Asleep/Awake, Aware by Christine Dopke

Ah, asleep! I’m not the best sleeper- I envy little kids who can fall asleep at rock concerts. But I think I get the hours I need. I’m also of the belief that the dream world is as real as waking life…

Awake- well, that’s an interesting word. How many of us are going through good portions of our lives with our eyes open but not really seeing? After all, seeing is not really a function of the eyes- it’s a function of the brain. We take in millions of images in a day and the select what we want to pay attention to and remember.

It’s quite easy to not pay attention to what we think we already know. Imagine the difference between walking down the street in your home town compared to walking in a place you’ve not been to before. However, do we really know what we think we know, that is the million dollar question.

Which brings me to aware. Moshe Feldenkrais developed his teaching technique which he named Awareness Through Movement when he discovered that the average person was moving through the world habitually and therefore had very little conscious idea of how to use themselves most efficiently.

And isn’t awareness among the highest goals we wish to attain in life? A mentor of mine would say we are all looking for enlightenment as if it’s something outside ourselves, but no, it’s right there in your quadricep- feel that!

Right now, pause, notice how you are…

Exhale. Be thankful.

Chris Dopke

Welcome Christine Dopke, Teacher in the style of Moshe Feldenkrais

 We are pleased to welcome Christine, who will be teaching some new therapeutic movement classes at Aloft studios.
Christine has her B.S.  in physical education from Northern Illinios University, and graduated from massage school in Eugene, OR in 1996.  She graduated from Bend Oregon Feldenkrais Training in 2009.  She moved to Moscow in 2013 to foster a big change after 17 years in Corvallis, Oregon.  Christine sings in Palouse Choral Society and loves yoga and biking. Her husband, Matt is a hockey player with a day job.  They have one cat, Ivan.
Please welcome Christine to the studio and the area.  Don’t forget that she is teaching 2 demo classes on 11/11 at 11:00 (that’s cool!), and also on 11/12 at 5:45 p.m.  Look for weekly classes taught by Christine at Aloft Studios, starting very soon (we are still finalizing details). Check out the upcoming article by Christine about her work, “Asleep/Awake – Aware” on this website Come meet her, and engage in healing movement with friends.

Who Practices Yoga and Nia . . . People Like You!

We are college students, retired types, professors, moms, dads, men, women, professionals, able-bodied and living with disabilities, pre-teens and teens . . . We are young(ish) and old(er) . . . We are a whole lot of different types of people, and we get together to engage our bodies, minds, and spirits through exercise, stretch, yoga, and dance.  Mostly, we are an open community that welcomes you to come and try a class and find a fit.  We laugh together, and we also enjoy the practice and discipline that yoga and Nia bring into our lives.  We support one another and we take things at our level.  Our teachers make it a priority to help you find you body’s way in yoga and Nia.  We have a variety of classes . . . Why not give it a try?

COME DANCE!

Come dance with your friends!  Experience the freedom and joy that is Nia.  Strengthen your body, work out your mind, exercise your creativity, engage your spirit, have fun!  Let your inner dancer come out to play!

Mondays at 8:30 a.m. or 1/2 Nia and 1/2  yoga on Mondays at 4:30
Tuesdays at 6:00 p.m.
Wednesdays at 8:30 or 4:30
Fridays at 8:30

Nia is dance designed for EveryBody, from “newbie” to dance enthusiast.  It’s a great whole body workout, and the music is fantastic!

Dance with Me . . .

