kirstie

Posts Tagged ‘dance’

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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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!

“No!” 3 Reasons Why We Don’t Say No

In Uncategorized on August 31, 2012 at 2:56 am

There are many reasons for us to not answer someone in the negative, and these reasons are complex, deep and have roots that twist and tangle back into the depths of our hearts and minds such that we often lose touch with the real reasons for complying more than denying requests. Right now I will lay down 3 reasons that are quite common and explain why it may be healthier to allow ourselves the opportunity to use this powerful, self-affirming little word.

1. We want people to like us and accept us: If I don’t go bowling with everyone they might not accept me, and probably won’t ask me to hang out again in the future…  This one  is based in the fear of not being accepted, liked, and loved. The truth is, when you love yourself no matter what (see my blog Lover), other people will automatically sense your comfort and ease with yourself. This energy is highly magnetic and people won’t be able to stop loving you and being around you.

2. We don’t want to miss out: If I don’t go bowling I might miss out on a lot of fun… Despite not enjoying the activity of bowling, you think you might still have a good time because your friends are there. This idea of missing out is again fear-based and linked to self-worth. If I missed this event, even if it was fun, would my friends not think we were very close any more because we didn’t share this experience together? Would this lead to more drifting apart? And finally to a loss of friendship and someone to affirm my existence by accepting me into their circle of friends and family? Can you see how this can spin out of control. Reading it here, I hope, shows the meaninglessness of this cycle.

3. We put others’ needs above our ownEnter any mother, father or care-giver: I’ll just take care of my child’s running nose/stained shirt/messy floor/dirty dishes, before I eat my lunch.  With demands on us from other human beings who are dependent upon us for almost everything, it is easy and sometimes expected that we eschew our own needs until the needs of others are met. In its proper and timely place, I agree with this. But, it seems this is an epidemic that consumes the need for so many mothers who are running on fumes and suffering from the early onset of degenerative diseases, heightened cortisol levels that don’t allow for deep and restful sleeps to restore the body and mind, for employees overstressed in precious jobs doing their utmost to out-perform their peers and even themselves week to week, in order to avoid being laid off, to place another’s health before our own… Again, this leads back to fear; a fear that if we don’t do this thing for someone else first, then they won’t like me, they will fire me, they’ll think I am a bad mother.

In the end, SAYING no is as much self-preservation as NOT saying no might feel! In Nia, when we dance with the martial arts using forceful kicks, punches and blocks, we shout words such as “No!” I am often startled at my own force and volume when I really let the air in my lungs shoot out with my fists. I think I respect my own inner wishes and say no when I mean it, but the release of shouting it loudly along with an empowering and strengthening movement makes me feel all the pent up moments that I wish I could say no, being released. Instances of work-related duties and such, is an example where we may have to accept some task or request we would otherwise decline. Nevertheless! Those ‘nos’ need to be released and my favourite way to do that is in a Nia class. Regular Nia practice (3 times a week or more) not only provides excellent physical fitness training and muscle conditioning, but also mental and emotional house-cleaning. I get to shake out the sheets of my thoughts and high-kick the carpets of my heart until all the dust is dislodged and the beautiful patterns and designs re-emerge clear and brilliant once more.

Allow yourself more opportunities to practice saying no. Even if you have the intention to comply, just say no, see how it feels, and then say yes if it’s truly something that you cannot ignore. The fun bit is seeing how the no sits in your body immediately after saying it.

Share your comments below about your experiences, and share this blog with others to keep the conversation going.

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