Tag Archives: Nia

How I Passed the Korn Test. Cultivating “Laziness” for Self-Healing

Body Archives What Mind Believes

Slowing down and paying attention.

Feldenkrais Method lessons to practice and challenge my ability to be in my body and refine my body-listening skills. Nia classes as an extension of these lessons. Further refining my ability to be present and hear and receive the information that my body is sending me.

Leave ego at the door. Yes, dance is pretty. Healing is beautiful!

Rinse and repeat and repeat and repeat.

The first good argument for micromanagement ever!

I Passed the Korn Test!

Carmen by Ralph Steadman

This morning, after our 10:15 Nia class, I passed the “Korn” test!

This is a big deal for me. It is also a tangible example of how much healing I’ve been able to manifest recently.

5 or so years ago one of my favorites songs to dance to was Coming Undone by Korn. About the same  time I felt compelled to spend 6 weeks on the couch and in physical therapy – not dancing to Korn or anything else – and not teaching at all.

As this post was brewing (often a multiple day thing), I was finally able to admit to myself, out loud, something I have not been willing to whisper in the dark:

that I might have to stop dancing.

The irony of this is that I already had to a significant degree. My personal movement practices had become safe. I couldn’t remember the last time I had stayed after the 10:15 class to really dance. Little by little the pain in my hip was stealing me away from myself and fear was allowing it to happen. Yea, when I don’t dance I don’t hurt so much. I wasn’t healing either. More like a form of avoidance rather than addressing the issue.

This morning I almost didn’t stay. “Maybe I’ll wait another few days. After all, it’s not even been a week.” I turned off the stereo system and my iPod. Then I turned it all back on and danced. Really danced. I let go of the micromanaging I’ve been doing in terms of awareness and conscious movement. It was time to get out of my head and trust my body again. I wasn’t disappointed.

Without reservation and without pain, I slipped through Korn’s staccato piece with the equally staccato choreography I had developed for it. Then I did it again. Not wanting to push my “luck” or offend the gift horse, I packed up and went home after the second tango.

Almost 10 hours later and still no repercussions.

This past Friday was my first test. Teaching 2 classes (9 am and 6 pm) with an hour to an hour and a half drive each way. I wasn’t exhausted when I got home. Later, during the night, I didn’t wake to an inability to turn over without catching my breath from SI joint pain and a “locked” hip.

After experiencing the joys (not to mention the pain and effort) of physical therapy for every joint in my body except my wrists over the years, I’ve turned to exploring a place of no pain instead. Pushing through the pain only resulted in a loss of self-trust and the ball-and-chain of dread as I moved closer to losing my dream.

I don’t want to hurt anymore.

Not everything has to hurt.

Not everything has to be hard to be worthy.

Today I define success as ‘doing less’. I’ve never felt quite as successful as I do right now.

It wasn’t magic. It was a week of cultivating “laziness”, gentleness with myself and getting out of my own way.

For the next post.

(Photo: Painting “Carmen” by Ralph Steadman)

Touch. Move. Feel. Move. Magic in Relationship. 2

Stone Arch

Close to the end of Saturday’s class we went down to the floor (or deck as the case was), the Five Sensations showed up and we danced through each, separately, paying attention to the art of being in relationship with each.

Sensation of Strength – felt as tension; muscle wrapping – energy packing around bones; push-pull. Energy that is felt as contained and sustained. High energy output.

Flexibility – energy moving out along the bones; directional: extension, flexion, rotation; creating more volume and space around joints. Less energy output than strength.

Agility – the sensation of “start and stop”; distinct in beginning and end; clear, intentional, deliberate, decisive. Variety of speed.

Mobility – sensation of continuous movement; like Goldie Locks said, “Not too hard, not too soft – it’s just right!” Sensing a balance of strength and relaxation as you move.

Stability – “I choose to be here in space!”  Relaxed without collapse, Energy moving in and out from all directions. An energetically harmonious combination of strength, agility, mobility and flexibility.

How do I sense the relationship between my bones and joints through the sensation of strength? Flexibility? Agility? Mobility? Stability? How does agility affect the relationship between my spine and the music?

How does mobility in my pelvis affect the relationship between my feet and stability?

In what way is my head in relationship with my movement? With the rest of my body? With sensation? How does where I put or how I hold my head influence each sensation in turn?

Are my attitudes and beliefs the same, after moving as they were when I began?

How has my mental energy been affected by this dance?

Connected in another way is moving what I sense and pattern (put movements together into patterns and into music), in relationship with only the music and my body as a compass. (“Only” speaking to the the fact that I have no students through whom to receive feedback.) I’ll save that for another post…

As exploration, to discover the answers to the questions I’ve posed I could not rely on my mental or thinking self. This had to be a physically experiential exploration. Only through my body could I receive this information. My mind later processes my experience into words and images, but not until my body and brain have the material for my mind to “convert” into the type of information I’m sharing with you now.

