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Tag Archives: TEDx Charlottesville

wearing-the-cape-even-when-not-wearing-the-cape-110216

Wow, did I ever love dancing in my superhero cape this week! AND I am reminded that the practice is to build my inner resources, my INNER superhero cape, so I feel can feel centered, relaxed, alert and ready for whatever unfolds — even when things get hairy. The key is to wear your superhero cape even when you’re not wearing your superhero cape.

Special thanks this week to Mary Linn for sharing her juicy superhero self — even for the surprise appearance on Tuesday morning!

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

And first the announce-y things:

• heARTful: a space for the artist in everybody ~ a 3-minute survey
Rebecca George and I are launching a new creative adventure and we would love your input! Please take this 3-minute, 3-question survey: let’s build it together!

• TEDx Charlottesville: The Power of One on Friday, November 11
I’m delighted to be a small part of the big event of TEDx Charlottesville on November 11. It’s my honor, privledge and excitement to be coaching two of the amazing line-up of speakers: Lulu Miller and Monica Montgomery.
You can listen to the work of Lulu Miller by checking out her Invisibilia podcast on NPR. I’ve been loving the new season that explores the invisible things that shape our lives. All the episodes are excellent but I think my favorite was The Problem with the Solution.
And check out some of Monica Montgomery’s heart-stopping projects as the founding director of the Museum of Impact, the world’s first mobile social justice museum, and the co-founder of and strategic director for Museum Hue, a platform advancing the visibility and viability of professionals of color, in museums, arts, and culture, and creative careers.
Tickets for this inspiring day are available now! Please join us for TEDx Charlottesville!

• SPACES STILL AVAILABLE — Going Below The Surface: Nia, Yin Yoga & Words Saturday, November 12, 1-4pm
REGISTER NOW, November 12, 1-4pm. Explore this focus in a special workshop — Going Below The Surface — that I’ll be teaching with Yin Yoga Instructor, Amy Kidd on Saturday, November 12 from 1-4pm at acac Albemarle Square. I will lead simple, varied, energetic movements to warm and mobilize the body: particularly the hips, core and shoulders. Amy will then take us through a series of Yin yoga poses designed to release muscle, fascia and other connective tissue in the core with long, supported holds. Interwoven through the afternoon, as energy is released and the body/mind relaxes, will be opportunities to write – either journaling or using simple provided prompts. Plan now to take an afternoon to breathe deep and see what lies below the surface.
Space is limited. Register now at either acac Albemarle Square (434.978.3800) or Downtown (434.984.3800)
NOV 12 WORKSHOP IS AT ALBEMARLE SQUARE!
$60 members, $65 non-members

• Thanksgiving Day Nia with Susan! Thursday, Nov 24, 8:30-9:30am
Start your day of gratitude with dancing! Join Susan for an inspired hour of mindful movement and enthusiastic tail-feather shaking on Thursday, November 24 from 8:30-9:30am (not 8:40am, y’all). Bring a friend or visiting family ~ guests come for FREE on the holiday! Or sneak out for a little sweaty You Time. Happy Thanksgiving!

• Celebrating Slow: Donation-based Nia at Buck Mountain Open to everyBody ~ December 2, 6-7pm
Contrary to Nature’s rhythm in this season, the winter holidays come upon us at breakneck speed. Layered on top of already busy lives are parties and performances, cooking and customs, shopping and wrapping that have us running from November to January.
Slow down. Get clear. Be intentional about what you are doing and where you are going. Approach the season as you would a small child: gently, slowly and with an open heart.
Bring a friend. All are welcome regardless of age, experience, fitness level … anything! Donations support the Buck Mountain Health & Wellness Ministry which is doing great work for both the congregation and the community!
For more details and to RSVP, go here.

• MARK YOUR CALENDAR! dance.sit.create. day-treat on Saturday, Feb 18, 2017, 8:30am-5pm
We’ll be at it again – dancing.sitting.creating. together — on Saturday, Feb 18 (snow date, March 4). Registration opens next week. More soon!

