Transformational Movement

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Nia is transformational movement.  Was it my subconscious that led me to Nia?  Perhaps it was through the wisdom of the Universe that I found Nia.   I originally thought I was drawn to Nia because it is done barefoot … or maybe it was the music … or perhaps the invitation to express creatively while moving.  Whatever the case, I am infinitely grateful for the opportunity to teach Nia…to share the wonderous benefits (which go waaaaay beyond the physical realm) and to become part of a world-wide community of people who share the love of dance…who actually embody conscious transformation.

Marilyn Gordon, Director of Life Transformation Associates, says, “The divine art of conscious transformation can happen in the flash of a moment and can change the entire outlook of our lives. Even though we set ourselves free at one moment, doesn’t necessarily mean that we set ourselves free the next. We have to keep working on it, keep at it, keep on remembering the transformational work we came here for and keep on bringing the light to every aspect of ourselves.

It is for this reason that I found Nia.  To be a shaman, a healer, a catalyst for others to find their way in this crazy world; to invite others to “remember the transformational work we came here for” — and what better way to bring that invitation than through the expressive, creative art of dance and movement.

A Nia class is not just a cardiovascular fitness practice — although it is definitely that!!  Nia is a lifestyle practice as well.  One begins to feel good about themselves and begins to notice the little things in our lives that keep us from stepping fully into our greatness.  We have within us an inherent “greatness” gene.  It’s always there…sometimes it gets hidden or tossed to the back recesses of our beingness; nevertheless, it is there.  

In a Nia class — at least in MY Nia classes — there is an hour filled with love and laughter and moving the body in ways that perhaps it has never moved in before and in moving the body, the mind and heart awaken to a different voice…a unique and expressly personal voice that beckons the invitation to rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.  So many people in the world have a less than divine sensing of who they are, yet the divine self waits for the layers of self-denial, self-doubt and low self-esteen to fall away, revealing the beauty and grandeur of Being.  

This is my purpose…my sacred livelihood.  To engender change, to be a transformative force in my world…and thus in THE world.  Nia is my platform, my mode of transportation…transformation is an ever-moving destination — one that brings me much joy as I dance through life.  My Life As Art.  Won’t you join me in the fantastic journey?  The first stop along the way is “Love Your Body.”

Patterns of Movement

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Interesting to me that 8 days have passed since my last blog post.  Time is a-movin’ and there’s no time like the present moment…so here I am.

What is your reason for exercise?  If it is guilt or shame, I’m offering an invitation to come out of that pattern of thought and/or feeling.  If your reason for exercise does not contain the essence of joy, then I would suggest that it’s a deep and dark hole that has been dug (by no one other than yourself I might add quickly, lest blame be cast outside of one’s self).  

I’ve experienced the ecstatic dance of Gabrielle Roth’s 5 Rhythms; I’ve attended the initial training of Eurythmy.  Eurythmy is the movement form created by Rudolf Steiner, cultural philosopher who was way ahead of his time.  Waldorf Schools and Biodynamic Farming are all aspects of Rudolf Steiner’s genius, as is Eurythmy.  

I retired from the corporate world in 1998 and moved to a spiritual retreat center housed within 320 acres of an organic farm in Indiana.  My dear friend and spiritual mentor lived there.  Long story short, nine months after moving to Indiana (a birth cycle, eh?) I found myself moving to Wisconsin to marry my long time friend and newly discovered soul mate.  My love of dance survived it all…I was of course, dancing through life!  My soon-to-be husband knew of my love for dance.  His sister, who lives in Texas, invited us to visit in the fall of 1999.  She had been telling me about this exercise called “Nia”; she thought I would really love it.  Understatement of my lifetime.  She took us to the healthclub where we took off our shoes (really, an exercise done barefoot? Who knew?) and I found myself in a large room filled to capacity with excitement and anticipation.  Fifty plus women (and my soul mate…perhaps another man or two as well) eagerly awaiting…the music started.  Ahhhh, Kenny Loggins.  Really?  We’re going to exercise to the music of Kenny Loggins?  

I tasted this thing called “Nia”.  At that time Nia was an acronym for Neuromuscular Integrative Action (or as I remember someone telling me later in my Nia career, “No Inhibitions Allowed).     Yes yes yes!!!  This was for me.  At the end of the class during the cool down we moved on the floor to Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love”.  Wow.  Powerful.  I could sense the energy and passion from the dancers in the room.  Or was it my energy and passion I sensed?  Probably a bit of both.  I was hooked.  Oh, but I’m in Texas…is there anyone in Wisconsin teaching Nia?  

