Dancing with Covid
By Miriam Barbosa
I am the founder of Miriam Barbosa Dance as Artistic Director, Dancer, and Choreographer. I am also a GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® Master Trainer and a former Martha Graham Dancer. When I was a teenager, I had numerous episodes of tachycardia, a rapid heartbeat of more than 100 beats per minute. During this time, I learned that I was born with a heart condition called Mitral Valve Prolapse. For years, I didn’t have any symptoms and was perfectly fine until I was diagnosed with Covid-19 on March 18th, 2020. The virus triggered inflammation within my body and exacerbated my heart condition.
A couple of weeks into being diagnosed with Covid-19, I wasn’t able to do much. As a matter of fact, by week two I got much worse, and this digression led me into a long journey of seeking the appropriate healing tools.
COVID-19 Recovery through Gyrokinesis movement
To regain physical strength, I relied on basic breathing work from my Gyrokinesis practice. Some techniques I practiced over 20 years ago came back to me and helped me when I could barely walk.
Covid-19’s impact caused fatigue and exhaustion. I had to take breaks between series of movements, for example, between arch and curl and spirals because my heart would have such a difficult time maintaining the beat. Even if I moved very slowly, I had to wait for the rhythm of my heart to come down to normal to continue. The exhaustion was incredible. I would feel as if I ran a marathon while just seated on a chair. Sometimes, I had to simply lie down and breathe because sitting was too much effort.
My recovery improved immensely when Juliu Horvath stepped in with his new breathing class formats. Juliu reached out to me after hearing about my diagnosis, and we were able to have weekly Zoom meetings where he shared his breathing patterns with me. During the first six weeks, he consistently added rhythmic breathing patterns. I started with simple breathing variations, including the tapping of the rib cage to help start a better heart rhythm and to establish a better sense of lung and diaphragm vitality. The feeling of exhaustion started to gradually be replaced by surges of energy by the 7th week.
When the energy surges occurred, I knew it would be impossible to rest because my body craved movement. I continued with Gyrokinesis self-practice after six weeks of working on breathing patterns. I practiced for six hours a day, with extensive breaks in between series of exercises, feeling like I was going to faint and shivering from weakness. I did not give up. Adjusting my practice gradually, I went from 6 hours to 4 hours to 3 hours and finally to 2 hours of a more normal regular rhythm of full practice. The final practice included breathing for the first hour, then two more hours of seated, floor, and standing work. I apply this now in my Gyrokinesis open classes online, and I receive great feedback from teachers and students.
At the moment, I am celebrating 90+ days without Covid-19. As I continue healing, I am mesmerized by what the breathing work is doing for me on a daily basis. I feel that the Gyrokinesis Method is, in its full practice, a technology for well-being and a healing tool. The situation with my heart condition could be much worse had I not worked on re-patterning and resetting my body’s abilities through daily routines of meditation, breathing, and movement. It has helped to create the ultimate equilibrium on a cellular level, balancing my body and brain. Gyrokinesis movement and breathing patterns together, from simple to more complex, can promote a sense of good health. It is so important, both physically and mentally, to be able to cope with the virus and the isolation. I truly believe our bodies are the most efficient lab, and the power of healing is within (but needs to be appropriately guided).
Gyrokinesis Method: A Choice of Healthy Movement Continues
This experience has taught me so much. Our work with Juliu does not cease to impact and impress me with its healing qualities, continually enriching my understanding and my ability to teach others. There is a great sense of connectivity in teaching online. I have really enjoyed online teaching, although I miss seeing everyone in person. It is just magic to have people from all over the globe, breathing and moving as one, simultaneously. It has been great for our spirits, fueling the soul after being isolated and unable to speak for such a long time.
Juliu’s guidance has been a tremendous part of my healing process. I am forever grateful and will never ever forget its impact. I am glad he has been working on this material as part of his upcoming breathing course because this precious work needs to be experienced by everyone in the world. Juliu’s work is much needed worldwide now more than ever, especially during a pandemic with a virus affecting respiratory passages.
If I didn’t have this practice before and during Covid, I honestly don’t think I could have made it through. Movement and breathing, when properly guided through the Gyrokinesis Method, have the power to generate chemical equilibrium within our cells and reset the body towards its ultimate health.
To contact Miriam Barbosa: [email protected] or http://www.miriambarbosa.com
To see Miriam’s improvisational exploration of her Covid experience expressed through dance, click here.
For more information and to find classes visit our Studio Finder tool at gyrotonic.com/studio.
Hear a podcast interview with Miriam, here.
Please leave a comment about your experience with healing through movement. We would love to hear from you!