• Art prints now available on Susan’s web site!
Now available on my site: high quality prints of my art (more pieces coming soon!). Inspired by the dance.sit.create. retreats, these pieces are part meditation, part inspiration, part poetry. Printed on heavy matte paper, may they be reminders for creative connection. Free shipping to US addresses. For other options, please inquire! http://www.susanmcculley.com/shop/

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, Oct 31, 2016, 1045am ~ Be Your Own Superhero (with Mary Linn)

Heroe 4:23 Enrique Iglesias
Superman (It’s Not Easy) 3:42 Five For Fighting
Hero Dead And Gone (Discotheque Mix) 4:55 De-Phazz
SexybackClean Version 4:03 Justin Timberlake
U R The Answer 5:57 Stephen Bray/ Michael Beckwith
Fly 3:33 Bart Hafeman
Shout Now 3:17 Melissa Etheridge
Fingerbeat 5:57 Drumspyder
Roar 3:44 Katy Perry
Put Your Lights On 4:45 Santana Feat. Everlast
Colour In My Name (Featuring Precise) 6:08 Spiral System
Stillpoint 6:07 Gabrielle Roth and The Mirrors

Tuesday, Nov 1, 2016, 840am & 535pm ~ Be Your Own Superhero

Heroe 4:23 Enrique Iglesias
Superman (It’s Not Easy) 3:42 Five For Fighting
Hero Dead And Gone (Discotheque Mix) 4:55 De-Phazz
SexybackClean Version 4:03 Justin Timberlake
U R The Answer 5:57 Stephen Bray/ Michael Beckwith
Fly 3:33 Bart Hafeman
Shout Now 3:17 Melissa Etheridge
Fingerbeat 5:57 Drumspyder
Roar 3:44 Katy Perry
Put Your Lights On 4:45 Santana Feat. Everlast
Colour In My Name (Featuring Precise) 6:08 Spiral System

Wednesday, Nov 2, 2016, 11am ~ Be Your Own Superhero

Heroe 4:23 Enrique Iglesias
Escapar 3:28 Enrique Iglesias
Corazon Espinado 4:38 Santana
Work That Body 5:35 Rodney Hunter
Learn to Fly 3:55 Foo Fighters
Raag Trance 5:32 Biddu
Domination 7:26 Peace Orchestra
Put Your Lights On 4:45 Santana Feat. Everlast
Colour In My Name (Featuring Precise) 6:08 Spiral System
Superman’s Song 4:31 Crash Test Dummies

Thursday, Nov 3, 2016, 840am ~ Be Your Own Superhero

Heroe 4:23 Enrique Iglesias
Escapar 3:28 Enrique Iglesias
Corazon Espinado 4:38 Santana
Work That Body 5:35 Rodney Hunter
Raag Trance 5:32 Biddu
Learn to Fly 3:55 Foo Fighters
Domination 7:26 Peace Orchestra
Put Your Lights On 4:45 Santana Feat. Everlast
Colour In My Name (Featuring Precise) 6:08 Spiral System
Superman’s Song 4:31 Crash Test Dummies

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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thomas-merton-100516

One of the things that I appreciate about the experience of moving together is that it is happening now, together, in real time. We’re not looking at a screen or doing something else while we’re moving. We are together, dancing. I was deeply moved by this piece from New York Magazine by Andrew Sullivan and it reminded me that all the choices we make really do connect to everything else. So put down your phones, my friends, and dance.

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

And first the announce-y things:
• dance. sit. create. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, Sunday, October 23, 830am-5pm
dance. sit. create. is going on the road! I’ll be offering the day-treat experience in Cambridge, Mass, hosted by the amazing Kira Hower in her beautiful studio. Want to take a road trip? Know someone in the area who you think would enjoy spending the day at the intersection of movement, stillness and creativity? Please direct them here or here or directly to me at sjmnia@gmail.com !

