Spiders have long fascinated me.
Given their reputation, that may seem like a strange thing to say. These tiny beings inspire their own phobia, and even those of us who aren’t afraid of them wouldn’t necessarily keep them as pets. But they’re an unavoidable aspect of Autumn.
You may be wondering what spiders have to do with Nia, and there are many ways to answer that.
When Nia practitioners refer to the concept of “Life as Art” – part of Dancing Through Life – what this means is finding inspiration in the world around us in order to enrich our own experience.
There's also the metaphor of a spider’s very existence: it represents both natural time…and for many of us, fear.
I was moved to write about spiders the morning after enduring the dispiriting chaos of the first presidential debate. I woke up thinking about the terms that have dominated our lives lately: Unprecedented. Uncertain. Frightening. Dark. Looking out of my window, I saw morning sunlight dyed deep orange from California wildfire smoke once again hovering in the higher atmospheric layers above Seattle.
What else could I do but pour myself a cup of coffee and walk – no, let’s be real here, trudge – out to my garden to center myself? So it was. I surveyed the dahlias, the scarlet leaves on my dogwood tree, opened my ears to the chirps of morning birds.
Then I saw her, a spider weaving her web. She was so methodical, her delicate limbs collecting each tendril of silk as she produced it and connecting each spoke of her wheel to another, gracefully dancing from one to the next in a seamless spiral. She was minding her own business, not worried about her observer or the red sun or human anger.
Autumn is when most varieties of spiders, the vast majority of which aren't poisonous, seek mates before finding a safe space to lay their eggs and, inevitably, die. Children receive this lesson and many others about spiders when they read E.B. White’s “Charlotte’s Web,” an influential work that taught me to see the worthiness and loveliness in every creature, even vermin and pests.
White was insistent that any illustrations of Charlotte in his books refrain from glamourizing her face, preferring that any representations draw attention to her “eight wonderfully articulated legs (arms) which offer a great chance for ballet treatment," as writer Abby Walthausen explains in an essay about literature's most lovable spider.
White’s story empowered me to fall under the spell of a spider's movements, not the fear surrounding them. I've marveled at their artistic expression in all the years since I first read "Charlotte's Web," and this morning I was gratified to meditate on one spider's dance.
To watch a creature move so unhurriedly, so certain in her pattern-making even as the world around her falls further into uncertainty, is utterly soothing. If her work happens to be destroyed, she simply starts over. She does this every day.
Nature, when allowed, endures. I breathe this in.
I tell myself, this web is within my sphere of influence and care and will endure.
I breathe this in.
In return its creator helps me to endure by inviting me to pause, be seduced and for a few moments, to meditate on her work.
“The most fundamental benefit of seeing Life as Art is that it can make ordinary life as inspiring as viewing a great painting,” writes Nia Technique co-creators Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas in their foundational book on the practice. “This inspiration is not just figurative. It is literal. When we are inspired by art and beauty, we inhale the ethereal energy, or chi, that surrounds all great art and all physical beauty.”
Return, then, to the spider’s web, those intricate doilies draping across our gardens, weaving between doorposts and eaves and anywhere their sticky silk can take hold. Most of us don’t appreciate the telltale tickle on our skin of having barreled through one as we go about our business, myself included.
But those webs are architectural wonders and, when the morning dew catches each strand, a delight to the eye.
“When you learn how to perceive the whole world as art, you will feel inspiration from this art flow into you,” Debbie and Carlos wrote. “You’ll feel it as a physical sensation. You will actually inhale the beauty, with its chi, that is all around you. The world becomes your masterpiece.”
Its much easier to appreciate the web than its builder – the art rather than the artist – which is why I suggest reconsidering that notion. In this stressful season a spider’s autumnal weavings offer the gift of pausing, breathing and experiencing Life as Art.
So if given the opportunity, watch one as she weaves. They are much-needed reminders of all the goodness of which we can avail ourselves if we breathe, pause and refuse to be danced by fear.
“You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that.”
― E. B. White, Charlotte's Web
"Consciously recognize through body sensation the self-healing and fitness benefits you have received. Step out and into your next life experience with renewed health." - From The Nia Technique Book
When I share Cycle 7 of the Nia class experience and invite my students to Step Out, I always extend the invitation to take something from their practice with them. It could be the Focus, the Intent, or something that they discovered about their body and life during the class. For me, when I Step Out, I am often stepping into the next thing, carrying with me something from the practice I just completed.
So it is that I'm Stepping Out of teaching Nia at Move2Center for now.
I will be teaching my last Saturday class this week, August 1st, and will teach my last Monday evening class on August 10th.
Going forward, Melanie will be returning to her Center for Movement & Healing schedule and will be teaching both the Monday and Wednesday evening classes. The Saturday morning class will continue, with Ann and Melanie sharing that pleasure.
