Archive

Uncategorized

A short week this week, but juicy nonetheless. Do check out the illustrated post about the connection between compassion and your hands and particularly your thumb and little finger here. I’ll be back to play with this some more on July 19.

In the meantime, the playlists are below. If you’d like to listen to them, you can find almost all the music on Spotify where you can listen for free! Put the music we dance to together with other pieces that lift you up, calm you and challenge you!

And first the announce-y type things:

Invisible Net of Love for Antje Waxman
Our friend and Nia / Egoscue teacher, Antje Waxman’s husband is terribly ill and they could use some support and nourishment. If you’d like to offer a meal for them, please go here to sign up. http://www.takethemameal.com/meals.php?t=JHSX5292 Thank you for being part of the invisible net of love.

CHARLOTTESVILLE WHITE BELT TRAINING in September
Our friend, mentor and Nia Trainer, Helen Terry is coming to Charlottesville to offer a White Belt training! White Belt is the first level of Nia training, designed to provide body-centered training to anyone interested in living better in a body or teaching Nia. Helen is a First Generation Nia Trainer, chosen years ago by the creators of Nia to be one of the first Nia trainers. She’ll be retiring soon, so don’t miss your chance to learn from this amazing teacher and trainer! For more information and to register, please visit: https://nianow.com/node/1139984. Please feel free to contact Mary Linn at marylinnl@acac.com with any questions!

The Awesome Event sponsored by Divine Play October 27-29
Join us for the weekend of October 27-19 in exploring an understanding of the mind that will allow you to break free of limits, relate with others, and naturally ripple ease, resilience and FUN through your personal and work life. Get all the information, buy tickets at http://www.theawesomeevent.com or call Jeanne Catherine: 434-218-9500.

As always, please let me know if you have questions or how I can help more.
Dance on. Shine on.
Susan sig

*** PLAYLIST NOTE: My playlists can also be found on Spotify https://www.spotify.com/us/ by following “susanmcculley” (no space) and look for Public Playlists. Sometimes music is not available on Spotify so I may replace with another version or skip songs . ***

Monday, Jul 10, 2017, 1045am ~ Compassion: Nurture Boundaries

Adiemus 4:02 Adiemus/London Philharmonic Orchestra/Miriam Stockley
Sun Is Shining (Out Of Sight Remix) 7:30 ReUnited
Wrapped Around Your Finger 5:14 The Police
Spellbound 5:43 Rae & Christian
Freek 7:16 Shakatura
One Billion Hands 4:05 Lourds Lane
In Caelum Fero 7:49 Adiemus/London Philharmonic Orchestra/Miriam Stockley
Shine 4:12 Joshua
With My Own 2 Hands 4:37 Ben Harper
Fingernail Moon 5:04 Annie Lennox

Tuesday, Jul 11, 2017, 840am ~ Compassion: Nurture Boundaries

Fragile Beauty 4:20 Chris Coco
The Hush 5:24 Rae & Christian
Sun Is Shining (Out Of Sight Remix) 7:30 ReUnited
Wrapped Around Your Finger 5:14 The Police
Spellbound 5:43 Rae & Christian
Freek 7:16 Shakatura
One Billion Hands 4:05 Lourds Lane
Shakin’ It Up 6:15 Ganga Giri
Shine 4:12 Joshua
With My Own 2 Hands 4:37 Ben Harper
Fingernail Moon 5:04 Annie Lennox

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT NIA?

For more information about Nia and this rich system of training and learning? Everything Nia is at http://www.nianow.com…
If you’re traveling or moving, you can find a teacher or classes wherever you’re going.
Interested in teaching or deepening your practice? Check out the Nia White Belt Training. They are offered all around the world so you can find one near you or where you may want to go!