5100025281_c125e2c49e_zI think that most of you know that, very soon, I am heading out to Boston to have brain surgery to attempt to remedy my epilepsy. I am very fortunate to have a talented and loving community of teachers to teach and substitute while I’m away, although classes will be more limited, so please be sure and check the schedule every week. I feel incredibly graced to have such a wonderful group of friends/teachers who have agreed to teach while I’m away, and also to have a loving community of students who have been understanding and supportive. I’m convinced that it takes a village to face up to brain surgery . . . Thanks for being my village.
I’m going to write a separate post about this, but one of the things I find myself wanting to do, as I face this surgery, is dance, and dance, and dance. I have loved having the opportunity to do Nia with many of you, and the joy and the freedom of dancing together seems to be keeping me in just the right, hope-filled space, living in the moment of now, that I need to be in to deal with what is coming up. So keep dancing with me while I’m away and send me your good energy!
Another thing I’ve learned a lot about is the incredible power of the stillness that yoga and meditation/prayer have taught me. About a month ago, I had an extensive series of brain scans at the Martinos Center, a research center of the Mass. General Hospital. Turns out I have a strong ability to make my body and mind very still for long periods of time, which makes for great brain scans. It has been interesting to “see” the images of my own meditating mind, and to discuss with researchers and doctors the power of learning stillness and how it does create a different looking brain.
So dance with me, or be still with me, in the weeks ahead. If you want to follow the details of what’s going on, I have another blog, epileptica.com, that is specifically about the surgery. My husband Jonathan as well as myself will be posting about my journey. In the meantime, I am grateful for the presence of all of you in my life, and it is an honor to teach you . . . One that I don’t take for granted.

Finding Your Quiet Place

IMG_1162Let’s face it . . . We all need a break sometimes.  We need moment to step back, gain some perspective, recognize that we are more than the thoughts and emotions we are having in the immediate moment.  We need a moment to realize that we are more than the physical pain, the grief, the fear, or the illness we are experiencing.  It’s no wonder that, within the traditional path of yoga, four of it’s eight limbs are dedicated to learning to quiet and focus our minds.  In yoga, it’s sometimes called “cultivating the witness.”  We use our breath, our ability to focus and concentrate, our posture, and our intention to become familiar with that part of ourselves that can “witness” our thoughts, feelings, even our discomfort.  We initially learn to recognize, and then gradually to be at home with, this witnessing part of ourselves.  Once found, the witnessing place within us can be a powerful reminder that we are more than the sum of our immediate strong feelings, thoughts, story-lines, physical pain, even illness.  Cultivation of the witness within ourselves empowers us to make choices where before we felt victim to circumstances and situations beyond our control.  We meet the witness as a loving, non-judgmental place within ourselves.  Spending time in this witnessing place creates a sense of sanctuary and peace.

We begin learning this process early on in yoga practice, and then we integrate it into our asana practice.  Once we are able to consistently find it in yoga, it has the benefit of expanding outward into the rest of our lives.

Threshold Moments

 

How Do You Express Your Joy?

I really, really love this youtube video of Norwegian explorer, Aleksander Gamme.  He’s been out trekking across Antarctica, storing caches of food along the way.  At this point, he’s been without food for awhile, and he reaches one of his original caches.  He has forgotten what he stored in it.  As he unloads it, he first finds “standard survival stuff” — vaseline, cables, etc.  But then, he begins discovering the good stuff — Cheese Doodles, chocolate, and Mentos.  What transpires is a full-out, unadulterated expression of joy.joy

For me, yoga and Nia often take me out of my own difficult  places and into a place where I can express my pure joy.  Yoga, because the combination of breath, focus, and mindfulness seem to “clear out” the stuff that accumulates between myself and my sense of bliss — I see yoga as a practice that creates a “clear channel” so that I can not only have a personal experience, but then share it through my work and life.  As I dance with others through Nia, I have this sense of making a public statement about the sheer value of joy.  There is something powerful about letting go of how we look, doing it “right,” and just dancing our hearts out together, in community.  As we look out the windows and dance with the tree tops, the clouds, and whatever birds may be flying by, there’s a sense of first letting go, that leads into joy and finally into a sense of wholeness and peace.  Here’s a great quote on why we dance, believe it or not, it’s generally attributed to Albert Einstein, although it isn’t clear:  “We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams.”

Lions and Roaring Rabbits! Oh My!

iyengarlionposebunnyLet’s take another look at a fun posture, good for opening us up for spring.  “The Roaring Lion Posture (whose original Indian name is Simhasana) in Yoga is suitable for people of all ages and types (including old and weak) because it is relatively easy to perform. The posture is sometimes referred to as Bhairavasana . . .  reallionpose copybunnyThe posture gets its name because the face of the person performing it resembles the face of a Roaring Lion (Simha Mudra or Lion Face Gesture) because of the open mouth and extended tongue.”  Kind of fun to combine lion pose with some spring bunnies . . . Everyone is doing it!