On Slowing Down, Being Mindful, and Truly Seeing — By Marji Neill

I love to share words from others about why you value your practice, and how you manifest your practice in your daily life.  I share some words Marji Neill shared with me, along with an image of where Marji meets herself/her spirit:

“Hi Kristine,

It was great being with you in class today!   I’ve missed seeing everyone.   I had to chuckle when you were talking about being mindful, slowing down, and making eye contact.  Lots of thoughts came to my mind.   I do not have many natural talents [editorial note from KZ:  this is not true!], but for whatever reason, complete strangers have always opened up to me.  My girls noticed this when they were young and it is something that drives my husband nuts.   When we are out, and I speak with total strangers, he will often ask, “Do you KNOW that person?”   Growing up with an “always be busy, busy, busy” mentality, I tend to walk briskly, but I like to smile and greet anyone I see.  This has led to a ton of “little while friends” and fun conversations.  Also, it seems like my guardian angel or spirit guide (or whatever energy is helping me through life on earth), likes to draw my attention to wildlife at just the right moment, and it’s been a fun part of my life.    Lately I’ve noticed I’m not walking as fast.  It made me wonder if I was holding back to not irritate my cranky knee (chronic), or if I am just getting older.   But, you gave me hope that maybe I am finally understanding that if I zoom through life with my head down, I will miss a lot.   After all, I want to know how that wild turkey family with seeming limited good sense, is doing!”

Sept 29, 2015

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!

Why Dance?

“I think joy and sweetness and affection are a spiritual path. We’re here to know [the Sacred], to love and serve [the Sacred], and to be blown away by the beauty and miracle of nature. You just have to get rid of so much baggage to be light enough to dance, to sing, to play. You don’t have time to carry grudges; you don’t have time to cling to the need to be right.” ― Anne Lamott

“I would only believe in a god who understood how to dance.”  Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzche

Whether we dance to laugh and play, to let go of heartache and tension, for exercise, to find ourselves, the Divine Light, or all of the above at the same time, it’s a good thing!  Nia:  Wednesdays 4:30 – 5:30; Thursdays 1:00 – 2:00; Nia/Yoga combined into a single class on Mondays and Thursdays from 4:30 – 5:30.  And the best part is, you don’t have to actually be able to “dance” at all — just come, ready to move!

Hands that hurt (a bit), thoughts that heal

So, I’ve been working on the new space (now officially called “Kiva Space,” because it feels like a kiva to me — a Native American dwelling used for spiritual purposes, that one usually climbs into via a ladder!).  Rather than painting the walls, I’ve been using 3 colors of a beautiful product called American Clay.  It’s fabulous to work with, in a labor-intensive kind of way — you put it on with a roller and a trowel, and then you lovingly go over it, many times, with trowel and hands, to compress it and shape it to the wall.  If you were going for quick, it would be an aggravation.  However, I decided awhile ago that touching every part of every wall in Kiva Space would be a loving practice of intention, meditation, and prayer.  So, as I’ve worked, I’ve thought and dreamed to the lively and healing community space I want to bring to life in this funny, L-shaped space.  I’ve thought/held/prayed for many I know who have been in need of . . . well, the things we all need, trusting the beautiful place where we all connect to one another and far beyond our individual selves.  I’ve simply allowed myself to be intentionally open to yes, as I work in this little southeastern corner of Gladish.  As you can see, my hands are a bit weary, but my heart is full of the beauty of many of you.  The rainbow walls hold lots of love, and are waiting to hold the community we will become!  With a heart full of love and gratitude today — Kristine

Spanda: The Rhythm of Life

“Spanda,” is the idea of all things existing in a rhythmic state of expansion and contracting, of pulsating energy.  We live with this pulsation constantly — from our first inhalation and cry of exhalation at birth, to the final inhalation and exhalation at death.  We are able to work with the flow of this as we hug our energy inward and expand it outward.  And, let’s face it, the sanskrit word “spanda” sounds a lot like “spandex,” which both expands and hugs, all at the same time 🙂  Come to class and join invite the flow of spanda into your practice!

The Ingredients of a Hero . . .

In yoga and Nia, we’ve been focusing on the core — that grounded center of the body, source of our sense of personal power and firey energy — and how that translates into the ways in which we claim and exercise our power in the world.  A hero claims personal power and then uses it with great wisdom and courage.  We (perhaps especially women) sometimes have an uneasy relationship with personal power.  We are quick to give it away, and  uncomfortable claiming it as our own.

Claiming our center, our core, our power, isn’t easy.  I’m reminded of someone who came up to me after class, face glowing, and said “Wow . . . how did you get me to do that?”  I responded by saying “YOU did it . . . all I did was provide the safe container, and the community around you provided the energy that helped give you the courage to go for it!”

On of my yoga teachers, Tiffany Wood, who has been in Moscow at Nourish Yoga teaching this week, spoke last night during class of the “Guru principle.”  My take away from that class is that the guru isn’t a person, but rather that which opens your heart to its full potential.  It is anything that teaches your entire being, even for a moment, how to sing.  The guru connects the heart and the center — the true self and the source of power — and thus mentors the hero.  As Tiffany said, your guru might be a blue yoga block, which when hugged tightly to your body, teaches it to open in a new way.

The guru and the hero are both, ultimately, inside of us, inviting us to know ourselves as we are, nudging us toward who we are becoming.  Thanks to my teachers and to my students for being gurus and heroes this week.

Getting to the core of it . . .

Both  yoga and Nia give us the opportunity to strengthen our core.  Focusing on our core energy brings us right into the grounded, centered part of ourselves.  I like to think it brings us in touch with our authentic, inner hero.  The core brings us to that place of our will, our intent.  To know that we are able to hug into it and expand out of it gives us a quality of confidence and assurance in our practice that can also be a lead for us as we face the challenges of daily life.

In a bind?!?

This week, my friend and teacher at Nourish Yoga Studio, Nancy Burtenshaw, has been putting us through the paces with binds.  Binds are those poses you think of when you think yogis and yoginis in seemingly impossible positions — various appendages wrapped around various other body parts.  Meanwhile, while in these binds, we’ve been exploring the back body, which in yoga is said to connect us to community and the more universal (front body is more our own will and individual self.  In Nia, the back body is said to get us in touch with that which is unknown or less known.   In every way, the practice takes us right to edge.  Lots of intensity and curiosity at that point — an amazing place to “play” this week.

Kudos to a new friend for letting me borrow the “yoga dudes” image at right from his site.  Reminds me to say special thanks to all of the “yoga dudes” I have the honor to teach each week . . . You guys/men know who you are, and YOU ROCK!

“Lila”: The Spirit of Play

   During yoga and Nia yesterday, we were reflecting upon the way in which, when kids play, they become totally immersed in whatever it is they are doing . . . They live fully in the moment.  My friend, Patricia, just sent me this photo of a group of women on Cannon Beach celebrating the 50th birthday of one of them.  A good reminder that we can play at whatever age!  In a world that often distracts us, we can bring “lila,” or play into our lives by fully saying “yes” to the moment we find ourselves in . . .  Another way to take yoga off the mat, or dance out of the studio,  and into life!