Friday, November 7, 2014
Saturday, September 17, 2011
At the beginning of September 2011, Nia Black Belt and NGT Sophie Marsh hosted a week-long Nia retreat at the Daku Resort in Savusavu, Vanua Levu (Fiji Islands) – a beautiful location made all the more magical by our daily Nia practice. We basked in the beauty of the space where we danced each day, nestled into the side of a hill, surrounded by lush vegetation and overlooking a picturesque bay whose view subtly changed with the weather. One of the highlights of our retreat was a visit to the remote village of Wailevu, thanks to the collaboration between Daku’s owners and two American Peace Corps volunteers. What an experience!
On arrival the women of the village greeted us with a kiss on the cheek and the gift of beautiful flowers and greenery arrangements placed around our necks. We were then officially welcomed with a formal yaqona (kava) ceremony where we shared the kava drink, followed by a refreshing drink of green coconut juice drunk straight from the coconuts that had been picked that morning. The villagers had lovingly prepared the most fabulous lunch buffet made from ingredients grown right there. The food was absolutely spectacular. Then after lunch the Medicine Woman/Naturopath of the village took us on a tour to show us the many plants she uses in her treatments. We ended up by the ocean taking in the view and chatting and laughing with our new friends. Later we were shown how the ladies of the village have launched a cottage industry (with the help of the Peace Corps) preparing beautiful virgin coconut oil. As we sat with these warm-hearted women they wove baskets, fans and children’s toys from coconut palms and pandanus, often breaking into spontaneous laughter and song.
Sophie can’t resist a good tune and sensing the energy of these beautiful people, she gathered our group of “Dancing Ladies” (as we were lovingly referred to by the locals) to dance Nia while the women sang. When we performed outward blocks with an accompanying ‘ha’ from the hara, the delighted Fijians upped the volume and clapped even harder, which drew the attention of the men of the village who applauded that move!!!
After they finished their song, they immediately broke into a new one “I wanna Taki Taki” (which means I want to Dance Dance). One of the ladies stood up and starting swinging her hips to the singing and then spun around until the singing stopped at which point she picked the next person. It was no surprise that she pointed to someone from our group: Me!! I then start swinging my hips and spinning until the music stopped. Everyone erupted into laughter, smiles and claps.
The day ended with both the men and women of the village singing the ‘Isa Lei’ – Fiji’s farewell song - in the most exquisite harmony and then a thank you speech delivered beautifully by Sophie.
There were so many touching moments throughout the day and so many takeaways and memories. At the forefront what this day showed was that music and dance have no language, skin color, ethnic, nationality or gender boundaries. We were able to communicate with our hearts, bodies, souls and spirits through music and dance. When Sophie led us through one of our last Nia classes together - “R1” - it had new meaning. We are all indeed connected!!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Change: It can bring both excitement and anxiety. In Nia, we welcome and embrace change through White Belt Principle #4-Free Dance and changing a move every 2 bars. By changing every two bars, old patterns are broken and new moves are created. My body discovers new sensations and becomes aware of new messages of pain and pleasure.
For me, Fall is always a reminder the change is in the air. The change in the colors of the leaves. Plants begin to go dormant. The squirrels in the yard seem to be playing less and working more. Much less chirping to be heard and the sun feels a little different on the skin. I use to view Fall in the negative-as the beginning of a Michigan Winter to come. The only good thing about Fall-Football. I’ve taken the time this year to really enjoy Fall. To really take time to enjoy the crisp air, the beautiful colors, the farmers markets, the crackling of leaves underneath my feet as I walk. What a beautiful time Fall is. I learned this simply by allowing myself to change my perspective. Life has its bars. I wonder where my life will take me if I’m willing to make a change at every two bars of life.
A new wonderful change for me: I will begin teaching classes on Saturdays at Every Body Happy Yoga & Healing Center starting November 6, 2010 from 11:00a.m. to 12:30p.m. For further information visit my website at www.soulfulmovement.com
Enjoy a few of the Fall photos my husband took while we were at Crystal Mountain this past weekend. http://tamyers.smugmug.com/Landscapes/Crystal-Mountain-Resort/14227472_FNvrR#1051233765_N3T7Y
Monday, September 20, 2010
As I reflect on this summer, I have to admit how truly blessed I have been at the opportunities I had to experience Nia literally all over the world. I had the chance to go to Canada twice. Once for Nia Palooza and the other to audit a few of the white belt principles. I also had the chance to go to Australia and witness my mentor, Winalee Zeeb, for a whole week as she lead several amazing men and women (photo) through the White Belt Training. Each experience filled my mind, body, soul and spirit and renewed my resolve that without Nia I would be a puddle of nothing but mess!!! As both my personal and professional life continue to experience fast pace change, I am able to hold on and embrace all changes. It doesn't mean that at times, I'm not scared or frustrated or angry but Nia has taught me how to dance through these times. By seeing life as Art, by dancing through life, by creating space and by relying on RAW, I am able to trust fully in the perfection of what is. I hear myself saying out loud: BRING IT ON-NEXT!!
Saturday, March 20, 2010
I'm on my way to Lansing to play with the new Nia routine, Butterfly. I've always had a fondness/connection to butterflies. When I was around 4 or 5 I wondered away from the house, crossed a busy street and my Dad found me playing in a field. According to him he started yelling at me for leaving the yard and I innocently looked at him and said "Daddy I was just following the butterfly" He said at the look on my face made it difficult for him to continue yelling and he just grabbed me and hugged me. My favorite exhibit at the Detroit Zoo is the Butterfly House. When my kids were young, my favorite book to read to them was the "Hungry Caterpillar". I read it so many times to my daughter that she had it memorized to the point that people thought she was reading early. I have been going through a transformation myself lately. I've shed my cocoon and over the last year have lost 85 pounds. I'm slowly learning to live in the moment and am shifting from "charging through life" to "joying through life" Ahhhhhh!! The joy of change and transformation.
....And pop, out came a beautiful butterfly.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
I continue to love the Joy of Movement that Nia brings to by body whether as a teacher or student. That relationship that I am building with the Joy of Movement sustains me in every walk of my life. I am able to handle stress much better. I'm able to face problems with much more clarity. Life doesn't seem as tough when I stay connected to the Joy.
Join me next Sunday, January 24 for a free Nia Class and Trunk Show highlighting a new Nia Line of Clothing by Autumn Teneyl out of Colorado. Preview the clothes starting at 3:30p.m. We'll dance from 4-5p.m. and then shopping and light refreshments from 5-6:30p.m. Festivities to be held at A2 Yoga, 2030 Commerce Road.
Come experience the Joy of Movement!!
Monday, August 31, 2009
I had the opportunity to attend additional Nia training this weekend in Lansing. The focus was on the body's ability to self-heal and realign by doing 5 movements. It was a powerful experience. I have already begun to feel the shifts in my body, mind, spirit and emotions and as I continue to learn this beautiful body of work, I will begin to offer it to the Ann Arbor Community. I will provide periodic updates on my journey with this work on the blog.
I continue to offer several classic Nia classes and hope that you will join me.