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Every once in a while, I’ll be all balled up and struggling with something and a friend will say, “A wise friend of mine once said…” And then they proceed to tell ME something I told THEM when THEY were struggling. I love/hate it when that happens. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been feeling tired and I thought about writing a post about stopping…until I remembered that I’d written this one in 2015. Since I am in the midst of a writing class at Writer House in Charlottesville and I’m working like crazy on pieces for that, I thought it would be a good time to revisit.

go stop 101715

(Originally published on October 18, 2o15)

How bout no longer being masochistic
How bout remembering your divinity
How bout unabashedly bawling your eyes out
How bout not equating death with stopping
~ Alanis Morissette, Thank you

It’s crazy. For 15 years I’ve been teaching and practicing movement and mindfulness but sometimes, I just don’t pay attention.

Last week, I taught some extra classes. Then I taught my regular classes and a (super fun) day-long retreat. I took a day “off” but worked on follow up and class preparation and did yoga and played catch up at my desk. Then I taught my regular classes again. By Wednesday, my battery felt not just drained but like someone had ripped it out and stomped on it.


On a Monday morning, I overhear two colleagues chatting in an office at the gym where I teach:
— Oh man, I am so tired. Are you tired?
— Me? I’m always tired.


About three-quarters through a 90-minute yoga class, I’m on my belly, doing my best to slow down my breathing. I can feel the sweat dripping off me and I can see a drop of it quivering at the tip of my nose. Take a deep breath, says Kelly. Let yourself really rest.

As she says this, I realize that the muscles in my hands and belly and feet are tense. I know class isn’t even close to being over. I’m bracing for what is coming.

Much of the time, she says, we don’t give it our all when we’re working and we don’t really stop and rest when we’re stopping. That’s why we’re tired all the time. Work when you’re working. Stop when you’re stopping.


At a Nia training years ago, my trainer asked us to choose a simple piece of choreography for a self-observation exercise. I chose something in which the base movements were only Closed Stance and A-Stance. The idea was to observe how we did the moves and to clean up our form, and here I’d gone and picked the simplest thing ever.

And yet.

When I paid attention to what I was doing, I realized I was wiggling my toes and adjusting my feet and not ever landing and stopping in my stances at all. My stances never rested.


The most common complaint of new Nia students is that they develop blisters on the soles of their feet (it happened to me when I started). Blisters usually appear when movers repeatedly slide, shuffle, or twist on their feet. When they are stepping, they aren’t really stepping but “dragging their feet.”


When I’m wrestling with an essay or a tricky post for my blog and I hit a lull in inspiration, I will often stop and check email or troll Facebook or send a text. When I work, I’m not really working.

After a full day, I feel exhausted, but when finally roll into bed, I find myself rolling through what I accomplished and planning what to do tomorrow. When I stop, I’m not really stopping.


Last week I had a dream about a student. He’s been coming to my classes for a decade and I don’t think he’s ever been in the room for the first song. He always comes once we’re moving and jumps right in. At the end of class when I invite everybody into stillness, he usually does some sit ups or leg lifts and often he leaves early. In my dream, he was in class doing his thing and a voice asked, When does he stop?

For some reason (overriding the creepiness of “I had a dream about you” intro), I awkwardly mention this to him after class. He laughs uncomfortably and then says, Huh, that’s funny. I’m 75 and I’m still working. I can’t seem to figure out when to retire.


Go when you go. Stop when you stop.

go stop 101715

How bout no longer being masochistic
How bout remembering your divinity
How bout unabashedly bawling your eyes out
How bout not equating death with stopping
~ Alanis Morissette, Thank you

It’s crazy. For 15 years I’ve been teaching and practicing movement and mindfulness but sometimes, I just don’t pay attention.

Last week, I taught some extra classes. Then I taught my regular classes and a (super fun) day-long retreat. I took a day “off” but worked on follow up and class preparation and did yoga and played catch up at my desk. Then I taught my regular classes again. By Wednesday, my battery felt not just drained but like someone had ripped it out and stomped on it.


On a Monday morning, I overhear two colleagues chatting in an office at the gym where I teach:
— Oh man, I am so tired. Are you tired?
— Me? I’m always tired.


About three-quarters through a 90-minute yoga class, I’m on my belly, doing my best to slow down my breathing. I can feel the sweat dripping off me and I can see a drop of it quivering at the tip of my nose. Take a deep breath, says Kelly. Let yourself really rest.

As she says this, I realize that the muscles in my hands and belly and feet are tense. I know class isn’t even close to being over. I’m bracing for what is coming.

Much of the time, she says, we don’t give it our all when we’re working and we don’t really stop and rest when we’re stopping. That’s why we’re tired all the time. Work when you’re working. Stop when you’re stopping.


At a Nia training years ago, my trainer asked us to choose a simple piece of choreography for a self-observation exercise. I chose something in which the base movements were only Closed Stance and A-Stance. The idea was to observe how we did the moves and to clean up our form, and here I’d gone and picked the simplest thing ever.

And yet.

When I paid attention to what I was doing, I realized I was wiggling my toes and adjusting my feet and not ever landing and stopping in my stances at all. My stances never rested.


The most common complaint of new Nia students is that they develop blisters on the soles of their feet (it happened to me when I started). Blisters usually appear when movers repeatedly slide, shuffle, or twist on their feet. When they are stepping, they aren’t really stepping but “dragging their feet.”