This week, I picked up Glennon Doyle Melton’s book, Love Warrior. It’s been on my “To Read” shelf for a while. I’ve been meaning to get to it. But here in the middle of a week focused on music, this is what I found on page 79…

“One night, several weeks into my sobriety, I lie down on my bed and my eyes wander to a pile of CDs in the corner of my bedroom. I stand up, walk over to them, and shuffle through the pile until I find the Indigo Girls. I hold them in my hand and wonder if I dare to let them sing to me. I open the case, slide the silver disk into the player, and press “play.” Then I lie back down and wait for the music to hurt too much. When they start singing, I begin to feel that familiar ache that music always brings. I hold my breath, but I quickly realize that my ache feels different than it used to. Music usually makes me feel left out and yearning, like I’m looking at a photograph of a party I wasn’t invited to. But now I feel drawn in, pulled closer, like the music is a bridge between these two women and me. I feel comforted . The Indigo Girls promise me that it’s okay to feel too much and know too little. They insist that my sadness is not new, it’s ancient. I listen for hours and every song makes me feel less alone and more a part of a universal, underground sisterhood. Gradually, I feel something like joy growing inside of me. This joy brings me to my feel and I start to dance. I dance in my bedroom, all by myself, with Amy and Emily. No one is watching me, which means I’m not performing. I’m just dancing. Whirling, whirling. For me.”

Later she says, “This is how I know I’m getting better: I become able to survive the beauty of music. I have accepted another one of life’s dangerous invitations: the invitation to feel. “

This is what our practice is about: learning to feel, learning to let in what is happening around us and in us. Music is indeed CPR for our souls.

All the playlists from the week are below. If you’d like to listen to them, you can find almost all the music on Spotify where you can listen for free! Put the music we dance to together with other pieces that lift you up, calm you and challenge you!

And first the announce-y type things:

Invisible Net of Love for Antje Waxman
Our friend and Nia / Egoscue teacher, Antje Waxman’s husband is terribly ill and they could use some support and nourishment. If you’d like to offer a meal for them, please go here to sign up. http://www.takethemameal.com/meals.php?t=JHSX5292 Thank you for being part of the invisible net of love.

July 4 Nia ~ Tuesday, July 4, 8:30-9:30am
As part of the special acac holiday schedule, join me for Nia on Tuesday, July 4 from 8:30-9:30am in the Group Ex Studio at acac downtown! Liberty and justice for all. See you then.

CHARLOTTESVILLE WHITE BELT TRAINING in September
Our friend, mentor and Nia Trainer, Helen Terry is coming to Charlottesville to offer a White Belt training! White Belt is the first level of Nia training, designed to provide body-centered training to anyone interested in living better in a body or teaching Nia. Helen is a First Generation Nia Trainer, chosen years ago by the creators of Nia to be one of the first Nia trainers. She’ll be retiring soon, so don’t miss your chance to learn from this amazing teacher and trainer! For more information and to register, please visit: https://nianow.com/node/1139984. Please feel free to contact Mary Linn at marylinnl@acac.com with any questions!

The Awesome Event sponsored by Divine Play October 27-29
Join us for the weekend of October 27-19 in exploring an understanding of the mind that will allow you to break free of limits, relate with others, and naturally ripple ease, resilience and FUN through your personal and work life. Get all the information, buy tickets at http://www.theawesomeevent.com or call Jeanne Catherine: 434-218-9500.

As always, please let me know if you have questions or how I can help more.
Dance on. Shine on.
Susan sig

*** PLAYLIST NOTE: My playlists can also be found on Spotify https://www.spotify.com/us/ by following “susanmcculley” (no space) and look for Public Playlists. Sometimes music is not available on Spotify so I may replace with another version or skip songs . ***

Monday, Jun 26, 2017, 1045am ~ Music is CPR

The Chain 4:31 Fleetwood Mac
Sunday Morning, Up All Night 4:54 NYXYSS
Dreams 4:17 Fleetwood Mac
American Pie 8:37 Don McLean
Thank You 4:55 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Daphne 7:03 Eddi Reader/Mahotella Queens/Revetti Sakalar
Why Must I Feel Like This Today? [Feat. Baaba Maal, Michael Franti, Ulali, Radio Active & Krishna Das] 9:28 1 Giant Leap
Let’s Get It On 4:54 Marvin Gaye
Jolene 4:20 Mindy Smith with Dolly Parton
On the Nature of Daylight 6:35 Max Richter Orchestra & Lorenz Dangel

