RHA MEMBER STORY: Diana Turner-Forte explains how her dance career naturally evolved and expanded to encompass her new passion for Reiki and energy healing
“Touch is the ultimate training tool for dancers…I already had a sense of the power of subtle touch and intention…This experiential wisdom would only increase over the years until I acknowledged that I was also destined to become a Reiki Master.”
As a child, from the moment I stepped into the dance studio entering into the spaciousness, classical music, and rigorous training—I knew I had met my soul’s purpose. The words of Ruth St. Denis best describe my dancing experiences: “My whole body has filled with light. I pour forth my spirit into Joy!” So, you can imagine my heartbreak when at the peak of my professional performing career, like a bolt of lightning, a sports medicine doctor proclaimed “you won’t be dancing anymore, you have 13 stress fractures on your shins.”
The diagnosis came after I had taken a brief hiatus to recover from physical dependency on Motrin to alleviate the swelling from the welts that formed and the excruciating pain shooting up my shins after 6 hours of intensive rehearsals. The doctor gave me a couple of options: casts would immobilize me and cause the calve muscles to atrophy making recovery nearly impossible or I could stop all physical activity and rest with legs elevated for 8 weeks. He emphasized no activity with an extended litany of “don’ts” to make the point—no standing, marking steps during rehearsals, or walking. I chose the latter option.
Pin this for later! Diana shared her personal story of how she found her way to Reiki in Universal Life Magazine – a Magazine for Reiki Professionals
“…I acknowledged that I was destined to be a Reiki Master…”
To escape slipping into further despair I initiated an interior dialogue with my higher essence. Following the prescription of no activity I spent long intervals listening to classical music, gently wrapping my hands over my shins with the intention to heal my legs, and being attentive to whatever else was burdening my soul at the time, while my mind replayed the words of Martha Graham: “The body never lies.”
On my follow-up visit, with x-rays held under one arm, the doctor asked what I had been doing, “resting” I said. Then I proudly showed him my hands to shins routine. With a look of disbelief, he showed me the x-rays. If they hadn’t been side-by-side, even I may have doubted what I saw. There was no sign of stress fractures. Shaking his head, he released me from his care with the admonition, “Be Careful!”
I returned to dance with a driving desire to better understand my body and become more aware of the cues that it was sending to me. Thus my quest into holistic healing unfolded with studies in Pilates Mat Work (focus on the core muscles and mind/body integration), Alexander Technique (an alternative approach to re-learn proper alignment and to move freely and effortlessly), Reflexology (alternative methodology focused on applying pressure to points on the hands or feet that correspond to physical organs to aid in healing); with supplemental studies in nutrition and kinesiology.
The common thread connecting my explorations was the benefits of sensory-tactile activities for cultivating change. Touch is the ultimate training tool for dancers with attention given to the finest details down to the fingertips. Instructors assist students in finding balance, inner alignment, and proper stance through touch. I already had a sense of the power of subtle touch and intention both from my training and in restoring my shins to wholeness. This experiential wisdom would only increase over the years until I acknowledged that I was also destined to become a Reiki Master.
While dancing my message was to heal and listen to my body; teaching, my goal is to educate dancers and the general public of their innate ability to self-heal. Keeping young students injury-free, empowering adult dancers and clients to re-claim more mobility required condensing my sensory-tactile encyclopaedic knowledge into smaller pieces to emphasize the relevance of incorporating touch and intention into one’s daily routine. As a tool for injury prevention and physical durability touch is essential.
With every dance session I now run, I incorporate 4 key energy exercises to enhance the healing benefits for the students. When participants experiment with these self-healing tools they stay injury-free, healthy, and take responsibility for their well-being.
These four postures draw upon the Reiki hand-positions and chakra points, as well as the power of breathwork and visualization.
The main healing facilitator in these exercises is the hands, as the student uses gentle touch and intention to listen to the body during each posture.
Diana’s Four Key Energy Exercises to Enhance Healing
1. Tune-in to your mental vision: Place cupped hands over closed eyes until there is blackness. This is one of the Reiki self-healing positions. Hold for 2 minutes.
2. Enjoy your forward-backward mobility: Place a hand at your forehead and the other hand at the base of the skull acknowledging the vitality of the vagus nerve — sometimes called the “soul nerve” — meandering through the body. Hold for 2 minutes.
3. Bless your feet: Sitting on the floor, place the flat palm (fingers together) of your hands (one top the other bottom) on one foot and hold like a glove. Notice the feeling of warmth and aliveness. Hold for 2 minutes per foot.
4. Listen and Breathe: Lay on your back (knees bent feet flat on the floor, hip width apart or with legs extended in a neutral spine) one open hand over the heart and the other resting below the navel. Imagine the breath flowing in an orb-like shape from the bottom of the feet around the body over the top the head. This is very relaxing, so stay awake for 2 minutes.
As a pre class warm-up 2 minutes in each posture is sufficient, but at home I encourage both students and clients to engage in the practice for 5 minutes per exercise several times a week if not daily. And then get up and dance to your favorite rhythmic percussive CD or a selection from Mozart Effect® collection, music specifically designed to reduce stress and heal body, mind, and soul.
In practice, we are engaging in the art of tuning-in, enjoying the moment, blessing the feet, and listening to our bodies through breath which affirms wholeness of spirit, love, and respect for the human form.
Becoming a Reiki Master has heightened my awareness of the natural self-healing consciousness within the body. Our bodies are of the earth, air, light, and spirit.
Combined with a clear intention our hands nurture the current of wholeness for transformation, health, and well-being.
Reiki is the sacred gift that allows me to keep giving in unimaginable ways.
Pin this for later! 4 Key Energy Exercises
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Diana Turner-Forte is a Teaching Artist in Dance/Movement, Reiki Master, and Holistic Health Professional who integrates the healing power of touch and intention in all aspects of her life and shares that information with her students and clients.
Reiki Healing Association Profile: HERE
Diana’s Website: HERE