Archive

Tag Archives: pause

FOCUS POCUS NOTE! As you may have noticed, I’ve been rolling the two weekly FocusPocus posts (art and content on Sundays, playlists and announcements on Thursdays) into one complete post. So whether you come to the blog for the art, the information, the music or the latest happenings and offerings, you are in the right place. Every Thursday, you’ll get it all. Thank you so much for being here.

Multitasking. It’s an idea that I have snuggled up to affectionately for years. It never was a relationship that loved me back, though. Even before I learned that the human brain cannot do more than one thing at a time, multitasking always leaves me feeling scattered, jangled and incomplete.

When I was writing my book, Octabusy: How to Let Go in a Sea of Doing, I thought I was being terribly clever to choose an octopus as the main character in my fable about the cultural norm of busyness. What could be a better poster child for doing many things at once than an eight-armed creature?

When I was nearly finished with the book, I read Sy Montgomery’s Soul of an Octopus and learned that an octopus’s nervous system is distributed through its arms and therefore actually can effectively multitask. Gah.

My mistake notwithstanding, the human lesson remains. And in the book, the Sea Turtle is the teacher who reminds Octabusy about the wisdom of doing one thing at a time. She invites the practice of creating space around what we choose to do by pausing, relaxing and then doing.

Below are our playlists for the week. If you’d like to listen to the music, you can find almost all the songs on Spotify (you can listen for free)! As always, please let me know if you have any questions about any of the music we dance to!

SO MUCH is happening, friends, so before the playlists, here is all the details on what’s coming up!

Nourishing Movement Classes at the Studio at Dancing Water on Thursday mornings at 11am!
Nourishing Movement classes with Susan on Thursdays at 11am ~~ my mix of guided and unguided movement, meditation and creativity! Please go to http://www.susanmcculley.com/shop for the details. Come join us in the trees by the river for grounded, flowing, spacious movement. Second Thursdays are followed by a pot luck lunch! Nourish yourself with movement and bring something nourishing to share! There is space in upcoming classes so please go HERE to sign up!
* The Studio at Dancing Water is at 2370 Old Lynchburg Road ~ detailed directions at http://www.susanmcculley.com and via email when you sign up!

Restorative Yoga with Octabusy: Letting Go of Doing to Restore Your Most Precious Device ~ Sunday, October 13, 4-6:30pm at The Studio at Dancing Water – JUST 3 SPACES LEFT
What better way to celebrate the release of my book, Octabusy: Letting Go in a Sea of Doing, than an afternoon of deep restorative yoga, a reading and signing of the book, and some refreshment? Join me and my teacher, Shandoah Goldman for a recuperative practice for anyone who needs another coffee, rests only while sleeping, are healing anything, need permission to do nothing, or feel that your energy is running low. You’ll also receive a copy of the book (signed however you’d like ~ and you’ll also be able to buy additional copies of the book at 25% off!).
Shandoah’s guidance will help you recharge your body’s batteries and slow down your nervous system through restorative yoga, shiatsu pressure points, visualizations and breathing techniques. We will use bolsters, blankets and blocks designed to bring your body into postures which access the parasympathetic nervous system and give you the permission for deep rest rather than ‘stretch.’ Prepare to come back to neutral with an energized readiness. Please bring socks, a long sleeve shirt and an extra layer.
I’ll read some from the book and offer tea and refreshment to fill out this truly psychosomatic experience that will leave you restored, recharged and rested. $65 with signed copy of Octabusy. Space is limited, please register here.

Octobusy Launch Celebration at New Dominion Bookshop ~ Saturday, October 19, 7-8pm
I’m thrilled to be celebrating the release of my new book, Octabusy: How to Let Go in a Sea of Doing at the wonderful New Dominion Bookshop on the Charlottesville downtown mall on Saturday evening, October 19 from 7-8pm. I’ll read a little, talk a little, sign a little, snack and do a happy dance! You can get the information here and here and if you can’t be there, you CAN preorder from NDB!

