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Why I dance for V-Day and One Billion Rising

In Emotions, music, Nia, Nia Class, Sensatioin, spirit, teaching, The Body's Way, Uncategorized on February 4, 2015 at 11:18 pm

10306232_356304124537354_4563745761935799094_nFor the past three years I have been honoured and excited to participate in the One Billion Rising dance events that celebrate V-Day. A day that symbolizes the end of violence towards women and girls across the world. The Nia community in Southern Ontario, Canada, has risen and danced with pride and passion to show their support for such an important, global issue. The horrific statistic is this: 1 in 3 women and girls will be physically abused or raped in her lifetime. Eve Ensler, author of the famous Vagina Monologues, was made aware of the pandemic proportions of this issue as women came forward and shared their traumatic onebillionrisingexperiences with her. In response, she has allowed her play (The Vagina Monologues) to be used as a tool to bring awareness and create solidarity, and support an end to violence against women. Over the years, this movement has grown exponentially and thousands of grassroots organizations around the world have begun rising together to raise awareness and funds for local shelters and services. Find out more about this movement here: http://www.onebillionrising.org/

Why do I dance for OBR? Firstly, because I represent the 1 in 3 women, and it is important that we share our stories and support each other in healing and moving on. Next, dancing roots me into my body where I get centred and feel safe and calm, even when I’m surrounded by chaos. I feel immensley empowered when I move in my skin, sensing strength, speed, agility, flexibility and stability. These sensations were not always easy for me to get in touch with because I got cut off from my body, as so many women do when they experience abuse. The body can be associated with the pain, and to be aware of it is too overwhelming. Therefore, I reclaim MY BODY for MY PLEASURE, and not for the pain another inflicted on me. Nia has been instrumental in guiding me to do this. And it is now my honour and Pleasure to guide others in a Nia practice to reclaim their Body’s visceral Joy!

1613922_749596358391477_796572541_nAnother huge reason I dance for this global movement is for Freedom. I can experience freedom in my body even though I suffered abuse in it. Now I Am healing, and the dance represents that. I also experience freedom in my emotional body – joy and fun where their used to be shame and self-consciousness. I no longer feel the need to hide away because I shake and jiggle when I wiggle! I am a woman and there are parts of my body DESIGNED to wiggle with movement! I release the shame and self-consciousness! My mental body is freed because I cannot worry while I dance, and my spirit body is freed as I connect with others in my immediate space through shared music, purpose and choreography, and around the planet through our shared intention to end the injustice of gender inequality.

There is another reason I choose to dance for this cause. It is my unshakeable belief (from personal experience) that movement of any form, helps to release, shake out, and dislodge blockages of energy. These blocks can be caused by many things, and in the case of abuse or rape, the blocks are of pain, fear and anger. Some women never tell anyone about their experiences, and so the energy of the trauma gets stuck somewhere in their bodies and turns into depression, cutting, obsessive eating or starvation, and chronic disease or illness, to name but a few. By moving the physical body with dance (or yoga, massage, walking…) and infusing the space with uplifting and powerful music, the combination of personal focus to release the energy and the physical motion, gets those trapped emotions moving and releasing! It is a wonderful healing and empowering practice to dance in order to reclaim your body, your temple, your pleasure vessel!

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The flashmob event is an ideal way to generate awareness because people are naturally drawn to visual spectacles of music and movement, so I very much hope you will join me as I dance and rise in the 3 locations around Kitchener-Waterloo on this coming V-Day! The details are listed below. Click HERE to learn the steps with my video! Please share!

9 am – Nia Class with a focus on One Billion Rising at the Awaken Wellness Centre. Click HERE for location details. All proceeds from this event will be donated to a local women’s shelter.

11 am – Conestoga Mall in Waterloo, near the food court.

Noon – Kitchener Farmer’s Market, at the bottom of the main stairs inside.

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Decluttering : Space : : Detoxing : Body Part 2 – Team Family!

