Have you ever wondered what people are seeing in you when a harsh inner critic slams your confidence into a hellish slop?
“I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.” – Hafiz
Are you seeking to experience more aliveness and joy in your life? Do you want to connect to the pleasure of living in your unique body? Try Nia – it Feels So Good! Nia (nee-ah) blends dance and martial arts set intuitively to engaging music. This fun and unique barefoot practice gently warms the body from within, bringing you to a cardio work-out, then ends with cooling stretches. Nia is safe and adaptable for all ages and abilities. You’ll finished feeling, relaxed yet rejuvenated! Wear what feels beautiful and allows you to move freely and bring water to stay hydrated. Prepare to have lots of fun and experience the spice of life. Four Atlanta teachers will be Tamara Albright, Erica Saffron, Sandy Bramlett and Maja will alternate leading movement in their own unique way. This opportunity to connect within and to the women of your community will kick off the start of weekly Saturday Nia classes beginning July 18th, from 9a-10a for $9 per class. Erica and Tamara will alternate teaching these weekly classes at Ladies Workout Express. Please note this is hosted at a women only facility. For more information, email: infoatalbright-creative.com or erica_saffronatyahoo.com . To find local Nia classes, visit http://www.albright-creative.com/movement-nia.html
Saturday, July 11th
9a – 10a
Ladies Workout Express
2865 North Druid Hills Road
Atlanta GA 30329
There’s no denying it, being a human isn’t always fun. We have this incredible dichotomy in this existence, and in our very beings. We’re primal and ferocious with an amazing capacity to express and experience love and compassion. Millions of intangible thoughts happening within a wondrous vessel. A vessel capable of experiencing multiple sensations at once.
Until my Nia practice began, I was completely unaware of how much time I spent in thought – writing virtual to do lists, questioning past decisions, reliving conversations and stressing about tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still in my head quite a bit, but there is more awareness of when I am and how it feels in my body. For a long time I had this odd relationship with my body – like it was my little slave to punish as I saw fit, never really thinking about how my body was responding to the thoughts running around in my head or how much of the present I was missing.
In movement, there is a harmonization of the body and mind. A real opportunity to kick aside all thoughts, worries and stresses and really notice and feel the sensation of what it is to be in your body. To really be in wonderful and in awe of our bodies and senses.
Today’s work involved a lot of “doing” as well as worrying. Worrying about the unknown. Finally, I forced my mind to listen to my aching body that sat hunched over a computer all day and step away from this hamster wheel by practicing Nia. The dancing, moving, flowing, vocalizing, striking, kicking, all of these things helped release the build-up of pressure of the day. But, it wasn’t until I stepped outside into the dusky evening that I felt the angst completely melt. Through my amazing body and senses, I was able to to shift into pure wonder and appreciation of the moment. My evening stroll with RakSi, the wonder dog, began by an envelopment of warmth and moisture, bird music permeating the air, light reflecting upon massive puddles. On I walked, up the hill, sensing the strength in my legs, the softness of the leather leash in my hand. Ah yes, this is what it is to be present, I remember now. What a gift this life is. A “now”, bursting with green and amazing little bugs illuminating unexpected spaces. On and on, images, sounds, textures. Then one of my favorite senses was indulged. My nose shamelessly burrowed, drinking deeply from the pure ecstasy of a gardenia. As I began to head back home, and my mind started doing it’s “thang”, when a breeze brought me back one more time to the here and now with a beautiful embrace of coolness, filled with the glorious scent of fresh lavender. Quite seduced, I stroked the compact and fuzzy buds bringing fingers to nose and inhaling to my pinky toes. Yes this is now. This is what it is to be fully alive and enjoy the moment. Thank you. Thank you for this. Thank you for the reminder that there are still opportunities for bliss even in the times of fear and suffering.
As you find yourself a slave to your thoughts, caught up in “getting somewhere”, I invite you to take just a moment to notice how this feels in your body. When you are ready for a shift in your thoughts and emotions, consider indulging your senses in a new way. There is great wisdom in the saying, take time to stop and smell the roses. This summer allow your senses to be utterly and shamelessly seduced. Consider that you always have a lover, whether there’s one lying in your bed or not. Gardenias, dragonflies, lightning bugs, peonies, birds, trees they are my lovers. They remind me that I am beautiful just by simply being.
In the energy of Father’s day (and pondering what makes an exceptional man), this timeless message from Charlie Chaplin’s character the Jewish Barber, in the film The Great Dictator deserves to be remembered and honored:
I’m sorry but I don’t want to be an Emperor – that’s not my business – I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible, Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another, human beings are like that.
We all want to live by each others happiness, not by each others misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone.
The way of life can be free and beautiful.
But we have lost the way.
Greed has poisoned mens souls – has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.
We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in: machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little: More than machinery we need humanity; More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.
The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say “Do not despair”.
The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress: the hate of men will pass and dictators die and the power they took from the people, will return to the people and so long as men die [now] liberty will never perish…
Soldiers – don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you – who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you as cattle, as cannon fodder.
Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines. You are not cattle. You are men. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don’t hate – only the unloved hate. Only the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers – don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty.
In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written ” the kingdom of God is within man ” – not one man, nor a group of men – but in all men – in you, the people.
You the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let’s use that power – let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie. They do not fulfil their promise, they never will. Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfil that promise. Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.
Soldiers – in the name of democracy, let us all unite!
Look up! Look up! The clouds are lifting – the sun is breaking through. We are coming out of the darkness into the light. We are coming into a new world. A kind new world where men will rise above their hate and brutality.
The soul of man has been given wings – and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow – into the light of hope – into the future, that glorious future that belongs to you, to me and to all of us. Look up. Look up.
I love dogs. Talk about being real, they are as authentic as you can get. With just one sniff, they know your story. Dogs have an amazing gift for exemplifying unconditional love. My cockapoo got me through many a rough day growing up and the sweet hound currently in my heart, home and life has taught me volumes on how to be patient.
This leads me to share with you what I call my “doggie-style” indicator. Accuse me of bias, but I think women are more likely to outwardly exhibit their appreciation for the authentic, loving, playful attributes of dogs than men. When I notice a man really bonding and caring for a canine (or any other animal the way they deserve), it gives me an indication of a man’s heart. In contemplating love and partnership, only these types of men pass my initial “sniff test”. In other words brothas, if you ain’t got at least this, go fetch!
If you have an amazing man and/or pooch in your life, consider honoring them both this Father’s day in a very special way. Feed open-hearted father-figures, brothers, uncles, friends, and lovers the appreciation they deserve while providing tasty vittles for hounds, mutts, purebreds, and family pets galore. Here’s your opportunity: http://www.saveourpetsfoodbank.org/good-dad-honor-roll.php
A great and easy way to keep the energy flowing through your fingers when you do a lot of repetitive movements (typing, texting, guitar playing and even for you freaky banjo players 😉 ) is the finger flick. We all have the desire to age gracefully, if we have to age at all. And I doubt any of us geeky, computer-wanna-be-whizzes want claw hands.
To keep the blood pumping and retain full mobility of your fingers and hands, tuck the nail beds of your fingers behind the thumb, create pressure, then release. Repeat several times and do your best to include it in your daily routine. If you don’t get my instruction, here’s video of Carlos Rosas, co-founder of the Nia Technique, demonstrating the move. Bless Carlos’ little heart – I don’t claim myself as southern but I’ve come to appreciate the sarcasm of the saying. Seriously though, Carlos is amazing and his humanness in this video he reminds me of W the Almighty. Nice designer jeans too, at least I know my monthly licensing fees are going to a good cause!