My husband and I are selling our West Seattle home and moving to the Poulsbo area. This has been in the works for a while, and now it is really happening! We are excited and ready to step in to the next chapter of our life together.
I need to take a break from teaching Nia during this time of transition, and of moving from one place to the next. That does not mean that I am leaving the Move2Center community. This extended break is meant to be a sabbatical with the prospect of returning with a clear mind and spirit, ready to share what I discovered during my time away.
(Also, Poulsbo is not that far away. AND this amazing invention called the Internet will let me pop in to classes as a student any time I want!)
As I Step Out, I take the love, compassion, and treasured friendship of Alyssa Aimette, Melanie McFarland, and Ann Nicolaysen with me on my next adventure.
As I Step Out, I take with me all the lessons I learned while dancing with all of you.
And now, I take the love, acceptance, and encouragement that you all have given me as I Step Out of teaching at Move2Center, and Step In to what’s to come.
With a Loving Heart and a Dancing Spirit,
Our ongoing pause at home presents a unique opportunity to more deeply embody our wellness practices. This is why Ananta Yoga Studio is offering a unique opportunity in collaboration with Move2Center:
Everyday Yoga! with Susan Westlund
Everyday Yoga is a six-week course dedicated to helping you to craft a practice suited specifically for you. Each of our bodies is different and requires focuses specific to our needs. As such, Susan is presenting a package of private lessons along with group lessons with other participants, allowing you to co-design soothing, energizing, and awakening techniques that serve as invaluable tools for your well-being.
Everyday Yoga uses an eclectic approach that draws from several schools of yoga to find practices designed specifically for you, and is suitable for Beginners and Experienced yogis alike.
What you can expect:
•Three 60-minute private lessons (individually scheduled) to take place between May 25 and June 26, 2020
•Three 60-minute group lessons with those in your cohort, scheduled for Tuesdays: June 2, 16 and June 30
•Blog entries directed at the Course
•Brief small group Q&A sessions
Tuition: $180 (tax included)*
*For an idea of cost comparison, we Googled the local cost for private yoga sessions alone...
they can can range up to $90 per hour...
so this is a steal!
So—you say you can’t do yoga? You think your hamstrings are too tight, belly too round, your birthdays have marked too many decades--and now you can’t get out of the house? Bendy or not, men, women, children, elders, healthy and sick, short, tall, heavy, thin, procrastinators and all shelter-in-placers can do yoga.
Yoga is for Everybody.
Still have doubts? Google these guys:
· Michael Sanford, paraplegic yoga teacher from Minnesota
· Tao Porchon-Lynch, at age 101, she taught a weekly yoga class in NYC and led programs across the globe. ·Keith Mitchell, Former Texans linebacker turned yoga teacher
· Allan Nett, “Yoga with your boots on”, “Toolbelt yoga for construction workers
· Shruti Pandey, who started teaching yoga to adults at age six.
Yoga adapts well to the individual which explains the many and varied styles of yoga. We have slower, quieter forms in Yin, Gentle and Restorative practices and more vigorous, active forms in Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Power yoga. We build relationships with our community and draw energy from our peers in group classes. We deepen our relationships with ourselves and integrate our practice into our lives in one-on-one lessons and personal practice.
Everyday Yoga helps each of us find the practice that suits us just as we are, now. Join our inaugural cohort.
Special thanks to Nia Teacher Jennifer Hicks for sharing this document with us!
Improving Your Experience of Using Zoom For Nia Classes
In general, being part of a Zoom class is using a lot of your internet connection’s “bandwidth”. In other words, your internet “capacity” is being taxed.
Because of this, sometimes the audio or video in Zoom becomes choppy or distorted.
But there are things you can do to enhance your experience and to help your internet to work optimally, and help us to deliver the best class to you that we can.
Here’s what you can do to get the most out of your online Nia class experience.
1. Use the best Internet connection you can.
• Wired connections are better than wireless (WiFi or cellular) connections.
• WiFi connections are better than cellular (3G/4G/LTE) connections.
2. Plan ahead for Zoom classes. For Move2Center's classes, you can pre-register online as far ahead as you'd like for your Zoom classes. Your registration link is tied to a particular day's class, so using a link from a previous class may not allow you to enter a Zoom class in progress. And as often as possible, join Zoom classes from a location where you can use a fast, reliable, wired Internet connection.
3. Mute your microphone. Our instructors will do our best to mute everyone before class starts, but we also want to make sure we get some time to socialize before class begins. It's important to mute because when your microphone is on, Zoom will devote part of your Internet connection to an audio stream for you, even if you are not speaking.
