“True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life.” -- Aadil Palkhivala
Welcome to Yoga at its most welcoming and inviting!
Move2Center is offering a 7-week introductory hatha yoga series on Fridays at 5:45 p.m., starting Feb. 1, taught by Susan Westlund. The idea is to give new and returning yogis a chance to get a taste of the various forms yoga can take. Each week we’ll offer a different style of yoga, beginning with a gentle class where we will share an overview of class structure and the language used in most all yoga classes regardless of who teaches them or where they are offered.
Although we encourage you to join us for the entire series, it is not required. You may pick and choose those that most appeal to you or that fit into your schedule.
Before we get into that, just know this: You don’t have to be a pretzel to practice yoga! Yogis come in all shapes and sizes. More that 2,000 years old, yoga has guided all sorts of practitioners to greater health, clarity and joy through self-discovery. It is an inward practice that helps us learn to recognize and change our habits, to appreciate and enjoy our being. It is non-competitive and non-judgmental. We use our breath and body sense to guide us throughout our practice and become more skillful in our everyday lives.
The classes are listed below and are included in your Five Class Pass or Unlimited Membership. The usual drop in fee of $18 (plus tax) also applies.
Week One--Intro to Yoga: This gentle Hatha class will offer brief explanations of the benefits and origins of yoga, how it differs from other physical practices as well as what to expect in most any yoga class. Please bring your questions! The class is designed to help you to select and be ready for yoga classes anywhere. Requirements: Dress comfortably with an open heart and curiosity on your sleeve.
Week Two--Gentle Yoga: Takes a gentle approach to slow, centering stretches. Links the breath to slow, simple movements. Builds flexibility, increases range of motion and body awareness. Ideal for new and continuing students—anyone who wants to find calm and feel more ease in their body.
Week Three--Flow/Vinyasa Yoga: Moves with the breath in a dynamic flow of postures that build heat, stretch and strengthen the body. Pace is slow to moderate to allow for proper alignment and mindful transitions. Sun salutations, standing poses and balances central to the flow but seated and reclining postures also come into play before easing into restorative svasana. Step-by-step guidance includes variations that help you dial back more challenging postures deepen and extend them.
Week Four--Power Yoga: Strengthens and stabilizes through standing and weight-bearing poses for ALL LEVELS of yogis. Longer holds are used to build muscle and increase stamina, but a balanced practice that includes movement, flexibility, and breath-oriented mindfulness remains the hallmark of this and all yoga classes. Variations on the poses make this a super-accessible class!
Week Five--Yin Yoga: Opens and stimulates the fascia and core connective tissue by holding moderate stretches for longer-than-usual times, sometimes for several minutes. Calms the mind and encourages a sense of well-being through mindful breathing. Complements sports’ activities, aerobic exercises and the more “yang” style dynamic yoga practices. Generally targets the connective tissues of the hips, pelvis, and lower spine. Suitable for beginners as well as experienced yogis.
Week Six--Restorative Yoga: Supports deep rest. Holds nurturing poses effortlessly for long periods, allowing the body and mind to let go and relax. Steady, deep breathing and slow, deliberate transitions maintain the calming, restorative effects of the “relaxation response.” Blocks, bolsters, and straps are often used as supports, allowing the body to remain in the postures without effort. This practice benefits all who can use a little relaxation.
Week Seven--Partner Yoga: Adds a playful twist to postures and flows. Levity and laughter accompany pairs trying to keep their rocky boat poses afloat or finding their roots in tottering tree poses. Forward bends and backbends deepen in the press and pull of a partner. Connections with the Self and Other are brought into focus with mirrored movement and breathing.
The general name for the physical practice is Hatha yoga, the umbrella under which the various styles of yoga exercise classes fall. That said, when a class is listed on a yoga schedule as Hatha, it will generally include elements of more specified styles and approaches. It will generally be slow to moderately paced and will have modifications for beginners through more experienced yogis.
Hatha yoga includes both yin and yang--or restorative and dynamic--aspects of the practice. Slow to moderately paced flows with modifications for beginners as well as more experienced yogis. Sun salutations and standing poses, seated and reclining postures, as well as a variety of twists, balances and inversions will be introduced.