In chi, Clutter, Emotions, Life skills, Lifestyle on September 20, 2014 at 1:18 pm

To read part 1 click HERE

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Remember the family who fell in love with their new home? Remember how pretty and fresh and organized it was? Now, remember how they all felt after a few months of living in it. It got all messy and jumbled up. No one really knew where anything was anymore. Josh kept needing new clothes to be bought because he didn’t know where to put them when he changed. And Mum kept losing her important work papers because she didn’t make a space in the new house for her own desk. And Dad was annoyed with the garage not being easier to use because he had forgotten to add some shelving and storage areas along the walls when they were first moving in. Everyone was feeling sad, and Mum had already started looking for another house. And poor, sweet Ivy was almost an afterthought, often being almost forgotten as everyone rushed out the door every morning. She felt like she was just another bag of stuff to be carted around with Josh’s swim and school things.

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There is a simple plan to help this lovely family so they can get back to loving their lives and enjoying each other’s company and new home. It starts with small steps that are repeated everyday.

1. Gather the whole family together and share feelings and thoughts about the house and how things look and the way things run. List both positive and negative things. Someone can take notes, and remember to keep this friendly and curious. This is not about blaming or shaming.

2. Decide together what is most important from the negative side and make that the top priority that everyone will help with first.

3. Everyone take on 3 things they will personally be responsible for. Adults will need to help the kids see their own rooms and clothes etc. as their responsibility, and adults will need to take on larger tasks affecting the household.

4. Create a weekly calendar that can be repeated for 4 weeks. This is easier than launching into a month-long plan as that can seem overwhelming. Just make it a week and repeat it 4 times. Post it somewhere bright and easy to see.

5. Group hug or high five or cheer as a family to boost energy and enthusiasm for working as a team! This last step may seem cheesy, but it’s truly the glue that keeps everyone connected to the goal. And keep the cheer or high five around when you see each other complete the tasks.

Now that list may seem a little abstract, so I’ll fill in some details based on our sweet, make-believe family, to illustrate.

Success Starts Here Freeway Style Desert Landscape

Starting with step 2, our family decides that the kitchen and dining area are the most important places to start with. Food and nutrition is important for everyone to think and feel well, so they started there. Mum and Dad both agreed that whoever did the cooking, the other would do the dishes. Josh volunteered to help the washer dry and put away dishes that wouldn’t fit, or couldn’t go in the dishwasher. Dad and Josh also said they could spend 5 minutes in the morning before swim practice to unload the dishwasher. Then Mum asked Ivy if she could be in charge of sweeping the floor with the dustpan and brush as part of the clean up process, and Ivy said she would love that!

Moving on to step 3:

Mum: 1. Morning laundry, 2. Groceries, 3. daily bedroom (master and Ivy’s) and bathroom monitoring and cleaning.

Dad: 1. Evening laundry, 2. daily front hallway, closet and shoe rack monitoring, 3. daily living room cleaning and vacuuming.

Now, Mum and Dad worked on helping Josh and Ivy list their 3 tasks. Josh: 1. put worn clothes in the hamper in the bathroom before having a shower/bath each night, 2. empty lunch box and place dirty stuff in the dishwasher. 3. Using designated fridge drawer (Mum sets this up as part of groceries), pack tomorrow’s lunch.

Ivy: 1. Put toys away in bins when asked, 2. help Dad with shoe monitoring in the hallway, 3. help Mum with laundry – find matching socks and fold small items.

Step 4 needs to be as clear as possible. The most efficient use of space and time, in my opinion, is to get some fun tape (like Washi tape), and divide a white board into 7 columns and 2 or 3 rows. A narrow row at the top and a narrow one at the bottom for notes or important dates etc. The middle is for listing people’s duties. Choosing colours to represent each person is easy to see and visually pleasing. So all of Mum’s tasks are green, Dad’s are red, Josh’s are blue and Ivy’s are purple. You can choose your own colours of course! Then events that affect everyone can be black.  The only things that would change would be the dates across the top of the board, and specific events along the bottom. All jobs would stay the same for the four weeks. Organizing the rows is flexible too; if you prefer your special events nearer the top, right under the date, then do that, and keep the daily tasks in a wide row at the bottom of the board.

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This white board idea is also fun because you can put little happy, messages or images on the board next to people’s jobs to say thank you, or well done, etc. And they can be erased and started again each week. I recommend a large white board so you don’t feel cramped, and mount it so that it can easily be taken down to be cleaned and written on again. And make sure those who want to write on it, can reach it easily! Those sweet encouraging notes to each other create a real magic energy that lifts everyone’s spirits!