• TEDx Charlottesville: The Power of One on Friday, November 11
I’m delighted to be a small part of the big event of TEDx Charlottesville on November 11. It’s my honor, privilege and excitement to be coaching two of the amazing line-up of speakers: Lulu Miller and Monica Montgomery.
You can listen to the work of Lulu Miller by checking out her Invisibilia podcast on NPR. I’ve been loving the new season that explores the invisible things that shape our lives. All the episodes are excellent but I think my favorite was The Problem with the Solution.
And check out some of Monica Montgomery’s heart-stopping projects as the founding director of the Museum of Impact, the world’s first mobile social justice museum, and the co-founder of and strategic director for Museum Hue, a platform advancing the visibility and viability of professionals of color, in museums, arts, and culture, and creative careers.
Tickets for this inspiring day are available now! Please join us for TEDx Charlottesville!

• Going Below The Surface: Nia, Yin Yoga & Words Saturday, November 12, 1-4pm
REGISTER NOW, November 12, 1-4pm. Explore this focus in a special workshop — Going Below The Surface — that I’ll be teaching with Yin Yoga Instructor, Amy Kidd on Saturday, November 12 from 1-4pm at acac Albemarle Square. I will lead simple, varied, energetic movements to warm and mobilize the body: particularly the hips, core and shoulders. Amy will then take us through a series of Yin yoga poses designed to release muscle, fascia and other connective tissue in the core with long, supported holds. Interwoven through the afternoon, as energy is released and the body/mind relaxes, will be opportunities to write – either journaling or using simple provided prompts. Plan now to take an afternoon to breathe deep and see what lies below the surface.
Space is limited. Register now at either acac Albemarle Square (434.978.3800) or Downtown (434.984.3800)
NOV 12 WORKSHOP IS AT ALBEMARLE SQUARE!
$60 members, $65 non-members
$55 members, $50 non-members if registered before October 12

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, Oct 3, 2016, 1045am ~ Chains of Connection

Blue Rhythmic Hand 2:33 Lawrence Lougheed
Drawn To The Rhythm 4:12 Sarah McLachlan
A Go Go (Boozoo Bajou Mix) 5:47 Truby Trio
7 Years 3:57 Lukas Graham Lukas Graham
Galactivation 4:41 Shakatura Galactivation
Will It Go Round in Circles 4:29 Billy Preston
Blue 6:29 LaTour
Camioux (Biggabush Version) 4:55 Boozoo Bajou
Crazy Benny 5:32 Safri Duo
Connected 5:16 Stereo MCs
You’re Aging Well 4:12 Dar Williams
Returning 7 12:27 Jennifer Berezan

Tuesday, Oct 4, 2016, 840am ~ Chains of Connection

Blue Rhythmic Hand 2:33 Lawrence Lougheed
Drawn To The Rhythm 4:12 Sarah McLachlan
A Go Go (Boozoo Bajou Mix) 5:47 Truby Trio
7 Years 3:57 Lukas Graham Lukas Graham
Galactivation 4:41 Shakatura Galactivation
Will It Go Round in Circles 4:29 Billy Preston
Blue 6:29 LaTour
Camioux (Biggabush Version) 4:55 Boozoo Bajou
Crazy Benny 5:32 Safri Duo
Connected 5:16 Stereo MCs
You’re Aging Well 4:12 Dar Williams

Wednesday, Oct 5, 2016, 11am ~ Chains of Connection

We Are All Connected 7:07 Magic Sound Fabric
Always Waiting (fest. Irina Milkhailova) 7:08 Kaya Project
Lovers House 4:49 City Reverb
Moon & Sun 6:02 Dalminjo Fjörd Fusioneer
One World, One People 4:43 Xcultures
Deeper (Into Places) (Silk Spinner Mix) 6:23 Afterlife
Shakin’ It Up 6:15 Ganga Giri
One 3:38 Keziah Jones
Shine 4:12 Joshua Schmidt
City Knows Your Name 4:59 Chris Coco
Hymn 5:25 Andrew McPherson

