Contemplative Dance Practice

Contemplative Dance Practice (CDP) was developed by Barbara Dilley, who has integrated dance and Buddhism. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Tibetan meditation master, asked her to design the dance program at Naropa University, which he founded. Barbara's book, This Very Moment, has a chapter on CDP.

Quote by Trungpa Rinpoche, Barbara Dilley website

The practice is not led, except for the ringing of the bells. This is an hour-long version, called TwentyTwentyTwenty, and has 3 main sections: Sitting, Personal Awareness Practice, Open Space. More details are below.

The intention of this outdoor CDP is to deepen awareness, embodiment, and creativity through the 3 phases and to experience the seasons of nature.

This practice is an off-shoot of a weekly CDP that Nancy Stark Smith rung the bells for at Studio Firenze for many decades. We have been meeting weekly through the seasons since July 2020, inspired by Nancy's legacy and Barbara's living legacy.

weekly, outside, year-around

Fridays, 1:30–2:45 pm
Childs Park, Northampton, MA
(on the Northampton High School side of the park)
GPS: 60 N Elm St, Northampton MA 01060
walk to the center of the field
contact us before coming

Description of CDP

Place cushions to create a wide-open area in the center (near the edges of space when in a room). Outside, we have been making a crescent, having nature be the other part of the circle.


(ding of bell)


   • 20 minutes  Sitting Meditation


From Barbara's book: "There are three aspects:  posture; breathing; and noticing thinking, the moving mind. When your posture is upright and relaxed, breathing is light and easy. Notice thinking and back to breathing."

"Explore...body scans mindfully guiding gentle attention, from top of head to soles of feet, around upward awareness in the core, or other alignment exercises."
"Invite micro-movements into the posture, those smallest of sensations and movements because of the breath and heartbeat and the natural settling of bones under gravity."

(ding of bell)


   • 20 minutes  Personal Awareness Practice

Stay at cushion or go into the space. Solo practice.


"In Personal Awareness Practice, explore your way of bringing meditation awareness into movement in this very moment…Listen to the voice of body mind, and as Gertrude Stein says 'use everything.' It's time for self-care, research, and courting the unexpected. Wait for sudden images and sensations to surprise you, to move you. Follow them. Develop them. And rest often. Encourage Kinesthetic Delight.” ~BD


Delight is "not pleasure-oriented but simply because when you exist as what you are, you thrive on being alive." ~Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche


(ding of bell) Return to cushion


   • 20 minutes  Open Space

You stay sitting with awareness or go into the center or space around cushions. Bow to enter and to exit the space. Come and go from your cushion as often as you like. Moving solo or with others, there is more of an awareness of community than the previous section, though still individually sourced. Also be aware of the space, the environs.


"Open space holds each one of us as we are. It is rigorous because awareness is moving between our inner and outer noticing and we are tracking the nowness of it all...Who knows what will happen?" ~BD


(ding of bell) Return to cushion


   • 1-2 final minutes  Sitting Meditation


(ding, ding, ding)


   • All bow, together, to the space, each other, and ourselves.


The End.



One can explore opening or closing eyes in any of the sections.


The unknown becomes a friend,
absurdity is worn well, fear is gently smiled at.
The making-a-fool quality is always present
when you stand at the edge of empty space
and . . . willingly take the first step.
~Barbara Dilley

Patrick Crowley  •  617.320.9792  •  email

Integrative Bodywork & Massage
160 Main Street, Suite 9, Northampton, MA 01060   map