Step 5 is pretty easy to implement. Start simple with easy high fives until you start to feel more enthusiastic. And you will as the tasks keep getting done! Some cheers or celebrations may lead to spontaneous expressions that might become special inside jokes with your family, and this creates a strong bond of fun and togetherness!

So there you go! 5 simple steps to create peace, harmony and efficiency in your home, just in time for new school routines to kick in! Now get over to  your local office supplies store and get a large white board and spiffy Washi tape and colourful dry erase markers!

Decluttering : Space : : Detoxing : Body – Part 1

In chi, Clutter, Emotions, food, Life skills, Lifestyle, mind, spirit, teaching on July 31, 2014 at 1:39 pm

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There once was a beautiful house with high ceilings, large windows, spacious rooms and a lovely warm light flooded in through those large windows. A family fell in love with it and decided to move in. They bought, beds and couches, tables and shelves. They stacked the shelves and filled the closets and drawers until everything was full. Everything had a special place, and they were happy and settled.

The new home was clean and cozy, a perfect retreat for the end of a busy day in their new town. School had its new challenges for the children, and work was tough and tiring for the parents. Most nights everyone was too tired to do the dishes after dinner. And first thing in the morning, Dad had to take Josh to early morning swim practice, and this made Mum mad and she didn’t want to do the dishes all by herself. Ivy was just too small to help her. But she did them anyway. Then Josh’s room started to overflow into the hallway, and Ivy’s toys were strewn all over the house. Dad’s shoes were never in a neat row and Mum’s work papers kept getting lost on piles of papers on the dining table – where no one ate anymore because there was no room! Josh could never find any clean clothes, so new ones would be bought. Mum couldn’t find anywhere to store her work things, so she went to Ikea and bought a bunch of lovely neat boxes to use. But when she got home, she couldn’t find a good place to put them! So they sat in the entrance way, unopened. Dad couldn’t find his golf clubs and thought he must have given them away, so he went to buy new ones. Now those live in the entrance way too. One day Ivy stumbled and fell into them, and the whole bag of hard metallic clubs fell on her and she got a bad bruise!

Mum got really angry and told Dad he needed to move the stupid clubs or she would throw them away! After a big argument Dad put his clubs in the bedroom which made it really difficult to open the door properly. Then Dad took Mum’s new Ikea boxes and yelled that she needed to do something with them because he had to move his clubs from the entrance hall, so she had to as well! So Mum took them and crammed them, still unopened into a corner of her closet, squashing all her sweaters making them all crumpled. So now everyone in the new house was sad, hurt and angry, and the house was all a jumbled mess. Getting ready to go took an extra long time, and coming home felt depressing because it was so confusing and ugly everywhere. It felt like they always had to eat in the car because they were always late and needed drive through just to stay fed. Soon Mum started looking at new houses because she didn’t like this one anymore…

 

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There was once a beautiful boy with bright eyes, curious fingers and strong legs. His name is Billy. Everyday he grew more and more and more and soon he could walk and run and chase other little children in the park and playground. He started going to school and learned to play sports and how to use his words to communicate. He had a lunch box to carry his food and always had a white bread sandwich with a slice of meat and cheese between them, a chocolate milk, a bunch of grapes and a granola bar. When he was learning his multiplication tables one day he suddenly got really tired. He couldn’t remember how to do this set of numbers, but he knew he had done it only yesterday! But then the bell rang and it was time for the nutrition break. So our beautiful boy went to get his lunchbox and have his grapes. He went to play on the monkey bars too and when he came back inside, he remembered how to do the  multiplication table! When he got home he told his parents and they were so proud they said, “You can watch an extra hour of TV tonight!”

Now Billy is 16 and he works out in the school’s gym because he is on the rugby team. You have to be strong to play rugby, and you have to be fast. So Billy lifts weights with his team mates everyday and he also goes running on the track. But sometimes he just can’t lift enough, and he feels bad because his team mates can lift more. And when they run, he is often left in the back and runs out of energy… his muscles just can’t go on. This makes him sad. But one of his team mates says, “Don’t worry about it. You’ll keep training, and you’ll get faster and stronger! I know how to make you feel better. There’s a party this weekend, you should come! It will be fun!”

