience working with children in school? I am sure working with children is a lot different than working with adults. Children are so spontaneous. Did they frustrate you and kept you on your toes all the time?

Bhumi: It is very different and yes, they did keep me on my toes. With the adults I think the essence of the work though it is movement based, it is very stillness oriented. If you see on the page, it says "moving from stillness". So the idea is to use movement to come back to a place of silence, whereas for the children it is the other way round. Because they are already so much into movement that to really bring them back to alignment is a task.And this school that I used to work with was an alternative school, a lot of these were special children, children with ADHD and you know so it was completely the other way round. With children it is not as much about diving deeper, but it is more about how to learn more in non theoretical ways. So there I used a lot of arts and clay and it was a mixture of lot of different modalities and at times it used to be difficult also because there would be a group of these 2-3 children who would be screwing up the whole class!

Keshav: hahahahha

Bhumi: but I think it was one of the most beautiful experiences I have had of my own personal self. Because a lot of movement is also about encountering that child in you. The innocent, the unadulterated, the not very structured and blank. So ya it was very good.

Keshav: I am still not at peace as how do you sell your workshops to people. You said you just go into the workshop without any agenda, you just carry a bag and decide what to do, so what do u tell people about what is gonna happpen, please come and experience? Like an actor will say, ya it's a theatre play, please come and see. This is the story which you gonna hear, movie you know like so and so actors are acting. What do you tell people?

Bhumi: So until you come to the workshop and you don't sit in the sharing circle, you don't know it is a spontaneous workshop.

Keshav: So, what do you tell people? What the workshop is about?

Bhumi: Workshop is about reconnecting with yourself using the medium of movement.

Keshav: So you keep it ambiguous purposely.

Bhumi: Yes.

Keshav: okay

Bhumi: But it is made very clear that it is about reflecting, going deeper, it is about finding your rhythm. The innate rhythm that is only there in your body, so those things are made clear but they are very open. And fortunately people are cool with not knowing. I think the whole point of spontaneity excites people, it doesn't put them off. I think we have lost the spontaneity. So everybody gets really curious here. Okay, what's gonna happen and it is empowering to them also because it is not facilitator driven only. It doesn't make them feel that I am there and..

Keshav: You are the boss

Bhumi: yes

Keshav: You just started independently a few months back and I am sure it is going very well until now. So what are your plans in future? Workshops every weekend? Or what's the future like? Do you want to make it a big business?

Bhumi: I don't know. I am not really good at the business aspect at all and when I started doing this I did not have the idea of converting it into my business and all that. But naturally things are moving and life is supporting. I know that I cannot rely on weekend workshops, it's not possible.

Keshav: Exactly, what do you do Monday to Friday?

Bhumi: I chill, really, I just chill. That's exactly what I do. I chill, spend time with my boyfriend.I go around Bangalore.

Keshav: that's a nice job.

Bhumi: Go to really nice places to eat. Ya, that's what I do. So I am thinking of going to more organisations now like schools and corporates, the venues also that have these health related, wellness related activities and have tie-ups with them. So it's still not a full time job. It will still be once a week or twice a week but it gives me something to do apart from the weekend, because weekend is maximum 4 weekends, 4 workshops. That's it. Also now I am thinking of doing, planning in fact, a two-day workshop, a full day workshop, to go a little deeper. Initially I did shorter workshops because people didn't know what it was about. And until you know what it is about you will not come for a full day workshop or a two day workshop, so now I feel people are more acquainted.

Keshav: Did you take any formal training in dance?
(Bhumi Nods her head in disagreement.)

Keshav: So, when you market your workshops as a dance based workshop, do people question you?

Bhumi: I have learnt dance movement therapy, so that's there. When I was in Mumbai I tried going to Shiamak and Terence and all those classes. Shiamak, infact I was there for sometime, for a year or so and I had a hell, I mean I had a really bad time, because of the dance. I did not understand it then, it was only later that I realised that dance for me always meant freedom. The freedom of expressing, the freedom of being myself. Like that was my thing and when I am going to a class that was not there at all. The first half was just warming up which I enjoyed, the second half is you are learning a routine which the instructor tells you, so there is no originality. Dance is a means of expressing according to my moods. If I am sad, I want to dance like I am sad and if I am happy, I want to dance like I am happy!

Keshav: how does one dance like a sad person?