What are the possible benefits to this experiment?

Stimulates the body-mind connection.

Mind: Squishy Pig:  Light, Soft, well – Squishy, Bumpy, Jiggly


Body: Sensations of Light, Soft, Squishy, Bumpy and Jiggly in my body.

= Connection

It has expanded my movement vocabulary.

Moving like a “string of pearls” gave me a concrete example of how connecting the dots (one movement into the next) looks and feels in my hands.

It interrupted my movement habits.

“Tried and true” increases the potential for overuse injuries and is not the stimulation my brain (and yours) needs to stave off premature decline, dementia and Alzheimer’s.

It stimulated my imagination.

How does Squishy Pig move?!

It made me giggle, which helped to encourage relaxation.


The ability of my brain (and yours) to change, physically, in response to stimulation (new stuff! how do I do this?) and activity (dance – considered one of the best ways to keep body and brain healthy).


Body-Mind Connection

New Moves

Awareness of old ways of movement


Brain Games

(For more information on the Five Sensations, click on For You,  then Learn and Five Sensations and the Art of Sensing.)

Touch. Move. Feel. Move. Magic in Relationship. 1

Stone Arch

Saturday’s practice had a different feel. This morning, not unlike many or even most of the classes and practices I lead and share, held

My classes and practices, much like my kitchen, are laboratories, teeming with curiosity and possibility. I’m never completely certain how the process will turn out.

My personal practice yesterday focused on sensation through emotion and how emotion shapes the way I move and in turn how sensation shapes the way I move.

This morning was a continuation. The stimulation was touch. With a variety of objects, we moved like the squishy pig, like the poky bouncy ball, we differentiated between moving like a string of Mikimoto pearls and a string of Michael’s (craft store) clearance bin pearls. I discovered that a string of 2-inch wood dowels are more mobile and flexible than I imagined from looking at them.

I noticed how moving with squishy pig changed the relationship between my bones in a way unlike moving with a squishy weighted 5-inch ball. Then moving with a small “school yard” ball changed the relationship between my joints and the music in yet another way from the squishy weighted ball.

And in this, how was my mind and mental energy in relationship? To my body? To the music? To the objects? To the concept of practice as laboratory? How, where and when did my attitudes and beliefs join the party and what was their contribution? How did – how do my attitudes and beliefs arrive and dance in relationship to my desire?

Moving what I see can be a vastly different experience than moving what I feel through touch. I find that my movement can be directly affected by what I touch. I am a highly tactile human (as the guard at the Phoenix Museum of Art will attest to!) and I spend a significant amount of time present to what comes under my fingers. I’m drawn by texture. Not so much to get a closer look but to experience it more deeply. My visual sense isn’t enough, I want to “see” it with more of me and in texture there is movement. Give me texture, I’ll give you movement. Inversely all movement has texture.

When we went down to the floor (or deck as the case was), the Five Sensations showed up…

for tomorrow’s post.

More Pleasure. Less Effort.

Softening to Flow ChocolateLearning to go through life with less effort.

Spending time in FeldenCAMP and Awareness Through Movement Feldenkrais classes with Julie Francis has helped me to become aware of how much tension I hold just lying around. The classes are also showing me the places and parts of me that have not been given adequate attention and where awareness is lacking.

The focus for this morning’s class was head and eye movements and I felt like a Picasso painting with one eye feeling huge and the other feeling more like a tiny slit.  As I worked through this lesson, I noticed how much effort I was exerted to move my eyes up and down behind closed lids!  Not to mention the amount of focus required for me to stay connected to this lesson. To move my eyes.

I found that my eyes did not tract smoothly and it took awhile before I felt as though they were moving together! This thought makes me giggle every time I think it. I can imagine my eyes all googly, wandering up and down independently, without any regard at all for how they’re supposed to be moving. I can only think that they are, indeed, moving the way they’re supposed to, considering the neglect they have endured!

Awareness on a new and deeper level.

“Simply” lying on the floor with my eyes closed and moving up, down and neutral brought sensations of little electrical sparks of nausea running down my spine, a stiff neck, a headache and managed to interrupt my normal breathing pattern. I also experienced a particular crispness to my vision and the differences in my contact lens prescriptions were far less noticeable. My body also felt better moving through space. I left with a peripheral awareness that this lesson had affected my nervous system, but I’m not sure how to accurately describe it yet. Interestingly, my hip stayed loose, relaxed and deliciously mobile all day despite the amount of time I spent sitting and reading between the Awareness Through Movement class this morning and my Nia class tonight. That looseness never happens – never.