Thursday, Oct 6, 2016, 840am ~ Chains of Connection

We Are All Connected 7:07 Magic Sound Fabric
Lovers House 4:49 City Reverb
Moon & Sun 6:02 Dalminjo Fjörd Fusioneer
One World, One People 4:43 Xcultures
Deeper (Into Places) (Silk Spinner Mix) 6:23 Afterlife
Shakin’ It Up 6:15 Ganga Giri
One 3:38 Keziah Jones
Shine 4:12 Joshua Schmidt
City Knows Your Name 4:59 Chris Coco
Hymn 5:25 Andrew McPherson

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!

something-so-right-092816

Just as Paul Simon wrote in Something So Right, how often do we get stuck on, spin on, dwell on what isn’t going right? This week we danced the possibilities of looking with an expanded view that includes what is working well and those things that we tend to ignore or take for granted.

All the playlists from the week are below or you can listen to them by going to Spotify! Rock out for free at Spotify! Sign up for free, follow me at “susanmcculley” and you’ll find my public playlists ~ just click and listen! In particular this week, check out Michael Franti’s song, Good To Be Alive Today and Annie Lennox’s beautiful cover of Something So Right. Mmmm-hmmm.

And first the announce-y things:

• dance. sit. create. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, Sunday, October 23, 830am-5pm
dance. sit. create. is going on the road! I’ll be offering the day-treat experience in Cambridge, Mass, hosted by the amazing Kira Hower in her beautiful studio. Want to take a road trip? Know someone in the area who you think would enjoy spending the day at the intersection of movement, stillness and creativity? Please direct them here http://www.susanmcculley.com/workshops-retreats/2016/10/23/dance-sit-create-in-cambridge-massachusetts or here https://www.facebook.com/events/1057151171049816/ or directly to me at sjmnia@gmail.com !

• TEDx Charlottesville: The Power of One on Friday, November 11
I’m delighted to be a small part of the big event of TEDx Charlottesville on November 11. It’s my honor, privledge and excitement to be coaching two of the amazing line-up of speakers: Lulu Miller and Monica Montgomery.

You can listen to the work of Lulu Miller by checking out her Invisibilia podcast on NPR. I’ve been loving the new season that explores the invisible things that shape our lives. All the episodes are excellent but I think my favorite was The Problem with the Solution.

And check out some of Monica Montgomery’s heart-stopping projcts as the founding director of the Museum of Impact, the world’s first mobile social justice museum, and the co-founder of and strategic director for Museum Hue, a platform advancing the visibility and viability of professionals of color, in museums, arts, and culture, and creative careers.

Tickets for this inspiring day are available now! Please join us for TEDx Charlottesville!

• MARK YOUR CALENDAR! Going Below The Surface: Nia, Yin Yoga & Words Saturday, November 12, 1-4pm
SAVE THE DATE, November 12, 1-4pm. Explore this focus in a special workshop — Going Below The Surface — that I’ll be teaching with Yin Yoga Instructor, Amy Kidd on Saturday, November 12 from 1-4pm at acac Albemarle Square. I will lead simple, varied, energetic movements to warm and mobilize the body: particularly the hips, core and shoulders. Amy will then take us through a series of Yin yoga poses designed to release muscle, fascia and other connective tissue in the core with long, supported holds. Interwoven through the afternoon, as energy is released and the body/mind relaxes, will be opportunities to write – either journaling or using simple provided prompts. Plan now to take an afternoon to breathe deep and see what lies below the surface.
Stay tuned for registration information coming soon!