4. Stop your webcam video once class begins. We love enjoying your smiling faces and creative movement, so it's great to see you. That said, be aware that when your video is on, Zoom will devote part of your Internet connection to a video stream for you and this may add to distortions.
So please feel free to start your video at the beginning/end of class – to say “hello” and check in. When we start class, I will remind you of the option to stop your video.
5. Disable HD webcam video.
Sending high definition (HD) webcam video requires more bandwidth than sending non-HD. Disabling HD video will free up more of your Internet connection for other parts of your Zoom meeting.
Even if you will only be sharing your video at the beginning and end of class (if you choose to do so), disabling your HD video will still help improve your internet connection.
How do I disable HD video in the Zoom Client?
From within the Zoom Client:
1. Click the "Home" tab.
2. Click " Settings".
3. In the Settings window that opens:
On a Mac, you can access these settings when signed into Zoom from the top right-hand corner of your screen.
Click on the icon that looks like a camera (the first symbol on the left), and you will find the “Video settings” which you can change.
For some reason you cannot change these settings from your browser or from your mobile device, only by clicking on this icon.
6. Close other, unneeded applications on your computer. Zoom meetings can demand significant memory and processing power from your computer. Closing other applications, ones you do not need during the session,
will help Zoom run better.
7. Avoid other activities that will steal bandwidth. Don't start other bandwidth-intensive activities just before, or during, a Zoom meeting. On your Zoom device—and as much as possible, on other computers
and devices that share your Internet connection—avoid:
• large downloads
• large uploads
• streaming video (e.g. Netflix, Hulu, YouTube)
• cloud backups (e.g. Carbonite, CrashPlan)
• cloud file synchronizations (e.g. OneDrive, Dropbox)
• other high-bandwidth activities
• If you are joining on a mobile device (iPhone, iPad, android) make sure that your “Do not disturb” feature is enabled to prevent other apps from derailing your Zoom experience.
If all else fails, sign out of the meeting then join back in again!
The information for this document was found here:
Created by Stephen Gadsby, last modified on Mar 16, 2020
Since the day we opened, cleanliness has been a practice that we take very seriously at Move2Center. We consider our studio to be a place of healing, health and sanctuary, and we want our students to trust our dedication to that philosophy.
This understanding is particularly important as new developments about the cold and flu season and the novel coronavirus COVID-19 continue to emerge. Since several students have asked about what precautions we've taken and continue to take, here's a list of our studio's cleaning protocols. (Please note: We are updating this list as new information emerges.)
What You Can Do
According to the CDC the best measures for preventing the spread of germs that cause respiratory illness are easily adopted by each of us.
Lots of people talk these days about self-care and self-love as necessary tools to maintain our well-being. But what is self-care and self-love, anyway? The answers vary for each of us. However, the truths we can always return to are sensation and feeling.
The body is the ultimate truth-teller. And the body is very honest with its feelings. Foremost it loves the feeling of being loved, whether by way of giving love or receiving love.
We don't have to depend on anyone else to give us that feeling. We can give it to ourselves anytime we want, thanks to the body's four favorite love potions: endorphins, oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine.
Each time that you do anything that you love, you're mixing yourself a cocktail of these feel-good natural chemicals. Nia classes grant us the ultimate mix of the four. Guess what? Sciences backs us on this.
Oxytocin is produced when we bond with loved ones. But it's also produced when we sense trust and belonging. Part of the reason participating in a Nia class feels different than doing it in your living room -- which is great, by the way! -- is the Joy of community.
Nia is intentionally non-competitive and supportive for this reason. When we're dancing with others, we exchange energy, giving joy and receiving it.
You can also boost your oxytocin right now: Grab some of your favorite moisturizer, and focus on touch as you massage it into your hands. Notice how that soothing sensation manifests in your whole body, even if only for a moment. That's self-care!
Endorphins are the body's natural pain reliever. But they're also amplified by laughter, crying and yes, dancing -- all of which we do! Need a hit right now? Give yourself a dance break. And this is key, according to the British magazine Psychologies:
"Feeling uncoordinated is the point – ‘new’ movement is how you get the endorphin rush. Make it fun, so that you laugh at the same time."
Dopamine is the reward chemical, that uplift you get when you feel a sense of victory. When your Nia teacher invites you to say "Yes!" it's really an invitation to access that burst of natural reward.
What about right now: Make a list of tasks and, as you complete each task, cross it off. If the act of crossing something off that list feels good, that's a tiny dopamine Valentine hitting your body's inbox.
Serotonin is what's behind feelings of safety and respect, and it can be triggered by exercise and positive thoughts. It's also one of the reasons that a daily gratitude practice is one of the most effective tools a person can have in their wellness toolbox.
Take time today to full embrace a moment in your life.
And remember, in the words of Leslie Knope...