At the party Billy has a blast. He drinks beer, tries smoking pot and likes it, plays strip poker with some pretty girls and falls asleep really easily afterwards. In the morning he walks home with some other guys who stayed over and they all agreed to party more often. It felt great, and it was fun. So the next weekend, they do it again. This time someone says they should order pizza, and it was amazing! That was their new ritual – order pizza at midnight to satisfy their munchies. The guys keep going to the gym and lifting and running, but the group who have the party every weekend keep getting slower, they get heavier, and some have trouble breathing while they run. So they drop out of the team. Billy tries to stay  on the team a bit longer, but he misses his buddies. So he drops off the team too.

It’s Billy’s graduation now and he has a great university offering a scholarship for him. Since dropping off the rugby team, Billy found out that he really liked gaming and that it also fit in really well with his enjoyment of partying, so he gamed a lot, and got really good at a lot of games. Then he started messing around with making his own games and this was fun because he loved numbers thankfully! But over the years of sitting at his computer, drinking pop and beer, smoking and eating fast food, he had developed bad posture, acne, and was overweight. He didn’t always feel very good, but he knew that once he got to university he would make a new start…

 

When we overload ourselves in some way and eschew a simple system to keep a basic routine, life can seem excruciatingly difficult and arduous. Stay tuned for the flip side of these two stories.

Giggling, Exercise and Orgasms – 3 Free, Natural Ways Out of Depression

In food, kwirky, Life skills, mind, Nia, Sensatioin, spirit on May 8, 2014 at 6:59 pm

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Ever feel depressed? Blue? Sad and bummed out for no apparent reason? Do you look around to blame the heavy, dark cloud of feelings on something and can’t figure out for sure what it is? Then become more depressed because identifying the reason seems like the only way to come to a solution? Or do you know why you feel so low and the solution to the problem seems insurmountable? Unapproachable? Totally beyond your control?

Depression-depression-33252772-800-707You are not alone. I am not alone. I lost my mum and then my god father within 6 months of each other, both very suddenly. Their gunshot-like deaths rocked my world and each day has been my own personal mix of tears, pain and joy. Joy from my support network of friends, family and activities I give myself. But some days, none of those things do any good. Pain and tears come far more easily now that I feel I have lost my personal support system, my mother; and work and financial problems drag me down way more than they used to.

It’s been a particularly dark week for me, and the best I could do was lose myself in the warm nest of comfort eating, Netflix and sleeping for far too long. But today, day 4 of this deep slump, I heard my mum’s voice as a lay, pretending to feel too tired to get out of bed at 1:30 pm… in her firm, yet teasing tone, “Come on! Up you get! You know exactly what to do, you lazy so-and-so!” I did have to pee, so I rolled slowly up and started to mentally plan my day: pee. make tea. watch more of the series I’m into on Netflix. eat something. make more tea. watch more Netflix…

IMG_0375It was just as I was opening the Safari browser that a photo of my mum I keep on my desktop caught my eye. She is posing with a tub of Greek Gods honey flavoured yogurt with a huge spoon and pulling a silly face. It made me smile. And I immediately remembered all the things that I can do, without much effort, that will chemically alter my brain and body state so that I do not feel as depressed. I chose my top 3 for this article based on price (free!) and ease of making them happen.

 

 

M_Id_363760_Man_laughing1. Giggling

Giggling, laughing and smiling engage specific muscles in the head, neck and core which combine with sharp inhalations and exhalations. These movements and breaths cause the brain to release endorphins – the happy hormone. Recent studies now show that laughing improves mood for this reason, and it has been shown to increase pain tolerance. (www.nytimes.com/2011/09/14/science/14laughter.html?_r=0)

So watch some funny youtube videos, read some silly jokes or comics or look at some ridiculous pictures to get yourself laughing. Here are some to get you started – bear in mind, these are my personal favourites!

Eating lemon baby faces http://youtu.be/luOU5gLeA4A

Eddie Izzard – Cake or Death? http://youtu.be/rMMHUzm22oE

Funny Talking Animals – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaPepCVepCg&list=FLtISih3v30iRGx3oSWWo8Gw&feature=share&index=39

fibro-exercise-happy-400x4002. Exercise – MOVE!