Yoga exercise classes differ from other forms of exercise primarily by the intentional focus on the breath. A full class of any style will generally include forward bends, backbends, twists, inversions, balances, stretches and strength building poses even if they are done in subtle--or very gentle--forms.
Using breath as healing and centering device did not always come naturally to me. It took a long time, in fact, for me to weave mindful breathing throughout my practice -- not merely exhaling into kicks, blocks and punches, but finding the rhythm and flow throughout the dance arts as well.
Now I end every class with a bit of focused inhalation and exhalation to help coax myself and students more deeply into relaxation and FloorPlay and to return to center before stepping out. More than this, however, I'm a huge proponent of maintaining that practice throughout the day. It's one of the easiest means of remaining fully embodied in each moment, and bringing ease to each action.
And breath is central to mind-body wellness, playing a key role in centering our emotions and calming spirit. Yoga masters and martial artists have long touted the importance of mindful breathing. But as of 2018, thanks to researchers at Trinity College Dublin, we now have scientific data that explains the neurophysiological link between cognition and breath.
Every inhalation and exhalation directly affects the levels of noradrenaline, a natural chemical messenger in the brain released when we are challenged, curious, focused or emotionally aroused. It's brain food. So when we set our Focus and Intent at the start of each Nia class, that begins the process of teasing forth more of that lovely brain food. Once we step in, warm up and get moving, breath helps to keep producing that noradrenaline enabling the brain grow new connections.
So in the same way that exploring a routine through movement challenges our neural mapping, being mindful about the way we breathe through each moment and positively shift the chemistry of our brains. Breath increases one's ability to focus on sensation, augmenting positive emotions along the way in addition to decreasing emotional reactivity.
Another way of putting it is, if I feel energized and uplifted after class, that's not simply due the music, movement and magic. How I breathe plays a role in that sensation.
So through each class, when an instructor invites you to pay attention to a sensation -- to a body part, or a feeling -- start with your breath.
Even long after you've stepped out of class set a few minutes aside for yourself to breathe in, fully and deeply, and release.
If you want more, consider building a practice. Click here to read exercises created by Dr. Andrew Weil.
The brain and body will thank you for it!
By Emily Freebairn
Before Nia, dancing made me uncomfortable. I was awkward and vulnerable on the dance floor, and sure that no matter what I was doing it looked wrong somehow. There didn’t seem a point to purposely displaying myself for other people to make fun of.
Fortunately for me, that’s not what dancing is. And Nia taught me that.
The first time I went to a Nia class, I was bewildered. I didn’t know what the different moves were, and the language was funny and seemed too woo-woo. The floor was “ground”, and “earth”, and how on earth was I supposed to smell the moment? But even while my mind was picking holes and looking for reasons not to come back, my body was experiencing something new and treasured for the first time. I left that class feeling elated in a way I hadn’t in a long time - a buzz throughout my entire being that made me feel like I could do anything. I immediately knew I had to come back.
At the same time, I had no previous frame of reference for this wild joy that left me skipping out of class. I’d heard “endorphins make you happy”, but I’d exercised before and hated it. I’d danced before and at best I’d been relieved no one had outwardly laughed at me. How was Nia so different?
Before Nia, I thought of my body as a tool - something that did what I told it to do the same way every time. I didn’t listen to my body because exercising was painful. Nia’s concept of “Your Body’s Way” - the idea that my body was different from day to day - was a quiet revelation to me. It made me curious about my body. Instead of a tool, my body was fluid, changing moment to moment. A kick one day might feel fantastic; the next class my hip might be sore. Of course I needed to pay attention to my body - how else was I supposed to know what it could do?
In Nia, there’s a give and take. Every time the teacher says “sense your ____” is an opportunity to check in with my body and sense where it wants to move, what parts are stuck and need some extra love. I learn to get out of my head and trust that my body’s experiences are valid. No judgement, no stories about how I’m getting older, my desk job is finally getting to me. Just acceptance, and a growing awareness of my body’s sensations. My body has a voice, and I need to listen to know what is needed. Nia helps remind me I’m not a floating brain case - living is a full body experience.
During my White Belt, my trainer Jill Pagano called the body sacred, where sacred is defined as “being entirely devoted to something”.
My body is sacred, because it exists solely for me.
