Stretching ourselves

April 17, 2011

Starting the week off with the first of my Nia Spring Series at Studio Sol with a Focus of Flexibility allowed me to start my week by stretching myself.  When we stretch our physical bodies by moving energy out along our bones, we create space within ourselves and carry ourselves lighter and with more ease.  In class, we explored how finding the sensation of flexibility in our physical bodies leads to cultivating more flexible emotional and mental bodies.  The experience of beginning my week by creating space inside myself by consciously breathing and lengthening my muscles set the stage for a week of continued expansion.

On Wednesday, I led the second session of my Moving Inside Out River Workshop Series where we focused on Principle number two of the Nia’s Body’s Ways Principles, “The Body Demands Balance”, and what a powerful experience we had.  In our play with Nia’s nine movement forms, we evaluated which movement form could bring bring more balance to our dance, and therefore to our lives.  By noticing our comfort zones in terms of movement, we could also notice which movement forms felt a little less “homey” and therefore challenged us.  By letting ourselves have an experience that is not our “norm” – for some,  dancing in spherical, continuous movements as in Aikido, for others, the focused and linear motions of Tae Kwon Do, and for others, the more subtle and small motions of Feldenkrais – we found Balance in the most surprising ways.  We found that by broadening our movement terrain, we experience more of ourselves and therefore feel the sensation of Balance.  Many were surprised by what was revealed in their dance when they played in the unfamiliar….and how that brought Balance in a very new way.

I ended the week with a photo shoot by my dear friend and Nia student, Christy Goldsby.  She had a very clear vision about photographing me in the element of sunshine and light.  We played at Studio Sol (very appropriately as “Sol” means Sun in Spanish) in bright, bold fabrics and colors as I danced and moved to music and she captured these moments so masterfully.  I have not yet seen the outcome of this photo shoot (stay posted) but I can say that the process itself was full of meaning and joy.  Christy very skillfully brought her gifts as a Nia teacher and student to her role as photographer by assisting me to be present in my body.  This made all the difference as I settled into an internal experience of being bold, light, serene, and joyful – dancing to the music, and being RAW (relaxed, alert, and waiting) – as Christy did her own dance of finding light, shifting angles, and interacting to direct me to new terrain.  Certainly, the timing of the photo shoot felt right in many ways.  Dancing this week and playing with stretching, balancing, and the element of surprise allowed me to be present to a very new experience of being photographed, being seen, and sharing myself fully.

Start your day with some simple stretches this week.  Focus on moving energy out along your bones and finding the sensation of lightness, expansion, and ease and notice how this might set a new stage for your day.  Or for those of you who practice Nia, play with the energy of the nine movement forms throughout your day and see how this variety and spectrum of moving and being in the world can help to bring balance to your day.  Who knows, you might be surprised!

What the Wolf Teaches me

December 2, 2010

As I prepare for my Nia Black Belt training which will begin in 2 days, I am filled with excitement, openness, curiosity, wonder, and nervousness. Teaching class this morning and having a special “mini ceremony” from my students helped me to “step in” to this experience as a Wolf. My wonderful student Roni, who is a gifted facilitator, brought some Medicine Cards and I chose “Wolf…Teacher”. It said, “Wolf is the pathfinder, the forerunner of new ideas who returns to the clan to teach and share medicine”. This resonated with me as I love how my path with Nia has awakened the teacher within me. I feel blessed every time I teach to hold the space for my students to explore their bodies, become stronger and more grounded…for them to care for themselves in such a powerful way.

Each time I have embarked on a Nia Belt, I have felt ready. The timing is always interesting… the way I receive and embody the information and experience very much has to do with where I am in my life, career, family. I began my Nia journey a decade ago in 2000 in Hamburg, Germany. To round out 2010 with my Black Belt really is a dream come true. I am grateful for the depth of this path, for my intimate relationship with Nia. I look forward to sharing this depth with my students, my clients, my family and friends, and myself. As the Wolf card said, “As you feel Wolf coming alive within you, you may wish to share your knowledge by writing or lecturing on information that will help others better understand their uniqueness or path in life.” I am grateful for the Wolf in me and in each of us!