• Art Experiment: Susan’s work on products!
I’m playing with putting my art on some products through a company called VIDA who connects artists with makers – and pays those makers a living wage (you can learn more about VIDA here http://shopvida.com/pages/our-story ). I’m experimenting with a couple of designs and I would love your input. What do you think? Any art you’d like to see on any particular pieces? Any art that I haven’t made yet that you think would work well? I’d love to hear what you think. ❤
Susan McCulley

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, Sep 26, 2016, 1045am ~ Expanded View

Altus Silva 6:07 Big Blue Ball featuring Joseph Arthur, Ronan Browne, Deep Forest, James McNally, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Vernon Reid
Whole Thing 5:27 Big Blue Ball featuring Francis Bebey, Alex Faku, Tim Finn, Peter Gabriel, Karl Wallinger, Andy White
Habibe 7:12 Big Blue Ball featuring Natacha Atlas, Hossam Ramzy, Neil Sparkes, The Hossam Ramzy Egyptian Ensemble (Adel Eskander, Wael Abu Bakr, Momtaz Talaat
Shadow 4:28 Big Blue Ball featuring Juan Cañizares, Papa Wemba
Exit Through You 5:52 Big Blue Ball featuring Joseph Arthur, Peter Gabriel, Karl Wallinger
Everything Comes From You 4:42 Big Blue Ball featuring Richard Evans, Joji Hirota, Sevara Nazarkhan, Sinéad O’Connor, Guo Yue
Burn You Up Burn You Down 4:31 Big Blue Ball featuring Billy Cobham, Peter Gabriel, The Holmes Brothers, Wendy Melvoin, Arona N’diaye, Jah Wobble
Freedom (feat. Kendrick Lamar) 4:50 Beyoncé
Drive 3:53 Incubus
Good to Be Alive Today 4:15 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Gentle Voice 6:22 Michael Hewett

Tuesday, Sep 27, 2016, 840am ~ Expanded View

Whole Thing 5:27 Big Blue Ball featuring Francis Bebey, Alex Faku, Tim Finn, Peter Gabriel, Karl Wallinger, Andy White
Habibe 7:12 Big Blue Ball featuring Natacha Atlas, Hossam Ramzy, Neil Sparkes, The Hossam Ramzy Egyptian Ensemble (Adel Eskander, Wael Abu Bakr, Momtaz Talaat
Shadow 4:28 Big Blue Ball featuring Juan Cañizares, Papa Wemba
Exit Through You 5:52 Big Blue Ball featuring Joseph Arthur, Peter Gabriel, Karl Wallinger
Everything Comes From You 4:42 Big Blue Ball featuring Richard Evans, Joji Hirota, Sevara Nazarkhan, Sinéad O’Connor, Guo Yue
Burn You Up Burn You Down 4:31 Big Blue Ball featuring Billy Cobham, Peter Gabriel, The Holmes Brothers, Wendy Melvoin, Arona N’diaye, Jah Wobble
Steam 6:00 Peter Gabriel
Drive 3:53 Incubus
Good to Be Alive Today 4:15 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Something So Right 3:56 Annie Lennox

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2016, 11am ~ Expanded View

Sacred Light 4:56 Bob Holroyd
Rafiki (Sidewalk Mix) 6:25 Bob Holroyd
Don’t Say 5:47 Deep Dive Corp.
Blood Stud (Ray Mang Remix) 8:36 MB Disco
Drive By 3:16 Train
U R The Answer 5:57 Stephen Bray/ Michael Beckwith
Stairway To Heaven 8:03 Led Zeppelin
Drive 3:53 Incubus
Good to Be Alive Today 4:15 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Something So Right 3:56 Annie Lennox
Þú Ert Jörðin 4:34 Ólafur Arnalds

Thursday, Sep 29, 2016, 840am ~ Expanded View

Sacred Light 4:56 Bob Holroyd
Rafiki (Sidewalk Mix) 6:25 Bob Holroyd
Don’t Say 5:47 Deep Dive Corp.
Blood Stud (Ray Mang Remix) 8:36 MB Disco
U R The Answer 5:57 Stephen Bray/ Michael Beckwith
Stairway To Heaven 8:03 Led Zeppelin
Good to Be Alive Today 4:15 Michael Franti & Spearhead
Something So Right 3:56 Annie Lennox
Þú Ert Jörðin 4:34 Ólafur Arnalds

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!

knee ahhh 111415

This was originally posted on April 28, 2013. Since my knees are feeling a little wonky lately, since we have new routines to bring the focus to, and since I was TED-consumed in the past few days*, I thought I’d bring this popular post back.