It is the filter through which I experience everything. My body knows things in a way my mind can’t articulate, and when I listen, and dance, I learn. Nia has helped me deepen my relationship with my body and broadened my experiences of body, emotion, and imagination. My body is an integral part of my life. I cherish the times I get to explore it and understand it more fully.
One of the stories I love to tell people when they ask about Nia is that when I took my first class, I couldn’t turn.
This surprised me. In Nia, we move through a turn based on the energy of Aikido, inviting in ease and stability in the base and coaxing forth mobility from the hip joints. If one is experiencing tightness through the hips - which can be common among people going through emotional difficulty - turning can be difficult. For me, in that introduction to Nia, it was impossible.
It’s one of the reasons that, after class, I went home and had a cathartic ugly cry in my shower.
It’s not the only reason, let’s be clear. My life at that time – this is a decade ago – might as well have been a broken glass bowl.
Here’s what I mean by that: Imagine you’ve created this perfect vessel. It is symmetrical, elegant, shiny. You display it proudly in your hands. Onlookers admire it.
And then a random event/object/elemental burst/whatever, you name it, hits you and knocks you off balance. The vessel you worked so very hard to create, to perfect, tumbles out of your hands and shatters at your feet. The sonic burst of its destruction rips the air with a high-pitched and cruelly clumsy “clang!” that may sing in your memory for months, for years.
What do you do? Do you sweep it up and start over, as much as the loss may break your heart?
I did not do that. Nope! I tried to piece my beautiful life back together just the way it was. I tried to reconstruct the impossibly devastated with inadequate tools, tried to remake the vessel out of its splinters with child-friendly paste and gum and fraying recycled thread.
To borrow a line from one of my favorite TV series, I tried to make burnt toast bread again.
That is a recipe for disappointment and frustration and depression. And, yes, anger.
What does this have to do with Nia? Simple – that class provided the first tool in what became a growing box of them. I decided I wanted to turn, because I used to be able to dance.
I saw other people turning. Why couldn't I? I signed up for more classes to find the answer which ultimately was, "Oh yeah - I can. I just needed to figure out how, again."
This leads me to another story I tell people who ask me about Nia, and specifically whether they can do it. “I’d love to dance, but I can’t, is that a problem?” That's a popular one. (And no, it's not a problem. Nia is, in fact, terrific for people who think they can't dance.)
Another is “I haven’t exercised in forever!” I understand. Neither had I, when I first came to the practice, when I couldn't turn. I was out of breath. I kept dancing. I felt better, stronger, more energetic. Positive, for once.
Then I decided to take the White Belt Training and, wow. That gave me a whole new set of tools.
I tell people, the fact that I teach Nia is evidence that anyone can do this.
Nia is a tool for discovering a new relationship with our bodies, and with wellness. Not only that, it provides lessons in living and communicating better and turning into the next step of newness, into more than what was.
I teach because I love sharing that joy and adventure, and I love being surprised and amazed and yes, at times befuddled and even frustrated, at the movement presented in new routines.
I teach Nia and take classes from other Nia teachers because it is a sustainable practice, one that I know I can and will play with and learn from for the rest of my life.
I can turn now. I love turning, which is one of the reasons I’m loving my return to the routine Birth this week. There’s a lot of turning in Birth, including turns in low plane that I couldn’t execute when I first taught it in a gym some years ago.
There are also strengthening opportunities in FloorPlay that I can enjoy now that I couldn’t do a few years ago – again, as a teacher. I lacked the strength and the coordination back then.
But I kept going. I persisted. Oh yes I did.
It brings me joy to say that I am physically stronger now thanks to the lessons within this practice. Even more joyfully, I can say that I now know building upon that sensation is always possible.
There is always opportunity to turn into more.
In the process of connecting more deeply with Nia, I’ve constructed a new vessel that is my life.
The vessel is not unbreakable; the impermanence of existence makes that impossible.
But it is malleable. It leaves room for change, a constant. It can take on different shapes. It has the capacity to grow larger, hold countless new ideas, to float through explorations of the realms of mind, body, emotion and spirit.
We can all turn, in our own way. We all have these tools in our hands.
What beautiful vessels will you create for yourself and your life? I can’t wait to see.