Tuesday, Jun 27, 2017, 840am ~ Music is CPR

The Chain 4:31 Fleetwood Mac
Sunday Morning, Up All Night 4:54 NYXYSS
Dreams 4:17 Fleetwood Mac
American Pie 8:37 Don McLean
Thank You 4:55 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Faith (feat. Ariana Grande) 2:43 Stevie Wonder
Why Must I Feel Like This Today? [Feat. Baaba Maal, Michael Franti, Ulali, Radio Active & Krishna Das] 9:28 1 Giant Leap
Let’s Get It On 4:54 Marvin Gaye
Jolene 4:20 Mindy Smith with Dolly Parton
Plegaria para el Alma de Layla 3:19 Pedro Aznar

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017, 11am ~ Music is CPR

Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27/2, “Moonlight” : Adagio sostenuto 5:17 Jenő Jandó
Because 2:46 The Beatles
Marisi 6:33 Cantoma
One Hundred Lights (Grouch Remix) 5:31 Kaya Project
Hotel California 5:48 Gipsy Kings
Blood Stud (Ray Mang Remix) 8:36 MB Disco
Fire to Me 4:36 Hyper/The Crystal Method
Hermes 4:08 Santana
Fill Her Up 5:39 Sting
’74-’75 4:37 The Connells
Hallelujah (feat. Charlie Sexton) 4:16 Justin Timberlake & Matt Morris
Giuseppe Tornatore Suite: Malena (Main theme) 4:22 Yo-Yo Ma, Ennio Morricone & Roma Sinfonietta

Thursday, Jun 29, 2017, 840am ~ Music is CPR

Because 2:46 The Beatles
Marisi 6:33 Cantoma
One Hundred Lights (Grouch Remix) 5:31 Kaya Project
Hotel California 5:48 Gipsy Kings
Blood Stud (Ray Mang Remix) 8:36 MB Disco
Fire to Me 4:36 Hyper/The Crystal Method
Hermes 4:08 Santana
’74-’75 4:37 The Connells
Hallelujah (feat. Charlie Sexton) 4:16 Justin Timberlake & Matt Morris
Giuseppe Tornatore Suite: Malena (Main theme) 4:22 Yo-Yo Ma, Ennio Morricone & Roma Sinfonietta

Saturday, Jul 1, 2017, 9am ~ Music is CPR

Headphones 4:18 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Marisi 6:33 Cantoma
Dreams 4:17 Fleetwood Mac
One Hundred Lights (Grouch Remix) 5:31 Kaya Project
Hotel California 5:48 Gipsy Kings
Blood Stud (Ray Mang Remix) 8:36 MB Disco
I’ve Got The Music In Me 5:02 The Kiki Dee Band
Hermes 4:08 Santana
Summertime is in Our Hands 3:48 Michael Franti & Spearhead
’74-’75 4:37 The Connells
Hallelujah (feat. Charlie Sexton) 4:16 Justin Timberlake & Matt Morris
On the Nature of Daylight 6:35 Max Richter Orchestra & Lorenz Dangel

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT NIA?

For more information about Nia and this rich system of training and learning? Everything Nia is at http://www.nianow.com…
If you’re traveling or moving, you can find a teacher or classes wherever you’re going.
Interested in teaching or deepening your practice? Check out the Nia White Belt Training. They are offered all around the world so you can find one near you or where you may want to go!

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.”  — Shunryu Suzuki (see link to original lecture)

We spent the week revisiting routines that I learned when I was a Nia beginner. The practice is to bring that same energy of curiosity, spaciousness, and possibility to even those things we know well.

All the playlists from the week are below or you can listen to them by going to Spotify! Dance for free at Spotify! Sign up, follow me at “susanmcculley” and you’ll find my public playlists ~ just click and listen!