Exercise is another endorphin releasing activity, but there’s more to it than just that. Exercise also releases dopamine – the pleasure chemical. Dopamine is also released when we eat, which is a big reason why comfort eating is so popular as a way to feel better. However, regular exercise releases dopamine without the negative side effect of packing on the extra weight! Serotonin is another chemical that is responsible for feelings of happiness, restful sleep and healthy appetite. You want to keep consistent and high levels of serotonin in the body so sleeping is easy and feeling happy is easy, and regular exercise achieves this. (http://www.fitsugar.com/Hormones-Released-After-Working-Out-19252431)

Dancing is my go-to happy place!
Nia – a dancer’s Interval Training workout: http://youtu.be/AQBYXuCo6A8

This is excellent for boosting metabolism and pushing yourself to your personal edge.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) hard core: http://youtu.be/-dthjOzzS84

I love Pilates for targeting trouble spots, but also getting the heart rate up and sweating!
Pilates: butt blaster: http://youtu.be/7Q7L673i8OY

This gorgeous outdoor video is the prefect balance of challenge and peacefulness for me.
Sweat your turtle off! Yoga: http://youtu.be/jxLXPj84ILk

fake-orgasm3. Orgasms – A Hormonal

Reset Switch

Orgasms release a whole host of other chemicals in addition to serotonin and endorphins that promote the ass-kicking of depression!  HGH (Human Growth Hormone) is released, and this helps with renewing and repairing cells throughout the body. DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a hormone produced by your adrenal glands and is linked to various anti-aging effects as well as rebuilding and nourishing effects on cells. DHEA is released before orgasm and during as well. Also, oxytocin is released during orgasm. Oxytocin is known as the love hormone and it causes people to feel increased feelings of bonding and intimacy. Orgasms are a simple and easy way to elevate these hormone levels and bring back a chemical balance to the body. This allows for either relaxation and rest, or a surge in energy and creativity. I shall not share any of my personal options for reaching orgasm, because that would be weird! But I will say that orgasm does NOT need to be reached through partner sex. (http://www.billysundaymars.com/news/nourishing-neurochemicals-hormones-released-during-sex)

3 simple tools to help you get rid of the blues. You’ve got this! 😉

 

Holistic Living is Like a Grand Feast!

In Ekhart Tolle, food, kwirky, Life skills, mind, Nia, spirit, Uncategorized on April 20, 2014 at 7:50 pm

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The word ‘holistic’ has been tossed around a lot lately and to some it has a waffly, insubstantial reputation. To others it’s an ideal that is just too far beyond a realistic lifestyle, and so it causes feelings of yearning and sometimes bitterness at the prospect of aiming to attain it, and feeling constantly like one is falling short.
“Who really has time to meditate before their workout in the morning, AND have organic and free range food everyday, while balancing work, community and family obligations?”

But when we come right down to it, we ARE capable of fitting in extra items on our daily list of to-dos if we are really Imaginationcommitted, or if we just really WANT it. The motivation is where it’s at. But I’m not writing today about how to light a fire under your arse, that will be another blog! Today I want you to consider how a holistic lifestyle CAN be cobbled together on a weekly basis. A daily basis to start off with is what sends most of us into overwhelm; and perhaps you need to scale back even more and consider a monthly cycle. But first lets exercise our imaginations!

Imagine a great feast, like Easter Lunch, Christmas Dinner, Thanksgiving. Laid out upon the table are many dishes of food. Some are considered main course foods, some are sides, some are the vegetarian options, and some are gravies and condiments. Each wonderful feast has a variety of all these dishes; if it didn’t it would certainly feel as if something were missing!
What do you mean there isn’t any turkey? How could anyone forget to have gravy? But Thanksgiving just isn’t the same without pumpkin pie!
Now I want you to imagine that each of the dishes you might get at one of these feasts is an activity or element of life that is important to you. Consider what it brings you and whether you give it main, side, dessert, or condiment status.

keep calmHere’s my list:
Main 1: consuming clean, organic, free-range food
Main 2: dance or other joyous movement as exercise
Main 3: sharing my knowledge about health and wellness with others
Side 1: researching (health, wellness, nutrition, exercise)
Side 2: Spending time with friends and family
Side 3: Personal reflection, writing, meditation
Dressing 1: sleeping in
Dressing 2: self-care – baths, acupuncture, massages, etc
Dressing 3: reading for pleasure
Condiments: outdoors activities, movie dates, game nights…