Action sets you free

October 10, 2010

I do believe that there is something empowering about “doing”.  For while now, I have been feeling that I need to balance my Nia practice with my Yoga practice.  Similarly, I have talked about my need to do less and receive more…another form of balance – the DOING with BEING.  It is hard for me to not do.  I know this about myself.  As usual, when I listen to my body’s signs, signals, and sensations, it is telling me to do less. I got the flu earlier this fall and I realized that I had already had a cold earlier that same month.  My body was taxed and my immunity low.  To build more strength and sustain this fall and winter with my health in tact, I listened to my body and am practicing doing less and receiving more.  My role as a therapist and Nia teacher requires that I be present and hold space for others.  I simply cannot do this effectively if I don’t first tend to myself but nurturing and balancing myself – by modeling a good health and wellness practice.

Now that my fall Nia teaching schedule is in place (starting today), my teaching schedule has decreased from 5 classes a week to 3 classes a week, I can feel the spaciousness of my Sunday.  I awoke this morning and took my first Yoga class in a long time.  Realizing an intention is a wonderful feeling. And today I relish in practicing what I often assist others in practicing…

1.Balance Being with Doing.

2. Listening to your body will always lead you towards increased health (no matter how small).

3. Action does indeed set you free!


Book Recommendations

February 11, 2010

Parenting from the inside out by Daniel Siegal

How to be an Adult in Relationships – The Five Keys to Mindful Loving by David Richo

Healing Trauma by Peter Levine

Anatomy of the Spirit – The Seven Stages of Power and Healing by Caroline Myss

What does “wholeness” mean?

February 11, 2010

Recently when I was facilitating a “Mindful Parent & Caregiver” group, I stated that everyone has the capacity to find wholeness.  A woman in the group who was paralyzed from the neck down asked, “what does that mean…how can someone like me ever have wholeness”?  The question struck me in such a profound way.  I went on to say that wholeness is not about being perfect or a certain way nor does wholeness mean the same thing to all people.

Each person will have their own place of wholeness – a state where they feel most balanced and at ease and right.  Wholeness will look really different to someone with a life-threatening illness than a thriving young person.  In this way, wholeness has to do with acceptance, grace, and faith.  For this brave woman in a wheelchair, finding wholeness may be about finding the most complete and whole state within the paradigm of limitations she has been given.  If she continues to seek the wholeness of someone with full mobility, she will forever be disappointed.  But as she accepts her limitations and moves gracefully to seek the vast potential she possesses, she will move towards wholeness.  And indeed, after witnessing this brave woman participate in our group by simply moving her eyes or having her caregiver move her arms as the rest of group did big movements, I saw her strive towards her own unique sense of wholeness.  What an inspiration and a testament that we all have the capacity to find this – even if for a moment.  Soak in that moment for as long as you can and be present to your wholeness!

Moving inside out

January 9, 2010

Moving Inside Out is the culmination of all my paths and passions intersecting.  The name first came to me during a recent Nia class when theme “sensing from the inside out” seemed to emerge over and over again.  I sat in the sauna afterwards and I thought about how everything I do is about strengthening our connecting within so that we can then move out into the world in a more real and whole way.

I sat with this thought, and over the next week, “Moving Inside Out” appeared again.  I was leading a training with Mark Lily, Founder of Street Yoga.  We were debriefing a workshop we had just finished and tweaking some things for the upcoming workshop that evening.  Mark said, “we need to figure out a way to come at it from the inside out”.  Boom – there is was again.  Then, I began to play with the word “moving” as it applies to all the elements of my business.  In Nia, “through movement we find health”.  And I often think of the counseling process as a way to find more movement… to become unstuck.  My trainings are all about how we can bring movement and wellness into our everyday lives.  How we can stop compartmentalizing and start living as full beings, alive with movement and flow – even from an office chair!

I feel so fortunate to have the work that I share be such a part of who I am.  There is an ease, a rhythm that I feel in my life’s work and that is what makes it so easy to share.  In that same way, I know that those who cross my path do so for a reason and I look forward to the many gifts, challenges, and opportunities that lie ahead.

Moving Inside Out

January 9, 2010

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