 

“You can mess with God, but you can’t mess with your knees.”
– Bev Wann, Nia and Mindfulness Educator

For the past week or so, my knees have been feeling tight and sore. I’d love to tell you that my in-depth knowledge of anatomy led me immediately to the source of the discomfort. But I had no idea why my knees weren’t feeling right. I’d also love to tell you that I was calm and at peace with the ache in my knees. While I wasn’t exactly panicky, I was sincerely not chill with it.

Knees are sensitive spots. At just the sight of someone who looks unstable or likely to fall, my empathetic husband’s knees tingle. Think about the way we talk about knees idiomatically:

– Weak in the knees
– Knocking knees
– Up to my knees or knee-deep
– Cut off at the knees
– Fall on the knees or bring to the knees
– On bended knee
– Knee-high to a grasshopper

All of these sayings reveal the vulnerability of knees. Whether it’s love or fear, overwhelm or a heartfelt plea, when we talk about our knees, we are talking about helplessness.

Knee-Anatomy

The largest joint in the body, knees are a complex hinge or condylar joint which are essential for movement. Knowing the anatomy of the joint can help in understanding the importance of alignment. For example, when you stand up or squat down, do your knees fall in toward each other? If so, you are straining your Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL). If your knee juts out in front of your foot when you lunge forward, you are stressing the ligaments around your patella (knee cap) that connect the muscles from the thigh to the shin bone.

There are many good resources for learning about knee health (for example, click here for a good article about knees and yoga), but we can learn particular things from the practice of Nia (click here for an article from the Nia White Belt Manual about Nia and the Knees and here’s another on Knee-Locking Syndrome).

Both in the studio and in life, I’ve discovered the following four keys to knee health and comfort:

Knee-Ahhh! Tip #1: Always step silently and cleanly

This is the A-number one, most important focus when it comes to happy knees. First, step softly (with cat-like tread!) and silently. Stomping and walking heavily strains the feet, ankles, knees and hips and dulls awareness (see Knee-Ahh Tip #4). And step cleanly, without dragging, shuffling, or twisting your feet on the floor. Imagine the floor is slightly sticky so you have to lift and place your feet – every single time. This is particularly important when turning. The Body’s Way is to step rather than spin on the feet which protects not just the knee but the joints above and below. Which leads to…

Knee-Ahhh! Tip #2: For happy knees, look to hips and ankles

Whenever you experience discomfort in the body, look above and below the place of pain. One of the best ways to keep knees healthy is to keep the hips and ankles strong and mobile. Most people are unable to execute a walking turn in Nia because their hips do not have the range of motion to allow the turn. And commonly, people shuffle or drag their feet because of stiff or weak ankles. Practicing any of the first eight movements of the 52 Moves of Nia will condition the ankle joints while Moves 19 through 29 are all particularly good for the hip joints.

Knee-Ahhh! Tip #3: Breathe & Relax

Given that they are particularly sensitive and vulnerable, one tendency is to hold tension in the knees. This week, I’ve noticed that while sitting at my desk, watching baseball (Go Twins and Red Sox!), and even when I’m in Savasana, I’m often holding some level of tension in my knees! One of the best things I can do in movement and in stillness is relax and breathe into my knees.

Knee-Ahhh! Tip #4: Listening & Awareness

The more I practice Nia Principle 5, Awareness, the more I learn about what is supporting and what is taxing my knees… or any part of me. This week, I noticed that I am very precise with my foot placement when I’m in Nia class, but when I’m working in my kitchen, I tend to twist on my feet especially on the rug in front of my stove. Use awareness and deep listening to find even the small changes that can make happier knees.

What makes your knees happy? Share your body wisdom and Knee-Ahhh! experiences below! May this week leave you knee-deep in knee health!


