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Returning to the Miracle & Wonder routine (created 7 years ago in honor of the 25th anniversary of Paul Simon’s Graceland album) was rich and varied and…fun (how could “a rolly polly little bat faced girl” not be?)! Thanks to all who came out to be amazed not just by our miraculous bodies, but the wonder of Paul Simon’s music.

I love the interweavings and collaborations in the Graceland album. You can find the scoop on the original focus of the routine here. And there is a great interview with Simon about the making of the Graceland song here. And The Google reveals lots of great videos and interviews to check out about his fascinating creative process. And finally, one of the things I admire so much about Paul Simon’s work is his poetry. You can find all the lyrics of the routine here.

Miracle & Wonder was a great routine to explore this week’s focus of Proprioception & Interoception. You can find all the playlists below. If you’d like to listen to them, you can find almost all the music on Spotify where you can listen for free! Please let me know if you have any questions about any of the music we dance to!

But first, here are some things I know you want to know about:

Reminder about Upcoming Nia schedule shifts
*Fri 9/7 9am Downtown A Mary Linn teaches this class for the fall schedule
*Fri 9/7 545pm Downtown Jeanne teaches this class for the fall schedule
*Sun 9/9 315pm Downtown cancelled for early club closure

Buddha Cat: Learning Awareness, Presence & Self-Care from a Teacher Who Sometimes Barf on the Bed … Are Going Fast!
Buddha Cat is on sale now! If you haven’t yet, you can go to http://www.susanmcculley.com and sign up to be a Buddha Cat Backer. You will then have access to discount codes for free shipping and reduced prices on books — now extended through September 16. Well more than half of the books have gone to good homes so now is the time to place an order!

Buddha Cat Now Available at Two Local Bookstores!
If you’d rather not order online and/or if you’d like to support an independent bookstore, you can find the book at two local establishments!

Over The Moon Bookstore at 2025 Library Ave in Crozet, Virginia. It’s a beautiful store filled with great books, lovely things and chocolate and is well worth a visit.
New Dominion Bookshop on the downtown mall at 404 E Main St in Charlottesville, Virginia. New Dominion is the oldest independent bookseller in Virginia, and carries books in fiction, non-fiction, and children’s literature, and a unique selection of architecture and landscape gardening resources…as well as Buddha Cat. Please do go in, ask for Buddha Cat by name and support local artists, local booksellers and local cats.

Buddha Cat Art & Book Exhibit Reception on Friday, September 14, 6-730pm
A selection of drawings and mixed media pieces including some from the Buddha Cat book will be displayed at Buck Mountain Episcopal Church’s Deese Hall September 1-30 (4133 Earlysville Rd, Earlysville, VA 22936). A reception for Buddha Cat and More: Mixed-media Drawings and Book will be held there on Friday, September 14 from 6-730pm. Please join us to celebrate art, community, delight and insight.

Buddha Cat & More Art at Hot Yoga Charlottesville in October
A selection of drawings and mixed media pieces including some from the Buddha Cat book will be displayed at Hot Yoga Charlottesville (216 Water St W Ste 103, Charlottesville, VA 22902) October 9-November 9. We’ll have art for sale and snacks for snacking on Saturday, October 13, 12noon-1pm. Come sweat and celebrate.

Buddha Cat Book Launch Party on Saturday, Nov 3, 2-3pm at New Dominion Bookshop
Come to the historic New Dominion Bookshop on the historic downtown mall for a book launch party! I’ll be signing books and you can do some early holiday shopping and there will be very cool people there (you!) and, of course, snacks! Please join us.

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

Monday, Sep 3, 2018, 1045am ~ Proprioception & Interoception (Miracle & Wonder)

Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes 5:48 Paul Simon
All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints 3:15 Paul Simon
The Obvious Child 4:10 Paul Simon
Graceland 4:51 Paul Simon
I Know What I Know 3:13 Paul Simon
The Boy in the Bubble 3:59 Paul Simon
You Can Call Me Al 4:40 Paul Simon
Crazy Love, Volume II 4:19 Paul Simon
Gumboots 2:45 Paul Simon
Can’t Run But 3:37 Paul Simon
So Beautiful Or So What 4:09 Paul Simon
Born At The Right Time 3:48 Paul Simon
St. Judy’s Comet 3:19 Paul Simon
Under African Skies 3:37 Paul Simon
The Boy In The Bubble 4:30 Peter Gabriel

Tuesday, Sep 4, 2018, 840am ~ Proprioception & Interoception (Miracle & Wonder)

Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes 5:48 Paul Simon
All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints 3:15 Paul Simon
The Obvious Child 4:10 Paul Simon
Graceland 4:51 Paul Simon
I Know What I Know 3:13 Paul Simon
The Boy in the Bubble 3:59 Paul Simon
You Can Call Me Al 4:40 Paul Simon
Gumboots 2:45 Paul Simon
Can’t Run But 3:37 Paul Simon
So Beautiful Or So What 4:09 Paul Simon
St. Judy’s Comet 3:19 Paul Simon
Under African Skies 3:37 Paul Simon
The Boy In The Bubble 4:30 Peter Gabriel

Wednesday, Sep 5, 2017, 11am ~ Proprioception & Interoception (Miracle & Wonder)

Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes 5:48 Paul Simon
All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints 3:15 Paul
The Obvious Child 4:10 Paul Simon
Graceland 4:51 Paul Simon
I Know What I Know 3:13 Paul Simon
The Boy in the Bubble 3:59 Paul Simon
You Can Call Me Al 4:40 Paul Simon
That Was Your Mother 2:55 Paul Simon
Can’t Run But 3:37 Paul Simon
So Beautiful Or So What 4:09 Paul Simon
Spirit Voices 3:56 Paul Simon
St. Judy’s Comet 3:19 Paul Simon
Under African Skies 3:37 Paul Simon
The Boy In The Bubble 4:30 Peter Gabriel

Thursday, Sep 6, 2017, 840am ~ Proprioception & Interoception (Miracle & Wonder)

Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes 5:48 Paul Simon
All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints 3:15 Paul
The Obvious Child 4:10 Paul Simon
Graceland 4:51 Paul Simon
I Know What I Know 3:13 Paul Simon
The Boy in the Bubble 3:59 Paul Simon
You Can Call Me Al 4:40 Paul Simon
That Was Your Mother 2:55 Paul Simon
Can’t Run But 3:37 Paul Simon
Spirit Voices 3:56 Paul Simon
St. Judy’s Comet 3:19 Paul Simon
Under African Skies 3:37 Paul Simon
The Boy In The Bubble 4:30 Peter Gabriel

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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“The opposite of talking isn’t listening. The opposite of talking is waiting.” – Fran Lebowitz

This week we explored the balance of sukha (relaxed without dullness) and sthira (alert without tension) while dancing to the Miracle & Wonder routine that I created in 2012. If you’re interested in more about the routine, you can read about the focus, the intent, and all the lyrics.

miracle & wonder quote 033016

One of the songs we dance to in Miracle & Wonder is Gumboots. Although there is no reference to it in the lyrics, the title points to the Gumboot Dance. South African gold mine workers were forbidden to talk in the dark and dangerous mines, so they used rhythmic slapping and stomping of their rubber gumboots to communicate. From there, the Gumboot Dance emerged. Here is a beautiful example.

You can find all playlists below or you can choose to listen to them by going to Spotify! You can listen for free at Spotify! Sign up for free, follow me at “susanmcculley” and you’ll find my public playlists ~ just click and listen!

Below are the playlists for the week, but first here are a bunch of cool things that are coming up:

• Saturday with Susan ~ Sat, April 2, 9-1010am at acac downtown
Anne is traveling and I get to play on Saturday morning! Join me for one of my new favorite routines, Pulse, with the focus of mobility and stability in the core.

• Downtown Morning Nia on Tue, Apr 5 AND Thu, Apr 7
ACAC is refinishing the floor in the Downtown Group Ex Studio during the first week of April. Weather permitting, I will teach on the rooftop deck on Tuesday, April 5 and Thursday, April 7, both days at 840-940am. Due to the somewhat rougher surface and cooler temperature of the deck, we recommend wearing light shoes for these classes. Classes normally taught in Studio A will be held as usual during this time!

• Earth Day, Friday, April 22, 545-7pm, acac downtown ~ Group Ex Studio
Susan & Mary Linn are teaming up for a special class celebrating our big mama, Earth. Join us for a playful exploration of how the elements of earth, wind, water and fire manifest in movement and in our bodies.

• A Spring Thing, Friday, April 29, 545-715pm, Buck Mountain Episcopal Parish Hall*, Earlysville
Join Susan & Mary Linn for an evening of movement choices. Spring can be a time of both riding the ebullient wave of upward energy and finding peace in the midst of all that blossoming and growing! The first portion of the evening will be a look at some of the basics of Nia movement and how each can be adjusted as to the needs of your body in the moment. Then we’ll practice those movements in a Spring Thing Nia class experience. Free to everybody (donations gratefully accepted for the Buck Mountain Health and Wellness Ministry).
* 4133 Earlysville Road, Earlysville VA 22936 ~ GPS will take you to the church; the Parish Hall is the small white building just past the church.

