Hugs – my version of Namaste

By Carmen Clews

Affectivity…‘the key that opens all the doors’ Rolando Toro

I started Biodanza thinking I was just going to dance, a little bit of jigging around a dance floor! Little did I know back then that it was going to be a magical elixir to a profound transformation where I ‘opened all the doors’. Of course, in order for the openings to happen, a safe and trusting space was going to be needed. A space where I could safely expand my heart, grow its capacity for abundance and to allow more love in…and out. Biodanza for me, also provided that safe place to feel into different emotions, experiment with boundaries, lovingly caress myself and others in a non judgmental way and practice great healing hugs!

I find that the more I surrender and let go of fears and judgements, the more love and joy floods in. One of the most profound and delightful ways was through affectivity, and indeed it did act as a ‘key to open all the doors’. We all biologically need touch and love, in order to survive. So much so that post WWII orphanages lost many babies who were not being regularly touched. They noticed the loss was less where the cleaning ladies were taking the time to put down their mops and cuddle a baby for a while. Like many people growing up in England, I didn’t have much affective touch, no hugs or kisses hello or goodbye. I grew up being uncomfortable with PDA (Public Displays of Affection) and I was so far removed from my personal love language of touch. I was scared of reaching out to touch another in case of rejection. Whereas the truth is that embracing healing hugs actually bring healing and renovation, it seems it is biological as well as what feels magical!

It is now like a breath of fresh air to intuitively reach out and touch another and not be scared of rejection. In Biodanza I have learnt about boundaries and how to kindly and non verbally show another in feedback if I am uncomfortable. And of course with others doing the same, there is no fear of being rejected in a hurtful way.

I am now a complete ‘touch tart’ and find such joy, bliss and receptiveness of anothers caress. I can melt, relax, let go, feel loved and continue to expand my once cautious heart to more abundance, more bliss, more love. I find it incredible that I can meet a complete stranger in an embrace and feel so nurtured, shown such kindness and intimacy and yet I don’t even know their name, language or religion…non of that matters, in the moment. These moments are not necessarily sensual in nature, more nurturing, blissful and kind. At the end of the class I feel deep gratitude and as I say good bye, I think ‘Gosh, I fell in love with that person, felt so nourished by them and yet I don’t even know their name!’ And it doesn’t matter…

So, now I touch everyone I can! Through hugs…at any opportunity. They are my version of Namaste – I see you. It is my way of honoring an other, of showing that I appreciate and acknowledge them for who they are. Traffic cops, shop assistants, taxi drivers, customs workers, demonstrators, petrol pump attendants, old people, young people and everyone in-between. I even exchanged a virtual hug from an American passport control guy! That must be a first…I find people really like it. And this is not surprising, after all the facts are undeniably extraordinary with studies showing that long hugs (20 secs plus ) are profoundly healing in many ways. Long healing hugs release oxytocin, which is like a free tranquilizer, relaxing and making you feel safe, calming fears and anxieties. Studies show how they make males more affectionate and improves their ability to form relationships and social bonding. Long hugs can also increase libido, lower heart rates and cortisol levels. They reduce pain and improve our immune system. Long hugs boosts self esteem and connects us to our ability for self love. They cause the release of dopamine the pleasure hormone as well as endorphins and serotonin which also cause pleasure. Hugs even help with weight loss and balances out the nervous system.

     WOW! No wonder I’m addicted, and ever so grateful to be on my personal hug revolution 🙂