And first the announce-y type things:

• Scheduling Question: Wednesday class
Looking toward the summer schedule, there is some talk of moving back our Wednesday class time to 11:15am-12:30pm to give more space between Nia and the class that comes before. I’m curious to know how/if this would effect people. Please let me know what you think in the comments below or by emailing me at sjmnia@gmail.com. Thank you for your input.

• Safety & Awareness Reminder
Some, especially in the Downtown Group Ex studio, are choosing to dance with weights during freedance. I don’t recommend this particularly (I’m happy to elaborate if you’re interested) but if you do this, please be mindful that you are moving with weights in a room full of barefoot dancers who are moving sometimes quickly around the room. Please do any weight-dancing on the edges so dancers can easily stay clear and engage lots of awareness about where you are in space. Thank you for your awareness!

•SPRING NIA JAM: MARCH 17
Join Kate Aust, Mary Linn Bergstrom, and Rachel Horsley for our spring Nia Jam! Friday, March 17, 5:45-7pm Downtown in Studio A. *Please note, we will be downstairs in A rather than upstairs in “the big room”. Also, there will be no Nia 101 this week – class begins at 5:45pm!

• FREE Workshop: Conscious Communication with Mary Linn & Susan ~ March 25, 3-5pm
A FREE heARTful Action gathering, Saturday, March 25, 2o17, 3-5pm
at the Quaker Meeting House at 1104 Forest St, Charlottesville
In our polarized, highly-charged political environment, a simple conversation can be tricky, scary and even dangerous. More and more, we may find ourselves avoiding conversations about the things that matter to us most for fear of an argument or damaging a relationship.
In this free workshop, we will explore practical ways to approach conversations (either in person or on-line) that promote connection, curiosity and clarity. Join us to learn ways of talking to even the prickliest people with calm and kindness. Bring a journal and a friend!
Please RSVP to sjmnia@gmail.com or on the Facebook event page (https://www.facebook.com/events/1921663034719326/) so we know how many people to expect. Wear comfortable clothes, bring a journal and a friend!

• Love Warrior: embody a movement ~ Friday, Apr 7, 6-730pm
a moving experience of activism in support The Front Porch at 219 Water Street E, Cville
Join Susan to experience a new routine called Love Warrior. This is a movement experience designed for everyBody that allows us to experience the sensation of the change we want to see in the world. We can then translate that sensation directly into action.

At a time when the arts and creative education are being undermined and undervalued, it is more important than ever to support the arts in our community and creativity in ourselves! The Front Porch will offer music and refreshments will be available before and after we dance. Enjoy an evening of movement, music, and community.
Donate-What-You-Can ~ All proceeds from the event will go to The Front Porch

DOUBLE BONUS: Love Warrior shirts with original art
Just because times are tough doesn’t mean we have to wear black all the time. I’ve been working on a Love Warrior shirt design and together with the people at CustomInk, we created this – check it out!
Would you like one? It’s the perfect outfit for protests, marches, and of course, Love Warrior dancing! If you’re interested, please email me and let me know including what size you’d like. The more we print, the less each shirt will be (if we order 25, they will be around $16) so share this with your friends and I’ll let you know what shakes out before anyone has to commit to anything. Nevertheless…

As always, please let me know if you have questions or how I can help more.
Dance on. Shine on.
Susan sig

*** PLAYLIST NOTE: My playlists can also be found on Spotify https://www.spotify.com/us/ by following “susanmcculley” (no space) and look for Public Playlists. Sometimes music is not available on Spotify so I may replace with another version or skip songs . ***

Sunday, Mar 12, 2017, 315pm ~ Beginner’s Mind

Adiemus 4:02 Adiemus/London Philharmonic Orchestra/Miriam Stockley
Tintinnabulum 11:03 Adiemus/London Philharmonic/Miriam Stockley
Cantus Inaequalis 3:18 Adiemus/London Philharmonic/Miriam Stockley
Cantus Insolitus 5:40 Adiemus/London Philharmonic/Miriam Stockley
In Caelum Fero 7:49 Adiemus/London Philharmonic Orchestra/Miriam Stockley
Adagio for Strings [Remix by Ferry Corsten] 6:35 William Orbit
Cantus Iteratus 6:42 Adiemus/London Philharmonic/Miriam Stockley
Amaté Adea 5:23 Adiemus/London Philharmonic/Miriam Stockley
Kayama 7:58 Adiemus/London Philharmonic Orchestra/Miriam Stockley
Hymn 2:42 Adiemus/London Philharmonic Orchestra/Miriam Stockley