I don’t fully understand how moving my eyes can affect the condition of my hip but I suspect that the fact that it elicited sensations through my spine is a clue…

The breathing lessons in FeldenCAMP last week and class this morning have both changed the way I move – and the way I feel in my body. On Sunday I played with the sensations of simultaneous root and uproot to creating smooth, light and grounded movement. I felt as though I was dancing in a flow that was effortlessly strong, patient and buoyant.

Dancing in the flow.

I want more of this!

Letting the Light In

Candle and Wrought Iron

Weekly Tips:

For: Adaptability. Strength. Flexibility. Stability. Mobility. Ease. Pleasure Longevity.

Tips that are short, sweet and to the point.

And free.

Tips to increase awareness.

Tips for exploring and reconnecting to Body, Mind, Spirit and Emotions.

Tips to re-define aging and enjoy more of life than we believed possible.

Mind. Body. Heart. Spirit.

Every Friday night, a new Tip will arrive in your inbox, just in time for the weekend!

Once a week, you’ll receive a PDF with your your tip for letting the light in.

To sign up, email me at MovementAlchemyHeals@gmail.com with your first name and you can start receiving them.

Awareness: Deeper Personal Practice to Share… Moving to Think 2

Open in Red

Almost 2 months ago I let go of most of my Nia classes.

It was a decision I never really thought I’d make – even though I knew it needed to be made. I released a professional situation that was incongruent with my Spirit, Heart and Mind. I have no regrets.

With 1 class a week to teach, I have been feeding myself.

Over the course of the past 10 years, I’ve taken time away from teaching Nia before, during family trips and to heal. Without multiple classes to teach, I was keenly aware of my teaching skills declining. After a break I would return to my students feeling as though I’d just gotten up from a nap – groggy, slow and with a sense that I’d lost my overall timing.

Since March 13 I happily step into my one class as though I’ve been teaching all week!

What’s the difference?

Two things: Personal Movement Practice and Personal Awareness Practice.

I don’t practice “for class”. I practice for myself. Instead of practicing primarily to to share, my Practice is to embody on deeper and deeper levels. I am writing to suggest that this approach may be more effective than either separating the two Practices or leaning on a professional Practice to feed both Practices. Make sense?

There are a few variables involved here. The one variable I have not taken into account is learning a new routine. Up until now I have been combining my Nia Practice with a non-Nia movement Practice involving Nia routines with which I am familiar.

I am a happy Nia Practitioner. I am a better Nia teacher. I am a better Nia Practitioner. What I have been able to share with my students has been far more organic and spontaneous within the work. There has been an organic and spontaneous quality to my teaching but I feel it expanding and evolving as it must in order for me  to be a great teacher.

I am also more creative.

I also mentioned my Personal Awareness Practice.

As my first online course, Body Awareness launched, I was going through the course with those who had signed up. Either I was in the process that existed to discover ways to improve it or I was re-creating it. Either way, I created a rich awareness Practice for myself in addition to the movement Practice.

Some of the most remarkable life revelations have come since I “stopped” teaching Nia and began living it more deeply. Baby steps…

Emerging clarity. My life. My role in Nia. The role of Nia in my Life. My curiosity in regards to Nia in the World. Moving Forward.

Away from the Struggle. Away from Frustration and the Energy Drain.

Stepping into Peace. Pleasure and Genuine Fun.

Letting the Light In: The Alchemy of Awareness


Ok, so I created this online course series with the focus on awareness. A series of body, mind, heart and spirit meditations with movement at the heart of it all – to get us all to notice what’s going on with us.

To what end?

What’s the point?

What’s the payoff?

Improved quality of life.

How does increased awareness equate to a better quality of life.

Awareness turns the lights on.

What’s the first thing we do when we notice something – anything?

We make a choice.

“Oh, that doesn’t feel good.”

Choice 1: I’m going to do nothing.

Choice 2: I’m going to keep noticing it, maybe it will go away.

Choice 3: I’m going to tweak, adjust or change the way I [behave].

Choice 4: I’m going to pretend I didn’t get this information.

“Ohhhhh, I love that!”

Choice 1: I’m going to do that again.

Choice 2: I’m going to take action that insures my success at having that experience again.

Choice 3: I’m going to think about how great that experience was and hope that life drops it in front of me again.

The point here is that Choice is Power. We can chooooooooose to wield it or not to wield it but the fact still remains the same.

Awareness is Power.

Awareness gives us the opportunity to make choices – to engage with that power. Awareness gives us the opportunity to engage with this power that we might otherwise have never had. Opportunity we might not have had if we had not been practicing awareness.

What kind of power can you have?

What kind would you like?

Awareness delivers the opportunity to make choices. It’s choices that deliver results.