When I’m wrestling with an essay or a tricky post for my blog and I hit a lull in inspiration, I will often stop and check email or troll Facebook or send a text. When I work, I’m not really working.

After a full day, I feel exhausted, but when finally roll into bed, I find myself rolling through what I accomplished and planning what to do tomorrow. When I stop, I’m not really stopping.


Last week I had a dream about a student. He’s been coming to my classes for a decade and I don’t think he’s ever been in the room for the first song. He always comes once we’re moving and jumps right in. At the end of class when I invite everybody into stillness, he usually does some sit ups or leg lifts and often he leaves early. In my dream, he was in class doing his thing and a voice asked, When does he stop?

For some reason (overriding the creepiness of “I had a dream about you” intro), I awkwardly mention this to him after class. He laughs uncomfortably and then says, Huh, that’s funny. I’m 75 and I’m still working. I can’t seem to figure out when to retire.


Go when you go. Stop when you stop.

p12 be willing to suckPrinciple 12 ~ Continuing Education ~ asks, “Are you willing to suck?” For a long time I said I did but I really didn’t. I hated not being good at something. Okay, who am I kidding, I still don’t like it, but more and more, I’m willing to step into that space of learning that is awkward and uncomfortable. That’s that space in which learning happens. That’s the space in which we can really expand into what is possible.

So in the spirit of the penultimate principle: may you embrace lots of opportunities to suck … today and every day! (A new greeting card line, perhaps?)

A few dates of upcoming events and happenings:

– TED is happening in Cville this week! Come to the TEDx Charlottesville event on Friday, November 14 at the Paramount! If you can’t come to the whole event, you can tune in throughout the day to the live stream straight from the stage! Check it out at http://tedxcharlottesville.com/.

– Free ChakraDancer class open to all! Begin the holiday season with this meditative and energizing experience in a beautiful old dance hall (now parish hall!) ~ Friday, November 21 at 6pm at Buck Mountain Episcopal Church. The event is free and open to all so please join us and bring a friend. All the details are here.

– Thanksgiving Nia at acac downtown! What better way to start off the greatest holiday of all time with some mindful playful movement? Join me on Thursday, November 27 at 9am at acac downtown in the Group Exercise Studio for some seriously groovy gratitude. Bring your family and friends, or leave them home and get some time just for you. Song request line is open, so let me know if you’re hankering for something.

– Winter “Black Out” Jam! Winter Solstice Nia Jam with Mary Linn, Anne and Susan ~ Friday, December 19, 545-7pm at acac downtown. Non-members welcome!

As always, please let me know how I can help more.

Dance on. Shine on.

Susan sig

Monday, Nov 10, 2014, 1045am ~ The Unofficial Guide: Continuing Education

Turn On, Tune In, Find Joy 5:04 Freakpower
Souvenir 5:39 Kaledj feat. Neko
Tears From The Moon 4:18 Conjure One Feat. Sinéad O’ Connor
Smokey Quartz 6:59 Shakatura
Walk Into The Sun 5:21 Dirty Vegas
Dive 3:59 Steven Curtis Chapman
Keep On Searching 5:08 Kraak & Smaak
Played A Live 6:46 Safri Duo
One Way Road 3:06 The John Butler Trio
You Learn 4:00 Alanis Morissette
Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime 4:08 Zucchero & Vanessa Carlton Feat. Haylie Hecker
Rivers 5:45 Big Blue Ball featuring Vernon Reid, Márta Sebestyén, Karl Wallinger

Tuesday, Nov 11, 2014, 9am ~ The Unofficial Guide: Continuing Education

Come to Me 4:28 MBmusic
Souvenir 5:39 Kaledj feat. Neko
A Bright Future 3:53 MBmusic
Kyoto Drink 4:26 MBmusic
I Need Your Love 5:47 MBmusic
Dive 3:59 Steven Curtis Chapman
(The Return of) Point of No Return 5:01 NU SHOOZ Orchestra
Passion of Your Passion 7:21 Gat Decor
Culture 6:08 Ganga Girl
You Learn 4:00 Alanis Morissette
Gheisha 3:18 MBmusic
Beautiful World (Instrumental) 7:14 MRJ

Wednesday, Nov 12, 2014, 1055am ~ The Unofficial Guide: Continuing Education

Come to Me 4:28 MBmusic
Souvenir 5:39 Kaledj feat. Neko
Kyoto Drink 4:26 MBmusic
I Need Your Love 5:47 MBmusic
(The Return of) Point of No Return 5:01 NU SHOOZ Orchestra
Passion of Your Passion 7:21 Gat Decor
Do It Anyway 4:23 Ben Folds Five
Culture 6:08 Ganga Girl
You Learn 4:00 Alanis Morissette
Beautiful World (Instrumental) 7:14 MRJ

Thursday, Nov 13, 2014, 9am ~ The Unofficial Guide: Continuing Education

Turn On, Tune In, Find Joy 5:04 Freakpower
Waiting For You 3:39 Seal
May all Beings 6:27 EarthRise SoundSystem
I Need Your Love 5:47 MBmusic
Complicated 4:07 Yonder Mountain String Band
Drop It Low 3:45 Kat DeLuna
Do It Anyway 4:23 Ben Folds Five
Passion of Your Passion 7:21 Gat Decor
Culture 6:08 Ganga GirlYou Learn 4:00 Alanis Morissette
Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime 4:08 Zucchero & Vanessa Carlton Feat. Haylie Hecker
Rebirth 6:58 Anoushka Shankar/MIDIval

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!

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