Saturday October 26, 9-12noon – Nourishing the Nervous System with Mindful Movement ~ CLASS IS FULL & WAITING LIST AVAILABLE
NOTE from Susan: I am thrilled, honored, excited to welcome Emily Wright to teach at Dancing Water. She is an extraordinary, approachable, gifted teacher. I can’t wait to do this with her. Will you join me?
The body is a central portal to nervous system regulation. When we are regulated and integrated, we have the capacity to be our most awake, available, creative, curious, flexible selves. Using a blend of guided movement work, journaling, visual art-making, poetry, and mindfulness practices, participants will explore states of autonomic nervous system regulation as a means to establish safe, nourishing connections to ourselves, each other, and the natural world.
About the instructor:
Emily Wright, MFA, PhD, is a movement educator, author, and practitioner. She offers classes and workshops in functional movement, contact improvisation, and intergenerational community dance informed by her extensive background in dance and other somatic disciplines.

Scholarships Available for all Experiences at The Studio at Dancing Water
We have delicious experiences coming up at The Studio AND we have scholarships available for them. Whether you’re interested in Shandoah Goldman’s Restorative Yoga + Octabusy book celebration on Oct 13 or Nourishing Movement classes with me on Thursday mornings at 11am, we can help with any of them. If finances are stopping you from joining us, please reach out and let me know (PM me or connect at sjmnia@gmail.com) .

The Movement Barn offers the GYROTONIC Method
Note from Susan: I recently had the good fortune to meet, move and have a GYROTONIC session with Casey Turner. I love the circular, functional, mindful approach of this technique. And I loved doing it with a view of the mountains in a field of flowers! Please check out her beautiful offerings.
The Movement Barn is a boutique fitness studio in Charlottesville, VA offering private GYROTONIC® sessions in a picturesque setting. Located in a field of wildflowers, The Movement Barn provides a unique workout experience for people of all ages and levels of ability. The GYROTONIC® Method is designed to increase strength, agility, and range of movement. This low impact system uses flowing exercises with circular and spiral motion to open energy pathways, stimulate the nervous system, and create space in the joints. For more information, visit http://www.themovementbarn.com, email catherine@themovementbarn.com, or follow @themovementbarn on Instagram!

First Friday Freedance with Kate ~ Oct 4 at 11:25am
Nia Freedance is an opportunity to play and tap into the creative wisdom in our body, emotions, mind and spirit. For a full hour we get to dance together with the intention of stimulating our own unique movement creativity. The next Nia Freedance will be at ACAC Albemarle Square Friday, Sep 6 from 11:25 -12:25.

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

Monday, Sep 30, 2019, 1045am ~ One Thing at a Time: Pause. Relax. Do.

Breathe In (feat. Wafia) 3:20 Japanese Wallpaper
From Mumbai 7:20 Sebastian Taylor
Isla De La Piedra 5:05 Phontaine
Mussiki é (Jungle Mix) 7:11 Miango
Mundian to Bach Ke 3:46 Panjabi MC
Desert Days 5:31 John Kelley
Inner Membrane 5:19 Govinda
Since Supernatural 4:32 Governor Washington/Melky Jean/Santana
Finally Moving 4:38 Pretty Lights
Melt 5:13 Leftfield
Peace 4:05 George Winston

Tuesday, Oct 1, 2019, 840am ~ One Thing at a Time: Pause. Relax. Do.

Breathe In (feat. Wafia) 3:20 Japanese Wallpaper
From Mumbai 7:20 Sebastian Taylor
Isla De La Piedra 5:05 Phontaine
Mussiki é (Jungle Mix) 7:11 Miango
Mundian to Bach Ke 3:46 Panjabi MC
Desert Days 5:31 John Kelley
Inner Membrane 5:19 Govinda
Finally Moving 4:38 Pretty Lights
Melt 5:13 Leftfield
Peace 4:05 George Winston

Wednesday, Oct 2, 2019, 11am ~ One Thing at a Time: Pause. Relax. Do.

Breathe In (feat. Wafia) 3:20 Japanese Wallpaper
Terrapin 4:31 Bonobo
From Mumbai 7:20 Sebastian Taylor
Souk Rok 5:25 Ranu Raraku
Mussiki é (Jungle Mix) 7:11 Miango
The Dream of the Blue Turtles/Demolition Man 6:09 Sting
Desert Days 5:31 John Kelley
Inner Membrane 5:19 Govinda
One Of These Things First 4:49 Nick Drake
Sea Turtle 3:41 Balos Hideaway
Melt 5:13 Leftfield
Peace 4:05 George Winston

Thursday, Oct 3, 2019, 11am Nourishing Movement at the Studio at Dancing Water ~ One Thing at a Time: Pause. Relax. Do.