Anyone can see that it would be quite challenging to fit all of these in everyday. And notice I left out things like cleaning, laundry, shopping etc. These things can be folded into your daily chores – tucked in around the edges. Because, lets be honest. Laundry (unless you own and run a laundromat) isn’t anyone’s idea of a passion in life! Yes it’s necessary, but it shouldn’t take precedence over a main or side dish. Now, consider your holistic lifestyle feast over a week or month, and feel the ease seep into your bones, because your body knows this is doable, and also so very necessary for your overall well-being.

Now take 15 minutes today and write down your list of mains and sides. Then organize them over your calendar for theseize the moment next few weeks making sure to rotate some sides and dressings and condiments so that they all get in there. The main dishes are more likely the ones you need to keep in for each week. And perhaps you may find that you actually don’t feel like a main dish you first listed is really a main anymore! Or perhaps a dish you listed as a side needs to be bumped up to main for a while. The circumstances in our lives greatly impact what things become non-negotiables for us, so be flexible in allowing your list to fluctuate and shift.

So when are you going to take that 15 minutes? Decide now and stick to your intention. It’s totally worth it! You can seize the moment right now and list them in the comments below, and we’ll all be here to support you as you make the best feast of you life!

 

I have a skill set that can help you in designing a holistic lifestyle for yourself. So feel free to contact me to discover where your priorities and goals are taking you.

[Bliss] Bedroom Feng Shui – Your Headboard

In chi, feng shui, Life skills, yin and yang on January 10, 2014 at 12:27 pm

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Bliss – Beautiful Living IS Simple

A solid headboard is the best type to have. It literally represents a solid relationship (if you are in one). You have a sense of unity, solidarity and stability with your partner. Even if your bed isn’t a -headboardsrelationship bed, a solid headboard can reinforce personal confidence in your decisions in life. You are supported. You’ve got your back, as it were, by having solid reasons for your decisions and subsequent actions.


Headboards with bars or slats or other holes and gaps are not conducive to monogamous relationships and represent more open relationships. If a solid headboard isn’t possible at the moment, you can use fabric, ribbons or silk plants and flowers to weave in and around the spaces to create the connection and solidarity of one.


Materials used in headboards are traditionally wood, metal and fabric. Wood is the best choice because it is sturdy, warm, has a friendlier feel and represents life and growth (trees). It also carries yin chi (feminine energy) and is more in line with resting. Metal headboards are rarely solid (although wood-elementI’m sure they exist), and are often in the shape of bars or wrought iron swirls. The metal element is also yang chi (masculine energy) that is more in line with action and not rest, which is the primary purpose of the bed. The fabric headboards are usually solid and have some sort of wooden backing, and although it wouldn’t be my first choice, it is much better than a metallic headboard. The fabric also provides the restful yin chi that soothes us to sleep and relaxation.


There is much more to the headboard than one would consider aside from aesthetics, but sleeping is so important for overall health. Therefore I advise deeper consideration of these points when looking at your bed. Other things to watch out for on headboards from a feng shui perspective:

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  • avoid mirrors (or cover it when you sleep).
  • shelves that sit above your head. Don’t set anything on them except for intertwining plants, but make sure they are off to one side. Books and heavy objects should not be on the shelves.
  • extremely angular designs, like spikes or points along the top – they are too fire-like and action-oriented.


If you have no headboard you can create one with a heavy, soft fabric and hang it from the wall. Choose colours that are dark to add to the solidity, and avoid too much patterning. This can be a fun creative project as well where you (and your partner if you have one) can consciously fashion a headboard to suit and support your rest in just the way you need.

For information on how I can help you sleep well, visit my BLISS page.

“healthy bodies bleed less…”

In Nia, Nia Class, The Body's Way on September 4, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Nia

Today I have the pleasure of sharing a blog post from a fellow Nia teacher, Jule Aguirre. She has teamed up with the HFA (Hemophilia Federation of America) to write about the health benefits of Nia when applied to various bleeding disorders. Once again, Nia shows herself to be of vital help to yet another specific group of people and I am sure this will continue to grow and widen! Please click on the link below for the full article!

