Playful movement in Joy

Melt with Pleasure

I’m in a space of learning how to embrace my feminine energy fully. As part of that, I’ve started to realize where, and how, my body had held rigidity, especially in my spine. Have you ever had someone touch you gently on the arm or back, and realized how unyielding that part of your body was? I experienced this more and more over the last couple of years, as I put a lot of effort into ‘holding it together’ in all arenas of my life.

It took me a time to realize that what I really needed to do was soften into everything. Lately, I’ve been doing this by practicing receiving on phone calls with friends. And I’ve started taking dance breaks during the day (even at work!).

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What I’ve received is a shift in my body, from a conscious fight at first to let just a little softness in, to much more flow and pleasure in every moment. When I’m sharing Nia, this is so completely amped up that my body turns to liquid and I can barely speak.

My invitation to you is to practice melting into music through movement – just for one minute – tomorrow. Maybe the next day you do it for a whole song, and the following day you  take two dance breaks (I’ve found a conference room at work with no windows to be the perfect place to melt, so I can re-energize!).

I’d love to hear how it goes for you. And, of course, you can always come to a Nia class to receive.

 

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Effortless Power and Grace

You know the moments – the ones when you don’t think about it, you just do it, and you feel full in full command while you do. Whether walking down the street, stepping out of bed, in a meeting, helping your ornery child make better choices, or dancing, you have this energy potential.

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When you’re in “the zone”, you are aligned with The Body’s Way. Nia provides five principles to help you tap into that effortless power moment to moment, day to day.

One of these five principles is: the Body Demands Balance. To increase your potential for balance, pay attention to left-right, inside-outside, movements ranging from small to large, integrating your body and its connection to earth and heaven, and your breath. See what you notice!

To learn more, join me for a workshop on December 9, in Unity.

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Breath is our lifeforce energy – you have the ability to literally feed each cell with your breath. It is, however, easy to forget to breathe, to hold one’s breath. By accessing the power of your breath, you can access the power of you: your beauty, your energy, and your uniqueness.

Here’s a tip from Nia I just had to share – it contains such delicious sensory options!

“Imagine the core of your body is a rosebud. As you inhale, it opens fully and you can smell the fragrance. As you exhale, the rosebud closes slowly and you feel its petals closing around your heart. You are relaxed. Exhale and surrender into relaxation.”

Read more about honoring your body through breath.

May your days, and your breath, unfurl fully.

Fill Your Cup

Lately, I have found that I don’t feel like I have time to wait for the glass in my hand to fill when I’m at the faucet. I have checked with a few friends and loved ones, and they said the same.

We are in a time of uncertainty, and it’s a challenge to feel grounded and energized in the middle of it all. Here are a few little things that help me to reunite all the parts of me back together:

  • Take 3-5 deep breaths in. Feel your body expand on the breath in, and relax as you exhale.
  • Make time for a 1-2 minute sitting or standing meditation. If you choose, you can envision your body filling up with love and light.
  • Do a one song long dance party – in your office, kitchen, living room, or even car. This can be subtle or big, on your own, or with others.
  • Hold your arms up in a ‘v’ shape and envision your cup filling with whatever you need, while being conscious of your breath.

These are great quick re-sets, but we all need more. I invite you to join for a Sunday Nia class in Wiscasset all month from 4:30-5:30pm. I am also subbing for the fabulous Erin Curren at the Women’s Fitness Studio and Spa on Fridays from 9:15-10:15am throughout June, and am also offering a Women’s Workshop with Murielle Corwin on June 17 – details below.

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Unwind with Dynamic Ease

All my life, I’ve been a “make things happen” kind of person. That tenacity has its good side – and lately I’ve found it especially exhausting.

Years ago, I learned about dynamic ease through the Nia routine Sanjana. This concept has potential to bring into balance the push and energy out with a receive and energy in. “Dynamic is described as the action of infusing what you do with energy. . . Ease is described as the sensation of relaxation. When action, the energy expenditure phase of a movement, is balanced with relaxation, the rest and recovery phase of a movement, the body becomes organically physically strong and flexible and energetically harmonious and balanced.”

Sounds good, right? I definitely need more balance in my life, and I played with the idea and learned from it, but never got to the place where I felt a full click of dynamic ease in my body.

Several weeks ago, I took a class Feldenkrais method lesson for the first time. The Feldenkrais method is one of the nine movement forms of Nia – bringing conscious awareness to movement, especially where there’s effort in a part of my body that isn’t even moving. Since that lesson, dynamic ease clicked in my body in a new way.

Now, when I take a moment to scan my body for places where there is effort where there could be ease, I find ways to rest and relax in that moment that I never knew were possible before, so that I truly can “do” with much less effort than I thought possible. When I close my eyes, I realize my forehead is tense, when I relax that, I find my toes gripping the carpet, then I sense holding in my right shoulder. As I consciously release each, I sense an unwinding in my body, replacing effort with effortless pleasure.

Join me for Nia class this Sunday morning in Wiscasset, for a focus on sensing ease while moving. To go deeper and unwind the tension in the connective tissue that can hold tension in the body, meet me in Unity for a workshop on April 1, followed by class.

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Longer, not shorter

Many things these days are getting shorter: daylight hours, emails, youTube videos, and our sense of time.

Most of us spend more time being ‘busy’ than ever before, meanwhile still with a nagging sense that we’re not doing enough. My family and I just moved to a new community (hello, Wiscasset!) so we’d be closer to where I work. Now, I am committed to recovering some of the time I used to dedicate to my commute, using it in ways that feed me and others.

When I practice Nia, I get to step into the now fully, and focus my attention on what is happening in that moment. Nia is embodied in honoring our body’s natural time and sense of space.

Sometimes, I find I am able to take the sense of expansiveness that I experience during Nia class and bring that into my life. An evening becomes a vast space of time to play and write and re-charge. A workday becomes a time when flow from task to task, completing projects effectively and without rushing (while having fun!). Time with my family transforms into a series of magical moments when I never know what will come next.

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In these days of waning light, I am renewing my intention to honor my own body’s rhythm to find greater fulfillment in life. Try out a Nia class to experience it for yourself!

Why Barefoot Matters

I love going barefoot – and am a bit sad to see the time of year when that’s easy passing by. The season when socks feel cozy is upon us – and I am reminded to celebrate all that being barefoot brings.

Nia is done barefoot. The concept is that there are over 7000 nerve endings in the foot, and when we dance barefoot, we can Nia_commonGround2012_3receive information from those nerve endings rather than deaden them with shoes and socks.

Here’s a great new reason to do Nia: doing exercise barefoot can actually help keep your brain healthy and prevent loss of balance as we age! The information from those 7000+ nerve endings is actually really important for helping us stay steady on our feet. I just finished a book a friend lent me, The Brain That Changes Itself. In it, the author talks about this very phenomenon:

“Shoes, worn for decades, limit the sensory feedback from our feet to our brain. If we went barefoot, our brains would receive many different kinds of input as we went over uneven surfaces. Shoes are a relatively flat platform that spreads out the stimuli, and the surfaces we walk on are increasingly artificial and perfectly flat.”

Then as people age, they use canes to steady themselves and the brain systems that help with large-scale motor control deteriorate even more, so they use start to look down and walk, and the motor control continues to decline.

This week, I invite you to practice sensing the information your feet give you, whether you are barefoot, stocking-footed, or wearing shoes, and look ahead while you sense where your feet are. Do you feel younger already?? 🙂

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