Breathe In (feat. Wafia) 3:20 Japanese Wallpaper
Terrapin 4:31 Bonobo
From Mumbai 7:20 Sebastian Taylor
Sea Turtle 3:41 Balos Hideaway
Gonna Be [Ben Human Remix] 4:10 Mo’ Horizons
Mussiki é (Jungle Mix) 7:11 Miango
U R The Answer 5:57 Stephen Bray/ Michael Beckwith
Desert Days 5:31 John Kelley
Grateful 3:54 Nimesh Patel & Daniel Nahmod
Moon Walking 5:24 Bjarno
Feel Your Body Float 7:29 Anuvida & Nik Tynhall

Saturday, Oct 5, 2019, 9am ~ Guest Teach for Anne

Out Of Town 5:20 Cantoma
Leaving Babylon 6:42 Bluetech
Back Home 5:19 Fishtank
In This Love Together 5:12 Michael Bernard Beckwith
BOOM 2:45 X Ambassadors
Shadowman 6:36 Afro Celt Sound System
Hermes 4:08 Santana
Gold Dust Woman 5:02 Fleetwood Mac
Stand Up 3:41 Sugarland
Gravity 4:06 John Mayer
Lavender Hill 4:33 Lex van Someren
Ascension 4:52 Lex van Someren


The practice of pausing adds wisdom and skill to most everything. Even, and perhaps in particular, in the midst of everything.
Below are our playlists for the week. If you’d like to listen to the music, you can find almost all the songs on Spotify (you can listen for free)! As always, please let me know if you have any questions about any of the music we dance to!

And friends, I am always ALWAYS looking for new music. Do you have a song that you love to move to or that moves you? I’d love to know what it is! Please respond in the comments below or email me at sjmnia@gmail.com!

Before the playlists, some announcements of (particularly exciting) things that are happening!

Classes at the Studio at Dancing Water
I’m delighted to announce that I will start offering classes at the studio at Dancing Water* on Thursday mornings from 11-1215pm starting THIS THURSDAY, May 2. Classes will be my mix of guided and unguided movement, meditation and creativity! Come join us in the trees by the river for grounded, flowing, spacious movement. For the month of May, I’m offering a discounted rate so grab a friend and come to the river! Go HERE to sign up!
* The Studio at Dancing Water is at 2370 Old Lynchburg Road ~ detailed directions at http://www.susanmcculley.com and via email when you sign up!

Summer acac Schedule Shift
For the acac summer schedule (starting June 13), Jeanne Catherine will be teaching the Thursday morning 8:40-9:40am class. I will continue to teach Mondays 10:45-12noon at Albemarle Square, Tuesdays 8:40-9:40am Downtown, and Wednesdays 11-12:15pm at Albemarle Square and I will teach on Thursday mornings at the Studio at Dancing Water…lots of choices for mindful movement!

First Friday Freedance with Kate ~ May 3 at 11:25am
Nia Freedance is an opportunity to play and tap into the creative wisdom in our body, emotions, mind and spirit. For a full hour we get to dance together with the intention of stimulating our own unique movement creativity. The next Nia Freedance will be at ACAC Albemarle Square Friday, May 3 from 11:25 -12:25.

Nia White Belt Training with Kelle Rae Oien Aug 15-21 at SoulShines in Richmond
Whether for personal growth, developing your practice or preparing to teach, the Nia White Belt training is a life-changing experience. Join stellar White Belt Trainer, Kelle Rae Oien at the new SoulShines Studios in Richmond. Go here for more information!
https://www.facebook.com/events/796684947329568/ (NOTE: A belt can audit 3 sessions for free. (They will need to pay for classes with Kelle – not included in the free offer) A retake (anything more than 3 sessions) is $99 to HQ and $400 to Kelle. That includes all classes.)

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

Monday, Apr 29, 2019, 1045am ~ Pause.

Healing Senses 8:27 Parijat
Marisi 6:33 Cantoma
Sol Tapado 3:52 Thievery Corporation
I’m in Heaven 7:05 Universal Funk
Dancing is Important 5:37 Moodswings
Air Batucada 4:40 Thievery Corporation
Shama Lama Ding Dong 3:01 C. Vaughn Leslie
The Heart is A Lonely Hunter 6:22 Thievery Corporation
Minimba Featuring Mari Boine 5:55 Future Prophecies
Bless This 7:21 Deseo Remixes (original by Jon Anderson)

Tuesday, Apr 30, 2019, 840am ~ Pause.