What’s the ‘catch’?

There are two:

1. You have to actually Practice.

2. There is discomfort involved.

That’s it.

Awareness of Exquisite Awareness of Awareness of Nothing

Drum Kit Empty But for Potential

Yesterday was a momentous day – did you not feel it? Did the ground beneath you not vibrate even the tiniest?

Did the air not make it easier for you to breath – even if just for a split second?

I am in afterglow.

Until this morning I had not found the words. This morning I read a Facebook post by my friend, Black belt sister, visionary life poet and vocalist extraordinaire Beth Noelle (did I overdo it a bit? GOOD!). Beth shared Nothing’s Gonna Change Your World, the blog post by Riikka Rajamaki and published by http://www.rebellesociety.com/2013/03/29/nothings-gonna-change-your-world/

and the rains came and the words poured forth – even before I had finished reading.

Purpose has little to do with society. I’ve been searching for this statement.

I have spent recent time wanting something so badly I could throw up. Wanting something so badly, I was ready to lose myself again. The greatest gift was that I didn’t get it. What I got was exquisite awareness.

After a lifetime of blurred identity; of keeping up. After a lifetime of flinching whenever speaking my own name.

When I let go of the ‘shoulds’, when I agreed to no longer agree. When I stepped into another level of the ‘walk’. When I chose to no longer puppet for someone else’s demons (I’ve plenty of my own, thank you very much!). When I let my eyes close and breath leave me.

Only when I could see nothing in front of me, was there something to see.

Only when I let my self do what, at least for now, I’m here to do was there something to do.

Yesterday I completed creation on The Alchemy of Awareness (The Gift of Intimacy) – Body Awareness.

I completed it just before I sent it out in it’s Week 5 installment to the 13 fearless and generous souls who not only agreed to this trial, but paid me for it!!

While I hope it was brilliant and life-changing, I will not be disappointed if it is not. It is here and here it can blossom. I have come to the realization, without arrogance or defensiveness, that what I shared could not have been received through a degree. The highest caliber schools would have set me on a different path where there is no nothing and the volume is up too high. This I had to come to on my own. This is the value of life.

Lofty, grand words aren’t they? No. They are basic – life in it’s simplest terms. That is what my work is about. Base? Animal? Instinctive? Intelligent? Out of the realm of the cerebral? It is none of those. It is all of those.

For those of you who truly value life – this Bud’s for you. HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry, I just couldn’t resist.

For those of you who want to explore life on a nothing level – this work is for you. If you haven’t got time – you missed the point.

This is the BE-ing.

No trying. No striving. No DO-ing.

If you want something, go get it – by not. Do the preparation with the intention of expansion. While you prep for this, at what you arrive may look different.

What you need will never be yours until you don’t need it anymore.

Nothing, indeed, is going to change my life.

Thank you, Beth.


Awareness of Death


It’s time to go.

This has come to an end.

When I took my White Belt Nia intensive, Denise Medved introduced me to the Mayan calendar. She also gave us, according to our birth dates, our connection to the universe. Mine was the White Planetary World Bridger. To this day it gives me chills. When I went home I did some research and discovered that one of the traits is Death.

There is Death in all things. There must be. Everything and everyone has a shelf life. It would be a horrific mess if this were not the case. Already, we, as a species, want to hang on far longer than is healthy.

I am in the middle of a series of deaths. As are we all.

The direct and immediate upheavals being caused by these deaths in my life have been impossible for me to ignore or even keep in the background.

One that I had been reluctant to address and therefore let go of was teaching Nia.

A year or two ago I spoke words that I knew in my being to be true. Now, I’m being given the opportunity to live those words.

Teaching Nia classes is the beginner’s way into Nia.

It is the beginner’s way for the teacher, as there is hardly a more formidable and satisfying learning experience than guiding others, and classes are a delicious way to introduce potential students to the magic of Nia.

White Belt is not the beginning. Black Belt is. White Belt set up the foundation for me to be able to see, hear, speak, act and choose; to become aware of how I am moving through life. Each subsequent belt gave me more preparation to actually begin this journey.

When asked by a Tae Kwon Do Black belt if I was a master, my response was that I intended to master being a beginner. She smiled and nodded knowingly.

Nia never slaps me in the face. Nia people might, but Nia does not. Here was a mini death that liberated me very early on and once again very recently. Nia is Nia. Nia is not any one person. I do not need to attach to any person to connect to Nia.

I will not support another’s Nia that does not feed us all. And I certainly will not support another’s Nia that divides us.

This divisiveness will kill us in the end.

Slowly. Painfully. Regretfully. But surely.

We are at a crossroads.

We are always at a crossroads.

The red pill? The blue pill?