Emily Athena | Why holistic movement and sexual sovereignty?
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Why holistic movement and sexual sovereignty?

My life has always been an embodied experience.


As a child, I was wild, sexual, and present in my body; we all were before being taught to behave otherwise. I started dance class at age 4, a practice that has ebbed, flowed, and evolved like any relationship, yet is still going strong today. I believe dance will always be my primary means of embodiment and communion with that which is beyond the mundane. She is my muse who chose me, and for that I am deeply grateful. Dance taught me many efficient and varied ways to move my body. It also brought me injury, sending me to seek answers in other forms of movement therapy.


The path I chose as a dancer was not always joyful and fun, on the contrary it was actually very painful, both physically and emotionally much of the time. I love to dance and know I am one of lucky ones who is privileged enough to pursue their love for a living, but at what cost? At the cost of putting my self-worth in someone else’s hands, learning I was replaceable, and that my value only existed in my able body. But that’s the truth of life; experiencing pain and pleasure, success and failure, hope and fear almost simultaneously. The duality exists on a razor’s edge. As my mentor Lara Catone says, “It is your birthright to receive the full expression of all that life has to offer.”


From the physical pain arose my desire to heal, to be free of pain and limitation. My healing journey has been long and winding and is by no means finished, but I have learned some crucial lessons along the way. Initially, I didn’t want to believe that my physical pain was inherently tied to my mind, emotions, and spirit. All of those locked doors of limiting beliefs, unexpressed emotions, and separation from source seemed too monumental to face. I wanted the quick fix. I wanted someone to tell me what to do. I wanted someone to put their hands on me and heal my body so I could go back to abusing her through doing what I loved. Deep down though, I knew that wasn’t the way. With guidance and support, I hesitantly unlocked the doors and let out bits and pieces to be seen, even if not always understood. Sometimes they simply travel through my body in authentic movement, facilitating my process of healing. There is no schedule or exact method; rigidity is not helpful here. Instead it is a fluid process of learning supportive practices and tools, then trusting the unfolding of what my body is communicating, how and when she wants to express.


Sexuality is also an experience of the body. One that took me much longer to embody, due to the layers of shame and secrecy I had around it. I was taught not to talk about sex, not even with myself. That strategy wasn’t doing me any favors. I wasn’t satisfied sexually and didn’t know how to ask for what I wanted. I often felt taken advantage of because I did not have agency over my body and was afraid to say no. As if my sexuality existed only to please another. I didn’t understand the depth and power of sexuality or my sovereignty within it. I did not feel empowered.


It wasn’t until I found an opening, an indirect granting of permission, while witnessing a trusted friend do this work in the world, that I crept out of my dark silence. I chose to dive deep into the work of discovering who I am as a sexual being because I had the feeling that my wellbeing depended on it. Once I gave myself that permission, everything changed. I have learned that sexual energy is life force energy. I literally use this energy as the fuel to operate in life, like a pot of coffee in the pelvis. Once I changed the way I related to my sexuality, I began to attract partners who were able to meet me where I am, celebrate my ‘taboo’ desires, hear my ‘no’ and my awkward attempts to express my feelings – and love me through it all. Once I learned to love and appreciate my vulva, my menstrual cycle, and my unique pathways to pleasure, I became more whole. More of me moved out of the shadows and integrated into my being. I can take up more space, stand taller, and bring more of myself to every aspect of my life.


Our bodies are infinitely wise, operating best when cared for and free to do their thing. If not, they will let us know, often through pain or disease. My deep dive of passionate inquiry is in how supporting the body through holistic movement creates the space for our bodies to express our emotions, longings, and essence as a healing mechanism. I am here to share the ways we can care for all aspects of ourselves by exploring movement and sexuality. I believe there is great power and healing in being witnessed, seen for who we truly are. I believe this because it has been true in my healing process and I have seen it be true for others.


I am here as a teacher, guide, support, and witness to your healing process. I believe that if I can emerge more resilient, confident, clear, and whole, you can too. The real beauty here is that these lessons and practices then become yours to keep and call on whenever you need them. Because I am not the keeper of your healing, you are.

Photo by andreimoment.com
Photo by andreimoment.com
Photo by andreimoment.com
  • marla mervis
    Posted at 21:28h, 27 January Reply

    Thank you Emily. What a powerful and raw story.

  • Delia Olsen
    Posted at 22:40h, 27 January Reply

    Amazing writing, I am so inspired! Thank you for sharing so fully!

  • Stephen Nelson
    Posted at 00:43h, 28 January Reply

    Life is a challenge …balancing effort with acceptance. Doing the best I can with what I have, is all I ever could do anyway……give up regrets. I remind myself to breath and live this unique gift of life like a prayer. When in doubt try to find and follow nature’s plan for happiness written in the heart.

  • Hannah. Beth. Watson.
    Posted at 03:26h, 28 January Reply

    I love you. Bless you for sharing all that you are.

  • Hannah. Beth. Watson.
    Posted at 03:28h, 28 January Reply


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