Healing Senses 8:27 Parijat
Marisi 6:33 Cantoma
Sol Tapado 3:52 Thievery Corporation
I’m in Heaven 7:05 Universal Funk
Dancing is Important 5:37 Moodswings
Air Batucada 4:40 Thievery Corporation
Time To Smile 3:31 Xavier Rudd
The Heart is A Lonely Hunter 6:22 Thievery Corporation
Minimba Featuring Mari Boine 5:55 Future Prophecies
The Essence One 3:24 Jeroen Elfferich

Wednesday, May 1, 2019, 11am ~ Pause.

From Mumbai 7:20 Sebastian Taylor
Nourah 6:51 Makyo
Africa Bamba 4:43 Santana
No Quiero Nada Mas 4:46 Sancti Spiritus
Amoré (Sexo) 3:52 Macy Gray/Santana
Work That Body 5:35 Rodney Hunter
Smooth 4:58 Santana Feat. Rob Thomas
Denmark 5:07 Chemical Brothers
Inner Membrane 5:19 Govinda
Beguiled 4:46 Tim Story

Thursday, May 2, 2019, 840am ~ Pause.

From Mumbai 7:20 Sebastian Taylor
Nourah 6:51 Makyo
Africa Bamba 4:43 Santana
No Quiero Nada Mas 4:46 Sancti Spiritus
Amoré (Sexo) 3:52 Macy Gray/Santana
Work That Body 5:35 Rodney Hunter
Smooth 4:58 Santana Feat. Rob Thomas
Denmark 5:07 Chemical Brothers
Inner Membrane 5:19 Govinda
Beguiled 4:46 Tim Story

Thursday, May 2, 2019, 11am Mindful Movement at the Studio at Dancing Water ~ Pause.

Sky 5:28 Jeroen Elfferich
From Mumbai 7:20 Sebastian Taylor
Bahia 3:34 Angélique Kidjo
Africa Bamba 4:43 Santana
Mundian to Bach Ke 3:46 Panjabi MC
Smooth 4:58 Santana Feat. Rob Thomas
Isla De La Piedra 5:05 Phontaine
Desert Days 5:31 John Kelley
Inner Membrane 5:19 Govinda
Since Supernatural 4:32 Governor Washington/Melky Jean/Santana
You Wish 3:33 Nightmares on Wax
All Rivers 4:57 Tully John and Liza-Jane
Rivers 5:45 Big Blue Ball featuring Vernon Reid, Márta Sebestyén, Karl Wallinger

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!

Before you get up.
Before you eat.
Before you go to the next thing.
Before you hit SEND.
Before you speak.
Before…pause.

Even in the middle of everything.
A nourishing, intentional, sacred pause can make all the difference.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

DANCING WATER CLASSES ~ ~ ~ I’m delighted to announce that I will start offering classes at the studio at Dancing Water* on Thursday mornings from 11-1215pm starting THIS THURSDAY, May 2. Come join us in the trees by the river for grounded, flowing, spacious movement. For the month of May, I’m offering a discounted rate while we work out the kinks together! Go HERE to sign up!

 

  • Dancing Water ~ 2370 Old Lynchburg Road, Charlottesville VA 22903 (detailed directions can be found in the SHOP section under Additional Information).

Nineteen years ago, my sister and I participated in the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day 60 mile walk. We trained all winter to walk 60 miles from somewhere in Maryland to the mall in Washington DC. All that training and that long walking weekend, I barely stopped moving for months. When we finished, my sweet husband (to whom I’d been married for less than a year) gave me a simple vase with the word “pause” on it .

I loved it then and ever since it has a place on honor on my desk to remind me to take my time and to stop and breathe (it’s pictured here in my new studio with other beloved reminders of creativity and adventure).

For the past year and a half, that same husband and I have been building a dream. It’s a house but more than that. On Friday, we passed the final inspection and started to move into our new home. It’s wonderful and exciting…and it’s been exhausting. So in the spirit of the walk in 2000 and the reminder of the “pause” vase, I am taking the week off from teaching to get settled and get my bearings.

So this week, I offer you a poem and a dharma talk. First, the dharma. Tara Brach speaks eloquently and beautifully about the practice of the Sacred Pause. I hope you will pause and listen to her wisdom here.