Want to know more about Nia? Join us for our Intro to Nia class on Friday, September 21 at 6 p.m.
Ready for a deeper dive into the practice? Sign up for a White Belt Intensive with trainer Britta Von Tagen.
By Christina Kemp
Some of us require gentler ways to keep moving while developing balance, strength and mobility. To serve this purpose, Nia Technique has developed a modality known as Moving to Heal. And this summer at Move2Center we're delighted to host a Moving to Heal series featuring certified Nia Naomi Scher!
When: Tuesdays at noon starting July 3 through August 28
What to expect: Enjoy music and easy-to-follow choreography in a supportive atmosphere of safety and trust. You will be invited to personalize movements to fit your body’s way, while focusing on pleasure, resulting in improved overall feelings of wellness, regardless of current physical/medical condition.
Classes are designed to meet the needs of those diagnosed with long-term or chronic illness, mobility limitations as well as individuals with short-term personal healing goals for body, mind and emotions.
Nia Moving to Heal can be done standing, sitting in a chair, or some combination of both. Beginners are welcome.
Fee: $18 drop-in. Also included with your 5-class pass and unlimited memberships.
Click here to reserve your spot in class!
"The complexity and subtlety of this inner world is vast, infinite and ultimately wordless." -- Vajra Ma
My first contact with the “Dance” was a talent show of sorts with a small gathering of friends in 2004.
I witnessed four women moving in a way I had never seen before. Evocative, rhythmic music filled the space... but they were not dancing to the music. Their movements were subterranean, extremely slow, serpentine and fluid. Delicately each woman, with sinuous spines and unique in her expression, explored the space with exquisite awareness. Then, in unison, they walked toward the audience in that very, very slow manner like four willows in the wind. The effect was visceral. My spine came alive and my heartbeat quickened. Energy moved up into my throat and tears spilled down my face as this wave of feminine grace and power wafted through me.
Though new to me, something ancient and familiar stirred. I was captured by Beauty. In that moment I knew in my body and soul that I was called to dive into this mysterious Dance.
I chose to call it the "Deep Feminine" because in my experience of the practice, that the well of wisdom and beauty that springs forth from within is bottomless.
If you are a Nia student or Nia teacher you may have heard me say that Nia and the Dance of the Deep Feminine go hand in glove. They are stand-alone movement modalities and they complement one another greatly. Here a few of the ways:
1) Nia and the Dance are both based on the pleasure principle. We learn through pleasure instead of pain and crisis, always tweaking to move towards what feels good in our body.
2) In Nia we talk about being Sensation Scientists where through giving our attention to sensation in the body we begin to develop body literacy. Sensation is the language of the Body. It is a continuous exploration and an awareness that develops with practice over time. This is also Principle #5 of the White Belt: Awareness.
3)The heart and soul of Nia is The Joy of Movement and this holds true for the Dance as well.
4) In the Dance you will recognize a couple of the principles from The Body's Way, namely #4: the body demands simultaneous mobility and stability. And #5: the body itself reveals the body's way.
5)Slowing down in order to move to heal.
6) Moving the core of the body: pelvis, chest and head with an emphasis on the spine and intrinsic movement.
7) Exploring the 3 M's: Music, Movement and Magic. And for the Dance I will add a fourth: Mystery!
How Ann Came to the Dance
My experience of witnessing the Dance as part of a performance is, I think, not typical. Generally one attends a workshop, class or private session with an experienced Tantric dance teacher. I began my journey of private sessions and classes with my teacher/mentor Karin Pedersen in Ashland, Oregon, and also occasional workshops with Vajra Ma in Grants Pass Oregon. There were a lot of road trips to southern Oregon in those early years of my study. After sponsoring Karin to come to Seattle several times for workshops on the Dance of the Deep Feminine it was time to start facilitating classes of my own.
So, what is this Dance? Originating in Tantric traditions, the Dance is a sensual moving meditation that taps into the womb-sourced portal to explore our deepest feminine essence.
In the words of Vajra Ma, "No dance experience is necessary. Every woman embodies this power and wisdom; she only needs to feel herself deeply enough."