 

Nia Technique: Working IN by Working OUT

 

 

30 Years of Nia

In Aikido, Alexander Technique, belt intensives, Dojo, Duncan, Feldenkrais, jazz, mind, modern, music, Nia, Nia Class, Sensatioin, Tae Kwon-do, Tai Chi, The Body's Way on August 21, 2013 at 11:46 pm

This year is Nia’s 30th birthday, and I plan to celebrate that fact in every class.

In this inspiring video, founder Debbie Rosas and President Jeff Stewart share their thanks in celebrating Nia’s 30th anniversary. It includes a touching story from a Nia instructor who resolved tension in her legs, a white belt graduate suffering from Cerebral Palsy who can now hold herself up and walk, and an exciting story of a Zumba instructor who was amazed at the difference Nia made in her life and teaching style.

Aerobics_LivingPages It was in 1983 when Debbie and Carlos Rosas first took off their shoes and began to really move their bodies. Before then, both Debbie and Carlos (Nia co-creators) had been running a successful aerobics club called The Bod Squad in San Fransisco, California. Their motivation to create Nia was the high rate of injury and burnout they saw in their aerobics clients and instructors, as well as their own personal feelings of pain and discomfort in their bodies as they got up each morning. They truly believed fitness was to make you stronger and more supple, not to hurt or injure or cause recurring pain; so their journey began in the martial arts.

Foot In the Dojo Debbie and Carlos were asked to remove their shoes and move. They began doing leg lifts and jumping jacks, and the martial artist sadly shook his head and said, “You have forgotten how to move.” How was this possible? Leading aerobics instructors not knowing how to move? Both Debbie and Carlos left with more questions than they had arrived with!

Over the next 13 years Debbie and Carlos embraced a totally new way of exercising, one focused on pleasurable sensations in the body, throwing out that “no pain, no gain” motto that has haunted fitness institutions for decades!  From this was born the fusion fitness trend where Debbie and Carlos began incorporating first, more martial arts into their dance choreography, and later healing arts movement forms (such as yoga).

9380454919_f887d5f757_b Just as it took yoga many many years to work its way into ‘mainstream’ fitness clubs and studios, Nia too is on that same journey. I, and thousands of others who have experienced the magic and power of Nia in life and on the dance floor, am in on this special movement practice’s secret. But there really is no secret! It’s a simple truth: do what feels good, and you will heal and get stronger. Listen to what your body tells you (by way of it’s sensations) and you will grow and evolve into the most beautiful version of yourself with ease, grace and most importantly, Joy. Nia is now practiced in over 45 countries world wide and trainings are also offered all over the world for the purpose of personal growth and for teacher training.

nia-is-a-celebration1

Nia is a sensory-based movement practice that is designed to build an awareness of your own body in order to better serve it – whether you need strengthening, weight management, cardio endurance, rehabilitation from an injury or emotional or mental clarity and peace. Nia is a blend of 9 movement forms from 3 disciplines – The Martial Arts (Tae Kwon Do, Tai Chi, Aikido), the Dance Arts (Jazz, Modern, Duncan), and the Healing Arts (yoga, Alexander Technique, The Work of Moshe Feldenkrais). It is danced barefoot to soul-stirring music and can be adapted to individual needs and abilities. Each class lasts around 55 minutes and is choreographed using 52 basic moves, steps and stances that anyone can learn. All of the moves are based on the natural design of the human body, what we refer to as The Body’s Way. No prior movement or dance experience is necessary to participate. All you need is a desire to be alive and moving, and the curiosity to try something new!

Find classes at www.nianow.com/find/classes.

nia-mark-medium-black.jpg Love your body, love your life!      Dance through life!

Nia isn’t just “artsy”… she can get all “martial” on your ass!

In Aikido, chi, Nia, Nia Class, Tae Kwon-do, Tai Chi, Uncategorized on July 19, 2013 at 8:22 am

ImageSince making the connection with Black Belt School’s dojo as a place to offer Nia classes, I have found myself considering how the martial arts contribute to Nia in a deeper way. I have had a solid education of it due to my direct experience practicing Tae Kwon Do and Tai Chi. And that direct experience has also provided me with opportunities to master the physical demands of precision and safe execution of the movements.