Monday, Mar 13, 2017, 1045am ~ Beginner’s Mind

All I Want 6:52 Shantal
Dance of Sarasvati 9:07 Kitaro
Agolo 4:50 Angelique Kidjo
Spellbound 5:43 Rae & Christian
In Caelum Fero 7:49 Adiemus/London Philharmonic Orchestra/Miriam Stockley
Wombo Lombo 4:17 Angelique Kidjo
New Beginning 5:32 Tracy Chapman
Jamming 5:24 Candy Dulfer
Where the Story Ends… 5:44 Shantel
Bless This 7:21 Deseo Remixes (original by Jon Anderson)

Tuesday, Mar 14, 2017, 840am ~ Beginner’s Mind

All I Want 6:52 Shantal
Beauty & the East (Banco de Gaia Remix) 6:51 Bombay Dub Orchestra
Agolo 4:50 Angelique Kidjo
Spellbound 5:43 Rae & Christian
U R The Answer 5:57 Stephen Bray/ Michael Beckwith
Wombo Lombo 4:17 Angelique Kidjo
The Basement 3:35 Eric Hutchinson
Jamming 5:24 Candy Dulfer
Revolution 3:40 Coco Love Alcorn
Hymn to the Fallen 4:43 Voces8

Wednesday, Mar 15, 2017, 11am ~ Beginner’s Mind (Firedance Enhanced)

Reel Around the Sun 8:42 Bill Whelan
The Heart’s Cry 2:28 Bill Whelan
Alba 5:16 Paul Mounsey Featuring Nahoo
Journeyman 3:48 Paul Mounsey Featuring Nahoo
Shivna 3:38 Bill Whelan
Firedance 6:04 Bill Whelan
Dalmore 3:59 Paul Mounsey Featuring Nahoo
Stranger in a Strange Land 6:20 Paul Mounsey Featuring Nahoo
Siamsa 4:28 Ronan Hardiman
Riverdance 5:45 Bill Whalen
Aran Boat Song 5:27 Aryeh Frankfurter & Lisa Lynne
Caoineadh Cu Chulainn (Lament) 4:11 Bill Whalen

Thursday, Mar 16, 2017, 840am ~ Beginner’s Mind (Firedance Enhanced)

Reel Around the Sun 8:42 Bill Whelan
Alba 5:16 Paul Mounsey Featuring Nahoo
Journeyman 3:48 Paul Mounsey Featuring Nahoo
Shivna 3:38 Bill Whelan
Firedance 6:04 Bill Whelan
Dalmore 3:59 Paul Mounsey Featuring Nahoo
Stranger in a Strange Land 6:20 Paul Mounsey Featuring Nahoo
Riverdance 5:45 Bill Whalen
Aran Boat Song 5:27 Aryeh Frankfurter & Lisa Lynne
Caoineadh Cu Chulainn (Lament) 4:11 Bill Whalen

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT NIA?

For more information about Nia and this rich system of training and learning? Everything Nia is at http://www.nianow.com…
If you’re traveling or moving, you can find a teacher or classes wherever you’re going.
Interested in teaching or deepening your practice? Check out the Nia White Belt Training. They are offered all around the world so you can find one near you or where you may want to go!

New heARTful Action Post at http://www.susanmcculley.com/heartful-blog/ !

“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness. ” — Maya Angelou

heARTful is a word I made up to mean awareness from and leading with the heart. heARTful Action posts focus on how to stand up and create a culture of health, inclusion and kindness. heARTful Action posts are calls to love warriors everywhere.Please note that heARTful Action is its own blog now, separate from Focus Pocus. Please find it here where you can sign up to receive posts directly. And if they are helpful to you, please do pass them on.