As women, we hold a universal truth that cannot be understood through the mind. To embody your feminine wisdom it must be awakened through your womb as a second "brain". Tapping into the mysterious fluid rhythms of your unique feminine essence, this movement allows for an effortless flow of energy leaving one feeling more sensuous and alive. Pleasure is the portal.
In my years of studying and teaching the Dance the gifts have been many. It along with Nia has brought me home to my body, integrating inner beauty with outer beauty. There is the joy of knowing at a cellular level that beauty is not about shape. In witnessing, in myself and others, the healing that comes from slowing down.
Our nervous system requires this in order to heal from trauma. I have seen many women deepen their healing from physical and sexual abuse and the emotional injury that comes with that. It might be reclaiming the womb space after a hysterectomy or coming back into health after debilitating depression or chronic fatigue.
There is great healing and power that comes from women gathering together in a safe sanctuary, to give and receive positive messages, to witness and be witnessed in the Dance of the Deep Feminine.
Another gift has been experiencing the holding of opposites. From the beginning of my journey and exploration of the Dance I have experienced simultaneous familiarity and something unfamiliar and surprising. Sensation arising that is new and ancient. The tension between form and freedom. Simultaneous stability and mobility. Feeling vulnerable and powerful. It is not a matter of "either/ or." It is both.
There are more parallels and intersections of Nia and the Dance of the Deep Feminine but this gives you an idea as to how very compatible and complimentary they are to one another.
In describing what a Nia class is like we often say it's like attempting to describe the taste of dark chocolate, or trying to describe the color red. In other words, you really need to let your body have the experience. The same holds true for the Dance of the Deep Feminine.
My hope is that this will give a little form to the formless, a few words to help create a better sense of what you can expect if you decide to join me this coming Saturday, April 28th from 6:00 to 9:30 pm. Like Nia, the Dance of the Deep Feminine is for me a love based path.
Yes, the Dance is transformative and healing and let me assure you -- it is also full of sensuous delight, pleasure and empowerment!
Ann and I been exploring the routine Feeling over the past four or five weeks, a brilliant movement experience that focuses upon the Three Body Weights: the pelvis, the chest and the head. The student feedback we've gotten on Feeling has been wonderful, and I can sense that my body has been profoundly affected by its extraordinary chemistry.
Whenever a routine hits me like this, the curious researcher in me -- the Sensation Scientist -- yearns to to explore why that is. So I dove into studies about the mind-body-emotion-spirit connection as they pertain to these areas of the anatomy.
This, in turn, resulted in a Sunday Sacred Athlete class where we moved with the "spirit" energy of each body part: drawing upon the energies of the head (guidance, intuition, vision), the chest (the energy exchanger, the engine of the heart space) and most powerfully, the pelvis.
One of my favorite terms that I discovered in my research about the pelvis is that Taoists refer to it as the Cauldron of Desire. It is our body's refinery and generator of, and a central storage space for, creative energy. The importance of nurturing and tapping into this energy cannot be underestimated. And I only know a tiny amount about it.
Black Belt Nia instructor Susan Tate knows far more than I do. That's why we're so excited that she' s chosen Move2Center to host a four-hour mini-retreat on Sunday, May 20, that's all about the pelvis.
One might think of her workshop, Igniting the Power of the Pelvis and Maintaining the Flame, as an ownership manual for this all-important body part. But its value extends beyond that simple description.
In amplifying the power of the pelvis, she writes on her blog, we can make "choices to create a wildly healthy relationship with sex, money, and power is only one option of caring for your body, mind, spirit, & emotions. You are advised to listen to your intuition to see what other joyful activities can be added to your life."
Full disclosure: the workshop comes with side effects. Some she lists include "frequent bouts of choosing love over fear," "a refusal to engage in self-rejection or self-sabotaging behaviors," "un-bonding from past wounds" and "a release of anger, guilt, & fear." And those are just a few! Check out the full list by reading her wonderful blog post about the workshop. And by the way, if you've taken this workshop with Susan before, be aware that this is an expanded and upgraded experience with new information, including a full Nia class with choreography designed to seal the experience.
Igniting the Power of the Pelvis and Maintaining the Flame takes place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 20. Register before May 19 to save $10 off the $75 day-of fee by clicking here.
I am very lucky to spend most of my days barefoot. Most people aren't as fortunate. I know this from experience.
