Saturday Night Fever and Flashdance Sunday

Dance, Forest HallLast weekend Areerat Kaewkla from the Yoga Tree studio in Chiang Mai  paid us a special visit to lead two workshops: Dance Mandala and Biodanza.

For the Dance Mandala event, our forest meditation hall was transformed by soft candlelight interspersing the room. In between, shadowy silhouettes engaged in moving meditation. The audio backdrop to our practice ranged from mellow grooves to hypnotic techno beats. It was an extremely warm, balmy April evening, which only made the experience even more earthy and atmospheric.

For many New Lifers, it was a first time encounter with Dance Mandala, which aims to relax the rigidity and tensions in our bodies and mind and align our inner flow and creative energies. Some of us felt some initial shyness, but by the end we were all completely immersed in the practice, jumping up and down, waving our arms, and generally just boogie-ing our hearts out. It was a liberating, energizing experience. One participant reported afterwards that he couldn’t stop smiling, while another said that she felt completely at home.

Dance, Forest HallOn Sunday morning Areerat led her second workshop, based on the practice of Biodanza. Biodanza is an integration of movement, music and expression that is expressive and vitalizing. It provides an opportunity to enhance our connection with our true essence and with others. While Saturday night’s Dance Mandala was oriented towards freedom of movement and spirit, the Biodanza session was more focused. As sultry Latin music echoed from the hall, our dancers worked through some emotionally wrenching issues via guided movement. They left the class feeling raw, but transformed.

We enjoyed the workshops so much we’re turning it into a regular monthly event for the community, to complement our yoga, mindfulness, sustainable living, and community service practices. In particular, those of us who tend to spend too much time being cerebral, and who have trouble connecting with our bodies and physicality, are finding dance to be an excellent tool for recovery and healing – as well as a great way to have fun!

For more information about Dance Mandala and Biodanza please visit:

— SV


  1. I had such an incredible time with the dance mandala. I’ve never done anything like that and want to look up opportunities to do it back home. Thanks New Life for opening my eyes!

  2. I have had the great pleasure of experiencing Dance Mandala and Biodanza before, and both have the fantastic potential to bring people closer to their feelings and their bodies, and very relevant therefore to the residents, and also the volunteers. Long may the collaboration continue.

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