* Interested in checking out some of the TEDx Charlottesville talks that happened on Friday? You can see the whole day by going here http://livestream.com/tedx/events/4498792 . All the talks are aMAZing and are inspirational, thought-provoking, surprising and moving. If you’d like to see the speakers I’ve been working with for the past few months, you can find Elliott Woods at 6:19 and Leslie Blackhall at 6:48.

The Unofficial Guide
to the 13 Nia Principles
~ Practical, Nia-or-Not Applications for EveryBody

(Wondering what the Sam Hill the Unofficial Guide is and why I’m writing this series of posts? Click here!)

P13 sharing guinea pigs

Principle 13 – Sharing What You Sense

Excerpt from the Official Nia Headquarters Description:

When we began teaching Nia in 1983, … we just moved and focused on pleasure and pain, two sensations we knew well. Over time and with practice, something amazing began to happen: We began to develop a deeper awareness of all body sensations—and so too did our students, as we shared what we sensed with them.

…we realized the simplest of truths: it is through the body that we are able to connect to the whole being: body, mind, emotions and spirit. This truth continues to be the foundation of Nia.

Nia is about allowing people to have their own revelations, discoveries and experiences by simply sensing their bodies—and most importantly, by connecting to the Joy of Movement.

Unofficial Practical Nia-or-Not Application for EveryBody:

“I don’t teach no devotees. I only teach teachers.” ~  Holistic Life Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland

During the TEDx Charlottesville talks on Friday, I only cried once. This is an extraordinary thing since I cry at most everything: romantic movies, when the underdog wins, and at pretty much any flashmob video (especially ours!).

The TEDx Charlottesville talk that brought me to tears was given by the three co-founders of the Holistic Life Foundation in Baltimore – Ali Smith, Atman Smith and Andres Gonzalez – and two of their young teachers. The three men started the Holistic Life Foundation in 2001 to nurture the wellness of children and adults in underserved communities through yoga, mindfulness, and self-care. Part of their presentation was a video that showed scenes from their elementary after-school program: dozens of kids in stocking feet on pink and purple mats breathing with eyes closed and later shrieking with joy at the prospect of getting to do Tree Pose.

In Atman’s part of the talk, he said that following their own yoga teacher’s wisdom, they strive to teach teachers not students. By empowering even pre-school kids to lead their peers and their families, the HLF programs expand their reach deep into the community. It makes sense. Teach a devotee and they are dependent on the teacher. Teach a teacher, and they spread the learning.

This week, we reach the last principle in the Unofficial Guide: Principle 13 ~ Sharing What You Sense. Officially, this principle is about how Nia teachers share what they sense with their students.  But I’m with Atman’s yoga teacher: I’m more interested in teaching teachers.

The Official Principle 13 has a three-step process to Sharing What You Sense: listen to the music, dance to the music, share what you sense. Two parts receiving to one part sharing. From a Nia teaching perspective, the benefit of this is that what the teacher says comes from an embodied experience rather than her head. Nia, when taught from Principle 13, is an experience of feeling rather than thinking.

From our unofficial, practical, Nia-or-not perspective, I suggest a similar three-part process: listen, embody, and share. Whether you are designing gardens or raising children or writing novels or dancing Nia: first listen, then embody, then share.

Listen ~ to the people around you, to the sounds around you, to the intuition within you. Be open to what is happening around you and inside you. Whatever the activity, be present in it.

Embody ~ bring your whole self to whatever you are doing. Use your body to sense and move and embrace what you’re doing. Use your mind to investigate and inquire and discover. Use your emotions to make an authentic connection to your experience. No one can do this like you can, so bring yourself fully to it.

Share ~ share something from your experience. Tell someone something about what you learned or what inspired you or what moved you. Pass on a picture you took or a poem you wrote or bread that you baked. Share an article that excited you or a practice that helped you or a film that changed you. Let the ripples of benefit keep going. Be a teacher.