From the moment many people in Western cultures get up in the morning, we may slide into slippers, only to trade in our house soles for shoes that take us into the workday. Heels or flats, or maybe athletic casuals, shoes encase our feet all day, often until the moment we crawl into bed at night. And this includes specialized shoes for working out, cushioning our feet in foam, vinyl or leather.
As for me, I work from home, spending most of my day shoeless – hooray! When the weather is warm enough, I saunter around my house sock-free. This enables me to appreciate the smooth texture of the hardwoods in my kitchen or the nubby sensation of the (admittedly WAY too old) carpet in my office and bedrooms. My workdays are more comfortable than they were when I was trapped in shoes, and inside an office. I notice that I have more energy during the weeks I spent mostly in bare feet, especially in comparison to weeks I am obligated to spend on business trips, requiring me to wear shoes. Days spent without footwear have changed my definition of a “good” shoe, too.
When Nia was created 35 years ago, Debbie Rosas and Carlos AyaRosas recognized the healthy benefits of moving in bare feet. This discovery began with their study of the martial arts, but also is validated by our physiology.
“The foot, by design, is meant to spread,” explains Nia trainer Holly Natasi. “It is like a fan that opens with each step. It is sprung with a series of tough ligaments and tendons with can get rigid if not used regularly. You suffer loss of mobility in the ankles if your foot is not able to do its job. When the shoe offers all the support, the foot begins to atrophy.”
To wit: Each foot consists of 28 bones, 30 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. Together these anatomical features provide support for the entire body.
When we dance in bare feet, this improves our sense of balance and mobility, allows the feet strengthen and augments our sense of proprioception, defined as “the unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself.”
Heightened stimulus is another benefit of dancing barefoot. We have 7000 nerve endings in the soles of our feet. Wow, right? This explains why having a tiny pebble in one shoe can have a huge impact upon our entire nervous system, or why being trapped in uncomfortable shoes can affect a person’s whole sense of well-being while, say, wearing other items of uncomfortable clothing may merely amount to a bearable nuisance.
On the flipside, it also explains why walking on a lush field of soft grass, or a flawless beach, can feel like a mini-vacation. On a perfect day, such actions exhilarate the spirit and emotional realms as much as the physical.
Our feet deepen our connection to sensation, to feeling good, a key element of pleasure-based fitness.
So next time you join us at Move2Center – even if it’s for the first time – kick off your shoes and take a moment to sense the pleasure and relief that comes from freeing the feet. Even before we step in to the dance, that is where our connection to wellness begins. Revel in it.
“Girls do not dress for boys. They dress for themselves and, of course, each other.” -- Betsey Johnson
In one of my early Nia trainings, I recall the sight of a friend jangling a piece of jewelry she wore on her wrist. It made a faint bell-like sound as she moved, and clearly it gave her joy. Then, when she caught me observing her, she smiled brightly. “One of the reasons I love Nia,” she said, “is the sparkle.”
Few other fitness modalities encourage people to bring adornment into their practice. Sometimes this happens as an outgrowth of engaging with the music, the 52 moves and that special sensation created when they combine to create magic. In my case, I needed a little push.
When I first began practicing Nia, my teacher started one particular class by inviting us to consider what we were wearing as we stepped into that morning's practice. That day, like every other class before it, I had on my rattiest t-shirt and some old leggings. When I say rattiest, I mean that it had holes in it and was flecked with paint stains. It was a hot mess, and at the time I felt like one. We were going to get sweaty, so what was the point of putting on anything pretty?
Jill, my teacher, wore fabulous flare-cut workout bottoms, skirts and dresses, rings and earrings. Once she wore a tiara. And on that day, she invited those of us in attendance to give ourselves the gift of something to dance in that made us feel beautiful and energized. That amplified our sensation of joy. It didn’t have to be workout fashion – it could be anything that we made us feel good that we could move in. Nobody had ever suggested such a thing to me before. “Really?” I thought. “I can move and sweat and strengthen and play in…something nice?”
So I found a shirt that was ablaze with rhinestones, and wore that to the next class. She was right – seeing the flashes in the mirrors created a different sensation in my body. For the first time, in a long time, my outside reflected the way I felt inside.