• dance. sit. write. draw. returns! Saturday, May 7, 830am-5pm
Living life as an artist isn’t a path for some rarified few, it’s our birthright. All of us. You might have lots of experience with dancing, meditating, writing, and drawing. Or you might have none. Spending the day blending these practices is a way of opening the channel of your artist self ~ giving it some oxygen and space no matter what your experience is. Join us for a delicious day.

I’m making a series of four short videos about why you might consider coming to the retreat. The first two are up and ready:

Why dance. sit. write. draw.?

Wait, why dance. sit. write. draw., again? (Or, Why Pablo Picasso and I Want You To Come To The Retreat)

You can go to susanmcculley.com/workshops for the details and to register or email me at sjmnia@gmail.com with questions.

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, Mar 28, 2016, 1045am ~ Sthira & Sukha Balance

Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes 5:48 Paul Simon
All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints 3:15 Paul Simon
The Obvious Child 4:10 Paul Simon
Graceland 4:51 Paul Simon
I Know What I Know 3:13 Paul Simon
The Boy in the Bubble 3:59 Paul Simon
You Can Call Me Al 4:40 Paul Simon
Crazy Love, Volume II 4:19 Paul Simon
That Was Your Mother 2:55 Paul Simon
Can’t Run But 3:37 Paul Simon
So Beautiful Or So What 4:09 Paul Simon
Born At The Right Time 3:48 Paul Simon
Spirit Voices 3:56 Paul Simon
Under African Skies 3:37 Paul Simon
Homeless 3:48 Paul Simon

Tuesday, Mar 29, 2016, 840am ~ Sthira & Sukha Balance

Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes 5:48 Paul Simon
All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints 3:15 Paul Simon
The Obvious Child 4:10 Paul Simon
Graceland 4:51 Paul Simon
I Know What I Know 3:13 Paul Simon
The Boy in the Bubble 3:59 Paul Simon
Crazy Love, Volume II 4:19 Paul Simon
That Was Your Mother 2:55 Paul Simon
Can’t Run But 3:37 Paul Simon
So Beautiful Or So What 4:09 Paul Simon
Spirit Voices 3:56 Paul Simon
Under African Skies 3:37 Paul Simon
Homeless 3:48 Paul Simon

Wednesday, Mar 30, 2016, 11am ~ Sthira & Sukha Balance

Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes 5:48 Paul Simon
All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints 3:15 Paul Simon
The Obvious Child 4:10 Paul Simon
Graceland 4:51 Paul Simon
I Know What I Know 3:13 Paul Simon
The Boy in the Bubble 3:59 Paul Simon
You Can Call Me Al 4:40 Paul Simon
Crazy Love, Volume II 4:19 Paul Simon
Gumboots 2:45 Paul Simon
Can’t Run But 3:37 Paul Simon
So Beautiful Or So What 4:09 Paul Simon
Born At The Right Time 3:48 Paul Simon
Spirit Voices 3:56 Paul Simon
Under African Skies 3:37 Paul Simon
The Boy In The Bubble 4:30 Peter Gabriel

Thursday, Mar 31, 2016, 840am ~ Sthira & Sukha Balance

Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes 5:48 Paul Simon
All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints 3:15 Paul Simon
The Obvious Child 4:10 Paul Simon
Graceland 4:51 Paul Simon
I Know What I Know 3:13 Paul Simon
The Boy in the Bubble 3:59 Paul Simon
Crazy Love, Volume II 4:19 Paul Simon
Gumboots 2:45 Paul Simon
Can’t Run But 3:37 Paul Simon
So Beautiful Or So What 4:09 Paul Simon
Born At The Right Time 3:48 Paul Simon
Under African Skies 3:37 Paul Simon
The Boy In The Bubble 4:30 Peter Gabriel

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!
Here is a beautiful example.

Last week and next week, I’ll be teaching the Miracle & Wonder so here’s the full playlist.  Next week, I’ll post the lyrics that are full of poetry and magic!