Bhumi: You should come to the workshop and see. Really. I learnt active meditation and normine meditation at the dance class, which have a lot of movement and then there is silence. So those were really instrumental for me, for my personal training. Apart from that the routine classes were so inauthentic for me that instead of freeing me up that dance was making me more caged, and dance therapy does not follow any particular system. It is more about getting in touch with your own dance, your own music.

Keshav: So it is not like it is akin to any kind of kathak, Bharatnatyam or any dance form

Bhumi: It is about breaking the dance forms.

Keshav: Sorry but there must be some structure to it. What kind of movements you will do..? There must be something governing it.

Bhumi: Yeah yeah yeah.. there is…there is, absolutely there is.

Keshav: So is it more like doing yoga at 3x speed which makes it look like a dance?

Bhumi: Maybe/ maybe not.. because yoga again has a structure to it, it has certain movements you are supposed to know. And the thing about yoga is that the movements are already given to you. Like you know ki Padmasan karna hai toh aise baithna hai (you have to sit in this way for Padmasana), whereas, let me share this basic exercise. It is called space exploration in which you are exploring the space around you. Now, this is the guidance that I give them. Imagine that you are in a bubble. And this bubble is representative of you. So, the theory is that the mind is not in the brain. It is a scientific thing that it is around the whole space like your energy.

Keshav: like in Buddhist psychology.

Bhumi: no, now it is proven by Quantum physics

Keshav: oh!

Bhumi: Now it is a proven fact. So when you move in this area with awareness, in a lot of ways you are coming more in contact with yourself. So this space contains all the thoughts, emotions and the memories from the very beginning. So the more you are moving in this area with awareness, the more you come in contact with yourself.

Keshav: Interesting! Bhumi, tell us a little about your family?

Bhumi: I don't share this generally, so when I was 11 or something, my mom died of cancer. And then my dad got into the enquiry of what all this means. Until then I lived a very..

Keshav: Carefree life?

Bhumi: Yeah.. and I have a younger sister also who was only 5 then. So for us it was really like a shock that came and then my dad remarried and the marriage was not a smooth one. They encountered a lot of difficulties on the way. So from then on there was a void that was created and there were many ways in which I tried to fill it. I got into relationships from a very young age and I tried being very popular, being this and doing that, but ultimately I realised nothing worked. And I feel somewhere this void was there and always this constant thing of wanting to find out. Then life just directed me, I met some beautiful people who are on the journey and everytime I have tried not to be here, it has been very painful. So I have just realised that these questions are very important for me to understand life. And I think it is essentially all about finding really love within for each one of us. So I wouldn't say there is any particular thing but there are lot of things, a lot of things. And in many ways life has been extremely difficult, I mean yes I am 24, but it has been extremely difficult and it continues to be so but I think the blessing of it is that I have really been able to go inside and see what is true and honest.

Keshav: So you said you were trying to find some way to fill that void. So has it been filled now? I think you just have to learn to live with it because you can't just find somebody who can replace the memory of your dead mother. I am pretty sure.

Bhumi: I think a lot of us are looking for the mother, for the womb space. It is just a metaphor of that space where we can feel fully ourselves, where we can feel fully loved and accepted of who we are.

Keshav: And not care about what the world thinks

Bhumi: Even people who have mothers don’t feel this. I just came to realise this because my mom died and ultimately you have to become that for yourself, there is no other way out.

Keshav: Absolutely

Bhumi: And the whole story of the void drops after a point, because what I came to realise is you don't need anybody else. I am not saying I am completely mukt and free and all that. But I feel I am a lot more at peace and a lot more in touch with myself now and the questions don’t bother as much. Though the journey is still deepening and still has a long way, but I feel I am realising nothing externally, not only a person, not even a job or anything, anything can get there. The sooner you realise the better, some people realise it after a certain age that's why I think old people are so chilled because I think they are like they have done everything.

Keshav: Would you like to say anything to any general person who might be reading, watching or listening to this interview? You can advertise for your workshops if you want. Haha!

Bhumi: It will be that there is no where else to go, you know. We are always trying to reach somewhere, reach a better version of us. Fix ourselves, fix our jobs, fix our lives, fix people around us. Eventually it is just about staying where you are there. Rohit says it very beautifully, the sooner you realize that you suck at this thing called life, it's gonna be easier.

Bhumi can be reached at –

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/samarpandancemovementawareness/

Instagram – Samarpan_DMT

Phone - +91-9664281133

Email – bhumi.mathuria@gmail.com

 

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