Friday, December 1, 2006

December 2006

Moving From Center

Twice in the past two weeks during class, in the space between one song ending and the next song beginning, one of my students has asked, "Julie, what do you mean when you say, 'Move from center?'" Both times, I have attempted a quick body-centered and visual explanation, covering my solar plexus and hara with my hands, dropping my center of gravity, martial arts-like, and answering, "Your power comes from your center-- grounded, balanced, rooted into Mother Earth... I'll explain more later." Later is now, and I realize her question is my question... and maybe your question.

What does, "Moving from center," mean?

Before we move from center, I think we must first breathe into center, deepening our breath from the shallow, chest-centered adult breath into a fuller, belly-extending, baby breath. I just read recently that when we deepen (and therefore elongate) our breaths to 12 per minute,
physiologically, we cannot be stressed. Believe me... I have been practicing that 5-second breath!

Breathing into center slows us down, connects us to our self and our surroundings, brings us into the present moment: "be here now." In this moment, I look out the picture window onto clouds floating above a snow-dusted hilltop, Colorado-blue-sky backdrop. My visual sense is
heightened, and I appreciate the beauty around me.

In Nia, when we are moving our bodies through space, and belly-breathing into center, we begin to find authentic movement-- movement that is intimately and uniquely ours-- movement, truth, power that comes from the inside out. We come into a place of being self-directed, and from that place, truth-- our truth-- is revealed, and we can choose to become self-reflective, to witness the messages of the body.

In Nia, as in life. Moving from center on the dance floor, we find out what is real for us, and when we sense in the body what is real, we can begin to live from that place of truth, growing into our unique power, being as big as we are.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

November 2006

to inspire your day:

"dancing is not something we do, it is what we are. dancing through life [as a principle of nia] is movement as pleasure. it is nia's prescription for enjoying life in a human body. it actively integrates healthy movement into every aspect of living, from the mundane activities to the sublime."
-- debbie rosas & carlos rosas, co-creators of the nia technique

i look forward to mundanely moving with you sublimely soon,

Monday, September 4, 2006

September 2006

music movement magic

Much of the theory of Nia is explained in triangles, using three "pearls", such as the ones you see above, to describe the power inherent in Nia. As I walked by the river this morning, I shared with a friend what "music movement magic" means to me.

First, always, we begin with "music." We hear the music with our ears, drink it in to our skin through our pores. Our hearts and souls connect to the sounds, rhythms, melody, words, vibrations, tones and harmony and we begin the opening process of letting our bodies, minds, spirits and emotions be affected by something outside of us, something that has the power to change us, to transform us.

Enter the second piece of the triangle: movement. Connected to the music, we begin to interpret it through our movement. We give form, through the temple of our bodies, to sound. At first, we are simply copying our teacher's movements, but as we get more comfortable with the movements, we make them our own. We feel what feels good in our bodies and we do it, over and over.

And that is where the magic comes in. Allowing ourselves to be moved by the music, we are transported to a place of transformation, a place where thinking, ego mind is overriden. Fully in our bodies, with only the music as dance partner, we become intimate with that most deep place of ourselves, a place where we are open to memories of rain; to body rememberings of being five years old, swathed in a red cape; to hopes for our future that only we can envision.

In Nia, through the music, through our movement, and through the magic that is the nexus of the two, we move into conscious awareness. In conscious awareness, we are most alive, dancing closest to our core, expressing our truth. When we take this conscious awareness with us off the dance floor and into our lives, in Nia we say we are "dancing through life."

For September, I wish for all of us, "mmm...": music movement magic... dancing through life with Mother Nature as she paints the hills in their burnished gold autumn cloaks.