Miracle & Wonder

Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes by Paul Simon from Graceland

All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints by Paul Simon from Graceland

The Obvious Child by Paul Simon from Rhythm Of The Saints

Graceland by Paul Simon from Graceland

I Know What I Know by Paul Simon from Graceland

The Boy in the Bubble by Paul Simon from Graceland

You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon from Graceland

Crazy Love, Volume II by Paul Simon from Graceland

That Was Your Mother by Paul Simon from Graceland

Can’t Run But by Paul Simon from Rhythm Of The Saints

So Beautiful Or So What by Paul Simon from So Beautiful Or So What

Born At The Right Time by Paul Simon from Rhythm Of The Saints

Spirit Voices by Paul Simon from Rhythm Of The Saints

Under African Skies by Paul Simon from Graceland

Questions For The Angels by Paul Simon from So Beautiful Or So What

Homeless by Paul Simon from Graceland

Paul Simon inspires me.  He is an artist, musician and poet — one of my favorites.  His ground-breaking career has spanned decades and continents.  I have wanted to create a routine with his music for years, and when I realized that 2012 is the 25th anniversary of his genius Graceland album, I decided now was the time.  And so, Miracle and Wonder was born (at the right time!).

THE PLAYLIST

The playlist practically built itself.  Pulling mainly from Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints as well as a few from his latest, So Beautiful or So What.  I love his profound use of poetic language and the cultural blending of musical styles and instruments.  From African beats and vocals to South American percussion and rhythms, he creates something new by combining from traditional sources.  Throughout this routine, I hope you’ll be inspired by the words (“the myth of fingerprints”? just noodle on that for a while!) and the wildly eclectic music.  (I’ll post the complete playlist later in the week.)

THE FOCUS

With the foundation of Simon’s poetry and diversity, I found that movements of the ankles and wrists naturally emerged.  Four oft-neglected and often-vulnerable joints, the ankles and wrists offer so much to play with in terms of strength, flexibility, mobility, agility and stability.  The very nature and placement of these joints at the extremity of the body lend themselves to expressiveness and movement variety.

WRISTS

The wrist joints are actually made up of many joints.  Irregular bones connect in gliding synovial joints and condyloid joints (where two bones fit together with an odd shape; one bone is concave, the other convex) that allow for a range of movement from rotation, extension, flexion and more.

Functionally, this makes sense, of course.  The joint that connects the reach of the arm to the fine motor skills of the hand needs to offer lots of movement options.

WRIST HEALTH

The bummer for wrists these days, though, especially with long hours of computer use and smart phone texting, is that we tend to hold our wrists in one position (usually flexion) for extended periods of time and do repetitive movements with our hands and fingers.  Using the hands and wrists in this way limits their flexibility and strength.  What’s  more, it’s common for tension to accumulate above and below the joint in the forearms and hands.  (The research is not clear if extended computer/phone use contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome when the median nerve gets squeezed by the wrist, but I would contend that any time we limit the use of a joint, it will be less healthy.)  Right now, circle your wrists and notice if you feel any tightness or soreness in them.

ANKLES

Ankles are similar joints to the wrists with the obvious functional difference that we stand and walk on them!  Like the wrists, the ankles connect the long lower leg bones with the complex bones of the feet with a series of irregular synovial joints.  The irregular bones and small joints make it possible for us to walk on soft-unstable surfaces (like sand and grass) or hard-uneven surfaces (like cobblestones) without falling.  Simultaneously, however, the strong muscles and connective tissue in the ankle joints give our bodies the support we need to run, hop, and dance with stability and grace.

 ANKLE HEALTH

Again, similarly to the wrists, we tend to hold our feet in one position (flexion) most of the time which limits the ankle mobility and flexibility.  And in our modern culture, we tend to walk almost exclusively on hard, flat surfaces which weaken the ankle’s stabilizing muscles.  Before practicing Nia, my ankles turned all the time.  I didn’t have to be doing anything tricky, just stepping out of the shower or walking across the street and – oops! – my ankle would turn.  One of the benefits of my Nia practice has been the marked increase in my ankles’ strength and stability (although they still turn now and again).  Nia can also help with the opposite issue:  if you tend to be highly stable in your ankles, it’s likely that they are not terribly flexible.  If this is the case, Nia’s varied movements can improve the flexibility and health of your ankles.  Right now, flex, point and circle your feet.  Notice your range of motion and any places of tightness.  Check out the ankle flexibility by getting on all fours, hips over knees, and release the top of your foot to the ground.  Does the front of your ankle joint yawn open onto the floor, or does it stay partially flexed?

FOCUS & INTENT

Every Nia routine has a focus (that is, WHAT we do) and an intent (the RESULT we want to create, or what we want to happen).  Miracle and Wonder focuses on wrist and ankle movement with the intent of opening the heart.  While it may seem like a non-sequitur, I’ll explain more next week about the connection between the ankle/wrist focus and the heart-opening intent in this routine.  Until then, keep moving your wrists and ankles — and come dance with me this week!

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