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.

Have you shared a laugh today?

Do you remember these days? If you were lucky, maybe it was yesterday, or this morning — when you could just get together with a dear one and laugh and laugh, sometimes about nothing at all.  There are times when I’ve been teaching yoga when it’s happened to 2 people on adjacent yoga mats.  One of them starts giggling, and it’s just like second grade again.  I attempt to play the part of the “stern” teacher, just to keep the whole thing going — that kind of laughter needs the counter part of the teacher — but I actually delight in it, because, when the laughter is genuinely from the heart,  that’s the whole body joy that yoga is all about.  And sharing it is the stuff for which we are made! I love a yoga class that has some laughter in it.  Somehow, it rounds out the beauty of it for me.

My friend Michael, who is by day a husband, dad, teacher, and a bunch of other things, but also a philosophizer and (I would say) yogi, recently wrote:  “When you make someone laugh, it’s a double gift . . . One for me, one for you.”  Share the joy!

I’m just saying . . .

It’s been that kind of a week.  I’ve had the opportunity to get to know some of you a little bit better, you know me a bit more.  Some of you have had some pretty intense journeys this week involving illness, injury, death, loss, and change.  Others are anticipating partners coming to visit, taking a much needed break, finding some ease, coming back to yourself. Together, we create a kula, a community ready to help one another and celebrate, as the moment invites us.  There are some weeks when I’m very much in touch with what an honor it is to teach, to get to know you, to have our lives intertwine . . . this is one of them.  Namaste!

Speaking of Love . . .

And why shouldn’t we be, since it’s learning to love well is what it’s all about, isn’t it?  This video is a beauty — a “loving competition” in which we see love lighting up the competitors’ MRI scans.  What a great combo of neuroscience and something we can all cultivate!  When you need a lift from all of the junk going on in the world, take a moment (okay, 15 of them) and watch this!

P.S.  I recommend that, afterwards, you spend a few minutes thinking about love — light things up!

The Love Competition from Brent Hoff on Vimeo.

A Nia “Play date”

Yes — we all called to see what the other would wear!

A fantastically fun time playing together at Nia tonight!  Notice the amazing color coordination of Erin, Nancy, Gail, Sue, Kristine, and Monique!  We danced, laughed, kicked, and sweated our way through — total immersion in joy.  BTW, this group can make an amazing array of animal noises — which we featured during our final song, when we played our way through every yoga pose with an animal name I could think of  . . . “dead bug”/”happy baby” was a particular hit.  They are also capable of some amazing cow noises.  It was just like being back on the Zakarison farm, north of Pullman, where I grew up!  Nice job, “Women In Nia” (“WIN”)!

Back Bends

Last week, we spent some time in the wonderful world of back bends, using the concept of lila, the sanskrit word for “play.”  Back bends open the heart as well as the spirit.  It was an amazing week, watching people finding their ways into asanas like urdhva dhanurasana, or wheel pose, who never thought they’d be there!  If you’ve ever been in a yoga class doing back bends, it also makes everyone quite giddy . . . the yoga of a good laugh is great for the spirit!  As a teacher, it was amazing to watch the difference between the attempt to “effort” into something, versus lightening up a bit, letting it be playful, and seeing where that playful immersion will take us.  Pure joy!