Me and you and you and you
Just wanna be free yeah
But you see all the world is just as we’ve made it
And until we got a new world
I’ve got to say that love is not a whisper or a weakness

– Mercy by Dave Matthews Band

I love my teacher, Jamie Catto, but when this post came up from him on Facebook last week, I hated it.

Let’s say it plainly: Trump is an embodiment of all of our collective, denied Shadows. (Continue reading here.)

all-in-this-together-tomlin-011817

For MLK Week, we danced the paradox of both being unique individuals dancing our dance and being inextricably interdependent and connected.

Our In This Together playlists from the week are below or you can listen to them by going to Spotify! Dance for free at Spotify! Sign up, follow me at “susanmcculley” and you’ll find my public playlists ~ just click and listen!

And first the announce-y things:

• New Nia 5 Stages class with Anne at acac downtown on Friday mornings
Black Belt Nia Instructor, Anne Wolf is now offering a Nia 5 Stages class on Friday mornings 8:30-8:55 am at ACAC downtown. Nia 5 Stages is an integrative practice based on the five stages of human development: Embryonic, Creeping, Crawling, Standing and Walking. Each stage is a foundation for the next. Combined, all 5 stages help people to integrate physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. When practiced daily and in the correct sequence, these stages facilitate optimal alignment and function. Come join Anne to explore these stages and cultivate your  practice.

• FREE Workshop: Finding Your Focus with Mary Linn & Susan ~ January 28, 3-5pm
These days, there are seemingly endless worthy causes that could use our money, time, and energy. Many of us are left feeling overwhelmed, scattered, or even helpless.
In this free workshop, we will explore what matters to you most, ultimately discovering the unique purpose to which each one of us may give our devotion.
As we share our insights, we will create a sense of relaxed readiness, knowing that we are not taking on the world alone.
Bring a journal, something you’re comfortable sitting on and a friend!
This is a FREE heARTful Action gathering~ Saturday, January 28, 2o17, 3-5pm
at the Quaker Friends Meeting House, 1104 Forest St,  Cville*
*Please RSVP to sjmnia@gmail.com or on the Facebook event page (https://tinyurl.com/z9tq33f) so we know how many we will be.

• dance.sit.create. day-treat on Saturday, Feb 18, 2017, 8:30am-5pm
There is still some space for dance.sit.create on Saturday, Feb 18 (snow date, March 4) at Buck Mountain Episcopal Parish Hall, 4133 Earlysville Rd, Earlysville, VA 22936
What better way to spend a winter day than in giving power and time to your unique creativity? As a human being, you are an artist. While we can’t make creativity happen, we can provide fertile terrain for inspiration to land and take root. In this supportive, delicious, fun experience, step into your own creative life. Join Susan McCulley, Nia Black Belt, mindfulness teacher, writer and artist for a day-treat playing at the intersection of movement, stillness and your artist self. If you have dance.sit.created before, new surprises await. If not, this is the perfect time to join us.
Susan provides guidance and inspiration for the day. Rebecca George’s Dragonfly Kitchen provides extraordinary vegetarian, gluten-free, seasonal food (tea, snack, lunch). ALSO INCLUDED is a new 6-week series of music, meditations, and prompts to keep the flow of the day going. $125 / please register by February 15. Limited to 20 participants. Go here for all the details and to register.

As always, please let me know if you have questions or how I can help more.
Dance on. Shine on.
Susan sig

*** PLAYLIST NOTE: My playlists can also be found on Spotify https://www.spotify.com/us/ by following “susanmcculley” (no space) and look for Public Playlists. Sometimes music is not available on Spotify so I may replace with another version or skip songs . ***

