Sunday, January 14, 2018

Dancing into who we are meant to be for MLK Day

Today, the day before MLK Day, we danced to Moodfood, an oldie but goodie Nia routine which features the Joy of dancing to part of the "I have a dream" speech. I invited everyone to imagine the best version of humanity we can imagine, perhaps all people living together in peace and harmony, caring together for our earth. Then, holding that dream or image in our hearts and minds, step into it, own it, and dance it together, playing with the idea that past-present-future are all here now. Every human that ever lived has contributed to this moment we are continually stepping into. They are all here now. The intention we are holding for humanity is our future, and we create the future NOW. We are the culmination of every human who has ever lived. We are manifesting the new human, the best version of humanity, right now, this is who we are. We were all born to live in these times and elevate humanity to its highest purpose. Let's keep stepping into our highest aspirations for humanity - it is in our DNA. Everybody zip up your earthsuit! We are on the ride of our lives!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Theme for stepping in to the new year... Letting go without rejecting anything

Most, if not all, of the tension we hold in our bodies, minds, and emotional states is secondary to our interpretation of what happened in the past. We carry past injuries, our compensatory adjustments to injuries, our judgements about ourselves and our bodies, and our concerns about not measuring up to other's judgements and expectations, in our bodies as patterns of holding, and in our minds as anxiety or even depression. Our holding patterns are anchored in the past, and prevent us from being in the present, where joy resides. Each time we trigger a memory (happy or sad, makes no difference) the memory of the past changes, because the person experiencing the memory is not the same one who experienced it previously. As we grow in understanding and compassion (a result of life's bumps and bruises) our memories change. We never store the same memory twice. Our Nia practice can be an avenue for gently changing the way we carry tension, and the way we hold our memories in our bodies.

Dance invites us to shake up and shift our customary patterns of holding (which can cause injuries and pain) and enjoy being in our bodies in a different way. The nine movement forms of Nia, from dance, martial arts, and healing arts help us access different movement styles and energies that free us from the prison of our tension patterns: the dynamic precision of taiqwando vs. the playful lightness of Duncan dance vs. how-I-normally-move-through-the-day. Dance connects us to the joy we can only find in the present, and the more we engage in it, the more joy we access, and the more freedom we find. While joyfully moving to music we can easily recognize that we have everything we need in this moment, the essential truth that there is nothing missing in this moment. 

So, while stretching and beginning to move, notice your aches and pains, some may have been with you for a long time, and greet them as friends. Ask them what they need, and always treat them with gentleness. What can you learn from them? How do they ask you to move? Notice how you feel while moving, and at the end of class. Each time we dance, we effortlessly slip out of the mask of everyday tension, without even thinking about it. We subtly change the way we live in our bodies, without forcing or rejecting anything. As we find our joy in movement, our bodies (and minds) change of their own accord.