At the end of the Holistic Life Foundation presentation, 10-year-old Shamar Brooks led the sold-out Paramount Theater in a love exercise. He invited us to close our eyes, see the light within us and tell ourselves, “I love you.” Then he had us tell a person sitting nearby and finally to say “I love you” to everybody in the theater. I’m pretty sure mine were not the only tears in the house.

The TED motto is “ideas worth spreading” and the HLF ideas are most definitely worth spreading.

Unofficially, the Principle 13: Sharing What You Sense motto is “sensations worth spreading.”

Don’t keep it to yourself. Be a teacher. Pass it on.

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!

The Unofficial Guide
to the 13 Nia Principles
~ Practical, Nia-or-Not Applications for EveryBody

(Wondering what the hey the Unofficial Guide is and why I’m writing this series of posts? Click here!)

P12 Gandhi quote

Principle 12 – Continuing Education

Excerpt from the Official Nia Headquarters Description:

Principle 12, Continuing Education, is about making a personal and professional commitment to your ongoing growth and education with Nia. This principle is more than a concept and a practice; it is a way of living.

***

From conscious actions such as speaking, to unconscious functions such the pumping of your heart, your body lives and breathes with a natural intelligence that is always taking in information—always learning about itself so it can make adjustments to support its highest state of functioning. By merging the two intelligences of sensing and thinking, you tap into an awareness we call the “thinking body.” Here, your true capacity for perception and self-knowing unfolds. To access the thinking body is to develop body literacy—the ability to listen, understand and consciously respond to the information your body communicates to your mind via sensation. Once you develop body literacy, every sensation becomes a powerful form of education you can use to transform your life.

Unofficial Practical Nia-or-Not Application for EveryBody:

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

On Friday, November 14, Charlottesville hosts a TEDx conference: a day of local and international speakers sharing ideas worth spreading. I have the great good fortune to be the speaker coach for Jim Harshaw, who will be giving a TEDx talk called “Why I Teach My Children to Fail.” On the face of it, Jim’s talk is about failure as part of the process toward success, but really, what he’s talking about is continuing education. (Coincidence that Principle 12 falls on the week of TEDx? I think not.) Continuing education is about constantly choosing to step beyond what we already know into new areas of learning and growth.

Continuing Education is about being willing to suck.

During Nia trainings, Nia Founder Carlos Rosas would remind us over and over that the only way we’d improve as teachers (or partners or parents or people) is to be willing to suck: to be willing to flail and not know and stumble and forget everything and totally, completely stink. In Zen Buddhism this practice is called “shoshin” or “beginner’s mind” (I wrote about this a while back). Shoshin is an attitude of openness and curiosity, a willingness to learn something new, even when practicing at an advanced level. In some ways, then, the longer we practice and the more we know, the more challenging Principle 12 (aka shoshin, aka beginner’s mind, aka willingness to suck) can be.

Often I forget that learning and practice are two different things. Once I’ve learned something, I can practice it over and over and train myself to do it more easefully. But learning is awkward. As my brain and body endeavor to do something unfamiliar, I feel vulnerable and clumsy and uncomfortable. Awkward is simply what it feels like to learn.

And, if I’m really in the spirit and practice of Principle 12, I seek out that awkward feeling even while doing things that I’ve done a thousand times before. Continuing education is to be willing to suck — even at things we’ve done for a long time.

No matter what you want to do better ~ teach Nia, play ice hockey, parent a child, sing opera, give a TED Talk ~ some part of that learning will feel spazzy and uncomfortable. At some point in the learning process, you will suck. You will flail and fail. As Jim Harshaw will say on Friday at TEDx, the inevitable failures aren’t bad things to be avoided but are simply part of the process of continuing your education and enhancing your life.

It takes courage to be willing to suck, so Continuing Education takes courage. It is much more comfortable to stay in safe, known territory than to risk suckage. But it is only by finding that courage and taking those risks that we can be our best and discover what is possible.

 

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