Monday, Jan 16, 2017, 1045am ~ In This Together: Dancing The Paradox

“Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.” Martin Luther King, Jr. Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Blackbird 3:09 Dionne Farris
I Shall Be Free 6:13 Kid Beyond
You Might Die Trying 4:44 Dave Matthews Band
Pride (In The Name Of Love) 4:27 U2
One World, One People 4:43 Xcultures
So Beautiful Or So What 4:09 Paul Simon
One Billion Hands 4:05 Lourds Lane
Black Or White 3:19 Michael Jackson
Ain’t No Man 3:34 The Avett Brothers
Freedom (feat. Kendrick Lamar) 4:50 Beyoncé
I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free 4:09 Derek Trucks Band
Woke Up This Morning 3:55 Ruthie Foster
Spiritual High, Pt. 3 5:14 Moodswings
Love Rescue Me 3:48 Playing For Change
MLK 2:34 U2

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2017, 840am ~ In This Together: Dancing The Paradox

Blackbird 3:09 Dionne Farris
I Shall Be Free 6:13 Kid Beyond
You Might Die Trying 4:44 Dave Matthews Band
Pride (In The Name Of Love) 4:27 U2
So Beautiful Or So What 4:09 Paul Simon
One Billion Hands 4:05 Lourds Lane
Black Or White 3:19 Michael Jackson
Ain’t No Man 3:34 The Avett Brothers
Freedom (feat. Kendrick Lamar) 4:50 Beyoncé
Woke Up This Morning 3:55 Ruthie Foster
Spiritual High, Pt. 3 5:14 Moodswings
Love Rescue Me 3:48 Playing For Change

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2017, 11am ~ In This Together: Dancing The Paradox

We Are All Connected 7:07 Magic Sound Fabric
The Obvious Child 4:10 Paul Simon
You Might Die Trying 4:44 Dave Matthews Band
Pride (In The Name Of Love) 4:27 U2
I Know What I Know 3:13 Paul Simon
The Boy in the Bubble 3:59 Paul Simon
One Billion Hands 4:05 Lourds Lane
Born This Way 4:20 Lady Gaga
Higher Ground 3:22 Red Hot Chili Peppers
Waking the Spirits (African Travels Re-Awakening Remix) 5:56 Bob Holroyd
I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free 4:09 Derek Trucks Band
The River 5:31 Suzanne Sterling
Imagine 3:27 Playing For Change
Plegaria para el Alma de Layla 3:19 Pedro Aznar

Take courage friends.
The way is often hard, the path is never clear,
and the stakes are very high.
Take courage.
For deep down, there is another truth:
you are not alone.
– Wayne B. Arnason

Thursday, Jan 19, 2017, 840am ~ In This Together: Dancing The Paradox

We Are All Connected 7:07 Magic Sound Fabric
The Obvious Child 4:10 Paul Simon
You Might Die Trying 4:44 Dave Matthews Band
Pride (In The Name Of Love) 4:27 U2
The Boy in the Bubble 3:59 Paul Simon
One Billion Hands 4:05 Lourds Lane
Higher Ground 3:22 Red Hot Chili Peppers
Waking the Spirits (African Travels Re-Awakening Remix) 5:56 Bob Holroyd
I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free 4:09 Derek Trucks Band
The River 5:31 Suzanne Sterling
Imagine 3:27 Playing For Change

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT NIA?

For more information about Nia and this rich system of training and learning? Everything Nia is at http://www.nianow.com…
If you’re traveling or moving, you can find a teacher or classes wherever you’re going.
Interested in teaching or deepening your practice? Check out the Nia White Belt Training. They are offered all around the world so you can find one near you or where you may want to go!

New heARTful Action Post at at http://www.susanmcculley.com/heartful-blog/ !

“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness. ” — Maya Angelou

heARTful is a word I made up to mean awareness from and leading with the heart. heARTful Action posts focus on how to stand up and create a culture of health, inclusion and kindness. heARTful Action posts are calls to love warriors everywhere.Please note that heARTful Action is its own blog now, separate from Focus Pocus. Please find it here where you can sign up to receive posts directly. And please, if they are helpful to you, please do pass them on.

In this Martin Luther King week, I’ve been thinking about the quote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Which is powerful good, but it’s helped me to look at that quote within the context of the paragraph in which it appears.

Continue reading here.