Those of you who live in Wisconsin can have a major chuckle.  Who knew that besides Texas, Wisconsin had the greatest number of Nia teachers?  Well, maybe California, New York and Colorado were up there in numbers, too.  But really, Wisconsin?  HA.  It took me another year and a half before my own Nia mentor kicked me in the butt one day by saying “You should really take the White Belt Intensive; Debbie and Carlos Rosas (the founders of Nia) are coming to Milwaukee.”  Before I could muster up any resistance, I found myself saying “ok”.  And, “the rest is history” as they say.  I’ve now been teaching Nia for 12 years.  I’m proud of my White, Blue, Brown and Black Belt experiences.  I’ve never stuck with ANYTHING this long — including my marriage.  Nia is “Now I Am.”   I love that…those words contains spirit, confidence,  bold and creative beingness.  

If you haven’t sought out a Nia class yet, I would strong encourage you to do so.  It may not be a household word (yet) like Zumba, but Nia has been around for 30 years now.  There is a science, a craft and an art to Nia.  There is a purpose and design to every move in Nia.  Ahhhh, objectivity.   And within the purpose and design, there is also the invitation to move “your body’s way”.  Ahhhh, subjectivity!!  I love it.  Objective/Subjective. Yin/Yang.  Sun/Moon.  Day/Night.  Batman/Catwoman.  

You can check out http://www.nianow.com for classes near you.  My classes are listed to the right of this blog post…an open invitation to experience body awareness, movement and dance as you’ve never before experienced it.  There are 4 classes that I teach and 1 class taught by Kathy Rink, another fabulous Nia teacher and good friend.  Five opportunities per week for you to get your groove on — your body’s way.  It’s sublime.  It’s creative.  It’s expressive.  Nia invites change.  Nia creates the opening for you to fill your life with joy…not just for an hour in class, but in all aspects of your living.  YES.  Now I Am dancing through life.  The essence of joy runs through everything I do.  There is form and freedom.  There is structure and improvisation.  You choose.  No guilt.  No shame.  Pure joy.  Love your Body.  Love Your Live.  Right here.  Right now.  There is nothing like the present moment!

 

Get in Your Body!

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The Nia invitation….Get In Your Body!!!

In the little town of Hubertus, Wisconsin, there are 5 opportunities to Get In Your Body!!  Five (yes, count ’em 5 – F.I.V.E.) Nia classes at Sacred Space Studio (located within The Nutman Co., Really Cool Gift Shop and Java Dancer Coffee Bar):  Mondays at 9 a.m., Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m., Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m., Thursdays at 9:00 a.m., Saturdays at 9:00 a.m.

Sensations (body)…imagery (mind)…feelings and emotions (heart)…your own unique expression through movement (spirit).  There is no other lifestyle/cardio practice around like Nia (www.nianow.com).  Yes, I said LIFESTYLE practice.  The 13 principles of Nia (each of the 4 Belts (White, Blue, Brown, Black) has 13 principles.  These principles can be EASILY applied to one’s everyday life.  I’ve been living the Nia principles now for 12 years; perhaps 14 if I count the 2 years prior to my becoming a Nia teacher (or practitioner as I like to call myself).

Joy of Movement
Natural Time and Movement Forms
Music and 8BC System
FreeDance
Awareness
Base
Three Planes of Movement and Intensity Levels
Core
Upper Extremeties 
X-Ray Anatomy
Creating a Sacred Livelihood
Continuing Education
Sharing What You Sense

Whether a Nia student or a Nia Practitioner (any Belt), how do YOU embody these 13 basic principles in your daily living?  

If you’ve never experienced Nia, come and dance at Sacred Space Studio in Hubertus, Wisconsin.  Your journey to loving your body and loving your life starts here…

 

 

 

 

Love or Fear?

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It’s cold.  It’s winter and it’s Wisconsin, so what is it that I expected?  Surely not 70 degrees and warm sunshine!  So if it’s cold, it’s winter and it’s Wisconsin, wouldn’t it be a likely choice that I would wear clothes that would keep me warm? Sure it would.  It’s just common sense.  It wouldn’t be healthy wearing shorts, a tank top and flip flops in the snow.

