Movement facilitator Dani Waldman combines physical and mental aspects of wellness through somatic healing to help her clients develop a strong mind-body connection and understanding of themselves. She talked to us about somatic-based movement and setting boundaries. Note: This interview is a part of our 20 Masters of Mindfulness, Movement + Connection roundup, which ran in our Winter 2021 issue.
Tell me about your journey and how it brought you to your current role.
My journey into this work isn’t linear. I was very much living a life that was no longer landing with me. I was involved in toxic romantic partnerships, working a job that didn’t showcase my strengths or passions and would take myself into a drug-induced state on the weekends. I decided to leave it behind and discover pieces of myself that I hadn’t yet looked at.
I worked many different jobs, found out what I liked, what I didn’t like, opened myself up, let myself make mistakes and let go of this idea of who I had to be. Over those few years, I discovered that being of service and supporting others was my passion. The somatic-based movement that I guide clients in and the group work I facilitate allows me to bring all of the things I love and am great at into a space. I’m grateful to have the love and tools for expressive movement. Our bodies hold so much information and when we practice tuning into them when safe, guided and ready, we get to support our nervous systems while understanding our trauma.
How are you practicing and prioritizing self-care, especially mid-pandemic?
When we think of self-care, we often think of cozy bubble baths, hot tea and facial masks. While those elements do speak to self-care, there are other ways in which we can tend to our own well-being such as setting boundaries, learning to say no and being honest with ourselves about what our capacity is. Over this last year, I have had many cups of delicious tea and walks in nature but more so, I’ve become more honest with myself about my own boundaries and what I’m available for. Self-care doesn’t always feel comfortable because it’s about creating sustainability within our own well-being.
What does self-compassion mean to you, and how do you incorporate it into your practice?
When it comes to self-compassion, I can’t emphasize enough to practice it through the lens of tenderness. Self-compassion is learning that we can continue to come home to ourselves time and time again. We can practice learning how to trust ourselves and tune into the cues that our body is giving us. We all have moments when we aren’t living with self-compassion. This makes sense as compassion and practicing self-intimacy isn’t encouraged by our societal conditioning.
When I reflect on self-compassion, I remind myself that I don’t always have to get it right and it’s okay to laugh because we are all trying to navigate this messy human experience. The invitation is to be gentle on yourself. Somatic-based expressive movement is one of the ways I connect with myself. Through movement, I can find compassion for the many pieces of my own inner being. For me, this is some of the most powerful healing I can offer to myself. Compassion always comes into the space as well as finding a point of truth that lands with me.
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