"You are the most beautiful, glowing, sun-goddess [or god] ever."
We hope that you have a restful, lovely Thanksgiving holiday.
Please be aware of our special Thanksgiving week schedule, listed below.
Our regular class schedule runs Sunday, November 24 and Monday, November 25.
Business as usual resumes on Saturday, November 30 with our 9am Nia class.
I nearly stumbled into Move2Center a year ago. I had seen the studio’s posters. I’d driven past the corner sandwich board. I had even looked up the website, so I knew it was a Nia studio, but it wasn’t until I was walking by and noticed the sign on the door, that I decided to take a moment to check it out. I took a chance, turned and reached for the door. Finding it open, I walked my curiosity down the steps to the warmth and beating heart of Move2Center.
Some sweet scent was in the air. There were flowers. There was music. But mostly, there were warm smiles and welcoming eyes waiting for me. There was an intimacy present that was born of authenticity. I wanted to teach yoga here. The Move2Center community did what it does best for newcomers: it opened a space for me.
Each Friday from 5:45 to 7:00 pm our circle of Happy Hour yogis unwind—together. No matter how our week has been, how stiff our backs are, or how tight our shoulders, we sit, stretch, twist, flow and hold gently and with ease.
We breathe together, gathering strength from within ourselves and from those circled around us, and we radiate that same strength back to the group. We move slowly, consciously, allowing our bodies and hearts to open with ease and safety and to connect to ourselves and each other—all in the welcoming arms of Move2Center Studio.
Take a moment. Take a chance. Join us for Happy Hour Yoga.
We're pleased to welcome Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner Betsy Snyder to Move2Center Studio for a new series, Awareness Through Movement!
Move2Center is presenting Betsy's classes in response to multiple community requests for a Feldenkrais class, and we so happy that she's available to share her skill and talent with us. With its focus on presence and self awareness, the Feldenkrais Method is one of the disciplines that comprise the Nia Technique.
An Awareness Through Movement lesson is an opportunity to observe yourself and how you move through life, and to offer the possibility of more kindness, gentleness, power and efficiency to your dance.
Classes are held at 9am on Tuesdays beginning January 14, 2020.
Included with all 5 Class Passes and Unlimited Memberships.
This class will not involve a cardio workout the way the a Nia class does, so you can wear comfortable everyday clothing that’s OK for getting up and down off the floor. ATM lessons involve several periods of rest, which is required for the brain to assimilate new information. Many students find ATM classes informative and relaxing, and continue to ‘digest’ what they’ve learned as they move back into their everyday activities. All walks of life and all fitness levels welcome.
What to expect in an "Awareness Through Movement" class
In this class series, we will begin on the floor exploring some developmental movements to clarify our relationship to the ground.
We will explore our relationship to gravity, the way we breathe, how we think and talk internally to ourselves, and how the quality of our movement is affected by all these factors.
More about "Awareness Through Movement" as a practice
This is gentle yet challenging practice developed by Moshe Feldenkrais, a scholar, athlete, martial artist, and author who taught his method to thousands of students until his passing in 1984.
In a typical Awareness Through Movement lesson (or ATM for short), we begin with simple, gentle movements that stay within the range of ease and comfort. Instead of ‘stretching’ like we do in yoga or some other practices, we explore what muscular or mental holding we can let go of, to widen and expand our range of ease.
The ‘workout’ that happens in an ATM is primarily in the brain, since we’re using intentional movement to clarify our brain's image of the body, often referred to as the self image. The clearer our self image, the more we can move and live in alignment with our intentions, and the more we can do as we want to do.
By Juliann Taube
I dance because I have to. I am a dancer. I was born a dancer. I filter my experience through that lens, and I express myself though movement.
My family are all different from each other. But each one of them has something. They ARE something. And they filter their experience through that lens. They express themselves differently because of what they are and what their “thing” is.
But we are still family. We have a shared existence and a shared experience, with different filters, and different outcomes. Each one of us has something that we do because we have to.
I dance. I am happy and I dance. I am angry and I dance. I am grieving and I dance.
I am alive and I dance.
I had a very difficult phone conversation with my Dad, the result of which has altered our family’s dynamic in such a way that the future of our family as a unit is uncertain. I hung up the phone. I cried. And then I danced Dragon. In my living room. Crying. Living. Sensing. Dancing my life, my experience, my tears. I filtered my emotions through dance. I danced my life with Dragon and it all came to the surface. My legacy, my family, my experience blended with Britta’s life and her experience that lead to her body of work, Dragon. The result was perfect and transcendent and something new altogether.
What do you filter your life through? What makes sense to you when other things don’t? What have you discovered and what have you made when you came from your truth, your dance, your very own “thing?”
Where our instructors share information and observations about what's going on at Move2Center Studio!