Why Do I Dance Nia?

Nia has an active, international, online community.  I was struck by this recent post by Irit Orr.  Those of us choose Nia do so for many different reasons.  We love the community aspect of dancing together, we use it as our form of fitness, we dance beause it’s fun, in dancing, we experience joy and express ourselves. Here, Irit shares her reasons.

“Thanks for moving to heal – NIA.  This method helps me move forward during hard and sad days. It embraces me gently and helps me move on with harmony and respect to the situation. On easy flowing days this movement helps me reach heights, reach depths, and reach new dimensions. I fell in love with moving to heal. I exercise couple of times a week, and can’t wait to the next teacher training course with Debbie Rosas.”

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.

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.

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”)!

“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!