I gotta say, I love dancing Nia. I think you all knew that already. And! And it gives me so much joy to find other movement and dance practices too and try them on. On Friday night I went to a Dancing Mindfulness class at a new-to-me yoga studio called YogaQuest. Two other Nia friends came along and as we entered the space I felt that bit of nervousness of being the newbie in a situation. My review of the evening in a nutshell--Dancing mindfulness is awesome! So good for your mind, body and spirit, and when you meet new people, learn about a new practice and move your body to great music, joy increases! The photo above was taken at the end of class. We all grabbed a fun prop or toys from popular culture that YogaQuest has on hand to make movement/yoga fun. In the center, arms outstretched, is Jamie Marich the leader of our class and founder of Dancing Mindfulness. Jamie was a wonderful facilitator, laying out the practice at the beginning, sharing her geeky love of TV and Broadway musicals and excitedly prepping us for the great playlist she created for the class. She assured those who were new to dancing mindfully to have fun, to not judge ourselves or others and to enjoy the process. I was totally game, 'cause Nia is all about these same ideas.
One concept that she talked about in preparation to move was nonstriving. The word strive got my mental realm churning. To nonstrive I thought, would mean not to work hard or strive to do your best. A bit of confusion set in, why would I want to not strive? So interesting how hearing a word you know, but in a new context changes the way you understand it. The class started, the music was both new and familiar, the space had a great fun, open vibe and the group warmed up to each other and soon were singing, dancing, and moving with a whole lot of joy. I felt at home, it was like Nia free dance, Stages 1-3 for me. Jamie guided us to use our breath, to return to breath at some of the musical changes, to interact with others, go on a quest or hero's journey with our movement and to create a supportive circle of dance. It was wonderful!
As the class ended I shared how I had been at a Dancing Mindfulness class in Champaign recently, had a great time and when I saw that Jamie, the founder would be in town I had to come and try a class with her. I purchased her book and in reading the introduction learned what I needed about the word nonstriving and how it related to my movement practice.
"...nonstriving: thinking, feeling or acting with focus on the process, not the outcome. The name of this skill confuses many people because in Western culture we tend to associate nonstriving with giving up. Nonstriving does non imply laziness or sloth. Nonstriving is an attitude that encourages you, even in your work, to refrain from trying so hard. In nonstriving, we let whatever happens, happen."
Beautiful words! How about you? Do you feel like your life or work is all about striving? Do your thoughts focus on reaching a certain end goal or destination? Or can you enjoy the process, the journey? This week I invite you to focus on nonstriving in class. We'll use our awareness of the base of our body, our foundation, to help us stay present and then let what happens, happen.
See you in class!
Dance, when you're broken open. Dance, if you've torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you are perfectly free. - Rumi
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Dr. Jamie Marich
Curator of the Dancing Mindfulness expressive arts blog: a celebration of mindfully-inspired, multi-modal creativity