This story captures the essence of the “Naughty and Nice” experience: When women feel good and sexy, why not show the world? Or if not the world -- not yet -- why not start with our community?
Nia is a pleasure based fitness practice. Sensation informs every movement, and by honoring our relationship with sensation, we find greater health and we cultivate a better relationship with our physical selves.
In spite of this, many people associate the words “sensation” and “sensual,” and “pleasure,” with privacy and secrecy, even embarrassment. Although we’re creating a controlled, women-only setting for “Naughty and Nice,” some folks are still hesitant about indulging in this experience. We get it! Maybe you’re thinking…
I'm not up to dancing around other people in my lingerie.
It’s a bold choice. But guess what? You don’t have to!
The invitation is to move in something that makes you feel sensual and wonderful. Maybe that’s a matched set of pajamas. Maybe it’s a little black dress. Maybe it’s a cotton shift that you put on in the heat of summer when you want to show off your fabulousness to the world.
Or…maybe it’s a bustier. Maybe it’s that sexy Halloween costume languishing in the back of your closet. Your favorite club outfit. Your prom dress. Heck, it could be a gorgeous kaftan that flows with every turn and shimmers with every shimmy.
If you can move in it, if it makes you feel fabulous -- and it's not a workout outfit -- then wear it! The only things we ask you to bare are your feet. (May we also suggest an outfit made of breathable fabric?)
Wear anything that gives you a new sensation while you move, that awakens a special spark in you when you put it on and look in the mirror, that makes you feel wonderful. Now imagine externalizing that spark, bringing it out to play with others, appreciating their sparkle as they appreciate yours.
Doesn’t that sound… sensational?
Why is it important to move in something other than our usual workout wear?
The answer varies according to the individual, but in my experience, my initial experiences of adding “sparkle” to my Nia experience stealthily built a spirit bridge within me. Little by little, I began cultivating that sensation in my life outside of my Nia classes.
I began to add a little shine to other parts of my life I’d been neglecting: my work wardrobe, my grocery shopping outfits, my skin, my hair, my relationships. I’d throw off sparkle as I walked down the street, both in the actual and metaphorical respects. This was the first step on my path becoming a Sensation Scientist...a journey I'm still on.
OK, but what if we already “sparkle” in our Nia classes? How is “Naughty and Nice” different?
It’s true, a lot of Nia practitioners show up in some slammin’ dance wear. You already look marvelous! In fact, during a typical week, I often look and feel my absolute best after I put on the bottoms and tops – and earrings, bracelets and beads -- that I wear to teach and take class.
But I also consciously pick those outfits for the compression of the fabric, moisture-wicking, etc. Those reasons don’t factor in when I dress up to seduce myself –- like, say, when I’m going to a dance club, or out to hear live music whether it’s created by a DJ, a rock band, or a symphony orchestra, or to a luxurious dinner.
That’s the difference with “Naughty or Nice”. The invitation is to move in the sensation of seducing yourself, in an outfit that reflects that inner seduction dance. Wear a sexy full coverage outfit…and wear a beautiful bra underneath instead of athletic support! Sense how freeing dancing in lace or satin feels on your skin, as opposed to fabric engineered to hold.
Play with your outer appearance to sense a new kind of freedom, inside and out!
Why did you suggest dancing in lingerie in the first place?
That’s how “Naughty and Nice” began. Here’s what Jill Pagano wrote about the first one in 2009:
“’Naughty and Nice Nia’ came from a profound experience. Practicing Nia in my home office, I got hot. So I took off my jeans and was left dancing in a camisole and underwear. Two things happened with different clothing on:
1) I felt different and thus danced differently and 2) catching subtle glimpses of myself in my office windows I began to see and appreciate my body and its movements.
I was shook. If I could have a profound moment simply by changing what I was wearing...maybe others would too.”
Any time we do something brave and boundary-pushing we experience an energy rush. That’s the reason human beings voluntarily do things that seem frightening but are typically quite safe, like ziplining or riding rollercoasters, or watching scary movies.
"Naughty and Nice" is WAY safer than any of those pursuits. This is "slumber party," "Lady Land" fun, where we can appreciate and support each other, and fuel our collective spark and our inner sparkle.
We all need that for ourselves. And the world needs that from us, too!
Are you ready?....Yeah, you're ready.