Why is it that some folks make choices that are opposite of creating healthy situations?  There’s the obvious ones like continuing to smoke even though there is so much research out there to prove that it’s bad for your health…or driving intoxicated — and in both of those choices, by the way, others are involved.  Second hand smoke or becoming increasingly incapable of remaining healthy for any period of time, or potentially involving other drivers on the road.  Then there’s the little choices.  I’m going to eat that chocolate cake because I want it.  I’m going to drink that third cup of coffee because I want to.  Doesn’t matter that it’s not healthy for me (for whatever reasons).  I want to do it,  and I’m going to.  So there.

Choices.  We all make them.  Some made blindly, some more consciously than others and always we get to handle the results and/or consequences of our choices.  Some make choices based on the authority we have bestowed on another — like the pseudo-authority of doctors, lawyers, politicians.  Back in the early 80’s, I used to drive an old beater of a car — a old heap of a Dodge Charger.  It would’ve fallen apart if it weren’t for the “Question Authority” bumper stickers I had all over it.  I still question authority when it comes from outside myself.  I do heed the wise words of those I trust (good friends, my husband).   I don’t trust doctors.  I’ll listen to them on occasion but then I’ll wait for my own internal authority figure to suggest what choice I should make based on all the information.  For instance, the flu shot.  If the mass consciousness believes it to be the thing to do, I can usually bet that it’s not for me.  I don’t do something “just because.”  Vaccinations.  Don’t do them either.  Cold medicine, cholesterol medicine, arthritis medicine…pretty soon our bodies aren’t even our bodies anymore — they are a conglomeration of pharmaceuticals and synthetics — and the effects go far beyond just the body (although without a body, the rest of it doesn’t matter, eh?).

And then on other occasions, I make a decision based on impulse.  Sometimes it works out in my favor, most times those impulsive decisions (like eating that chocolate cake) prove to have some pretty interesting consequences.  Choices are normally made out of Love or out of Fear.  What’s the motive behind your choice?  Often life will find a way for us to hear that wee, small but oh so powerful voice of our own inner authority.  You have to be ready to hear it.  You might be driving somewhere looking to the heavens for an answer to a current uncomfortable life circumstance and you hear a voice that says something powerful.  WHO WAS THAT???  The inner authority speaks.  The person who is ready to hear it will listen and adjust accordingly.

I have a choice for you — and it’s the Mother of all Choices.  Are you ready?  

CHOOSE LOVE.  It’s the only choice.  One of the ways to choose LOVE is to love your body and love your life.  If you’re unfamiliar with how to do that, I can help you.  Find a Nia class near you (www.nianow.com).  Go.  Dance.  Be.  Laugh.  Transform your life.  Love your Body.  Celebrate.  Change.  

 

Forgiving and For Giving

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Interestingly enough, the body DOES say what words cannot.  I’ve noticed more often than not that when forgiveness is needed and self-centeredness keeps us from offering it to ourselves and to others, the body ends up suffering.  (Metaphysically, we could translate “the body” as the planet, the world and those who inhabit it).

Self-centeredness, judgment and greed have blinded the human race from fully expressing the magnificence and greatness of who we were designed to BE.  We have fallen way short of the divine design — that we are Divine Beings in human form.  We would much rather choose to see only the “human” and not acknowledge the divine.  Such a waste.  Look around.  Do you like what you see in the world?  If you say yes, then I invite you to re-read the first sentence of this paragraph.  If more likely you say no, then part of the solution to bringing about more balance in the world is forgiveness.

Today is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement in the Jewish world; a day of repentance and forgiveness.  I wish all of my Jewish friends an easy go of it.  

“Repentance” has such a heavy sensation to it and yet it need not be.  Forgiving and repenting need not include wailing and carrying a crushing load.  Repenting is the act of moving from the darkness into the light.  My yoke may be heavy, but my burden is “light” (as in the radiant light of the sun).  The body need not suffer with the weight of repentance and forgiveness.

I have learned to be both forgiving and for giving.  I first forgive myself for the judgments, the self-centeredness and the greed that is part of the load I carry simply because I am IN the world.  And I am for giving thankfulness and gratitude that I am consciously aware I am not OF the world.  My repentance is a simple act of saying “no thank you” as I turn away from the darkness.  In doing so, my body says what words cannot.  I dance.

I dance not because I want to but because I HAVE to.  It is my way of expressing forgiveness.  Emotions become untangled, thoughts become unencumbered, physically the sensation is of lightness, and spirit invokes the qualities and characteristics of the divine.  They all merge together as an uplifting, creative expression of Love.

So let your body say what words cannot — Love Your Body and Love Your Life.  Dance with me.  

To find a Nia class near you, check out http://www.nianow.com and click on “Find Nia”.  You won’t regret it.