And then the poem:

For Our World

We need to stop.
Just stop.
Stop for a moment.
Before anybody
Says or does anything
That may hurt anyone else.
We need to be silent.
Just silent.
Silent for a moment.
Before we forever lose
The blessing of songs
That grow in our hearts.
We need to notice.
Just notice.
Notice for a moment.
Before the future slips away
Into ashes and dust of humility.
Stop, be silent, and notice.
In so many ways, we are the same.
Our differences are unique treasures.
We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts
To nurture, to offer, to accept.
We need to be.
Just be.
Be for a moment.
Kind and gentle, innocent and trusting,
Like children and lambs,
Never judging or vengeful
Like the judging and vengeful.
And now, let us pray,
Differently, yet together,
Before there is no earth, no life,
No chance for peace.

September 11, 2001
© Matthew Joseph Thaddeus Stepanek 1990 -2004
from Hope Through Heartsongs, Hyperion, 2002

Have a peaceful week, everybody. I’ll see you the week of April 29!

breathe womanSmile, breathe and go slowly.  ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Breathing.  Everybody does it.  Lots of people study it, write about it, practice it.  I did a search on Amazon for “breath science” and got 1,071 results:  books on anatomy and physiology of breathing, Hindu-Yogi Science Of Breath, and the Oriental Breathing Philosophy.  And that was just on the first page.  Yogis do it:  breath work (Pranayama) is one of the eight limbs of yogic practice.  Meditators have used breath as an anchor for thousands of years.

No Expert

If you’re looking for an expert on breath, I’m not your gal.  I do use breath every day, and I don’t know all there is to know.  I do know that breath nourishes me.  Breath cleanses me.  And breath gives me space, a pause.  Breath buys me time.  Being aware of my breath is a huge help to me on a day-to-day basis.

Nourish

As a movement teacher, I’m aware of the importance of breath for the physical body.  When I took traditional aerobics classes, I only remember the instructor mentioning the breath at the very beginning and the very end of the class.  Now that I teach classes myself, it’s actually in the heart of the class that I really want my students to be paying attention to their breathing.  If their breathing gets rapid, shallow or ragged, this is the body’s way of telling us to slow down movement until breath is deep and even.  Full breaths nourish the body, so the more deep ones we take, especially when moving, the easier on the body.

Cleanse

Of course, breath both brings nourishment to the cells and releases waste from the cells.  Full exhalations are just as important to cleanse and clear the body.  My experience is that a long, full exhalation also clears my mind.  I notice that if I slightly contract the back of my throat as I exhale (what you’d do when you breathe on your sunglasses to clean them off), my exhale can be extended longer, and the “ocean sound” from the restricted breath drowns out my thoughts.  Yogis call this the Ujjayi or ocean breath.  If you go to a Vinyasa or Astanga class, you are likely to hear a whole chorus of Ujjayi through every pose.  I definitely use the ocean breath in yoga, and whenever I sit in meditation when my thoughts start getting loud and jangly.  Yogis find that the Ujjayi breath gives more power and focus to their practice, and I experience that, too.  But the most helpful thing a long ocean exhale does is clear out the inside of my head.

Pause

Finally, breath gives me a pause.  Breathing buys me time.  Especially in tense situations, I remind myself not to speak before taking a full breath first.  I remember a particularly difficult conversation in a particularly difficult relationship when I used this practice.  The other person would launch into their complaint with me, and I took a deep breath, ready to respond the best I could.  And before I could fully exhale, she was talking again and telling me about how cross she was about this or that.  I would take another deep breath, ready to answer her, and again she was talking before I was finished breathing.  This was such an instructive conversation for me.  Sometimes, people just need to say what they need to say.

This week, really notice your breath as it nourishes your body, cleanses your mind and buys you time.  I know I can use this any day, but especially in the height of the holiday season.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Be well.  And leave a comment below!

NOTE:  Upcoming classes at ACAC!  Tomorrow, Saturday, Dec 22, I’ll be teaching a spirited playlist at Albemarle Square at 945am.  Next week, I’m with my family on Monday and Wednesday (Elizabeth Britt will be teaching my classes at Albemarle Square).  Thursday, Dec 27, 9am Downtown, I’ll offer the meditative ChakraDancer routine and Friday, Dec 28, 9am Downtown, I’ll teach Firedance.  Welcome 2013!

 

%d bloggers like this: