Tag Archives: integration

“Passion”, A Lab for Every Body on Sunday!

Inspired by a series of conversations with black belt Nia guide Andrew Mills, I started exploring different formats with the intention of first helping my students learn Nia choreography more easily. Feeling the need to take the concept “live” I invited my students to help me test the early version. They agreed and were wonderful!

On Sunday, September 30 from 1-3pm, I’ll be sharing the first Learning Lab of this type.

We’ll be learning The Base moves for the Nia routine, Passion.

This Lab is perfect for a new-to-Nia students, as well as veteran students and new Nia teachers.

Dedicated to Awareness of Body Sensation, let’s create a relaxed, fun atmosphere. We’ll “walk” through the Nia Base Moves that make Passion the pleasure-filled fitness experience it is. We’ll explore just enough technique to create a foundation for success and I’ll share my “new toy”*, a tool that puts the intensity level of each and every class of any type in the palm of your hand.

I love doing this work and I’m honored to offer this first Lab.

The Passion Lab will be offered at the beautiful, serene Clarus Center in Warrenville. I love this location; gorgeous, warm hardwood floors, floor to ceiling windows and doors that open out to a bank of marsh grasses and wild flowers surrounding a huge pond settled against a tall line of trees. At Clarus we get to dance with coyote, ducks, geese, racoons and whoever wants to join in and if it’s cool enough, we’ll have a fire in the fire place.

The Lab cost is $35. You’ll go home with the Passion Home Practice Packet including the music CD so that you can practice at home.

To register, contact me, either by email – Niaspirit@yahoo.com or call/text 630-290-4814.

This Lab for learning the Base Moves is a first step from which many other learning opportunities can grow. Next, we’ll explore the Passion Moves for Core and the Upper Extremities of the Body. Then? How about the 9 Movement Forms followed by The Body’s Way?

All you have to do is show up and your body will do the rest!

I’d like to express deep gratitude to my students for their patience and willingness to step into the unknown with me while I figure things out, and for trusting that I would.

Thank you, Andrew.


*I introduced my “new toy” in my last blog post, What Is Movement Alchemy And What’s In It For You?


Sole Practice, my one-on-one sessions are beginning in October in the same amazing Clarus location. You can get more details about Sole Practice at http://www.movementalchemy.com. Click on Ooze, Melt and Drip and then on Sole Practice.

Systemic Integration – Systemic Movement

If you wiggle your toes long enough, your calf muscles will get tired. If you don’t want to wait that long, you can stand up and releve’ until your calf muscles won’t let you rise anymore. Unless you’re a ballet dancer, chances are good it won’t take as long.

Why am I suggesting you perform weird exercises?

Those weird exercises are easy examples of how one part of your body, your feet, are connected to another, your calves. If you don’t feel like getting up you can squeeze and release your hand in and out of a fist until your forearm gets tired. Either way, watch what happens. To make the experience richer, place your other hand on your forearm while you squeeze and release your fist. To further integrate your nervous system, as you did when you added sight and touch, sense for pressure as your fist tightens or your calf muscles shorten as you rise to the balls of your feet.

What do you hear?

If you’re releving (is that a word?!) – you may begin to hear your breath. And, or,  the creaking of your ankle joints.

If you pay attention you may notice that once your calf muscles begin to fatigue, the larger muscles above begin to contract more noticeably than they were before. You may not have felt them earlier. Not only that, but your core – the muscles that support your spine all the way around your body will also begin to work in order to keep you upright. If you find that you are struggling to maintain perfect upright balance and you are leaning forward a little, the muscles in your upper back and neck will also kick in to prevent the weight of your head from causing you to topple. All that from some little movements in your feet!

Ok, now right after your finish one releve’, bend your knees and sink closer to the ground. The muscles that surround your upper leg are going to begin to make a statement. You’re using some of the largest muscles in your body, so don’t be surprised if your heart rate increases.

After you rise again, pretend you’re holding a basketball in your hands and “shoot” it into a basket high over your head and in front of you, making sure that the ball rolls off of your finger tips as it leaves your hand.

Put all of those moves together. Make sure your eyes are following the ball. Ok, now just one more thing: when you’re finished with all of that and the ball is in the basket, look over your shoulder as though someone standing behind you just called your name.

Repeat that same sequence in ssssloooooooowwwwwwww motion. How did that feel? Different from the faster version? Keep it super slow and your releve’s can alternate so that your rising on one foot at a time. Repeat the same movement pattern in slow motion 4 or 5 more times.

Now move it at your natural pace. How does that feel? Is it a relief to have momentum working with you instead of fighting against momentum? Faster is easier… Interesting…

You may have just integrated more of your body’s systems than you usually do


You created systemic movement!

Why did I just bother with all that?

First to suggest that moving systemically is not a foreign concept. It might help to think of systemic integration and movement as the relationships that occur between your body parts. Second, to add a little dimension to the idea that fitness has to be fast. For variety, for balance and to train your body in a different way – to truly cross train all of you – keep your attention on your entire body and change your speed.

What if you put that pattern, fast and slow, to music…