This post first went up on Focus Pocus three years ago in February, 2013, and it’s worth revisiting. I’ve taught for 16 years now and I still observe the same thing in movers’ bodies: people don’t move their hips much. It’s still unclear how many hip replacements are performed in the US every year: I found stats indicating 200,000, 285,000, and 332,000. A lot. My niece, Olivia, now 14, is a competitive swimmer and she still has super healthy hips. I’ve added some illustrations for fun but otherwise, here is a some onscreen sheen from 2013 — enJOY!

jive to the hip 022116

In 13 years of teaching Nia, I’ve watched a lot of people move. And here’s what I notice: most people don’t move their hips much.

I don’t know how many hip replacements are performed in the US every year. I did my best to find out and found wildly different numbers from 120,000 to 178,000 to 500,000!  Suffice it to say, it’s a lot.

I’m not a doctor and I don’t have the research, but I think there is a connection. Hips that move are healthy hips and, well, as I mentioned, most Americans just don’t move their hips.

No great shock, really.  Ours is a comfort and convenience culture. Most of us don’t regularly sit on the floor, lift of heavy objects, or even walk much.  In addition, large or circular hip movements tend to be connected with sexuality, and sexuality with embarrassment or fear. So we Americans tend to zip up, button down, and keep our tails from wagging.

What a bummer, since the hips are major storehouses of strength, mobility and energy. The strongest joint in the body, the hip offers circular mobility (instead of one plane like the knee or elbow) as the ball (femoral head) turns in the socket (acetabulum). The hip joint is also layered with lots of connective tissue and muscle which gives the joint both strength and stability.

hip joint Hip_Muscles hip joint muscles

Mobililty, strength and stability – so we can walk, run, balance, jump, turn…and wag our tails! The hips are meant to fold completely (as in a squat – a common pose of ease in many countries) and open completely (as in the yogic Wheel pose, below). But how often do we actually allow the hips to move as they are designed?

jive to the hip full squat 022116

jive to the hip wheel 022116

Most of the hips I see primarily sit, stand, and walk: small range of motion, mostly front/back. Think about what you and your hips do during your waking hours. I spend at least half my day sitting…and I’m a movement teacher!

These limited movements have big repercussions for the health of hips and their owners. Physically, when hip movement is limited, some muscles and connective tissue get over-worked or over-stretched while others get underused and weak. This causes imbalances in the body that can result in physical pain (like lower back pain and tight hamstrings).

What’s more, the hips and pelvis contain our sexual and emotional energy. Locking down hip movement locks down that energy. Freeing the hip joints allows it move.  As a result, when people start moving their hips, it’s not uncommon for them to feel waves of sadness or anger or excitement. After a Nia class, a new participant will often sheepishly approach me and say, “You’re going to think I’m crazy, but I felt like I was going to cry (or laugh or scream) during class!”  I don’t think they’re crazy, I think they are self-healing. And I think more hip movement would do them a world of good.

With all the connective muscle and tissue around the hip joints, hip movement strengthens and stretches abdominal, back, leg and pelvic muscles. A little tail wagging goes a long way toward creating more health all through the midsection of the body!

As children, most of us had strong, mobile hips. Our little bodies easily folded up and unfolded again. We were up and down off the floor and wiggling around in all sorts of ways. (Below is a picture of my niece, Olivia, when she was a toddler. She’s 11 now and still squats and wiggles beautifully.)

hips olivia squat

The practice of Nia invites us back into our playful, easeful, child-like bodies.  It invites us, at least for an hour every day, to let go of the cultural corset and allow our bodies – and, in turn, our minds and emotions – to flow and relax.  Whether you are taking Nia this week, or you are just dancing through your life, I invite you to start allowing your hips more movement and range of motion.  If hip movement feels new or awkward to you, start gently and slowly, breathing all the way.  Your hips are designed to move, so have fun!  Before getting out of bed, pull a knee into your chest and gently rotate your thigh in the hip socket.  Sit on the floor to put on your shoes!  Stand up from your computer right now and wag your tail!  And most daring of all, walk with a swing in your hips – no matter your age, gender, or professional title!

Now you’re hip to the jive so give some jive to the hip!

%d bloggers like this: