If you had asked me five years ago where I thought I’d be in five years, I never would have guessed.
I’m living in Cali, Colombia, the salsa capital of the world, learning how to salsa.
It was fate and a mutual, yet painful, breakup that led me to the arms of the gritty, lively city of Cali as I sought to repair my broken heart and find my passion for life once again by embracing the dance of salsa.
Getting out of my comfort zone by learning salsa made a significant difference in my post-breakup healing process as I got in touch with my body and learned how to let go.
Here are just a few of the ways salsa can help our healing hearts and allow us to find our passion for life once again:
Salsa forces us to be present.
After a breakup, we have a tendency to ruminate and get stuck in unproductive thought patterns. With salsa, we are able to get out of our minds and back into our bodies.
Salsa is meditative as we have to be present in our bodies to feel the rhythm. The second we begin ruminating on our thoughts, we lose our rhythm. Whenever I found myself starting to overthink, whether it was about my steps or about my ex, I stumbled around the room clumsily.
When we are able to turn our minds off and focus on the movement of our bodies, we are able to be completely present in the moment, let go, and match our rhythms with those of our partner.
As my salsa teacher told me, “Life is all about rhythm.”
Salsa allows us to let go of emotional symptoms in our bodies.
Emotionally distressing events, such as breakups, can cause blockages in our bodies that can manifest as physical symptoms like tightness and tension. It’s a subconscious thing our bodies do as they try to protect us from getting hurt.
When I first started my salsa lessons, my instructor could sense a lot of tension in my shoulders. I wasn’t relaxed—I was tense, and I wasn’t fully letting go. When we are able to use the movement of our bodies to release energy, we are able to release emotional blockages that have been holding us back.
As I continued going to my lessons, I could sense that I was starting to relax little by little, and I slowly began the process of letting go.
Salsa is great for building self-confidence.
After a breakup, our self-confidence can take a dive even if the breakup was mutual and had nothing to do with infidelity. One way to get our self-confidence back is with physical activity.
With all the movement and steps, salsa is a great cardiovascular workout. And it’s much more fun than going to a gym. You’d be surprised at how quickly the time goes by when you’re dancing salsa. “Really? It’s already been an hour?” I remarked after my first salsa lesson. I could have easily gone on for hours more.
As you learn more steps and become more advanced in your salsa practice you also gain a sense of self-accomplishment.
And, as a woman, being able to move my hips sensually while I get lost in dance has helped me get back in touch with my sensuality and femininity.
Salsa is a great way to meet new people.
Salsa is a social dance and a great way to meet new people.
There are salsa clubs and salsa schools all over and it’s a fun way to be social. After a breakup, some of us may not want to dive back into dating right away but may still want to meet new people. Salsa allows us to do just that without the entanglements that come with dating.
You can switch partners with abandon. Salsa is about enjoying the dance without expectations, which is a healthier approach to love and life. Salsa is all about having fun and getting out there. The more comfortable we become in our own bodies, the more approachable we become to others.
While going through the healing associated with a breakup is a continuous process, salsa can allow us to get in touch with our feelings as well as our bodies.
It’s more than just a form of dance, it’s a form of mindful meditation that allows us to embrace our sensuality and find our passion for life once again.
Today, I am in a much healthier space post-breakup and, when I am ready to love again, you can bet my future partner and I will be dancing salsa.
Author: Juliet Sanchez
Image: Tim Guow/Unsplash
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Copy Editor: Leah Sugerman
Social Editor: Cat Monkman