Lockdown has felt like it has gone on forever, we have been stripped of connection to others and had a lot of the things that have brought fun and enjoyment removed from our lives. We’ve all done our bit in this very strange time but the desire to start having fun again is real and palpable. We have sat with a veil of fear and uncertainty over us which has left us with anxiety and low moods and it’s about time that we turn this around. It’s about time to reclaim that feeling of joy, pleasure and vibrancy we once knew and bring some hedonism back into our lives!
Don’t let the old connotations of hedonism put you off. ‘Hedonism’ literally means ‘Pleasure’ in ancient Greek and I’m telling you now, we all deserve some pleasure in our lives. If nothing else, surely the events over the last year and beyond have highlighted the fact that life is precious, we only get one shot and we need to live it to the fullest. Now that doesn’t mean behaving recklessly and ending up with a whole load of emotions and behaviours that need dealing with on the other end. No, it means truly tapping into what brings you delight, elation, contentment and satisfaction. This could be art, music, food, literature, the great outdoors, the list could go on, but whatever it is just start now to give yourself permission to indulge in these pleasures, you will be amazed at what it does for your wellbeing.
I have to say I feel my most vibrant when I am having a full-on dance to house music, if it’s on a packed dance floor or in the middle of a festival tent all the better, but my kitchen discos also hit the spot! When I dance in this way, to this kind of music, I feel utterly free, I can lose myself and find myself all at the same time. In the words of Eddie Amador ‘It’s a spiritual thing, a body thing, a soul thing.’
As a yoga teacher, I also recognise the importance of holistic wellbeing. The need to become self-aware, recognising your negative patterns, habits and beliefs so that you can make positive changes in your life. When you do this, you allow yourself to fully experience the feelings of joy, pleasure and elation because you’re not using it to escape, you’re using it to enhance your life.
So my mission within my community is to instil a sense of ‘Hedonistic Wellbeing’ by using practices such as yoga, meditation, breathwork, dance, affirmations, journaling and visualisations to create self-awareness, presence and worthiness. From this, we can recognise the things that really do light us up and fully give ourselves permission to seek it out and give time to it within our busy lives.
For those that also have a deep love for the dance floor and house music, I created my signature event ‘Yoga Vibes’. This session is rooted in yoga asana but fuses dance movement and free expression and is set to a soundtrack of house music played by my amazing DJ. The aim is to connect to self, release judgement and really lean into a movement that feels good on your body. Everyone ALWAYS leaves feeling uplifted, energised and joyful! There’s no need for alcohol or drugs, although I’m sure a cup of Theenk’s Afternoon Madness could enhance your energy if you’re feeling particularly tired. Other than that though, it’s just about a commitment to self to let go of judgement, be in the moment and let the music guide you. So if you feel inspired to start making space for more things that bring you joy whilst also looking after your health & wellbeing then make sure to tag me on social media @breathedanceandyoga and use #hedonisticwellbeing and join the rest of the vibrant females that are already making changes to their lives.
Cat Merrick runs Breath Dance & Yoga and teaches online and in person.
You can find her on Facebook and Instagram at the handle @breathedanceandyoga or visit her website Breathe and Dance Yoga