But there is something more to it. Each of the 3 martial arts used in Nia bring a distinct energy with it. And each of those energies teaches us more ways to experience sensations of aliveness in our personal dances through life.

The first martial art to cross my own path was Tae Kwon Do. I took it up with a good friend Imagein university. I was lucky enough that our sensei used the last 10 minutes of each class to teach all the girls basic self-defense. It was the first time anyone had made the threat of being physically assaulted feel like a real possibility for me. And I am always grateful for that. I do not fall into the “oh, that won’t happen to me” category… which is the most dangerous category, by the way!

I now know that being hyper aware of your surroundings (360 degrees!) is the best defense. If you let a potential threat get close enough to touch or grab you, you are gonna get hurt (unless you are a highly trained fighting expert with real experience under your belt)! I know how to throw a punch without hurting my shoulder, and I also know that using punching and blocking sequences is one awesome, fun and VERY effective way to tighten and tone your abdominal muscles!

ImageTai Chi taught me about breath and balance. Within 15 minutes of my first Tai Chi class, I was dripping with sweat. Even though it may look like a cool slow-motion version of Tae Kwon Do that is the total opposite of dangerous and threatening, it is all about WHERE we get our energy and power from. The Earth. If you want wicked-strong thighs that sweep and curve in just the right places, Tai Chi is where it’s at! The mellow speed of the movements engages your muscles at a deeper level for a longer period of time than hopping up and down in jumping jacks or burpies. The movements are also very obviously rotational (round) mixed with some linear. This ensures strength in all muscle and joint connections because the human body is designed with both. Most traditional strength and fitness training rely on linear movements because they are easy to learn. However it is a major disservice to the athlete because it’s like only cooking your (gluten-free) pancake on one side! Eww. It’s just not right!

ImageAikido focuses on the movement of spherical motion. When used appropriately and with skill, the circular movements deflect oncoming energy away by using the opponent’s own strength and momentum to do so. Notice that I didn’t say “against them.” Many martial arts follow the principle that the best fight is the one that is avoided, and I love how Aikido can so clearly demonstrate this. Aikido teaches us to flow along and around the attacker or aggressive energy, and if at all possible to avoid engaging directly with it. We only need to be able to guide it past and away from us to stay safe. The swirling and spinning becomes very dance-like as the participants move in and away from each other. In Nia, Aikido gives us the grounded, balanced and graceful connection to the circle and turn across the floor. The knees are bent and we step in wide stances shifting weight seamlessly as we travel. Dodging toddlers, pets and misplaced household items becomes a lot easier with a grasp of the movements of Aikido!

I am looking forward to dancing in Black Belt School’s dojo and absorbing the direct, powerful energy of the martial arts practiced there. For me, the martial arts in Nia give a steady and reliable weight to her; she isn’t a fluffy, bouncy noodle (all the time!). She is strong. Has direction. Won’t be pushed around, and is willing to fight what she believes in… as am I.Image

Next week we are offering 2 free classes of Nia at the dojo. Pick a time and date that fits with your schedule and join us! Classes will be starting in the Fall, so we’d love to see your support!

Let us know when you are coming by contacting me or the dojo.

Thursday, July 25th, 8pm
Saturday, July 27th, 2pm

Black Belt Schools
1555 Bishop St. East
Cambridge, Ontario,

N1R 7J4

519-621-2364

For map, click HERE

Dance Nia in Maui!

In Nia, spirit, Uncategorized on January 15, 2013 at 9:48 am

207797_4775807805654_577743267_nIt’s been a long time since I wrote for my OWN blog! I have been busy you see. I have been doing lots of online writing for other places, and now I thought it was time for me to return to my base with The Conscious Movement. I am stepping in with the intention of attracting some people to sign up for the delicious trip I have planned for dancing Nia (twice a day) in Maui, this March. I have had help with a couple of dear Nia sisters with this project, and we are SUPER excited about it.

Please click over to my other website, dedicated to all things related to this trip! I would also REALLY appreciate your help in promoting this to anyone you know who would love a get-a-way like this. Get away from the grind, and get into YOURSELF!

www.dancealohamaui.com

Talk to you soon! I have so much to catch up on with you!

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